Tuesday, December 14, 2010

End of year speech

One famous speech began with “I have a dream”
well this is not so famous but begins with “we had a dream”

We said that we wanted to raise academic achievement across the school in 2010
we did !
We said we wanted to provide opportunities for our students outside of the classroom in 2010
we did !
We said we wanted to provide children with greater ICT opportunities in 2010
we did !

If you have seen the opportunities our children have had this year then you will know we, with your support are providing some wonderful opportunities for our children to shine.
We have not just focussed on the classical academic side of education, we have looked at cultural and sporting sides of education as not everyone has classical strengths.
A greater focus on Inquiry learning has given our students a greater control over their own learning.

For many of the children the learning is not in the finished product but in the process or journey they take getting to the final product. With many of the outcomes the conversations problem solving and negotiating around getting a consensus for the project.

Tracking the conversations is always hard but if you sit in and observe these you will hear the rich discussions that take place.

All these positive outcomes only take place because of a large number of people.
There are the children prepared to take a risk and prepared to commit to their learning.

There are the Parents who teach more to their children through their day to day dealings than we ever could in the short time they are exposed to us.

There is the Board of Trustees who read the information we provide and help set the strategic direction for the years to come.

There is the PTA who through fundraising and parental support have reached a new level in their commitment and organization in providing a varied set of resources.

The Teacher Aides who provide the coal face support for our students and teachers doing jobs well beyond the call of duty.

The Admin staff who provide the shop window and all the answers to parents on arrival and in the day to day running of the school.

The groundsman who has arrived with a great amount of new ideas to improve the way the grounds look.

The teachers though, through it all, provide the programmes and the graft into which our children get submerged.
They are the glue really that holds it all together.
If you think about it, all teachers have been able to provide something outside their classroom delivery that has added to the fabric of this school community.

Some are involved in sports organisation channelling
Some in curriculum development
Some in clean green living
Some in developing ICT
Some providing musical and debating opportunities
All areas of the curriculum and beyond are covered.
Our teachers work extremely hard for your children all 184 of them. They cant do the best job they can without your support/ the support of the students/the PTA /the Board the teacher aides the admin staff/Gary and me, the principal. They work long hours to put the programmes in place.
They are teachers ,mentors ,first aiders, coaches, computer whizzes , counsellers ,peace negotiators, toilet trainers, advocates and friends.
Their job is huge ,it is ever changing, it is dynamic and most of the time thankless.
I would like to thank the team we have here at Ashley for all the work they have provided for your children this year.
We are constantly in a pattern of change and for teachers to remain as sane as they are, well mostly ,it is amazing they stick with it.

We have staff leaving us this year. Lynne,Kerri, Juanita and Sandi. They have all contributed to our school in their time with us and I hope they are richer for the experience of being a part of the Ashley school community.

There are families who have been a part of the Ashley School family for a long time leaving as well. They will be heading to the high school education system or other primary schools. I hope you feel the same way as our guest speaker the other night.James Tapper said he realised how much he enjoyed and appreciated Ashley School after he had gone. I hope you all look back on your experiences with us and remember your time with us with fondness.

The year 8s who are heading off to high school, many of them have been with us from the age of 5, I wish you all the best. The other night at your dinner I asked you to never give up. Never give up on dreams, never give up on people, never give up the fight. I think too often we forget this.
Our year 8 group have contributed so much to our school this year and over the entire year. They are a group of children who have set the tone for the school and have lead the way in learning and in achievements on many fronts,sporting and cultural.
They have been real ambassadors for our school the have exhibited all the REACH values time and time again.
I want to thank them and wish them all the best for the future.

And to the future?
We often talk of preparing children for a future that doesn’t exist.
How do we do that how do we prepare children for such dynamic, uncertain times.
That is our role in conjunction with all you to work out!
You see school has changed since we were at school. We don’t need to know a lot of the traditional stuff cos we can simply google it!
Get used to it!
It is gonna keep changing developing and if you fight it your children will blow right past you. How many of you could create an animation and turn it into a movie.
Not many I would suggest but your children are getting these opportunity to learn these skills.
Yes the basic are still required but not to the same extent that they did when I was attending school.

The Board as part of their strategic plan wish to promote our vision for our children

Our vision is to be a positive learning community that builds on quality relationships and developing inquiring minds. Learners will feel valued and safe to explore opportunities with confidence, and be passionate about their learning in readiness for the future challenges.

We will continue to promote the use of ICTs across the school as well as set our usual targets in Reading, Writing and Maths and we will aim high again.
When close to 90% of the school are achieving Reading targets and 85% of the school achieving Maths targets it shows we are getting the results we want. Like all teachers though we need to focus on raising the bar again.

Congratulations to all those who have won awards you all deserve the accolades that you receive.

To everyone who has supported the Ashley School community in such a positive way this year I thank you.The hardest thing in writing this speech was, as I started to name people, I then realised how easily I could miss someone. People get involved with schools to support their children,they do it to create a better pathway for their children one better than their own and working together that’s exactly what we do.

To all the families of Ashley school I wish you an amazing Christmas and a safe and exciting new year.
Thank you!

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About Me

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Rangiora, Canterbury, New Zealand
I have been Principal of Ashley School since 2002 and I am still learning my job.I am married with 3 children. I have a love of educating children to the best of their potential. I enjoy Rowan Atkinson, Ricky Gervais, cycling and all other sports.