Boys’ School Principal, Mr Peter Cassie takes us on a tour of the brand new Senior School Classrooms and Specialist Facilities.
When we went into lockdown in August, it felt like we were set on ‘replay’ mode. The boys were not allowed back on the premises and staff had 24 hours to get distance learning underway. This time however there was a sense of familiarity, and the boys and staff indicated that the transition had been smoother because they were comfortable with the routines and structures that had been established last year.
It was amazing to see how seamlessly our staff shifted gears to engage and connect with students through online learning, and the boys, realising what they had to do, quickly picked up momentum. This is life during Covid times and a new way of learning that has to be embraced.
Despite being away from school for 55 days, overall, we have had an incredibly successful year. Our camps went ahead and we were fortunate to have completed most of our sporting events. There were annual events that we had to cancel, however, when we reflect on the 2021 year, a lot has been achieved and as a community, we should feel incredibly proud.
My top moments of the year:
1. ERO Review: At the end of Term 2, our Boys’ School underwent an assessment by the Education Review Office (ERO), an external government agency that evaluates and reports on the quality of education and care of learners in schools. We were pleased to have met all the requirements including the suitability of premises, staffing and curriculum. What stood out for me were the observations made by these independent reviewers who found their visit enriching. They made reference to the following:
a. They felt our Values are lived and readily seen throughout the school
b. Our boys have rich learning experiences through our extensive and broad curriculum
c. The concept of service and putting others first is deeply embraced
d. They witnessed warm and respectful relationships between boys and between boys and staff
This is an incredible testament to our culture and shared Values that run deep in the veins of everyone in the Saint Kentigern Boys’ School community and we should be proud of this acknowledgement from experts in education, who visit hundreds of schools every year.
2. Adapting to continue delivering the best education with our boys in mind: Our teachers have had to think differently and fast. In a distance learning environment, it is hard to gauge students’ nuances and feelings. Therefore, our focus has been to connect even more closely with our boys who needed additional assistance, to lend them support and help them gain confidence to achieve learning goals.
3. Embracing Technology: We successfully completed our annual Year 7 and 8 examinations, digitally. I went through the process myself with a Year 8 boy and I was impressed by how effective and simple it was. It is important for us to move in this direction as more assessments will be done online in the future. We also leveraged this opportunity to teach our students skills to better prepare themselves in how to revise learning, how to answer questions to ensure detail and thinking is shown, to know what’s required, and to get rid of the fear factor that the word ‘examinations’ brings. I firmly believe it’s all about preparation.
4. Success in academia and sports: Our boys achieved 4 ICAS medals; 3 for Digital Technology and 1 for English. In sports, we became Auckland Champions in hockey and football, and our rugby team remained unbeaten.
5. Serving others: Our key highlights for the year have been:
a. Our service trip to Taneatua where our Year 8 boys and their parents worked together with the Taneatua School Community on identified projects that would benefit the children. As a result, we have developed a meaningful relationship with Taneatua School and look forward to welcoming their students to spend a couple of days at our school next year.
b. The Shed Initiative where the wider Saint Kentigern Community came together to provide food boxes for families in need during the Auckland lockdown.
c. 1000 Hampers which focused on providing something special for families from the schools and agencies we work closely with in the lead up to Christmas.
6. Moving into our new facilities: After years in planning and two years under construction, we are ready to move into our new Senior Boys’ Classroom and Specialist Facilities block at the start of 2022 which is certainly going to make a difference to our boys’ overall learning experience.
7. Welcome Back!: For me personally, the standout moment of the year was 17 November when we welcomed the boys back after 55 days away. The laughter, the conversations, the greetings, the enthusiasm, and the excitement as boys reconnected with their mates and teachers were great.
2021 has undoubtedly presented plenty of moments for us to capitalise on which I believe we did. To each of you; parents, boys and staff, it has been a real team effort and I offer my sincere thanks for all that you have done to make this school so great. Saint Kentigern is an amazing community and our Values of Respect, Integrity, Service, Excellence and Love are lived and evident in so many ways. This is what sets us apart from all other schools.
I look forward to welcoming you all back in 2022 which promises to be an exciting year. Have a safe and blessed Christmas.
Fides Servanda Est
Mr Peter Cassie
Boys’ School Principal