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This Week – 22 May 2019

This Week – 22 May 2019

This week’s Year Level meeting was packed full of goodness. Thanks to Ruth and Madi for your awareness raising activity in relation to safe driving. There’ll be more to come on that one.

Year 13 Clothing and Appearance

The subject of Year 13 student uniform and appearance is a live one at the moment. Charlotte and I are working on ensuring a proper consultation process is put into action, and our best effort at representing your views has been published in the position paper in a previous newsletter to you. You continue to be welcome to contribute to that document and process with your views.

In the interim, Mr Crosbie, in his position as Assistant Principal, has made a temporary determination specifically about facial hair. He has said that students may not be excluded from class due to their having facial hair, however students should be asked to be clean shaven. Teachers have been asked to refer a student to Mr Crosbie if they refuse to comply with the direction to shave. In addition to this, students may approach Mr Bosley to get a written exemption from the requirement that they shave.

If you would like any help navigating this contested territory at the moment, please be invited to come to us.

Asserting your Basic Rights as a Citizen

Today’s main topic in our Year Level meeting concentrated on the rights that we all have to live free of harassment and persecution. These are rights that apply to all New Zealanders, and are not specific to school. Here’s a summary of the recourse available to you if you feel your rights or dignity have been impinged upon.

In addition to the right to dignity, free expression and freedom from persecution, there are special rights awarded to minors and people in state education.

  1. You can speak to, or write to the person concerned, outlining your objection and asking them to desist.
  2. Charlotte and I, as your Deans are employed to advocate for you in the school. We can mediate meetings, help you write letters, advocate for you and provide practical and emotional support. We can also help you make contact with further agencies.
  3. You can speak to, or write to the Senior Leadership Team at the school. (Mr Crosbie, Mr Shephard, Ms Ashton and Mr Bosley.)
  4. You can approach the Board of Trustees, either via your student representative, Bronson Toghill, or by making direct contact with the Chair.
  5. The Ministry of Education can be contacted here.
  6. Often you can get support from Advocacy Groups whose role is to support people who experience breaches to their rights due to many diverse aspects of their being, such as gender, sexuality, sexual identity, disability, race and religion. We can assist you to get in touch with these groups.
  7. New Zealand has an organisation called the Citizen’s Advice Bureau who are there to assist all citizens with advice about rights, responsibilities and to connect us with agencies designed to support our rights as citizens. They have a very useful “frequently asked questions” section.
  8. The Human Rights Commission have a number of departments whose job it is to advocate for New Zealand citizens whose rights have been infringed.
  9. Make a free appointment with Community law Otago. They have lawyers who can advise you and who can also take on your case if they choose to. They do not charge for this.
  10. It would cost you, but you can also instruct a Lawyer to represent you.

If you do experience an incident where you believe your rights have been infringed upon, whichever path you follow, you also have a right to have another person present in either a silent or an advocacy role. Often it is not advisable to try to have these conversations by yourself.

Remember, our assertion was that in challenging everyone around us to treat others with fairness and dignity, and calling each other out if we believe we’ve fallen short of these standards is how we fulfil our obligation to build a healthy and positive society.

It’s also useful for you to note that if you impinge upon the rights of others, they also have recourse to the same remedies that you would if the situation were reversed. As you are now entering the world of adulthood, and thus become eligible for the rights of an adult citizen, you also take on the commensurate responsibilities.

Home Study for Weeks 15-16

This fortnight’s Home Study list is possibly our longest yet. You continue to impress us with your self-discipline. This achievement is made all the more impressive as your Students in the Community volunteer hours are also now part of the criteria for Home Study.

As long as you meet the Home Study criteria (zero unjustified absences and an average score of over 3 for your fortnightly grades) and have clocked some volunteer hours on the Students in the Community site, you are free to leave the school during your study periods.


Charlotte’s Notices:

  • Telford Taster Weeks – for those interested in Equine Studies, Apiculture, Farm Skills and Stock Management you may want to look into a holiday Telford Taster Week
  • NZ Broadcasting School and ARA Polytechnic Christchurch invite you to a meeting next Wednesday 29th to learn about their courses ranging from Outdoor Ed to Nursing and from Performing Arts to Engineering. As this is National Teacher Strike Day this meeting is currently planned for 11 am at Relishes Cafe.
  • Winter Sports Programme; if you plan to take part in a winter snowsports programme you will need to complete an application form for Mr Bosley and meet with your deans to discuss how we may best support you. Please check this process with the Sports Coordinator.
  • Aspiring Leaders Youth Forum: The Aspiring Leaders’ Forum is an annual event that brings together 120 young leaders from around Aotearoa to discuss leadership from a narrative point of view. This year’s forum will be held from 27-30 June in Wellington. This opportunity is supported by Rotary. Check with us for details.
  • Free Career Planning! Sign up under the passion fruit on the MAC Careers Website to join a small group of students on Wednesday afternoons for 4 weeks and work with a trained facilitator on nailing your next steps.
  • First Aid course – this Saturday’s course starts at 9 am sharp in Rooms 23 and 24.

Enjoy the rest of your week everyone.

With warm regards

Charlotte, Liz and Chris

This Week – 8 May 2019

This Week – 8 May 2019

Evening all!

This week the latest Home Study list is out – embedded at the bottom of this letter on our site – and Charlotte has a whole lot of career notices.

The 75 of you who came with us down to Dunedin for the visit to the Tertiary Open day were a delight to spend time with. Thanks for your company – and we hope the exposure to the University and Polytech gave you a starting point to start to build some plans for next year and beyond.

Remember you don’t have to know what you’re going to be when you grow up. You just have to know who you are now, and what floats your boat.


Ballroom dancing will take place next Wednesday afternoon with Mr Nyhof

What’s Your Passion? Career and Life Planning Workshop

An opportunity for 10 students to participate in a series of 4 workshops to help you unlock your passion and purpose. You will  work in a small group each Wednesday afternoon during Weeks 5-8 with a trained facilitator who promises it will be dynamic and fun.This free trial has only 10 spaces and you will need to attend all four sessions. Contact Charlotte to sign up or receive further information.

Career meetings: Please be proactive in arranging these if you have not had one already by flicking us an email or swing by the careers office – from next Monday Careers and Guidance will be back in the ‘old’ URSpace.

First Aid Course: The second and final STAR First Aid course is on Saturday the 25th of May. There are still some spaces. Sign up on the careers website
Sign up also to receive careers updates; just scroll down the page and add your email

Otago University Law Talk next Friday 17th May,  8:35 am (Room to be confirmed) The presenter is a barrister and solicitor, with research interests in human rights and technology.

Barista Holiday Course Sign up for this course on the Careers website

Workers’ Rights Past students have told us they wanted more information about employment, contracts and their legal rights  so we have invited some experts to come and do some workshops here. More info coming soon.

Home Study for Weeks 3 and 4:


This Week – 1 May 2019

This Week – 1 May 2019

It was brilliant to see you all back this week for the start of Term 2.

The highlight of today’s meeting was being able to hand out the “Get Out of Jail Free” cards to so many of you. To be eligible for one of these, you had to have a perfect attendance record for Term 1, with zero unjustified absences. Just to put this into perspective, only one person in last year’s Year 13 cohort had maintained such an outstanding attendance record in May last year.

As we said today, while it must have become obvious to you by now that this kind of data and metric is a bit of an obsession of ours, this is for good reasons. There is very sound educational research that demonstrates that simply turning up to school has a significant and sustained positive impact on a number of areas of a student’s life.

The List


If we missed you off this list for some reason, please contact us and we’ll rectify this immediately. If you missed out this time around – fear not. The fortnightly system will still operate as it did last term: a perfect attendance for two weeks unlocks home study for the following two weeks. You can then clock up perfect attendance scores for Term 2, earning yourself a Get Out of Jail Free card for Term 3 – when you’ll need it most!

Don’t go it alone

This term is always a challenging one in the life of a Year 13 student. The NCEA assessments will come thick and fast (especially in the last two weeks), the snow hasn’t yet fallen, there can sometimes be an inversion layer of cloud that keeps the sun from shining for up to a month and the cold and dark can just make everything a bit more difficult. If things start getting on top of you – don’t bear it alone. Come and speak to us.

Put it on a plan

Developing a plan will also help a lot in this process. Put all your commitments and deadlines in one place and develop an overview. Plan in your social time too – and rest – and recreation. Share your plan with someone who cares and keep updating it as things change. This simple process can work wonders.


Righto – until next week!

Chris and Charlotte

This Week – 10 April 2019

This Week – 10 April 2019

Term One comes to a close

Let us take this moment to reflect on everything you’ve achieved this term. Subjectively, we can state that it has been a delight to work with you so far this year. You have been polite, generous and mature in your interactions with us. Your teachers have frequently commented on your determination and self-discipline. The local community tells us that you are making a real impact through your voluntary work and your engagement with your sport and your cultural life.

There are some numbers we’d like to share with you that underpin this. None of this good reputation comes easily. So far, collectively you have conquered:

  • 49,170 Hours of Learning
  • 11 Year Level Meetings
  • 812 Level 3 Credits
  • 44 Whanau Periods
  • 189 Full-Time Days of Volunteer Work

As we often say to you, it’s the small things that matter – and these aggregates just might illuminate that point. The good feedback you are getting, the results you are achieving and the difference you are making comes from the accumulation of hundreds and thousands of good decisions. We can’t deny: we are proud.

Year 13 Attire and Self-Representation

Charlotte and I have been developing a document that outlines our proposed approach to this contested area for some weeks now. We’ve received some feedback from some individual students, and passed this document past the powers that be, and now seek your feedback before it’s formalised. Please take the time to read it and let us know to what extent we speak for you – and if not, what you would have us say.

Please be invited to either comment on this document at the bottom of its website page – or to email us directly with your response.

Look After Yourself

Last week we discussed the importance of taking care of yourself. No doubt you’ll already be glazing over as you read yet another self-evident statement, but trust us, as you progress through this year (and those to come) the pressures are going to pile up. You’ve got your school workload, which comes in surges. You’ve got an expanded social life. You have the added complication of a drivers license. You have changing relationships with your family. Your volunteer work. Your part time job. On top of all this you have your exciting future looming, and all manner of decisions imposed upon you as to what direction you’re going to take yourself. It’s big.

We encourage you to focus on three things and promise us one thing:

  1. Focus on eating well
  2. Focus on getting enough sleep
  3. Focus on organisation. Write down your plans
  1. Promise us that you will seek help if everything gets too much. We are here. You pay us through your taxes so we can be here to help. Use the service. Whoever went to a buffet, paid the charge, and didn’t eat?

Get Out Of Jail Free

At the beginning of Term 2, as promised, all students who have a perfect attendance record, a Fortnightly Grade average over 3 and some Students in the Community hours registered from Term 1 will be given a Get Out Of Jail Free card. This will entitle those students to exempting themselves from all supervised study classes for the entirety of Term 2.

Our fortnightly system will still operate next term, so be assured that your strong, if not perfect, records will still be recognised – and you can always try for a card in Term 3!

Weekly Notices, Diary and Opportunities:

Firstly remember the trio of sites that have been designed to support your needs this year:

You can subscribe to these sites individually (use the follow button at the bottom right of every page) and then you’ll receive notifications when new information is added.

  • For those attending to Otago University Open Day, check out their online digital programme.
  • Job Opportunity: Looking for one or two students to set up desks in classrooms and do some lifting at the College for the Wanaka Autumn Art School on Easter Monday. Two –three hours work. $20/hour. Please contact Robyn van Reenen 027 443 1812.
  • Free Tickets Available: “Her Voice” Public Lectures: – Contact Chris or Charlotte if you’re keen.
  • Complete this survey to win free tickets to the Festival of the Future
  • Kahu Youth ran a massive survey at MAC, asking all the students what they’d like to do during their holidays and in their free time. According to their most popular interests, they have put together a Holiday Program including activities like Wild Wire, Virtual Reality Outdoor Rock Climbing, Paintball, Horse Riding in Cardrona, etc. Check out their to sign up online! Spaces are limited!

Diary Dates

  • Otago Tertiary Trip from 5th-6th May
  • Year 13 Hostel First Aid course Saturday 25th May
  • Ara Polytechnic Presentation Wednesday 29th May
  • School Formal Saturday 18th May

We wish you all the very best for a rejuvenating Easter break – and we look forward to seeing you all

Chris and Charlotte


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