Who could have imagined the start of the 2020 academic year would be so turbulent – a mixture of exceptional celebratory occasions with some sobering moments that have tested us as global citizens.
As a community, we have experienced major disruption alongside the rest of New Zealand, but the Woodford House spirit has not been diminished during this time. In fact, our light is shining brighter as we go out of our way to stay connected, build meaningful relationships, reflect on what really matters and break down barriers with innovation and creativity.
Earlier this year, we published our new Strategic Plan which honours the vision of our Founding Principal, Mabel Annie Hodge, to create “a real school for girls where the head, heart and hands are engaged” equipping them to embrace the brightest possible future.
In that plan we identified three priorities that not only nurture holistic education as set out by Miss Hodge, but also ensures our girls reach their potential, even in the most testing of times.
Today we are sharing a collection of stories that demonstrate how the school’s strategic priorities are being brought to life every day and making an impact on the girls’ education.
Love of Learning – Our girls and staff share a deep love of learning. Assistant Principal Rachel Roberts shares how this has been highlighted not only with the virtual school day, but with the professional development of staff staying abreast of educational technologies and digital learning opportunities. It is clear that this forward thinking and proactive approach is serving us well during the national lockdown.
Respectful Relationships – It is more important than ever that we stay connected as a community and form meaningful relationships with one another. In the absence of our physical environment and usual routines – Chapel, assemblies, sports games, musical rehearsals and classroom lessons – we still have a genuine sense of community and connectedness. Our Communications Manager Chloe Johnson has documented the fun and creative initiatives that are helping to build a sense of belonging while confined to our bubbles, and Deputy Principal Stephanie Russell has provided an insight into the impressive virtual pastoral care service that we offer.
Faithful Stewardship – I encourage you to be nourished by the article our Chaplain Mrs Raewyn Hedge has prepared. I can say with all sincerity and confidence that it is this Special Character learning community that impresses the most. Sensible, principled and engaged parents who confidently entrust us to do what this school has proudly done for 126 years, create an environment where girls grow into strong young women; the future scientists, mothers, artists, CEOs, leaders, politicians and entrepreneurs.
Underpinning the strategic priorities are our outstanding educators. I have received an outpouring of supportive messages from families and the girls who see that, despite the barriers we face, Woodford House continues to deliver the highest possible educational experience to every learner.
It is heartening to know that the strategic decisions we are making here at Woodford House ensure that we have certainty in uncertain times. Our stunning school still stands strong and at the forefront as a leading school for girls. How proud Miss Hodge would be.
I am more convinced than ever that our Special Character community is special because we can all be declarative about much more than academic credentialing. We stand firmly on the foundation of our Christian heritage and faith. Our girls can regularly hear life’s most challenging messages “we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope.”
Help us in our turn to bring this Easter Day to others.
To replace their fear with peace;
to replace their sadness with joy;
to replace their despair with hope.
May God Bless you all this Easter and in the coming days.
Mrs Julie Peterson, Principal