The 2018-19 year has been another busy one for POET.
With 10 schools and 162 professional development days for our teachers, Donald, Gemma and Karen have had their hands full. But it’s the 5,222 days of quality student outdoor experiences that we are particularly proud of. That’s 5,222 days of getting our young people out engaging with the natural environment, 5,222 days of building relationships with their teachers and returning to school to build on that base.
Highlights for the year from a Board view point include strengthening our governance with the addition of Vicky McLennan to our team. Vicky brings a wealth of experience both within schools as ex Principal of Waikato Diocesan School, and in governance as she serves on several local boards. We welcome Vicky and look forward to her continued input.
We jumped on the rebranding wagon this year and are thrilled with the result. Our new logo tells our story so well, is inclusive of tangata whenua, and it looks cool too! As always, it was achieved at minimum cost thanks to Karen’s tight purse strings – she put it out to a crowd sourcing platform DesignCrowd – we recommend them for a high quality, low cost option!
A bonus of rebranding was that we met the energetic and effervescent Norm Hill. Norm came along to bless the logo, and we liked him so much we asked him to stay! Norm offered to act as a cultural mentor for POET, and we jumped at his offer. He has a lot to teach us, and we are willing learners.
A real highlight for me personally this year was attending our biennial POET Workshop. Hearing from all our schools as they shared their experiences and discussed solutions to issues was rewarding. Tarena Ranui’s insightful telling of Ngaruawahia High School’s POET story and their creative problem solving was inspirational. We were all riveted.
This year we have added to our family of sponsors, thanks to Karen and Rob’s hard work. It’s great to have Les Harrison Transport and Porter Group onboard as sponsors this year. A special thanks to Mark and Alison Ewing of Hamilton Orthodontics. We wish them well as they move into a more relaxed phase of life. Thanks for your support. We have also loved Pak n Save Mill Street’s creative sponsorship. On top of financial support, they have cooked BBQs on camp, and delivered morning teas to fellow sponsors. Love your work guys!
A new relationship with the Ministry of Education has been an exciting venture this year, and we look forward to doing a great job of delivering on their contract.
What feels like a revolving door for principals and key staff at many of our schools adds to the challenge for Gemma, Donald and Karen, but they have worked hard to forge new relationships and continue to move forward.
Our strength is in our people, and Gemma and Donald continue to work on their own professional development with Donald undertaking a Masters of Sustainable Practice.
We said goodbye to Neil Callaghan from our Board this year. As a young octogenarian, Neil has decided to retire. Neil played an instrumental role in founding POET nearly 20 years ago, and has been a keen supporter and active Board member ever since. We will miss Neil, but we are delighted that he has agreed to be our first ever POET Patron.
Finally, a big thank you to our dedicated staff members Karen, Gemma and Donald and to our generous Board – Craig, Mike, Emma, Rob and Vicky who continue to give of their time and expertise. I look forward to working with you this year again.
Chair of POET