Dear Waterberg Family
Leadership appointments at a school are one of the more bizarre ironies of the educational world. Often people who are fairly good teachers are appointed to do a job that is not remotely like teaching, frequently with little or no training. Running a school requires business acumen, and the ability to deal with a range of intricacies: legal, social, and psychological, and of course educational. Quite obviously, this job is nothing like teaching a group of children in a classroom. Moreover, there is no question that school leadership – even if it is just about the hiring, firing and management of staff – is one of the most important factors separating successful schools from failing schools. The buck must stop somewhere, and I have learnt that at Waterberg Academy that a buck is not a duiker, it is a kudu.
Marc Falconer describes the role of a Head of school as someone who has little to do with pedagogical expertise. It is a job that calls for presence involving a lot of intense staring over the top of poorly styled reading glasses, long and painful silences, and unlikely and unruly eyebrows. Fortunately for Waterberg Academy I have only just passed the glasses stage and the HODs have not shown any signs of glasses, silence or unruly eyebrows.
In modern times, Heads of school are answerable to the entire school community, Board of Directors, parents, staff, and pupils.
A legal background, counselling skills and an acute business mind suggest themselves as a checklist for school leadership. Our school budget runs into the million mark. We have had, this year, legal, disciplinary and policy compliances and challenges in our dealings with parents, pupils, staff, and past members. We have had to deal with bemused parents, questioning parents, campus challenges, a change in leadership styles, a change in an approach towards education, and for me, the blessing of all, the rain that fell.
As the Head of a school, I have reflected upon all the issues that we have faced this term and admit to myself that I have made some errors; enjoying the beautiful location, being bombarded by the administration of teaching, feeling overwhelmed, feeling that life is unfair and full of impossible educational goals. I have concluded that, as it turns out, I still have the best job in the world. This time spent at Waterberg Academy has enriched me, it has strengthened my walk with Jesus, and it has taught me that no matter how long the road (sand or tar), the destination (if you are happy) is more rewarding than the Bulls winning the Currie Cup. And yes, I had to endure those fanatic Lions supporters. I have now learnt what a community school looks like. The community at this school is all around us and one of our goals for 2021 is: Bringing the Waterberg family together. We have planned some fantastic family get-togethers – Movie evening (Bush style), Family festival, Annual shoot, Father and Son camp out, Mother and Daughter tea in aid of Rainbow and Smiles, Primary school soap box derby, carols, etc.
We have also planned the year ahead, in academics, sport, culture and outreach and we look forward to completing 2021 with a bang.
I would like to thank all the parents and staff who came to see me concerning certain challenges they have been facing at Waterberg Academy. Upon reflection we have concluded that the following areas need urgent attention:
• Communication – to parents and within the school
• Awards and policies
• Teaching methodologies
• Planning and procedures
• Leadership program
We are currently reviewing all the above and new implementation will happen during the year.
May I also use this opportunity to thank all parents, staff and pupils for the support during this term.
Movie evening – 19 March 2021
Just a reminder to purchase your tickets for our very first drive-in movie night. The movie “Raya and The Last Dragon” is literally hot off the press. The Easter Bunny and waiters in vellies will be running around to take food orders so that you won’t miss a minute of this experience. Food and drinks will also be on sale from the PTA Kiosk.
Gates open from 16H00, so come early and get a good spot.
End of term procedures
School will close on Friday 26 March for the Easter break. On Friday, all learners will be expected to attend the final assembly and can then go home at 13H00. Reports will be emailed to parents before 13H30.
During the holidays, the Academy will be undertaking and completing the following projects:
• Replace all smart board projectors
• Upgrade current computer center to a full Google lab
• Fix and replace all joinery in the school
• Fix the swimming pool
• Deep clean of all classrooms and boarding school