I belong to a variety of Principal groups. One such group of local Principals is called very grandly the Taranaki Secondary Schools' Principals Association (TSSPA for short). This is a fun bunch. It includes my colleagues from state single sex schools New Plymouth Girls' High, New Plymouth Boys' High, co-eds (and proud) Spotswood College, Inglewood High, Hawera High, Opunake High, Waitara High, Coastal Taranaki, my school, and private schools - Francis Douglas Memorial College, St Marys, and Sacred Heart.
We meet each term for a day of professional development and collegiality. Now that might not sound riveting but for each of us it is a rare chance to get together and compare notes, ask for advice (what are you doing about...?), share a meal and check up on each other's lives. It's really only other Principals who can understand what the job entails and the stresses and strains that come along the way. I, for one, really look forward to these days as it gives me a chance to get a fresh perspective away from the immediate workplace. And I really enjoy the company of my fellow Principals.
Today we heard from the Chief Executive Officer of the Western Institute of Technology in Taranaki (WITT for short) - Richard Handley. It was a good chance to learn about what makes WITT tick and how secondary schools and polytechs like WITT can work together for students. We also had a visit from Taranaki's Children Youth and Families staff on how they now operate. Specifically they gave us information on their Strengthening Families initiative.
The meeting was hosted by Jenny Ellis, Principal at New Plymouth Girls'. The specific venue was the library at Scotlands, the boarding school at NPGHS. And lunch was lovely - many thanks to Jenny and her hostel staff for the day.