Thank you so much for your support of our Remote Learning programme over the last three days. We have received many helpful suggestions from both parents and students, have been ironing out a few glitches, and have been enjoying sharing creative ways of making the learning experience better as we go along. Our students have been amazing in so many ways… that Marsden resilience and creativity has been shining through!
 
Taking a break
I really encourage everyone (students and staff) to take a break from school work over the holidays. Due dates for any assessments which fall between now and April 15 will be pushed out to recognise the change in holiday dates.
 
Keeping in touch
Unless there is some significant change impacting the school that I need to communicate to you, I anticipate that the next time you will hear directly from Marsden will be via our newsletter on Thursday 9 April. This newsletter will include information relating to the start of Term 2 on Wednesday 15 April.
Inspiring Girls
We were delighted to receive print copies of our 'Inspiring Girls' story just before the lockdown. Thank you to all those who gave permission for us to use the beautiful photos(s) of your children to tell the Marsden story. Our Inspiring Girls story is available as a flipbook on our enrolments page, please scroll down the page a little to find the flipbook and enjoy reading it.
Over the holidays we continue to share helpful information regarding wellbeing and safety on our Facebook page.
 
If you need to contact the school by phone during the holidays, please call the usual number 04 476 8707.  This number has been diverted to an off-site phone which will be monitored by school staff. 
 
Enjoy the time in your ‘bubble’
I am looking forward to hearing the stories of ‘school holidays in the bubble’ when we get back next term. I am so grateful that we can all stay in touch with our families around the country and around the world easily, even though we are in our bubbles. I was delighted to hear from my daughter this morning that she had managed to get my mother using FaceTime for the first time ever last night… a very significant development for our family!
 
Stay home, stay safe.

Narelle Umbers - Principal
6 March 2020 International Women's Day 

Every year International Women’s Day gives us cause to celebrate women’s achievements, from major milestones such as gaining the vote to recognising the incredible accomplishments of individual women.  However, we are also reminded of the inordinately long time it will take – most recently estimated by the World Economic Forum to be 257 years – before women achieve global gender pay parity.  In addition, even in many of the world’s leading economies, women still struggle to comprise more than 20-30 per cent of positions in parliaments, corporations and boardrooms, with even lower proportions at the most senior levels of leadership.    

In fact, women have only held the highest position of executive power in 57 countries since 1960.  Despite a growing number of female leaders in recent years, there has never been more than 18 women in power in a single year, and the only countries to have had three female leaders are Finland and New Zealand (including Dame Jenny Shipley DCNZ, a graduate of Marlborough Girls’ College and Patron of the Alliance of Girls’ Schools Australasia).   

Fittingly, the global theme for International Women’s Day 2020 is ‘Generation Equality’, marking the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, a progressive roadmap for the empowerment of girls and women across the globe.  UN Women will also celebrate its tenth anniversary in 2020 and, while there has been some progress, they write that “real change has been agonizingly slow”.  In fact, “not a single country in the world can claim to have achieved gender equality”.  UN Women see 2020 as a pivotal opportunity to take stock of the past 25 years and “collectively tackle the unfinished business of empowering all women and girls in the years to come”.   

Our senior students and their tutors enjoyed breakfast together in the Cultural Centre while they watched the livestream of the IWD breakfast event organised by UN Women Aotearoa New Zealand and the Zonta Club of Wellington, hosted by the Hon. Julie-Anne Genter at Parliament.  The speakers were Tiana Epati - President of the Law Society, and Dr Lupe Taumoepeau - NZ's first female vascular surgeon.  The girls were inspired by their take on the theme ‘Creating an Equal and Enabled world’.   

Events like this (even though they require a very early alarm) allow our girls to share some valuable time together as a group, engaging in what is going on outside of school and further developing the sense of community which is such a feature of Marsden.  It has been lovely to see so many parents at other various community building events over the last few weeks including breakfasts, drinks and the Picnic on the Lawn last Friday.  
28 February 2020 - Future focused learning at Marsden

As part of our future focused learning programme, we are committed to ensuring that when Marsden students leave school, they are able to participate confidently in the unique culture of Aotearoa, New Zealand.  To that end, our Year 10 students enjoyed an immersive cultural experience at the Raukawa Marae in Otaki.  Over the two days and noho (overnight stay), they participated in a range of workshops where they gained a greater understanding of kaitiakitanga, the process and practices of protecting and looking after the environment and tikanga (protocol).  The girls were privileged to work with poet Apirana Taylor, learn raranga (weaving) and enjoyed some exceptional performances from the local students.  We came away with a wonderful taonga – treasure of our own: a school haka, which will be shared with the whole school.  The skills built over the two days were invaluable as the girls enriched their cultural understanding and strengthened their resilience in experiences that were sometimes outside their comfort zone.  We are deeply appreciative of the warmth and hospitality shown to our girls by the community at Raukawa.   

As a follow up, we held a weekend whanaungatanga – a community meeting for families to share their aspirations for their children in aspects of te ao and te reo Māori.  We were appreciative of hearing a range of views, from those deeply immersed in Māori culture to those with limited or no experience.  We appreciate the input of the wider Marsden community as we strive to enrich the cultural understanding of our girls.   

Also contributing to our development of future focused learning initiatives, I am delighted to announce that Margaret Adeane, our Academic Director and Deputy Principal, has been selected by the Alliance of Girls’ Schools Australasia to represent New Zealand on an exciting new project, the Global Action Research Collaborative.  This is a pilot programme in partnership with the National Coalition of Girls’ Schools (USA), Girls’ Schools Association and Girls’ Day School Trust (UK), and other participating organisations and schools.  The initiative will involve a small pilot cohort of nine teachers from girls’ schools from around the world undertaking action research projects on the theme: ‘Feedback to move forward, thrive and grow’.   

Margaret will investigate teaching girls how to fail and still thrive in unstructured contexts so they develop the skillsets needed for the technologically disruptive workplaces of the future.  A key aim will be to develop the language to help girls learn the ‘right way to fail’ and connect these classroom lessons to learning for life.  Margaret has commenced an 18-month programme of training and action research delivered by lecturers from the Professional and Graduate Education faculty of Mount Holyoke College, a liberal arts women’s college in Boston.  She will present her research findings at the Global Forum III on Girls’ Education in Boston in June 2021.  We congratulate her on being selected from an outstanding pool of applicants for this project.    
14 February 2020 - SchoolTV, a resource for parents   

The wellbeing of all members of our community is one of Marsden’s highest priorities.  The reason is simple: a higher level of wellbeing is associated with higher levels of functioning in all aspects of our lives.      

As educators and parents we are all acutely aware of the modern day challenges that today’s youth face with regard to sustaining their wellbeing.  We also know the challenges we face in raising happy, healthy and resilient young people.  Whilst there is a great deal of information available to help us, this can often be confusing and overwhelming for parents and educators looking for guidance.   

We are delighted to announce that Marsden has now made SchoolTV available to our community.  This is an innovative digital wellbeing platform that rethinks how parents and schools are informed and empowered on the challenges of modern-day parenting.  It is a convenient, 24/7 resource developed for Australian and New Zealand schools and their communities in association with Dr. Michael Carr-Gregg.   

Dr Michael Carr-Gregg is a leading psychologist, author of 14 books, broadcaster and a specialist in corporate mental health, families, parenting, children, adolescents and the use of technology for mental health.   

SchoolTV addresses issues such as youth anxiety, depression, cyber-bullying, substance abuse, school transition, gambling, sleep… plus many more.  The content is derived from leading experts in their field and, resources made available through SchoolTV, are aggregated from leading organisations.  It is a one-stop-shop for credible and sound information with realistic and practical strategies.   

Each topic includes bite-size video interviews with leading specialists offering practical strategies and recommended resources including articles, fact-sheets, apps, books, web-sites and other videos such as TED talks.  New topics are published monthly from February to November and parents can access an archive of past topics.   

We see SchoolTV as a complement to Marsden’s range of wellbeing initiatives, and hope that you find it useful.  I encourage you to take some time to explore SchoolTV, available through the MyMarsden home page ‘W’ (for Wellbeing) button.
31 January 2020 - Leadership 

This morning we had our formal Year 13 Induction Service, and on Monday our Year 6 leaders will also be inducted at a special assembly. These occasions are times to reflect on what leadership is actually about, and to wish our leaders across the school well as they set out on their leadership journey.    

I am the sort of person who likes to have a framework for thinking a concept that is a little bit hard to grasp, like leadership. My current go-to leadership framework is ‘Positive Leadership’, which comes from the science of positive psychology.  Positive leadership aims for positive deviance. As a school it would mean we are performing beyond expectations, and we are living up to our greatest potential as an organisation. We are the best version of Marsden that we can be. Positive leadership tries to stretch what seems possible. It raises the bar and lifts teams to greater performance and enjoyment. Specifically: 
   
 ·         It builds on what is already working well. 
 ·         It appreciates people for their unique contributions. 
 ·         It involves trusting people so that they will surprise you in a positive way. 
 ·         It means acknowledging good things and actions and showing gratitude. 
 ·         It includes leadership basics such as connecting with and caring for people, being authentic and honest, communicating continuously
   and coaching people as well as stimulating them with compliments.    

These are things that I am absolutely already seeing from our Year 13 girls as they move into their leadership year with energy and enthusiasm. I know they feel a sense of responsibility to make themselves, their year group and their school the best that they can be, and a sense of excitement about what is ahead.  I wish them joy and happiness along their leadership journey.