Thank you to the parents who attended our Forum last night. It was great to see you and I trust you have a better understanding of the school, what we are doing and hope to achieve. It was also great that John Bassano, Deputy Chair of the Board of Trustees was present so that parents could connect with this important committee.
I presented some of the key work streams for 2018 which include the development of a new Charter, a Long Term Property Plan and planning for our 10 Year Birthday in 2019.
It was also an opportunity to give feedback on suggestions and comments made in last year’s Community Survey.
Something on my “To do” list based on parent feedback is to work with staff and students to develop a stronger culture relating to sun-safety. The number of incidents of skin cancer is one area where we do not wish to be leading Australia and we have an obligation as a school to ensure students and staff take more personal responsibility for their own safety (sunscreen and hats) and that our site provides appropriate shelter. The building of covered areas is already part of our Draft Property Plan as it also pertains to learning being compromised by rain. There is work to do in this important area and I will need parental support of any initiatives in the future to make it work. For the record we already provide sunscreen within the whanau and it is available for PE and I will be reminding staff to make supplies available to students. The school cap is available at our stockist and is part of our uniform.
This important feedback from the community is invaluable and I appreciate the positive approach parents took at the forum.
If we work together we can achieve so much!
Growing greatness – Kia mana ake!
2018 promises to be another exciting year for MHJC. Several initiatives will build on and strengthen our vision three of which I will highlight:
- Innovative, personalised learning will be promoted with the use of digital platforms – Reading Plus and Maths Buddy have been used successfully for many years and we will be adding Education Perfect to this suite in English and Science. This is an important step as these learning areas will be able to lead the way in maintaining our reputation as a school which uses cutting edge pedagogy;
- Students in Year 10 will be able to utilise the “Enrichment” aspect of the DEEP programme to investigate an “Inquiry” project. This has been successfully completed by accelerate classes in the past (and the year 9 and 10 accelerate classes will continue to be involved) but has been extended to include any student who has the talent and passion in a particular field of study to extend themselves in external competitions like IPENZ;
- Students in year 7 and 8 will benefit by the inclusion of “Option” subjects into the planning of contexts. Every Whanau will include one of STEM (including coding, robotics and gaming for learning); Technology; Visual Arts and Performing Arts (dance, drama and music) every term as a “chunked” learning opportunity, three sessions a week. E.g. Year 7 and 8 students in Forest will have Performing Arts in Term 1 then Visual Arts in Term 2 and so on. This will strengthen our provision of specialist teaching and the benefits of an integrated curriculum where students can see the connections between learning areas within a broad context.
More will be revealed as the year unfolds but may I wish every member of our community all the best for a richly rewarding year in which our students are guided and supported to collectively “grow their greatness”
Kia mana ake!
I am extremely pleased to announce that every family at MHJC will be receiving a copy of the first edition of “Kia mana ake”, in the last week of term. This is an outstanding publication which captures so much of what makes MHJC a special place for our students.
Please enjoy this early “Christmas present” from and on behalf of the Board of Trustees.
Growing Greatness – Kia mana ake
Last Saturday two of our cricketers, Benson Ireland and Tannin (Ross) Khurana scored centuries against Kings’ College which is an amazing achievement saying much for their batting ability and powers of concentration. What is particularly pleasing is that when I congratulated them they both felt proud of their achievement but would have felt even better had the team won (the boys fell short by 8 runs in a high scoring game).
Cricket, like many sports helps young people to develop character and I am so proud of these boys as their attitude reflects what we promote at MHJC – individuals are encouraged to strive for excellence but also contribute their time and talent for the benefit of others.
Growing greatness – Kia mana ake!
Yesterday I was told a story of a young girl who told her grandmother that she enjoyed watering the garden because it meant she had a chance to look at the beautiful flowers.
I reflected on this comment and how it pertains to how we can and should be nurturing our children. I translate this metaphor to giving young people not just our time but quality time which provides them with a feeling that someone genuinely cares for their progress and wellbeing. With this important need satisfied our young can grow and thrive.
As parents and teachers it is a useful reminder of our obligations.
Growing greatness – kia mana ake!
Much has been written about the new government’s proposed changes to education including the proposed abolition of National Standards reporting. The school will however report at the year end to our Year 7 and 8 families. Once we have been clarity for 2018 we will inform the community accordingly.
Growing greatness – kia mana ake
Many thanks to all students, parents/caregivers and staff who responded to the bi-annual survey. Detailed feedback has been discussed with the Board of Trustees and I can share some elements of this with the community.
I was pleased with the general high levels of satisfaction expressed by every group who responded. While there were several areas which we can improve on there is an obviously high level of confidence in what we are doing to achieve the school’s vision which is gratifying to see. We have also closed gaps in some areas which were indicated in the 2015 survey including changes to the DEEP programme which have been positively reported on by students as were the important areas of high quality teaching and staff being approachable. Perhaps as a result of moving to BYOD, the use of digital texts showed the highest improvement from 2015.
While I cannot respond to every comment made in the survey the Senior Leadership team and I will continue to review our practice using your feedback however some quick responses may be pertinent:
I will be investigating ways in which we can enhance our programme for gifted and talented students and am pleased to say that a new appointment to improve communications to the school and wider community has already been made. Some comments about the state of the fields and grounds were already being acted upon and we have negotiated a maintenance contract for the school fields and have appointed a full time caretaker who has started to work on the gardens. As the school reaches its first 10 years of existence next year it will also qualify for 10 Year property funding which may help us to embark on large scale property improvements as well as ensure buildings are safe and promote high quality learning.
Your constructive comments and positive affirmation of our efforts were very much appreciated. I would urge parents and caregivers to maintain the close connection so many enjoy with our teachers and Senior Leaders to ensure that on-going reflection can guide us to continual improvement. Let us pause though for a moment and reflect on the superb progress achieved by a school still relatively young in years. This has been achieved by the strong partnership between home and school – thank you.
Growing greatness – Kia mana ake
I have received several requests from parents to take their children out of school to go on holiday during term time. I wanted to state to the community that I am not permitted to approve any leave requests except under exceptional circumstances on compassionate grounds.
I need to be consistent and fair and so another reminder may be timely before end of year holidays are planned.
Your understanding of the Ministry of Education’s policy is appreciated.
As our political leaders decide on the composition of our next government I was listening to commentators on radio who were providing deeper analysis of the election. A psychologist was being interviewed about how people can be supported if their party did not win. The response resonated with me. He said that no matter the government, everyone can still make a positive impact by working within their community about something they feel passionate about.
These words echoed those of the presenter at the recent World Vision Awards Ceremony where MHJC was recognised for the amount we raised during the 40 Hour Famine. He said that every dollar raised makes a difference in someone’s life. He reminded us that the importance of the funds raised by World Vision is that so much is raised by young people. Many are too young to vote. Yet they are making a difference.
Well done to all our students who raised funds for World Vision and to those who are working on outreach projects in DEEP and in other curriculum areas who are making a difference – making an impact.
Growing greatness – Kia mana ake
Our kapa haka group came of age on Saturday with a wonderful performance at the Kōanga Festival at Somerville Intermediate . Mr and Mrs Tuhaka have worked tirelessly with their enthusiastic students who put on an emotional and polished performance. Mr Tuhaka has also written a haka for the school which was performed for the first time at the festival. Images to follow.
Growing greatness – kia mana ake