The events that occurred on this date will become etched into our collective psyche for all time. Following the deadly shootings of peaceful Muslims at prayer it is perhaps too soon to comment on an incident so horrendous and which has had such a damaging impact on our Muslim community. It is important however to pause and reflect on how our nation and the international community has spoken in one voice to condemn the actions of the gunman and how so many people here and across the world have shown their support for the Muslim community in speeches, marches, prayer vigils and a “Give a Little” page which at the time of writing amounts to over $4 million.
This sense of unity and outpouring of love and compassion reminds us of what makes us human and gives us hope for the future. To strive for a world where we accept, respect and celebrate who we are, free of fear or judgment. MHJC is also a community and it is one where these values are enshrined in our charter and we remain even more committed to them than ever.
Let us all send our thoughts and prayers to our Muslim families affected directly or indirectly by the shootings, the victims still being treated in hospital and all those first responders and members of hospital and emergency services who have worked so hard to restore safety and assurance for the Christchurch community.
We strive, at MHJC, to make and grow quality connections between all stakeholders so that students can enjoy and benefit from the endless opportunities we provide.
It was fantastic to see the positive dialogue taking place last week as we set aside a day for Student Led Conversations. I wish to express my thanks to every parent or caregiver who gave their time to strengthen their connection to the school and hear the goals and plans of their children in partnership with our Learning Advisors who are committed to supporting the students in their care to be the best they can be.
During the conference our plans for delivering the new “holistic” reports would have been discussed with you. As has been stated before this is an attempt, following consultation, to provide whānau with information about a student’s achievement and progress in all subjects (not only Maths and English), engagement which is measured by attendance, involvement in our Four Cornerstones and homework completion and importantly an innovative way of showing students’ commitment to our core values of integrity/pono, compassion/awhinatanga and lifelong learning/ako. We believe this will provide us with a much better “all-round” perspective of our students and reinforces our vision which states that every child has a grain of greatness and it is our mission to provide the opportunities for this greatness to grow.
Later this term we will host what has become an annual Girls’ Changemakers Breakfast and boys can enjoy a similarly inspiring event in term 2. We hope as many parents can attend these events with their children as possible and share in the learning they bring.
Our Year 7’s enjoyed their own social last week which provided great opportunities to bond with their classmates and senior student leaders. Camps in the next two weeks will do the same as every whānau provides team-building exercises in the beautiful New Zealand outdoors.
These are but a few of the highlights we regularly provide for students, parents and teachers to connect and enrich the school experience. Term 1 will culminate with another opportunity for the school to connect with alumni and former staff and parents with a Saturday Community Birthday Celebration on April 6. Food, exhibitions of learning and sporting and cultural events will provide our community with a chance to relive their past and see the progress of MHJC over the years. We look forward to seeing you there.
Growing greatness/Kia mana ake!
During his address at the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi/Te tiriti o Waitangi Crown representative Lieutenant Governor William Hobson said the famous line “He iwi tahi tatou – we are one people”.
This is especially significant as we welcome our new students (over 250), staff and parents to the school. They have come from different schools close by or from foreign lands but all now share a special bond as members of our wonderful MHJC learning community.
This morning our Year 7 students and staff members were welcomed at a powhiri held in their honour. We look forward to sharing their learning journey and growing the greatness that lies within everyone and learning how we can honour the spirit of the treaty.
So let us enjoy the public holiday tomorrow, and reflect on the work so many people are doing and have done to bring people together to create this wonderful country. As we do so, let us consider what we can do to continue the nation building example of those who have gone before us. For pakeha this could mean learning more Te Reo Māori or becoming more familiar with the cultural traditions and practices or Ti kanga Māori and for our Māori community to support others on what can be a challenging journey. There was no better example of this than when our students taught their classmates and teachers the school haka last year!
At a school level consider how we can share our knowledge with our new recruits – support and guide them so everyone feels safe, valued and welcomed in this new environment.
Our Charter contains an important strategic goal of honouring the treaty and I urge our community to challenge ourselves in some way this year to support the inspirational words of William Hobson.
Growing greatness/Kia mana ake!
A special welcome to our new students and to those returning – thank you for trusting us with the education of your children and we look forward to enjoying a collaborative learning journey.
I thought I would highlight some key events and areas we will focus on this year:
In term 1 we will celebrate our 10th birthday by opening the school to our community, past and present, on Saturday morning 6 April. Please diarise this date as we organise fun events, food and entertainment which will celebrate our amazing journey.
In term 2 our new Board of Trustees will be elected. We hope as in the past to have a number of parents putting themselves forward for this important duty particularly in the year in which elements of the Tomorrow’s Schools model are being reviewed, including the role and power of boards coming under the microscope. More on this topic can be found on the following web site: https://conversation.education.govt.nz/conversations/tomorrows-schools-review/
In term 3 we will host for the first time a group of Chinese students from Xian Ling Middle School in Nanjing, following our visit there last year and we will visit them again later in the term.
Our first 10 Year Property Plan will start this year. The conditional assessment of our grounds and buildings is almost complete which estimates how much we will need to spend to ensure the site is safe and in working order and this will inform the amount we have left to enhance teaching and learning at MHJC.
In terms of teaching and learning we will make a school wide focus of our conservation and guardianship/kaitiakitanga responsibilities of Tāne forest which neighbours our property and we will develop our holistic reporting system which will reflect student achievement, progress, engagement and our values.
We will also make a special focus of creativity as one of the central themes of future skills and 21st century learning as explained in our new Charter.
Finally we will continue with the many other exciting opportunities and programmes including mindfulness to ensure all students’ wellbeing and learning is promoted.
Growing greatness/Kia mana ake!
As we enjoyed our annual Santa Show, with students starting Christmas celebrations early and with much energy, I started to reflect on a hectic term and hugely satisfying year. May I use this forum to wish the entire MHJC community a wonderful Christmas and summer break. I trust everyone has a restful time with plenty of relaxation and focus on the family, the spirit of giving and considering those less fortunate than ourselves. If you are travelling I hope you return safely and that our students are recharged and ready for an exciting year. Christmas is about hope and belief in our fellow man, with this in mind let us consider an exciting 2019.
Some exciting events to look forward to include:
- Our 10th Birthday Celebrations during term 1;
- Board of Trustees elections in term 2 and
- The return of the Education Review Office in Term 3.
We will also be able to begin our property plan after the ministry approved funding.
We are looking forward to continue exciting, innovative learning including a whole school focus on the guardianship/kaitiakitanga of Tāne forest and working in partnership with the University of Auckland to promote creativity within our curriculum and continuing our ready to learn activities which include mindfulness practices.
Another important work stream will be the development of our new holistic report which promises to be ground-breaking with students taking part-ownership of the report as well as providing engagement and academic progress and achievement data.
Many thanks to everyone for their support of our hard working teachers and enthusiastic students who have all enjoyed every opportunity to grow their greatness.
Kia mana ake!
There has been much discussion of teachers in the media recently with primary and secondary teachers’ unions having taken or considering strike action after negotiations over conditions of service broke down with the ministry.
I attended a lecture about teacher retention earlier this year and learnt that among the most significant reasons for teachers staying in the profession include their commitment to teaching and their commitment to the school. In this regard I wish to thank our community for supporting our teachers and expressing whenever possible your appreciation for their efforts. These simple actions, along with our wonderful students, go a long way to ensuring MHJC remains a place which teachers hate to leave.
We are very fortunate at MHJC that we are currently fully staffed and enjoy a high number of applicants for every vacancy we advertise. For example we received 20 applications for one position recently. We are able to attract primary and secondary trained teachers both of whom fall into the SCTA or Secondary Teachers’ Collective Agreement which is why we were not on strike last week.
Some more information may interest the community.
We have a nice balance of youth and experience and have an average age well below the national average with:
- 8 teachers in the first 5 years of their career who bring new ideas from training college to enrich our practice;
- 34 teachers have between 5 and 15 years experience who help to fill the middle and senior leadership positions and
- 7 “master craftsmen and women” have 15 years experience or more who help to guide the less experienced teachers within our mentoring programme.
All our teachers are highly qualified with:
- 25 teachers holding a degree and teacher’s diploma;
- 11 with a postgraduate qualification and
- 13 with a masters qualification.
Our turnover is relatively low with:
- only 6 staff leaving last year. This includes two teachers who are on maternity leave and will be returning.
- At time of writing we are fully staffed for next year with only four teachers leaving us.
We closely track the reasons for leaving and in the last three years these include promotion opportunities at other schools, relocations (nationally and internationally) and retirement. I am pleased to report that MHJC continues to be a sought after school for teachers who, according to the latest community feedback survey, enjoy high levels of satisfaction within an innovative and supportive learning environment.
Growing greatness/Kia mana ake!
Sunday 11 November marks the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day, the day world war one ended. Every year we acknowledge Anzac Day however the centenary of the day on which the “war that will end all wars” ended is not always observed as widely in New Zealand. It is an important day for us because while the sacrifice shown by the Anzac Forces in Gallipoli cannot be underestimated, New Zealand soldiers also contributed greatly to the Allied war effort on the Western Front in Europe. In total 16 697 New Zealanders were killed in the war, 2779 during the Gallipoli campaign.
Indeed a casualty rate of 58% was one of the highest of any countries involved in world war one. The impact on such a small country was significant and it took many years before the country recovered.
Again we are reminded of the courage of those men and women who served their country, too many giving the ultimate sacrifice. And we appreciate the relative safety and stability we enjoy here in New Zealand. Perhaps a relevant message is that we still need to have the courage to stand up for universal values which uphold and preserve our humanity.
I trust the students of MHJC never have to face the horrors of war but will be prepared to face the challenges of the future with confidence and compassion.
Growing greatness/Kia mana ake!
My thanks to the almost 200 parents who have responded so far to my invitation to complete the survey. I also appreciate the many positive comments and constructive suggestions you have shared.
Owing to initial problems with connecting to the link I will keep it open for another few days – closing Wednesday 7th November – lets see if we can hit 300!
Growing greatness/Kia mana ake!
Last Wednesday, 24 October was United Nations Day. I wish to highlight the day as many of our learning contexts this year have been linked to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) which were designed by the United Nations. The 17 goals range from eliminating poverty to climate action and provide our students with a strong focus or direction for their learning.
We believe at MHJC that learning should be authentic. This means it has purpose and be relevant to the student. Developing a strong community conscience and desire to make a difference within students are goals we hold dear hence my desire to bring the SDG’s to the attention of the community.
We extend a warm welcome to our international travellers. Our first group of students returned from a very enjoyable trip to China where they experienced a wonderful cultural experience at Xian Lin Intermediate School in Nanjing. We wish this new connection to grow and perhaps host students from this school next year. The opportunity to meet students from another country, visit important cultural and historic places and see another school system provides our students with valuable personal insights. We thank Mrs Dada and Mrs Gao who planned, arranged and supervised the trip for their time and efforts.
Our second group was the national Tournament of Minds winners who competed in the international competition in Darwin. To the group’s disappointment they did not place however they emerged with great credit and we are proud of their achievement in this the first time MHJC has entered the event. Thanks to Mrs Lal who entered the school in the competition and supported the team to achieve and achieve an amazing result. We also extend our appreciation to everyone who supported the trip as the last minute fund-raising efforts (which reached the goal of covering all costs) was as much a success as any other!
In both cases our students have grown and learnt valuable life lessons.
Growing greatness – Kia mana ake!