Category Archives: Principal’s Blog

Teachers as lifelong learners

At MHJC we believe that it is important for our teachers to continue to grow as professionals after they have completed their teacher training and two year provisional registration period. Every year all teachers meet with their mentor, a senior leader who helps them to set personal and professional goals that align with the school’s strategic direction, annual goals and achievement targets. Our weekly professional development programme assists teachers to reach their goals by providing time and expertise within these key areas and teachers meet fortnightly again with their mentors to discuss their progress.

One of our key objectives this year is to integrate the opportunities provided by the BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) initiative into our teaching so that our students can attain even higher levels of achievement and engagement. To prepare for this, teachers used the google platform for the first time last year and also experimented with a class set of chromebooks in each whanau. This year all our teachers will be training for and sitting the examination for google accreditation as a Level 1 Certified Educator which will improve our capacity to utilise the potential of the google platform and portable, personally chosen devices.

Please join me in wishing all our teachers everything of the best in this journey. Once again we will experience the challenge, daunting for some, of a three hour examination. I will give the community feedback later in the year of our results without revealing the names of successful/unsuccessful candidates!

Growing greatness – kia mana ake

ERO feedback

As stated before we were extremely pleased with both the report and the productive conversations we had with the review team. We wanted to use the week as an opportunity to hear from experienced educators who visit a large number of schools and can offer positive and insightful perspectives. It is very pleasing to note that they were excited by what we are doing at MHJC. The conclusion sums up their findings:

“Students are well engaged and supported to develop high self-efficacy as learners. They learn through a rich and integrated curriculum that prioritises problem-solving.
Effective governance and widely shared leadership promote educational experiences that draw on middle year’s teaching and research”.
The Board of Trustees also met with the review team and we will be working on some of their suggestions moving forward. There were no areas of concern however we will be reviewing how we can promote ways to connect with our wider community and continuing to develop natural opportunities for all of us to become aware of and practice Te Reo Maori and Maori cultural heritage.
One way to achieve both these stated objectives is for us all to support the Cultural Day scheduled for Saturday 8 April.
This is a fantastic celebration of our culturally diverse community and includes the chance to sample traditional food, dance and music from different nations and New Zealand/Aotearoa.
I look forward to seeing you there and continuing our learning journey together.
Growing greatness – kia mana ake

Welcome to the 2017 school year!

Welcome to the 2017 school year!

This promises to be another year of exciting opportunities for our students. I look forward to welcoming all our new and returning students personally and hope everyone has made suitable resolutions for 2017.

We were very pleased with our National Standards achievement data and wish to congratulate the Year 7 and 8 cohort who managed to exceed the 2016 target in Mathematics and reach the 2017 target of 85% at or above standard a year early! All our results will be placed on the web site in the Principal’s Report once the NCEA data has been received.

We also received the confirmed ERO report which is also extremely positive. The team were extremely impressed by the school and how we are bringing the vision of “providing innovative, constantly evolving, personalised learning” to life. The full report will also be put on the web site after it has been ratified by the Board of Trustees at its first meeting of the year.

A big year lies ahead for our students who will be the first to be able to work at school with their own digital devices. We predict this move will have a very positive effect on teaching and learning and reinforces every aspect of our vision. Please refer to our web site for more information about this important initiative.

Best wishes

Welcome to the 2017 school year!

This promises to be another year of exciting opportunities for our students. I look forward to welcoming all our new and returning students personally and hope everyone has made suitable resolutions for 2017.

We were very pleased with our National Standards achievement data and wish to congratulate the Year 7 and 8 cohort who managed to exceed the 2016 target in Mathematics and reach the 2017 target of 85% at or above standard a year ahead of schedule! All our results will be placed on the web site in the Principal’s Report once the NCEA data has been received.

We also received the confirmed ERO report which is also extremely positive. The team were extremely impressed by the school and how we are bringing the vision of “providing innovative, constantly evolving, personalised learning” to life. The full report will also be put on the web site after it has been ratified by the Board of Trustees at its first meeting of the year.

A big year lies ahead for our students who will be the first to be able to work at school with their own devices. We predict this move will have a very positive effect on teaching and learning and reinforces every aspect of our vision. Please refer to our web site for more information about this important initiative.

Best wishes

Reading plus

Gary Player, legendary South African golfer when asked why he was so lucky to chip so many balls straight into the hole answered, “It’s funny, the more I practice, the luckier I get”.

Much has been made of the assertion that to reach the top in any sport or activity a person needs to put in 10 000 hours of practice.

I am not suggesting that students need to spend 10 000 hours on Reading Plus (although it would be preferable to games or social media…..) however, we analysed our latest whole school data and there are interesting lessons to be learnt.

Reading Plus is one of the digital tools we use to deepen and strengthen our students’ reading and comprehension skills.The data shows the correlation between the number of sessions students completed on Reading Plus and the level gains the same students made. The magical figure is only 100 sessions (just over two sessions a week). Students who complete this minimum number show significant level gains and interestingly those who complete 200 sessions (just over four sessions a week) double their rate of progress.

So parents, please encourage your children to use Reading Plus at home. Some sessions can be done at school but as you can see valuable progress can continue any time, anywhere in keeping with our learning philosophy.

As holidays approach this is even more important as many students lose ground during this time – Reading Plus helps our students to get ahead and if we work as a team our students can improve even quicker.

Growing greatness/kia mana ake

Resilience means we finish strong

Resilience is a quality we promote within our GREAT acronym. I spoke to students this morning about finishing the year in the best possible way. We wish to acknowledge students for their amazing achievements, progress and commitment this year at the various assemblies and prize-giving designed for that purpose.

Some students will be leaving us and this message is perhaps more meaningful for them. I compare a school year to a 400 metre race. The first 100 can be hard for some as they struggle to start, the next 200 most students get into their stride but it is the last 100 that shows the most character. When you are tiring and near the end there is a desire to slow down or walk or even give up and stop.

Our students are RESILIENT, they don’t give up and they finish strong. They will be remembered not by how they started but how they finished.

I look forward to sharing the last few days with all our students and enjoying the celebrations of their success as we close.

Parents please support us as we maintain the high expectations of punctuality, appearance and manners right through to the end.

“Growing greatness – kia mana ake”

Striving for excellence

Our students have shown two examples of being able to compete against the very best.

The first example is the Year 7 and 8 cricketers who reached the last four of all intermediate schools in Auckland in a limited over competition. In an exciting semi-final they were very disappointed not to make the final when the two teams finished on the same total. A count back to wickets lost meant their fantastic run ended after knocking over three local schools and St Kentigern College in the quarter final. An excellent achievement and credit to coach, Mr Pasupati and the boys.

In the area of academic competitions, our Year 10 team of problem solvers entered and reached the finals of the Bright Sparks Competition. This is a fantastic achievement and complements the four teams who won awards in the IPENZ Competition. Again credit is due to the students and mentors, I would also like to thank Mr Hargreaves whose engineering background is proving invaluable in supporting these and other projects.

“Growing greatness – kia mana ake”

Connecting in a digital world

Our students live in an exciting time in education with the opportunities created by digital technology. The benefits of using digital tools are well documented and I am excited by the high levels of engagement the advent of 1:1 learning has brought to schools. With the use of collaborative tools, students will be able to participate in a lesson, answering and asking questions on a level never seen before; develop on-line forums inside and beyond the classroom and engage with their learning. But we are conscious of the need to balance the digital connectedness our students are experiencing with the need to connect on a personal level with each other and with nature. Research is available which documents the harmful effects of people being wired 24/7 to their virtual world. There are physiological as well as psychological dangers from the excessive use of digital technology ranging from “ihunch”, the effect on posture, to the almost obsessional behaviour of some who cannot “disconnect” for fear of becoming isolated from their peers.

We are conscious of these dangers and intend to make digital citizenship a major focus of our learning in 2017. We want our students to see and harness the positive benefits of using digital technology. The responsible use of social media is a key competency for students as is the efficient use of technology and its many applications. Teachers will ensure that the use of digital technology will be balanced with other traditional teaching styles for example personalised discussion and class debate which fosters social interaction. We are also fortunate to be able to offer a comprehensive extra curricular programme which helps students to keep a balance. Year 7 camp, OPC, Outdoor Education excursions and Whanau organised EOTC trips are designed to provide the obvious benefits of being in the outdoors, enjoying nature and to be disconnected for a while. Our four cornerstones promote healthy activity, social development as well as participation in group and team activities.

We will also work with parents starting with the Netsafe evening on November 3 to ensure we work as a team so our students can become responsible and competent users of digital technology.

“Growing greatness/kia mana ake.”

Holidays during term time

It is a good time to wish everyone a restful and safe holiday after a very busy term. Next term has new challenges for our Year 9 students who face their first set of examinations in week 4 and Year 10’s who will benefit from the experience last year. There are many other activities in term 4 which require everyone to be at school for the whole period particularly the end of the year when we celebrate the achievements of our students in Prize Giving Assemblies.

With holidays much on our mind I need to remind parents that I cannot approve holiday leave during term time. I have received several requests already for this term and the end of the year. The Ministry of Education has given schools clear instructions in this regard. There are several reasons for this policy which naturally relate to the work a student will miss while away and from a wider perspective if too many students are away the programmes we are running become less meaningful for those who remain. We adopt a compassionate approach to families who need to attend funeral services overseas but ask that families liaise with relatives regarding the timing of weddings and other family celebrations so that students can attend without disrupting to their learning.