A reminder that Term 3 ends this Friday 1st October. Again, we thank our community for all their hard work and resilience this term with distance learning.
We wish to congratulate Kate Lambert (left) and Reshmika Lal (Right) who have been appointed to these new positions with school wide responsibilities. The successful candidates are current Senior Leaders and we look forward to both supporting the team to achieve our strategic goals and operational efficiency. Both leaders have, for over ten years added significant value to the MHJC culture and ethos in various positions and we look forward to seeing their influence strengthening our vision in the future.
Growing greatness – Kia mana ake!
Kia ora koutou
Many thanks to Matua Anthony our Te Reo Māori teacher and Māori Students Coordinator who has in difficult circumstances organised various activities to celebrate Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori and submissions to the Māori Language Moment – Te Wā Tuku Reo Māori.
At MHJC we believe it is important that we integrate Te Reo (the language), Te Ao and Ti Kanga (customs) and the Māori World View (beliefs and values) into what we learn and do. We do this not only as part of our obligation to honour the Treaty of Waitangi – Te Tiriti o Waitangi, but also because we believe that as citizens of New Zealand – Aotearoa we can all benefit from learning, understanding and celebrating a language and culture which is precious and unique.
I believe we are at an important stage in nation building with a surge of interest in Te Reo Māori and soon the introduction of a new perspective to the teaching of Aotearoa New Zealand Histories in schools. This title deliberately acknowledges the role all communities played in building this nation. In a sense a diluted Euro-centric focus may challenge some, but this should be seen as a healthy realignment which can be compared to a whānau welcoming a long lost son or daughter. Naturally, at first, there will be more time and energy spent catching up with him/her and others may feel neglected. However in time, the wheel will turn and a balance restored as the family returns to its normal lives enriched by their return.
Nation building is like a marriage. A healthy marriage needs to develop and grow and cannot be sustained simply by the signing of the marriage vows. So to, the Treaty of Waitangi may signal the birth of our nation which every generation must help to develop and our time has come.
This week we urge our community to practice their Te Reo. Have a go, because the more we try, the more we build connections and the more we show a desire to be one nation.
Kia mana ake – growing greatness!
As we finish another week of lockdown I thought it important to reach out to our community and express my appreciation to you all. We are conscious that distance learning is not easy which is why our teachers have been asked not to put too much pressure on our students. We always say that for educational success support from home is critical and this is particularly relevant during this period where parent’s interest, encouragement and connection with their child/ren’s learning can make a massive difference.
Thanks for your support so far. Please reach out to your child/ren’s Whānau Leaders and teachers if needed. And rest assured if we fall behind a bit we will allocate time to catch up when we return.
We are planning for a shift to Alert Level 3 in due course and ask that whānau discuss how they may supervise our tamariki in advance of a possible relaxation. The requirements are the same as last year – only students may come to school of parents who are essential workers and who cannot supervise their children at home. The Delta variant poses significant health risks and we must be vigilant.
Stay safe – kia kaha!
As the alert level 4 lockdown status has been extended in Auckland for two weeks and we can anticipate a probable return to level 1 and “normal” school either late in Term 3 or at the start of term 4, I feel it is important that parents and caregivers understand what our plan is during this period of distance learning.
Our priority continues to be the wellbeing of our community. We acknowledge that it is not easy working from home as well as supervising your child/ren’s learning.
We also learnt several lessons from last year which have informed and guided our actions this time. We strive to:
- Balance academic progress with hauora/wellbeing;
- Limit screen time and promote active learning;
- Provide students with a degree of autonomy over their learning – similar to Focus Friday with teachers outlining the expectations for the week and students managing their time to complete tasks given;
- Minimise the number of emails being sent to parents (apologies for this one!)
The partnership between home and school is of critical importance for student success so if you know what we are trying to do you will be better able to support us and your child/ren:
- Learning Advisors will check in with their students at least once a week, in case support is needed. We check on-line activity and/or entry to google classroom and other online platforms like Reading Plus, Maths Buddy or Education Perfect.
- Subject teachers will connect with classes using at least one collaborative tool a week like google classroom – this may not last the whole hour but is another useful check in for us to see students are OK, explain new work or the tasks for the week.
- As a general rule teachers will not set more than 2 hours a week/per subject for Year 9 and 10 and 1 hour a week for Year 7 and 8 (and options). We do not want students to feel overwhelmed but it is also important to maintain routines and some academic progress.
- We have asked our teachers to set work which does not involve too much screen time.
It is worth showing an active interest in what your child/ren are doing, making sure they are balancing work with their own wellbeing and that they are following the government’s guidelines about staying in our bubbles.
I thank you for your patience and ongoing support.
Stay connected, stay well.
Please note that we will be no change to the dates published despite Auckland being in lockdown.
Out of zone ballot will take place on Wednesday 8 September.
You may have heard that the Lockdown Alert Level 4 has been extended to 11.59, Tuesday 31 August. As such there will be no significant change to the distance learning expectations we have already introduced and which were developed last year.
In summary we have well-established digital tools which can be used at any time at home including Reading Plus, Maths Buddy and Education Perfect. These platforms have been chosen because they promote our vision of personalised learning. Students are able to complete work set at their curriculum level and/or extend themselves when appropriate. Further, teachers have set work for students to complete and they may also have assignments to complete. Subject teachers are connecting by email or google meet and google classroom so there should be no excuse for students not to continue almost seamlessly with their learning.
Learning Advisors or Senior Leaders are checking in at least once a week to make sure students are connected and looking after their wellbeing. We have shared a lot of resources over the years about mindfulness and I also suggest you visit the Pause Breathe Smile website https://pausebreathesmile.nz/ https://pausebreathesmile.nz/. The School News website is another useful resource for these difficult times which can be found on our website https://www.mhjc.school.nz/?s=Wellbeing
We appreciate that many parents are working from home and trying to supervise their children/s’ learning which is a big responsibility. My instructions to teachers is not to have unrealistic expectations. There will be time for students to catch up on our return, hopefully next Wednesday, however it is equally important for students to keep to routines. Most students can work independently and make significant progress during this time. Many reported that, in some ways, they preferred distance learning as they could focus on work that needed to be done in “their time” which gave them more control over their learning. This was a positive outcome from a difficult situation.
Schools are social organisations so we will miss the students and they will miss each other (and maybe their teachers!). However let me urge you to keep track of your child/ren. They may need to go outside but Level 4 restrictions do not allow them to go to parks or meet their friends. The school is also out of bounds to everyone, including those who used to exercise there. I have had reports that these instructions may not have been followed by some members of our community.
Finally I thank you all for your support and cooperation. I trust all of you remain safe and healthy and we all appreciate those of you who are working tirelessly in our essential services to ensure we are all safe.
Ian Morrison, Principal