- Principal’s memo re: Artificial Intelligence (7/26/2023)
The promotion and use of digital technologies in the classroom, including Generative Artificial Intelligence (AI) has aroused a high level of concern in the media with fears that its use could compromise the academic integrity of schools’ learning and assessment programmes. Since the start of the year we have been developing a strategy to address this new phenomenon and sought advice from various sources including the Ministry of Education, NZQA and our policy advisors at Schooldocs. As a result we would like to share with you our response to AI.
At MHJC AI, like other digital tools, will be embraced to support and enhance teaching and learning . As akonga/students engage with these technologies, they are expected and encouraged to demonstrate academic integrity by submitting original work and so uphold the school’s values – pono (integrity), ako (learning to learn) and wānanga (life long learner).
Akonga will learn about the opportunities and challenges associated with using AI technology. The recent advancements and use of AI to enhance student learning will be covered through the fulfillment of ePassport requirements, completing in-class activities, and/or as whānau-based learning which supports the Great Learner Profile.
Kaiako/teachers will be upskilled on the use of AI in the classroom. Their use of AI can further support students’ development of critical thinking and research skills. A focus will be placed on promoting more authentic and relevant learning and assessment opportunities while also providing additional scaffolding, templates and prompts to support learners in all subject areas.
Students are also being informed about the school’s position on AI and the advice comes with a warning which is consistent with current assessment procedures:
If a student is suspected and/or caught submitting AI generated work as their own, they may be asked to reproduce the work either by hand or verbally or submit a similar assessment. Students may also be given a Working Towards for their assessment.
We thank you in advance for your support of our efforts to ensure that our akonga remain responsible and safe users of digital technology and continue to become empowered through their learning (whakamana).
- Strike Day Thursday 11 May (4/24/2023)
Kia ora koutou
You will be aware through the media that the PPTA (Post Primary Teachers’ Association) will continue industrial action during Term 2 or until the ongoing collective bargaining is resolved.
Similar actions are planned in term 2 as for term 1 which includes strike action on Thursday 11 May.
This email is to provide early notification of the school being closed on that day as we are unable from a Health and Safety perspective to provide adequate supervision for our students.
Certain days have been allocated for rostering year levels home. On these days the rest of the school will have normal classes:
Week 4: Tuesday 16 May – Year 9, Wednesday 17 May – Year 10
Week 7: Tuesday 6 June – Year 10, Thursday 8 June – Year 9
The school intends to continue to offer our normal curriculum and other educational opportunities as we operate within the constraints provided by the union and Ministry of Education.
As stated before I wish to thank the community for its patience. This process is beyond our control and we trust the situation will be resolved amicably as soon as possible.
- Re: Strike action planned for Wednesday 29 March, 2023 (3/27/2023)
I have received notification from PPTA of strike action planned for Wednesday 29 March as at this date negotiations between the secondary teacher unions and the Ministry of Education have not been resolved.
As was the case on 16 March, owing to the large number of teachers who are union members we will have no choice in terms of Health and Safety but to close the school on 29 March should the strike go ahead.
We wanted to give you advance notice so that you can make arrangements to supervise your child/ren for that day.
I apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.
- Principal’s memo March 2023 (3/19/2023)
Kia ora koutou
Term 1 has been a test of our resilience with mother nature and other events having an impact on our start to the year. Despite this our leaders and staff have made every effort to minimise the disruption and ensure as smooth a start to the year as possible. My thanks to the community is expressed in this memo and I trust we will experience calmer waters for the rest of the year!
Cyclone Gabrielle and floods
The school site coped extremely well with the extreme weather we experienced earlier this term. Thanks to the property team and their work over the years we had minimal damage, only a small leak which has been fixed. Indeed we were thrilled with two compliments, the first from Jon Sofo the architect who designed the school and who was very complimentary with the condition of the school during a recent visit. And the Ministry of Education has completed an inspection of the site as part of our next property plan. Again, minor work is required to ensure we comply with Health and Safety requirements which will enable us to devote most of the funds to modifying our teaching and administration spaces. This will enhance the educational opportunities and service we can provide our community.
Teacher national strike
I realise that this has put added pressure on parents and caregivers who needed to provide supervision for their child/ren. Thank you for your support and we trust that the negotiations between the PPTA and Ministry of Education are resolved as soon as possible to avoid further disruption.
Thank you also to all parents/caregivers who have either paid in full or entered into payment plans for the various activities we need to charge for. Those with long memories will recall that we no longer request a donation which helps to free up some household income during what we know to be tough economic times for many members of our community. Early payment really helps us with our budgets and enables us to carry out the exciting plans we have for our students so your contributions have been appreciated. If you are experiencing any difficulties, please reach out to your child/ren’s Whānau Leaders who will be most understanding – communication is the key.
While not requested, parents/caregivers may pay a voluntary donation to the school which is tax deductible. So if you are considering a “worthy cause” please consider MHJC!
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.
Last week our Student Executive Council helped to raise $1200 for the Red Cross and their cyclone relief efforts. Thanks to everyone who supported this important community outreach project.
Traffic congestion – school starts at 8.15 am
If I had a magic wand it would be to ensure all our students arrive at school safely by 8.15 am. Thanks again to the vast majority of our parents and caregivers who are teaching their children good habits by getting to school on time. I understand that there may be an odd occasion which may cause us to be late and we are compassionate if that is the case. Many parents will have seen me on Valderama Drive at or around 8.30 and I am still amazed at how many students arrive in the ten minutes between 8.25 and 8.35 with many parents adding to the problem by breaking traffic rules to drop their children as close to the entrance as possible. When questioned, often the excuse is that traffic was heavy or students did not wake up early enough. This puts pressure on our stopping area near the school and is a source of great stress for teachers and our neighbouring community.
I repeat our expectation that parents aim to have their children at school by 8.15. If you miss that mark you will still avoid the congestion at 8.25. The congestion can cause an accident and breaking traffic rules is a bad example to our students.
Finally a big thanks to all parents and caregivers who are able to support us on Friday 24th March. The whole school will be shifting from a planting to kaitiakitanga or guardianship focus to protect the almost 20000 native trees which surround the bike track and extend our neighbouring forest. This is a major effort and we thank Mr Gardi and his Enviro Council for their efforts.
Tena koutou katoua
- Waitangi Day 2023 (2/3/2023)
This weekend we remember the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi, Tiriti o Waitangi and acknowledge the significance of this important historic event. The famous words of Lieutenant Governor William Hobson, “He iwi tahi tatou – we are one people”, laid the foundations for the building of a new nation and are as important today as in 1840.
The weekend has even greater significance as Auckland/Tamaki Makaurau starts to recover from the incredible weather events this past week. Climatologists predict we need to prepare for more of the destruction and disruption such events will cause and the impact on our infrastructure and even where we live will be profound. All the more reason for everyone to stand together, support each other and do what we can to rebuild homes, roads, bridges and shattered lives. This is what was needed when Aotearoa/New Zealand was born and why the spirit of the Treaty should always be remembered.
Today MHJC renews its commitment to honouring the Treaty. We strive to place Te Reo and Ti kanga Māori at the forefront of our curriculum and activities. We wish all our students to benefit from the richness of the Māori culture, heritage, knowledge and language and that our Māori students may celebrate and feel proud of being Māori as they grow their greatness.
Kia mana ake!
- New long term strategy for COVID-19 announced today (12/9/22) (9/12/2022)
The following message is edited from the Ministry of Education communication received today.
Changes have been announced by the government based on public health advice and reflect high levels of immunity and declining case numbers across Aotearoa/New Zealand.
This new approach will result in minor changes to the way we operate:
- Household contacts of a person who has tested positive with COVID-19 do not need to self-isolate, but instead are asked to complete a RAT test each day, for five days. Therefore ākonga and kaiako who test negative may continue to attend school.
- Anyone with symptoms should stay home, get tested and advise the school for attendance purposes.
- Mask wearing becomes a matter of personal choice and is no longer required after midnight 12 September 2022.
- Indoor spaces will continue to be well ventilated and
- Good hand hygiene and sneeze etiquette is encouraged.
Your cooperation during the very complex and sensitive period has been most appreciated and we hope the relaxation of the guidelines we have followed will not be needed in the future.
- The MHJC Graduate Profile or Great Learner (9/1/2022)
With Student Led Conferences coming soon it is a good opportunity to explain a significant change in how we have been reporting to parents.
Three years ago we felt it important to report on the whole child which is why we refer to the new report as a Holistic Report. We want students to be able to articulate their learning journey by referring to their Graduate Profile recorded within the following broad domains:
- academic progress and achievement in all learning areas, as well as literacy and numeracy;
- engagement at school which includes participation in our “Four Cornerstones” or co-curricular activities, attendance, punctuality and homework completion and
- evidence of living our school values of pono/integrity, awhinatanga/compassion and whakamana/empowering through learning.
The thinking behind this change is that it reinforces our school vision and purpose expressed by our motto of “growing greatness/kia mana ake”. We believe that every student has a grain of greatness and it is our mission to help students to find and grow this grain of greatness. This should be represented by our report which is multidimensional and gives students opportunities to show their greatness in many ways rather than a one-dimensional report on achievement. We believe that all our students should feel or experience success in some way through their MHJC journey and the report acknowledges this.
Teachers have been working with students on what we consider to be an innovative approach to reporting. Rather than teachers passing a judgment on students, it is they who “write their own report” and progress through the stages of our Graduate Profile by understanding and showing evidence of our school values. This acknowledges the need for schools to provide learning opportunities for students to learn how to manage themselves effectively, reach out to others and learn how to learn. These are the messages we receive continuously as the critical ingredients for future success and so it makes sense that everything we do at school aligns with the report.
This is an exciting and at times challenging journey but one which we believe will be of immeasurable benefit to our students. Thank you for supporting us and I trust you enjoy hearing how your child/ren give expression to their journey.
Growing greatness/kia mana ake!
- Queen’s birthday weekend 2022 (6/5/2022)
Even more significant this year is the acknowledgment of Queen Elizabeth’s 70 years on the throne. Images sent from the UK as the country celebrates this historic achievement bring many thoughts to mind.
No matter where we sit in the monarchy debate, we must appreciate the incredible dedication and loyal service the Queen has shown. It is amazing to think of the momentous events she has seen as head of state during this time.
It is fantastic to see the celebrations but sad that she could not participate in so many of the special events owing to her health which seems to be deteriorating.
New Zealand’s connection to the empire and commonwealth has helped define who we are as a nation. I hope that some of the values and achievements of Great Britain remain in some way or adapted to our context. When Aotearoa New Zealand histories becomes part of our new curriculum, the challenge for teachers will be to ensure the right balance is found between an appreciation of the positive impact being a member of the commonwealth had on New Zealand as well developing a deeper understanding of the contribution of Māori and other nationalities who have made Aotearoa their home.
This will be a challenging time for many but one that if discussed respectfully will be healthy and strengthen us on our journey towards becoming one nation.
- Rostering of classes – Memo 24/5/22 (5/24/2022)
We were very fortunate in the first wave of Covid-19 cases earlier in the year that our school could continue as per normal. However, a combination of winter colds and flu with Covid-19 cases and associated household contacts starting to increase within our community, we are beginning to see the impact of this at MHJC.
While our preference is to have all students onsite for face to face learning, it has become increasingly difficult to provide staff to cover classes owing to the shortage of relief teachers. Therefore, to relieve some pressure on our staff we have decided to roster home the following year levels:
Thursday 26th May – Y9 distance learning
Friday 27 May – normal school for all students
Monday 30 May – Y7 distance learning
Tuesday 31 May – Y8 distance learning
Wednesday 1 June – Y9 distance learning
Thursday 2 June – Y10 distance learning
Friday 3 June – normal school for all students
A decision will be made on Thursday 2 June as to whether we will continue to roster year levels the following week. Parents and students will be notified of the decision on Thursday evening. This system will continue until we feel that we can operate safely.
As before, during lockdown last year, students will be supported during this, hopefully short disruption. We already have well established routines including the use of digital platforms and work will be set by subject teachers and/or Whānau leaders.
Our apologies for this urgent notification however it is a decision which balances the learning needs of our students and the need to maintain a safe learning and working environment for everyone. Different days will be allocated to Year Levels to maximise their learning opportunities.
We appreciate all your support getting through these challenging times.
If your child cannot be supervised at home on the days specified above please complete the form herein. This will be updated every week if required.
- ANZAC Day message, April 2022￼ (4/23/2022)
I wish everyone a day free of worry, a day free from considering the horrors of war. It is hard to imagine what it must be like to experience a reality which includes the imminent prospect of death and destruction when we have not personally witnessed it. That is why we must, at least for a moment, pause and reflect on what it must have been like for so many of our forefathers who paid the ultimate sacrifice to preserve peace and freedom for future generations.
It is also important to spare some time to consider those still affected by war. Refugees displaced by fighting, innocent civilians caught in the crossfire, and of course those who serve who continue to die or bear horrific wounds, seen and unseen.
Finally it falls on our shoulders to ensure that war does not become the only option to settle differences. It is sad to witness the conflict in Ukraine and wonder how the world can still stumble into conflict with the horrifying consequences and geopolitical scars that might take generations to heal. An absence of genuine dialogue, understanding and respect leads to misinformation, mistrust and misunderstanding. These are the conditions for conflict and those we strive to avoid.
We often recite the poem titled “Lest we forget”. These words could not be more appropriate today.