Principal’s Blog

  • 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!

    Ian Morrison

    Principal/Tumuaki

  • 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)

    Dear parents/caregivers

    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.

    Sincerely

    Ian Morrison

    Principal/Tumuaki

  • 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.

     

     

  • Happy Waitangi Day! (2/6/2022)

    Waitangi Day, the national day of New Zealand, marks the anniversary of the initial signing – on 6 February 1840 – of the Treaty of Waitangi, which is regarded as the founding document of the nation.
    The Treaty reminds us we are one people – in the words of William Hobson, Crown Representative, “He iwi tahi tatou” and to renew our commitment to the Treaty.

  • Supporting wellbeing – how to cope with feeling overwhelmed from schooltv (10/27/2021)

    https://mhjc.nz.schooltv.me/wellbeing_news/special-report-managing-overwhelm

  • Māori language week – Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori (9/14/2021)

    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!

     

     

  • Lockdown update 10 September. (9/10/2021)

    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!

  • Memo re: Level 4 lockdown – distance learning explained (9/1/2021)

    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:

    1. Balance academic progress with hauora/wellbeing;
    2. Limit screen time and promote active learning;
    3. 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;
    4. 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:

     

    1. 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.
    2.  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.
    3. 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.
    4. 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.

     

    Ian Morrison

     

    Principal

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