Kia ora koutou
I walked through Harakeke today and the hub was so calm and tranquil. Everywhere I looked, children had their heads down, were engaged in their tasks and working quietly. What a great learning environment! There is nothing more exciting for a principal than to see students deeply engaged in learning. Congratulations to all the teachers and students of Harakeke Hub.
I am sorry to have to let you know that Te Rito teacher, Anna-Maria Hackl, will be leaving us at the end of term 1. Her partner has gained work back in the Netherlands and they will both be returning home. It has been great having Anna-Maria with us; there is no doubt that she will be greatly missed. We are grateful that we were able to have her working here, even if it was only for a little while. We wish her all the very best for her future in education. Amaria Picard will be returning to Te Rito. She worked in Te Rito prior to going on maternity leave at the beginning of 2017, so she knows the ropes and has worked closely with Gemma in the past. We think the decision to put her in Te Rito will enable continuity and a minimum of disruption. We are confident of a strong transition. Bon voyage, Anna-Maria! Ka kite ano. Hope to see you again one day.
In the last digest, I spoke about school reporting and the decision we will have to make about whether to continue with overall teacher judgements (below, at or above) against national standards in reading, writing and maths. Since then I have been talking to students from years 3 – 6 to explore their views about school reports. Several things have stood out for me. The first is that quite a number of children do not get to see their reports – they had no idea what their reports look like or what they say. Our view is that school reports are first and foremost for students and then for parents second. We have a view that students are “insiders” in their learning. Therefore, they should be included in information about their learning. The second thing is how thoughtful many children are about their learning. The older students (particularly) communicated very clearly that they want to receive specific information in their reports which tells them how to improve. The third thing was that, in general, children found the OTJ statements in relation to National Standards reasonably helpful because they give them information about the areas they need to improve in. This was surprising to me. Children said that even if the report tells them they are below, that is still helpful, because they now know what they need to improve at. I have not fully analysed the data from the student surveys, but those are my main impressions so far. Talking with the students reminded me that so often we underestimate what children are able to articulate and understand about their learning.
I am off to Auckland for a family wedding and then a bit of a road trip with my husband around the Bay of Plenty. So looking forward to the Easter Break!
Wishing you all the best for a very happy Easter. Travel safe!
Ka kite ano