Kia ora koutou katoa

I have been reflecting on the significant changes taking place in education and how we communicate these to our community. One of the challenges we have is that everyone of us went to school, so we think we understand education. It’s like watching Master Chef and thinking this qualifies you as a culinary expert or getting a driver's license and thinking you’re an F1 driver. Schools are complex, busy places with multiple demands placed on teachers, senior leaders, and support staff, with differing expectations from students, parents, and the wider Catholic community to meet. We have multiple legal accountabilities to the Ministry of Education, Board of Trustees, Diocese of Christchurch, NZQA, and Education Review Office, and these all need to be met to ensure we are delivering a quality curriculum in a safe environment for our learners.

What goes on in the classroom is the tip of the iceberg; it is the visible part of teaching that informs what we think of our understanding of “school” and “education”. However, underpinning that sits a vast, unseen workstream: professional development, professional growth cycle, professional learning groups, further study and qualifications, pedagogical development, bicultural partnership, culture and values, psychology and behavioural responses, literacy and numeracy practice, pathways work…, the list goes on. We also understand that learning doesn’t only take place in the classroom, and there are many opportunities for students to learn through gateway, trades, sports coaching, tournaments…, again, the list goes on. Students and teachers have the challenge of balancing these demands while ensuring learning credits add up and wellbeing is maintained. It is not an easy job, but it is the greatest one in the world!

This week we launched our staff professional learning groups, capably led by staff navigators in the areas of literacy, pedagogy for learning, culture and values, positive behaviour for teaching and learning, and bicultural partnership in education. We are also about to start a research project into boys’ engagement in learning at JPII. All teachers are involved in these groups which are linked to the Annual Plan and BOT Strategic Plan. The learnings from these groups will inform our teaching and leadership practices moving forward. We will communicate this information to you via the newsletter in the coming year so you, too, can learn about what we are doing on the teaching and learning front at JPII.

In this newsletter, you will find a link to a survey on student leadership. Special thanks to student Zak Klempel for his input and insight into the survey, and to the staff group involved. All parents, students, teachers, and St Patrick’s Parish members are welcome to respond to the survey which will be open for two weeks. We will use this information to inform what student leadership looks like at JPII moving forward. We thank you for taking the time to share your ideas.

It looks to be a beautiful, crisp weekend ahead. Have fun on the sports field and travel safe if you are travelling.

Ngā mihi

Renée Hutchinson