Updated: May 12
What started you on this journey? Joining the Longburn School Waka as the Principal in 2010, the year that National Standards were introduced, had me leading a school staff that were seeing the need to focus more on assessment and achievement expectations and requirements. They were involved in some PLD and systems were under development to support this. The spotlight appeared to have gone off curriculum refinement and development and onto assessment and reporting. What challenges did you encounter? As the school leader, I needed to ensure that our waka wasn’t going to lose sight of the rich curriculum that we had inherited through the relatively new NZ Curriculum and the opportunities this gave us to develop our local curriculum. What approach did you take? I decided that along with the annual Charter review we would also review our curriculum with our school community. I had, in the past, met with Steve Maharey in regards to ways to better support our ‘at risk youth’ and decided that I would send him a challenge to see if he could ‘evoke some rich discussions in our community about what our learners need to prepare them for the world they would be inheriting’. I was very grateful to have him accept the challenge. I also sought support from Dr James To, from the International Pacific University, as he had worked in the New Zealand pavilion during the 2010 World Expo in Shanghai. He agreed to participate in our hui, sharing information about the ‘innovations’ he saw and how futuristic they appeared at the time. He challenged us to think about the future and how different this may look for us all, especially our youth as they venture into training and employment. We held a Charter and Curriculum Review Meeting at school for our school community. Steve Maharey and Dr James To shared presentations as requested but then also joined in on our initial discussions. Students, parents, BoT, and school staff were all represented at the hui, which enriched our discussions immensely.
Where are you on this journey? Twelve years later the information we gained from the review is still very relevant for our school curriculum and its further development. It was the catalyst for change and then became the basis for all we do in an effort to have our ākonga best prepared for the world they will inherit. The air we breathe.
What impact did this have on the school?
We have a Charter and Curriculum that have lasted the test of time. The basis of both are no less relevant today than 10 years ago, and still provide a platform for further development of our school culture and our approach to teaching and learning. What tips do you have? Keep your focus on the needs of your ākonga as individuals and as a collective, taking action to meet those needs as best you can and in a timely manner. Don’t wait for external pressures to ‘effect change’, be the change and drive it. You’ll be riding the wave instead of avoiding a tsunami.
Where to next?
Watch this space as we share our journey.
Principal / Nominated contact: Jo Emerson