Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Whanaungatanga: 3 cool things that happened at school today

Our first 2 weeks at school concentrate on forming and (re)building relationships. We all know teaching and learning is a relationship-based activity so it is important that each new year allows the time and space to do this meaningfully. In fact, our theme at Hobsonville Point Secondary School for our Learning Hub and Learning Community focus for the whole of Term One is Whanaungatanga.

Today 3 cool things were happening to bring this focus to life.

1. Staff koha to new staff.
At this morning's Tuesdays With Maurie (yay at last I got a Tuesday!) our 7 new staff had groups of existing staff randomly allocated to them. After being reminded of our strong and visible principles of personalising learning, powerful partnerships and deep challenge and inquiry group members were invited to share as their koha their strongest or most memorable example of when they had supported the personalising of learning, facilitated learning partnerships for their students from outside our school and witnessed students involved in deep challenge and inquiry.

HPSS Staff Offering Koha to New Staff
It was very cool to see and hear such great sharing. Just quietly, I  was pretty pleased to come up with this contingency plan when I walked in in the morning to find our servers etc were down and I couldn't go ahead with my carefully prepared presentation and had to quickly come up with this (and it was much better than I had planned anyway!)

2. Senior student koha to new students
Throughout the day senior students who had volunteered attended a workshop so that they could prepare to welcome and support our new students. They explored the notion of student leadership and planned in their Learning Communities so that they could run a relationship-building and getting-to-know-our-school programme for the rest of our students- especially those new to our school. They also focused on how they would take the lead at our Learning Community overnight camps which will be taking place next week.

Senior HPSS Students Preparing Their Koha for New Students
Our vision talks  about empowering young people to contribute confidently and responsibly. This group of  Q2 and Q3 (Years 12 and 13) students were bringing that to life in spades and creating a strong legacy for the school they have helped create.

3. Student/Parent/Coach Individual Education Meetings (IEMs)
As has  become traditional at our school, teaching and learning doesn't start until the important players in a young person's education (themselves, their whanau and their Learning Coach) (re)connect and start getting to know each other. This is  the most powerful of the powerful partnerships we espouse at our school and I'm very proud of the time and space we give to this.

Our Year 9 students have had us  visit them in their contributing school, have visited us with their school, enrolled with their parents at a meeting with myself or a member of the SLT, and attended a full day Orientation Day. The IEM  is the next step in that important transition to secondary school. By concentrating on the relationships and taking our time the transition is much more doable.

It was a very cool day! Whanaungatanga everywhere!

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