We have been most impressed with our students this term, again. They have settled well and studies are progressing well. Senior students will be starting their internal assessment regimes and junior students will be experiencing the regular testing in their various subjects.
We have a number of exciting developments at the school, aside from those you will already be aware of.
I’d encourage you to read the introduction below and the information available on this link.
Over the years of development at Takapuna Grammar School we have progressed three major themes. The first was to lift the standard of achievement for students by placing a focus on quality teaching and learning. We entitled this stage “Aspiring to Personal Excellence through Knowing, Connecting, Relating and Supporting”. This prerogative remains key to the school today. The second stage saw the school be responsive to individual need, introducing innovations such as the Elite Sports Institute and the Takapuna Grammar Centre for Business and Enterprise. The third stage encouraged the internationalisation of the school’s programmes enabling our programmes to be supported by various international connections, including the introduction of the International Baccalaureate Diploma. The fourth stage is to see the introduction of “Manaaki Mentoring”, a programme offering individual mentoring for every student in the school.
This is a self-generated innovation and is the product of many months of discussions with staff and students. Today I would like to offer some detail to the parents with the view that more discussion will follow. It is founded on the assumption that students respond well to more individualised attention and that a small amount of time spent, with the right mentor, can have enormous benefits for the achievement of students, collectively and individually. I think we can all reflect on a parent, teacher, friend or mentor who has spent some time with us and had, maybe unknowingly, a tremendous impact on the future by offering belief, support, advice and guidance. By introducing a mentoring programme for all students in the school, we think we can lift, even further than now, the performance of students in our school. To enable the detail to be read more easily I offer the following bullet points:
- The title of the innovation is important. “Manaaki” means “dignity and encouragement”. This encapsulates the intention well.
- That every staff member will be involved, teaching and admin staff alike.
- That each group would comprise of 9 - 10 students representative of different cohorts and one adult, a vertical structure embodying the concept of an older person helping and assisting a younger one, tuakana teina.
- That every Wednesday, fortnightly, the staff would complete Professional Development early, allowing one half hour session with their students to take place. Students would arrive to their Manaaki Groups and Form Period, in its traditional form, would not occur on this day.
- The combination of student personalities would be important so due consideration needs to invested to this feature of the implementation.
- A programme of themes would be developed and these, along with some mentoring formats, would be placed in the student diaries to assist the process. This would provide some structure to the innovation.
- This innovation would be implemented keeping the existing Form Period routines until such time as a review would determine the requirement to have both routines running concurrently.
- Administrative staff involved in the mentoring would be roomed with teaching staff.
- The innovation can lift expectations of students and what they can achieve for themselves.
- We expect a further rise in student achievement
- That students will be given techniques, life skills, which can influence both academic and personal pursuits.
- That more attention will be given to the individual.
- There is alignment of staff, united in a common purpose.
- We can develop staff modeling the establishment of their own goals and aspirations.
We would like to introduce the Manaaki Mentoring to the school’s routines from the beginning of Term 3 this year. The staff will have a professional development day, a launch, on Friday May 29th. This is the Friday of Queens Birthday so students will have a longer, four day, break over this weekend.
Over time we imagine that the Manaaki Mentoring will supersede the traditional Form Period as we know it. We have committed to review the Form Period at the end of this year. There will be many questions, I am sure. We are telling you of the idea and consulting with parents now to allow time for questions to be responded to and for the idea to settle. If you would like to communicate any thoughts to me feel free to do so by emailing principal@ takapuna.school.nz
. I welcome any correspondence. The innovation is founded on a sense of service to our students and that, still, we can work with them to further the achievements of students at our school. Further details are available on the link, mentioned above.
Beyond the Main Building development, which awaits Cabinet approval, there are other building developments which follow the recent introduction of the Science precinct and the commercial kitchen installation. As an addition to the Art Department we are installing two classrooms connected to the Peter Blake Art Technology Centre on the eastern edge of the courtyard that this building creates. This building is anticipated to house art classes and function as an exhibition space, as required. It is due to start construction form the middle of this year and will be completed ready for 2016.
Please contact the school if you have any concerns or questions. We welcome the contact with our parents and care givers. If you are unsure who to contact please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
and I will respond or direct this to the appropriate staff member. I wish you well for the rest of year and look forward to updating you of the Manaaki Mentoring and the other developments at the school.