The aim of education, of course, is to build up our personal and collective capacities to cope with anything that life may throw at us. It’s about building firm foundations. It is about values (motivation to take action) and skills. When you are building a building if you get the foundations right then it will be strong and stand up in the storms and the earthquakes.
We at Naenae College are building something far more important than a building. We are building a vibrant, confident, literate learning community. This is our driving moral purpose.
What makes the foundations of this school?
At Naenae College we currently have 34 different nationalities and about 780 different personalities, if we give teachers credit for having personalities too, therefore we understand that quality, respectful relationships are at the heart of everything. It’s about valuing one another, learning about one another, encouraging one another, sharing what matters, inspiring one another, challenging one another, celebrating with one another, taking pride in each others’ achievements. We have three special programmes that work in unison to enhance this. The first is our Te Whanau Tahi programme which draws its theoretical framework from the national Te Kotahitanga project. Is all about the way we relate, connect and teach. The way we look to draw out the best in each other in a culturally inclusive way. The second is our Rock and Water programme that teaches boys to think before they act and girls to get past the talk and take some action. The third strand is our Restorative Processes – putting things right, learning and moving on.
We have reached a new level of maturity in implementing these strategies and at this stage we know more about these synergistic processes and work harder at implementing them than any other school I know.
The foundation stone of learning is literacy and it is very rewarding to see the Cluster LEAP literacy project producing dividends. This year more that 80% of our Year 11 students will gain their NCEA Level 1 literacy credits, up from 63% last year and 45% four years ago. That is worth a whole community celebration.
Our senior school ‘Ladder of Success’ model with three pathways has produced a big lift in achievement this year. The introduction of a new Service Academy next year will provide another valuable pathway.
Results are tracking up against a whole lot of indicators including participation in sports, the arts and cultural activities. It has been an exciting year for a wide range of personal student achievements at a regional and national level and I trust these are captured within the pages of this magazine; either in slim-line hard copy or in the new electronic full version which will be published on the school website.
We have a number of long-term staff retiring or moving off shore. Their stories are recorded. Collectively they have contributed over 120 years of service to this school community for which we are deeply grateful and we wish them every blessing in the next phase of their lives.
Thank you to the editorial team who have committed time and care into capturing the highlights of 2011 and of course congratulations to everyone whose achievement is noted. A special thanks to all staff, board members and student leaders who have worked so enthusiastically to make 2011 a memorable year. We have taken another step forward. Well done, everyone!