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Owairaka District School – Building community relationships

Owairaka District School is a multi-cultural school that values and appreciates students from all of our cultures. We have an Open Door Policy and encourage community support and interaction.

We have 16% Samoan, 15% Māori, 10% European, 10% Tongan, 9% Somalian, 8% Indian, 7% Ethiopia, 6% Middle Eastern, 6% Cook Island, 3% Niuean and 10% other.

School vision

As a school the parents, staff and Board of Trustees have worked together to develop our school vision. The school reviews the direction we are heading each year. Our mission statement is, I can do it, you can do it and together we can achieve our goals.

Owairaka Vision

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The Board of Trustees felt it was important to look ahead and set goals for our children for the future. They questioned, What is the school's vision for the next ten years for our children? Discussions were had and the vision set. The staff looked at what we need to be teaching to our students so that they have a love of learning and are prepared to cope in an ever changing world.

Building community relationships

Building community trust is essential to working with your parents. Parents are always very welcome in the school. Cooking with grandparents was a very successful activity. Every class invited a grandparent along to cook a recipe with the class. Children were involved with the cooking and eating. These recipes and recipes from our parents are being compiled into a Cultural Cookbook. Preparing and sharing food is an ideal way to involve the community and to get parents along to the school. This year the school looked at Māori protocols as we were holding a powhiri. After the powhiri at which our whānau building was re-opened a whole school hangi was held. As 25% of the school are muslim we also had a separate halal hangi cooked in a steamer plus our in the ground hangi.

Parent surveys

We have a very proactive Board of Trustees which includes a whānau representative. The Board of Trustees goal for 2007 has been to involve the community more in the school. The Board of Trustees surveys the parents annually with good results of surveys filled in because the board gives parents the choice of filling in the surveys at home or filling them in with a board representative. The board of trustees parents complete the surveys with parents on the Parent/Student interview evenings.

Reporting to parents

This year the parents were asked if they wanted to be on a focus group in regards to Reporting to Parents and in regards to our Health Curriculum. A number of parents put their names down to be part of these groups. Dates were set up for these meetings and parents who had agreed to come were contacted individually. There was also an advertisement put into the school newsletter informing parents about the meeting.

The meeting regarding reporting to parents was well attended by a wide range of parents from different cultures. Data regarding reporting to parents was shared from the parent surveys. Ideas as to the way the school reports to parents was discussed and parents' views recorded. Parents were also shown a draft copy of a suggested format for our revised school report which included the competencies. Parents discussed what they liked and disliked about the report forms. Parents discussed other types of reporting.

Community meeting

The Board of Trustees approached personally, prominent parents from different cultures and invited them to come to a regular community meeting with the intention of discussing curriculum / school issues and hearing any concerns. Items such as the new curriculum are explained. These people then feed back into their communities.

As a school we also have monthly meetings of our Whānau group and our Samoan Support group. At these meetings time is given to discuss curriculum changes and let parents know what is happening.

Inquiry learning

Our school has been trialling Inquiry Learning. As a result of the previous year's parent surveys the question of healthy eating came up. After observing what other schools were doing our school began Inquiry Learning by having the whole school answer the question: How can we improve the health of the Owairaka School Community? Each class used this question as a base and developed their own sub question to investigate. The Junior and Middle School classes questions were mainly related to eating healthy food whereas the Senior School investigated Road Safety, Passive Smoking and Litter. At the end of the studies we had a sharing evening where the children presented the results of their inquiries to the parents. They also discussed each separate stage of the inquiry so that the parents were being informed. Healthy food was supplied for our supper.

Curriculum evenings

We regularly hold evenings for parents to come along and hear about what we are doing in the curriculum. For our Maths evening the teachers initially spoke to the parents about changes in the curriculum. Parents then visited stations set up in the hall so they could see and hear about our Numeracy programme at different levels throughout the school. Children were invited along and there were maths activities for them to participate in.

PDF icon. Owairaka strategic plan (PDF, 116 KB)

Tags:
community engagement
primary
vision

Published on: 13 Oct 2008


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