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Renwick School vision and values

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A decision was made at Renwick School to live out the vision and values through a simple yet powerful statement- Learning is strength. Be the best you can be. It is evident in the classroom through ‘Personal Best’ tables, it is evident in the school through the ‘Give it a go kid’ touch stone award, and it is evident in the teaching beliefs as teachers embrace the vision to drive learning and to drive the curriculum.

This is one of four stories that show how staff, students, parents, and the community worked together to write a school curriculum that reflected the vision and values of Renwick School and its place in the community.

  1. Community and curriculum
  2. Writing our curriculum
  3. Vision and values
  4. Curriculum in action

Professional learning conversations

These questions and suggested actions encourage you to reflect on your own school context.

Collective values

The New Zealand Curriculum (p10) states that:

"Every decision relating to curriculum and every interaction that takes place in a school reflects the values of the individuals involved and the collective values of the institution."

  • Which parts of your school vision and policies have been influenced by members of the school community?  
  • In what ways can you see your school vision ‘alive’ in your school? Is it owned by students in their learning, teachers in their teaching, and your community in the ways they support your school?
  • Renwick School has a specific vision for teachers too.  Challenge your staff to come up with a vision that they can look to as part of their professional learning.

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School partnerships self-audit tool
This tool can be used to consider current community-school interactions and find out more about community values and expectations. The section called "Gathering new information" provides questions for students, parents, teachers, and leaders.


It is important that we listen
Be nice to people
It is important that our teacher teaches us stuff
It is important that we do our work good
It is important that we keep our playgrounds tidy
It is important that we look after our friends
It is important to be the best we can be

Principal: Our vision, I need to go back a little bit here, was decided upon, written by the students. And that was again going back and asking them what was important in our school. And what came out of that was this key statement 'Be the best you can be'. And as we sort of thought it through and the kids talked about it a bit more, they really understood that that was actually a pretty smart statement. You can't be any better than the best you can be. And what they also felt very passionate about, and their mums and dads at our community meeting backed this up as well, is that learning as strength, which is the byline for the school, it sits under the logo, and has been there since 1861 is still very very important to the school and very reflective of the school's history. And we've got to know where we've been and that statement very much grabs that.

Students: For me being the best you can be means never giving up and trying your hardest. Like for example last year when we did speeches, some people had trouble doing but others always helped them try to do it and cheered them on so they didn't give up.

Deputy Principal: In our classrooms you will see personal best tables where not only examples of work are shown but also we relate them back to the key competencies and the children are always talking about being the best you can be and they hear it from us all the time as well.

Assistant Principal: Because in the past we used to just, like personal best was mainly sort of academic or curriculum work like writing or handwriting and stuff like that. And really we're sort of showing that that's what we value. But really the key competencies are just so important that we want children being team players, we want children being thoughtful and showing respect to others. So we want that on our personal best because I think, I believe it is really just as important as the academic.

Student: Mr Heath needed an award that would be an example of being the best you can be. And so he thought of a stone and he went down to the Wairau River and searched until he found a stone that he thought would represent the school. And he asked a local sculptor who came to our school and sculpted this rock to be an award for Renwick School. It is for the give it a go kid who tries their best at everything they do and just gives everything a really good go. The markings on it represent the Wairau River and learning, the path of learning and it is just continuous, sometimes it gets deep and slow but other times it's fast and shallow. And so it just represents how you learn and what you learn through life. It is really special because it represents Renwick School in a way that nothing else around the school does. Like it represents us as students and how we learn and what we learn.

Deputy Principal: An extension of the give it a go kid rock that we present to the children is, in our new library which is just being remodeled, we are going to have a touch stone, which the same sculptor is sculpting but it is going to be on a much larger scale and it will mean, this is the give it a go kid rock in big size. And be a place where the children can go and touch and reflect if they want to and just to know that is part of our culture, so that is going to be a real focal point in our library when it is open.

The other thing with staff are our teaching beliefs, which are SET - S. E. T. So it is strength, empowerment and togetherness and that's how we feel that the grass roots of us, as teachers being the best we can be that starts with those three things and hopefully that filters on through.

Principal: That's the most important statement we have in our school. And that very definitely drives our learning and drives our curriculum. It is, we talk about it also being the only school rule we have. Is that, by being the best you can be, then you're on track, you are doing everything that we require of you.

Student: We show initiative.

Teacher: And what do you do to show initiative?

Student: When the teacher's walking back from the staff room we read some books and finish our work.

Published on: 23 Jun 2010