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Te Kopuru School – Engaging with our community

Te Kopuru School logo.

There is no one way to engage the community in the life of a school. The uniqueness of location, size, and dynamics determines the strategies schools use to encourage community support and interaction. This snapshot from Te Kopuru School is an example of how one school works with their parents and community.

Reporting to parents

Over the last three years Te Kopuru School has trialled the use of digital portfolios as the means of reporting student achievement to parents. These e portfolios consist of samples of student work in the form of writing, photographs, and video presentations. Goal setting is an important aspect within the portfolio, with students encouraged to set realistic goals that are linked to their individual needs. Thirty minute interviews involving parents, student, and teacher are held twice yearly. These are an opportunity for students to articulate their learning through sharing areas of success, concern and goal setting for next steps. Year 7 & 8 students lead these interviews.

Staff value the outcomes of building positive relationships with parents and caregivers. Parents of students in our bilingual units have the option of home visits. The kaiako go into the home and with the student and whānau share and discuss student achievement in an informal environment. This has produced a positive response by our Māori parents and has helped to break down school barriers and build positive and valued partnerships between home and school.

Throughout the year parents are invited to attend curriculum focused meetings. These meetings are aimed at up skilling parents in order to promote a positive learning environment at home.

Characteristics of effectiveness assessment 
Students at Te Kopuru School have the opportunity to discuss, clarify, and reflect on their goals, strategies, and progress with their teachers, their parents, and one another. This develops their capacity for self- and peer assessment, which lead in turn to increased self-direction.

Engaging parents

Pet and Project Day 
This an annual event where students enter show day exhibits, including baking, craft, floral exhibits, and the judging of calves, goats, and lambs. This day is always hugely supported by parents. One of the highlights is the fathers’ cake auction. This is a fund raising opportunity, but more importantly it is a fun way of bringing the dads into our school. We also utilise this event as a forum for surveying our parents on an aspect of school review. Our senior students are involved with the task of ‘meeting and greeting’ and encouraging parents to complete the survey. By targeting parents in this way, we get feedback from 60% more parents than through school newsletters.

Performing Arts Festival
This festival showcases local schools and community groups. Performances include kapa haka, Pasifika, kola, song, martial arts etc. This is an opportunity to educate our community through Health Promotion caravans and stalls; and also for local community members to promote their crafts.

Other ways of engaging parents and whānau
The community newsletter informs members of our Te Kopuru community on strategic direction and events and happenings within the school. This is distributed each term break and is a means of maintaining links within the wider community.

Matariki is celebrated at our local marae with a two day Wānanga and sleepover. Workshops, focusing on Te Ao Māori are facilitated by teachers and community resource personnel. In the evening students perform items and practise mihi. Arapohue School joins us in these celebrations which enhances relationships between both school communities. The Wānanga cumulates in a hākari attended by invited kaumātua, kuia and parents.

As part of our fundraising we host two trail bike rides. These require enormous support from our community. It is a time when past pupils, neighbours, friends, whānau, parents and staff work co-operatively together to raise funds that enables our school to provide exciting learning experiences for our students.

In conclusion Te Kopuru School will continue to actively promote the home school partnership. Engaging whānau in the learning process is essential for the ongoing learning and well being of our tamariki.

Community engagement principle
Te Kopuru School brings the community engagement principle to life in various ways. Their annual pet day and matariki celebrations are ways that the school brings the community together and uses these opportunities to engage with parents and whānau.  

Published on: 30 Jun 2020