By Peter Corlett
Local primary schools and colleges from Otaki to Paekakariki have chosen a path of collaboration, contrary to the government’s push for a competitive model.
They did this at a Boards of Trustees combined meeting at Paraparaumu College, which was attended by about 100 parents, principals and staff representatives from local Kapiti schools.
It’s the second time they’ve met to discuss trends in society and the effects on education.
The Boards of Trustees (BOTs) are made up of principals and parent representatives — and there’s also a staff representative on each board.
(Waikanae School, for example, has the principal, a chairperson who is a parent, and four other parent reps.)
The first gathering was at Waikanae School last year.
One of the main concerns at both meetings has been the impact of poverty and socio-economic factors on Schools — and the resulting impact on student behaviour and performance.
Inspirational story from East Coast Maori
At the latest meeting, a feature was an address by an East Coast Maori who has climbned the ladder from poverty to an academic career of distinction. He is Marcus Akuhata-Brown.
Marcus said his own life showed the importance of connections with family, community and the environment.
He stressed the importance of making positive choices and being brave enough to take on challenges that stretch and extend one as a person.
Marcus spoke of how he came from an East Cape community, where life was simple and he was surrounded by family who had all left school at an early age.
By year 10 he was sick of school and ready to look for a job when a new teacher called all the boys into the hall and told them about how he had come from the same community, had gone to ,mthe same school as them, had worked hard and made positive choices to be a successful teacher.
He said said something clicked and from that moment his world changed.
First in family to go to university
He became a school prefect in Year 13, was the first in his family to go right through secondary school to university, and then into a life that included becoming a qualified teacher and principal by aged 21,
He worked with disadvantaged youth, and later represented NZ as head of the Commonwealth Youth Council.
He emphasised: “Give a young person permission to believe they have potential that is not yet realised!”
The meeting was organised by local principals and it’s planned to continue to link local schools and to build collaboration between Boards.