Te aromihi pouako e puta ai ngā ihu o ngā ākonga Māori

Waverley Park School

Waverley Park School, is a decile 5, year 0–6 suburban school with 255 pupils, of whom a third are Māori. Four people were interviewed for Ruia: the principal, the teacher who leads the whānau group, and two parents.

WaverleyPark

What are the priorities for our Māori students?

The interviewees at Waverley Park School expressed the following aspirations for the Māori students at their school:

  • They should have both academic and cultural success.
  • Their academic and cultural achievement should be equal to or better than all others,
  • They should be engaged in their learning and fully participate in the educational experiences the school offers.
  • They should have ample opportunities to celebrate their successes.
  • They should feel a sense of self-worth through addressing their cultural needs.
  • Their sense of self-worth should have a flow-on effect to their hinengaro, wairua, and whānau.

The school gathers the bulk of its achievement data at the end of the school year. A full-time literacy leader supports teachers to do the marking, moderating, collation, and analysis. The school also allocates resourcing and set targets and goals at this time so that they are ready to go at the beginning of the next school year. This is all done in a collaborative manner with the whole staff involved in the decision making.

The school was supported to use its data differently through participation in the Literacy Professional Development Project (LPDP). The teachers said this particularly impacted on the achievement of Māori students because it highlighted a significant difference in achievement between Māori and Pākehā students at the school. “As soon as we saw that, we knew we had to do something about it.”

A new innovation was the collection of asTTle writing data, which leaders and teachers started marking and moderating as a staff. This meant setting up routines for moderating data to ensure consistency across the school, including releasing teachers to work in groups during school time so that they came to it feeling fresh and could compare and discuss their marking.

The staff then looked at patterns of achievement across the school and classrooms and identified focus students who needed targeted teaching. Programmes were put in place in response to the data, and the students’ progress was closely monitored. In time, the process of data collection, collation, and analysis was repeated so that the staff could check to see if their programmes had worked. These practices have become embedded in the school and are linked to the appraisal system.

What are our own learning needs?

As in other schools that have participated in the LPDP, Waverley Park School uses student data and classroom observations to inform their professional learning and practice. Observers use the LPDP protocols. There are formal observations to meet accountability requirements, but there are also regular classroom observations to help teachers monitor the effect of their practice on their students’ achievement.

Teachers and school leaders use the appraisal process to continually improve both their individual and their collective performance. Appraisal at Waverley Park School is about both accountability and identifying and addressing developmental needs. The appraisal policy has four objectives:

  1. to provide a continuous improvement process for all staff
  2. to provide mechanisms to support the salary attestation process
  3. to provide the board of trustees with evidence that staff are meeting all legal requirements inherent in their respective roles
  4. to monitor individuals’ teaching performance against the requirements of the Interim Professional Standards.

Professional learning

The appraisal goals of the teacher responsible for leading the school’s engagement with whānau were designed to focus on priorities for Māori children:

  • develop improved personal knowledge of Te Marautanga o Aotearoa
  • through better understanding, develop teaching units appropriate to the needs of our children
  • work with teachers and parents to develop and implement a programme to deliver the new learning.

The lead teacher addressed her goals by viewing and reflecting on the DVD Te Mana Kōrero: Relationships for Learning and attending Dr Hine Elder’s one-day workshop “Working with Māori Whānau”. She surveyed what students, parents, and staff wanted to have happen and then undertook a personal professional reading programme, sourcing her readings from Te Tere Auraki. She also sought advice and guidance from a Māori Advisor at the University of Otago’s College of Education.

Making changes

Waverley Park School’s journey has led to the development of curriculum content that is more relevant to Māori students, addressing their needs and culture across the school’s curriculum, especially in the language, visual arts, music, and social science programmes. All students develop competency in te reo Māori me ōna tikanga through noho marae and through programmed rotations around classrooms.

What has been the impact of our changes?

Waverley Park School sets out its appraisal policy in a set of guidelines that the school developed in collaboration with Eileen Piggott-Irvine. This collaboration took place at the same time as the school participated in the LPDP and was successful due to the strong alignment between the LPDP’s principles and practices and those advocated by Piggott-Irvine. The appraisal policy embeds the previous appraisal practices in a cyclic appraisal process that is integrated into the school’s professional learning programme.
 

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