Making a year's progress


What the data showed

The kids were making progress but not the progress we were hoping for. On average they were making 0.72 of a year's progress in a year at school. We would hope that kids would make a year’s progress in a year at school. And it wasn’t that the teachers weren’t trying. 

Māori in mainstream

We didn’t have the tools, the assessment tools. We didn’t have the individual programmes that suited the needs of the students and we didn’t have the programmes that were proven to work with Māori kids in mainstream. So we looked at what programmes would suit our needs and we ran with HPP, Hei Awhiawhi Tamariki ki te Panui Pukapuka, which is an an oral language programme which prepares students to begin the reading process. We included PPP (Pause, Prompt, Praise), which had been well researched, and TARP (Tape Assisted Reading Programme). All of which had been proven to work well with Māori in mainstream.

Train reading tutors

We decided to redefine the roles of the teacher aides. If they're here, let's train them so they are going to help the students improve their achievement levels. We had three teacher aides in the school in 2001 doing the photocopying, making the paints, etc. That doesn’t result in improved student learning. They were taught tutoring procedures and they were trained to do the pre- and post-testing.

So that meant, for the classroom teacher, someone else did the pre- and post-test, and then we wrote a report. And, from that an individual letter is written home to the parents saying, “Johnny has gone from here to here. Please celebrate the success.”

We’re not into deficit theorising and saying, “Well, you’re 13 years old and you’re reading at 9. We’re still behind the 8 ball.” Hey, we’ve made a year’s gain! Let’s really celebrate it. That’s really significant given your historical rate of improvement.

Confident students

We’re a decile 1 school and the parents in our school want their kids to be as successful as the parents in a decile 10 school do. They love them to death. They want the best for them.

I think our kids feel pretty good about themselves now. They know they can read and read with success. That’s probably the greatest thing. They’re confident.They’re enjoying and doing better in the other areas.

Healthy students

We’re looking at targets and goals for this year including introducing healthy lunches. So, we cut out all junk food in the school. That means they can’t purchase junk food through the school.

Then we looked at our PE programme. We were concerned about a number of inactive and obese students. We selected a group of 10 students and three times a week they go down to a local gymnasium here. They’re not going there to build big muscles. That’s not the point of it. It’s to get them too enjoy and feel comfortable about being active. And hopefully that will result in, as they become more active, losing weight, taking part in team sports or individual sports etc. ‘Cos at the moment they’re not.

Recognition for hard work

Winning the MultiServe award in October of 2003 was probably the best PD you could have had for the staff because it made everyone think they were making a difference, a positive difference, for our kids and others are recognising it. That we are doing things well. Yes, we can do them better but it’s nice I think, it’s nice to get a pat on the back and some recognition that you’re hard work is appreciated.

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