Tēnā koutou katoa
I do hope you are all managing well in your respective bubbles. We certainly didn’t imagine at our previous board meeting, that we would be having our next meeting on Zoom! Not surprisingly the focus of our board meeting was an update on the Covid situation and ensuring that our school systems were functioning to support online learning and the wellbeing of our staff and students. It was good to get reports from Mr Congdon, our Staff representative, Mrs Johnson, and our Student representative, Misipeka Ana, reflecting on how learning during lockdown was going from their perspectives. As a Board we are very grateful for the hours our staff have expended in transitioning back to online teaching and the efforts of the Senior Leadership Team in ensuring all our students have devices. We realise how unsettling such times are for our whānau and the many and varied experiences households will have under lockdown. We do appreciate your support of your young people’s learning at home. The Board will continue to follow Ministry of Education advice regarding health and wellbeing as we transition students back to school when levels allow.
Because of lockdown, our usual subcommittee reports were not available. Nevertheless we continue to monitor health and safety, finance and property and will make adjustments as work in these areas is able to start again. We did discuss the Principal’s report which documents progress in relation to our annual goals and so it was pleasing to see progress is being made in all areas. Tracking of our students is continuing as they do their learning from home. The current government has decided to start external NCEA exams two weeks later so we are hoping this takes some pressure off our students.
At the last meeting we also agreed to joining with other schools in the Horowhenua Kāhui Ako (Community of Learning) to be part of the Manaiakalani programme. Manaiakalani was established by a group of 13 schools in Auckland with the aim of ensure all students had the opportunity to access digital technologies and exciting ways of learning these afforded. The programme now extends to multiple schools across the country and is based on a “learn (ako), create (hanga), share (tohatoha)” philosophy where learning successes are celebrated and shared across participating schools and communities. Joining the Manaiakalani group of schools would enable Horowhenua College to access professional development, resources and a wider network of knowledge, and to share our learnings as a College with other schools too. As part of accessing Manaiakalani our whole Horowhenua Kāhui Ako will have access to research and data collected by the Woolf Fisher Research Centre who will assist our group of schools in tracing learning achievement and progress.
The school will continue to keep you informed as levels change, and our hope is soon we will be back to face to face teaching. Wishing you and your whanau good health.
Horowhenua College Board Chair