Master Planning for a New School

December 2016
Since my last entry we have released our new logo, there are pending changes in the local schooling landscape, and we have had news regarding our property development.
Our new logo features Te Kura Takawaenga o Oraka (Shirley Intermediate School), and our motto - On FIRE for Learning.  
  • The steps on each side represent the Maori poutama - the learning staircase.  These allude to growth and progress throughout our lives.  
  • The dot on each side represents pupils - the focus of our attention. 
  • The central flame captures the positive and aspirational virtues and characteristics often linked to flames - eg. provision for life, enlightenment,  energy source, collaboration (fires operate best with combined  inputs rather than single inputs), and the Olympic ideals of faster, higher, stronger.
  • The circle around the flame shows the vitality and movement of the fire, and inclusiveness - we embrace diversity for the common good.
  • The two shades of blue represent our past (navy blue) and future.
Our uniform providers (Mainland Uniforms) have been working on getting the logo on to our uniforms.  The phase in period will take a couple of years. 
It appears increasingly likely that Banks Avenue School will be getting built on the Shirley Boys High School site after SBHS move away to their new site.  This is an exciting move for SIS and we look forward to the collaborative opportunities that such a move would provide. 
The Ministry of Education have confirmed our $5m funding pool for our building programme, and we have formed a master planning team.  This team will be meeting in early 2017.   We are expecting to have the first draft for the development by the end of term one 2017. 

July 2016

What an exciting time we are in!  Our Facebook page (yes, FB does have some positive uses) gives a good impression of the range of learning activities which are becoming increasingly normal in our school.  

We are in the period of the greatest change in compulsory education ... ever.  That's just my opinion but I think two factors have created this:  Firstly, the move to collaborative teaching is the biggest paradigm shift that those involved in schools have had to get to grips with.   It far exceeds the brief flirtation with open plan classrooms of the 1970s, in terms of theoretical depth behind the observable practice, and in the percentage of schools adopting the essential components this teaching practice.
Secondly, this is all happening in a world which is undergoing an unprecedented pace of change brought about by the digital age.  The parents of our pupils did not experience schooling in a digital age.  The tools which we have at our fingertips today demand a change to our traditional teaching.  We cannot be constrained by the knowledge of a teacher a the front of a classroom.  It would be grossly irresponsible for a teacher to retain the "font of all knowledge" role which might have been theirs some time (long ago!).

The result of both of these factors is that teachers have had to change the way they work with children, and with each other.  They have had to develop new strategies and resources to help children learn in ways that are engaging and which utilise the best of modern technology.

Thankfully, some things remain unchanged:
  1. The "golden rule"* remains a key to developing  children who will grow to become wonderful adults;
  2. The importance of good  relationship between teachers and learners, and between schools, homes and communities;   
  3. The power of linking learning to real life;
  4. The importance of listening to each other;
  5. The absolute necessity for continued and rigourous focus on learning and teaching which makes a difference.  
( *The golden rule: "Do unto others as you would them do unto you" - expressed in a variety of ways in all major religions of the world)  
We're about to enter the master planning phase for a $5 million property development at SIS.  Currently (July 2016) we are practising collaborative teaching  in pairs of classrooms in which we have removed the walls between single classrooms.  This part of a nationwide move toward embracing the benefits of teamwork amongst teachers to improve learning for children.     

We've also rewritten our school vision statement, adjusted our school values, and re-designed our school logo (being released very soon!).

These are indeed exciting times for learning and for Shirley intermediate School. 

Ka kite ano

Geoff