Waimea College is a fortunate mix of urban and rural environments. This means that the students all 1600 plus (year 9 to 13) are not overly street savvy with heavy school bags of attitude or too grounded with the mass inertia of heavy machines that is resistant to change. The students have a uniform to wear except in physical education classes where they exercise 🙂 their right to choose appropriate attire for movement.
The school environment is an open one. Fences, gates and solid boundaries are not evident. The school prides itself on its gardens, fields and spacious feel. We have only one double story building with no surrounding structures to block the view. A decile 8 school that sits next to a large intermediate and primary school. We share fields and the swimming pool.
The school is organized into departments overseen by individuals in the management team. The traditional organizational structure of a Principal, Deputies, Heads of departments, teachers and support staff is present at Waimea. Our schools intent and culture is highlighted by the following statements.
These are lofty aspirations that propose an intent for our college. It is the theory if you like behind the “Waimea Way” which is our practice or Stoll’s (1998) cultural glue that binds our actions and empowers our students. We have an affluent community here in Nelson.
Our community is made up of a diversity of socioeconomic status (SES) which have been shown to influence the educational outcomes of students (American Psychological Association, 2016). The lower SES of some family environments highlight the important role of the teacher to lift educational and life expectations of the students and minimize the barriers to achievement where possible. The health enhancing process to do this is to build on positive relationships in the classroom and promote opportunities for growth with high expectations to succeed (Garguiulo, 2014). It is the authoritarian view of the school (Thrupp, 2006) that can be minimized through better communication with lower SES families as is the case at Hope Primary School where I’m on the BoT.The focus of a Learning Partnership instead of a parent-teacher meeting resulted in higher rates of parent participation. The student being present at the meeting also affirmed their role as an active participant in their education. This engagement of all parties minimized the deficits of SES shown on page 5(Gargiulo, 2006).
A third of all our leavers head to tertiary education so the importance of different pathways to suit a range of needs is necessary. The provision of a trades academy like Manurewa High School (Ministry of Education 2013) has added value to our school and created a positive pathway for the less academic students.
The professional environment of our school is one of adaption. We are undergoing a curriculum review where new split senior & junior timetables and enrichment options for next year are being developed. The staff professional development has centered around “Bring your Own Device” (BYOD) plus the new entry into a Community of Learning (CoL). I was fortunate to present to management on the 9th of September and suggest ways to improve the professional development at Waimea. This opportunity came about as my literature review was proof read by our specialized-teacher who recommended it to the principal. Our professional development climate is one of growth (Dweck, 2006).
Dweck, C. (2006). mindset: the new psychology of success. new york: random house
Thrupp, M. (2006). Improving the schooling of NZ’s poorest children: policy & community challenges.