Friday, March 4, 2016

Learning From the Journey of Other Schools

I'm sitting on a plane flying back to Christchurch, after three busy, tiring, exhausting yet inspiring and exhilarating days.

I think we've all learnt, been challenged and been affirmed at different times over the last three days. We've been simultaneously scared by the journey ahead but at the same time excited by the immense privilege and trust placed in us by our eBOT to develop Haeata Community Campus over this year so that it is indeed a superb place of being and learning for the young people who choose to be on this journey with us from next year. 

In these few days we've visited secondary, primary, senior secondary schools and a school with special designated character.

The thing that stood out the most was the manaakitanga shown by all schools. The way they made us feel welcome and the way they all encouraged us to have continuing and ongoing further dialogue with them. That it's not a one-off but the start of an ongoing relationship we have begun with each of them. The willingness with which they all shared their journeys- both the successes and the pitfalls was inspiring and we can only endeavour to repeat the same for people who come to visit us and learn from our journey in the future.

All schools are different, all are designed to meet the specific needs of a specific community. I guess one of the things that struck us was the deliberateness with which decisions-not just about learning, but about everything in a school are made. I know new schools have a lot of advantage and privilege in the decisions they make and the practices they develop, but it is also demanding and hard work. The deliberateness of decisions around learning linking back to core vales and principles of each learning community struck us in all the schools we visited.

What's happening out in edu-land at the moment can be truly invigorating. There is brave courageous unwavering work being done by unrelenting tireless advocates for improving the learning landscape for all young people. We've met a few of the brave and courageous people out there breaking down barriers and inspiring learning in some imaginative, different and innovative ways this week. It can be lonely work. It's definitely hard work. It can be polarising work and it's very nature often attracts criticism and detractors. But, oh the satisfactions and rewards as well.  I know for me personally, the opportunity to be helping to develop a new school for the second time in my professional journey is an immense privilege. I am looking forward to seeing what we develop together as a team, even more after what we've seen in the last few days.

Thanks to Hobsonville Point Secondary, Hobsonville Point Primary, Stonefields, Albany Senior High School and Kia Aroha College. You all shared your stories so willingly with us. And you gave up so much time to be with us, to talk with us and to discuss with us.
We appreciate it. 

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