Our Board of Trustees sets the strategic direction for the school. From the end of 2015, and right into this year, there has been significant re visioning (involving parent, student, and staff feedback), which has led to a new school wide vision.
This vision, and the story of our place that supports it, provides the foundation from which our core beliefs can be developed and enhanced by the key principles and practices that example it.
This vision 'revision' has led to a few significant changes, most obvious in terms of teacher practice becoming more collaborative, our curriculum approach given more breadth, and the increase in use of digital technology. These are supported by the Strategic Aims of the school that are set, or confirmed, annually by the board.
Our school opened in the early 60's and since then we had been a very good traditional school, but if we kept on doing what we were doing, there was a danger of this….
“If we teach today’s students as we taught yesterday’s, we rob them the future.” - John Dewey
The world is rapidly changing, and schools are tasked with trying to prepare students for a very uncertain future. The reality is that the “basics” of education are now far more than reading, writing and maths. It now also include things like communication, teamwork, self-management, creativity, and critical thinking far more than the traditional workplace that our schooling system was set up to support. These are reflected in our school’s core beliefs Curiosity, Collaboration and Connection and in the core structure and intent of our flexible learning spaces and our collaborative teaching teams. We have a passionate staff that work hard together to make our curriculum and learning environment one that is relevant and interesting to our children. This is supported exceptionally well by the leadership of the Board of Trustees. We have a school to be proud of and yet we are always working together, and reflecting, to make it better!
The final steps of the journey...
The final editing of the logo image and catchphrase took into account the consultation we have undertaken over the past nine months or so with the different groups of our school community. From parents, to students, to staff, to cultural considerations and to our learning philosophy, we have worked hard to finalise an image and 'catchphrase' that draws elements from all of these perspectives.
From the connection to the very name of our school, to the physical elements that surround our place, and how we are working to frame the learning environment for our children, we believe we have found a strong and powerful image and metaphor that will carry our school strongly into the future.
Our proposed logo draws on a number of elements. The three shapes represent our people, our land, and our place. ‘Our people’ is represented by the swoosh entering the reversed out koru (cooler blue – not yet warmed/changed by the warmer water – the school).
The reversed out koru is composed of ‘our land’ (symbolized by Mt Tauhara in green) and ‘our place’ (symbolized by the scorching waters). Together they form the koru shape – acknowledging the importance of both. The swoosh entering the koru also symbolizes the pathway.
The three shapes also link ‘loosely’ with the Maori proverb:
He aha te mea nui o te ao - What is the most important thing in the world?
He tangata, he tangata, he tangata - It is the people, it is the people, it is the people
The name of our school is closely associated with the name of our local area, and needs to be representative of both this and of the carving that stands beside our actual school sign. By giving respect to these elements through the use of the correct name - ‘Waipāhīhī-a-Tia’ - we again acknowledge the connection to our place, our people and our land. Our name translate to ‘the place of scorching waters’ and along with the carving standing beside it acknowledges Tia, who has both a prominent place in the whakapapa of our whole area, and in the korero of our school (as he was gifted to the school by a whanau to symbolise the kaitiaki or guardianship that the school had provided for their children/grandchildren).
In coming up with the finalised 'catchphrase', we wanted to strongly link the imagery that our school name means around 'scorching water' and the learning that takes place at Waipāhīhī. “Immersed in Learning” is a broad statement to represent the ‘bigger picture’. “Immersed” means involving oneself deeply in a particular activity. In this case, the activity is learning and it’s deep learning. Surface retention of facts and figures that are rote learned in formal transitional learning environments are not enough anymore. To be successful in this century we need to know how to take some knowledge, connect it to new ideas and to take it deeper.
'Immersed in Learning' ties in nicely with our core learning beliefs (Curiosity, Collaboration & Connection) that are then exampled through our key principles and practices that underpin our teaching and learning philosophy.
Change, Innovation and disruption...
Earlier this week I was fortunate enough to attend a symposium in Christchurch that was looking at the exponential change we are all facing in our lifetime, both personally and professionally, in whatever industry we work in.
The three big questions that we were left to ponder over the three days was:
1. What industry am I really in?
2. What industry will my disruption come from?
3. What jobs will humans always be better at than technology?
Then below, shows how it's hard to see the upcoming curve when standing on the precipice - just before exponential growth kicks off!
Check out the gallery below for some snapshots of some of the key messages that were delivered over the course of this mind blowing event..
Some feedback from Craig (the graphic designer)
I’ve really enjoyed reading through the comments expressed here. They’re greatly appreciated. What they show is a community that cares deeply about its school. I just wanted to address some of the concerns above to help clarify a little bit more as to why certain decisions were made regarding the logo concept. Ultimately, this is just one logo concept among many but I feel it is a very strong concept and worthy of consideration.
First, I’d like to talk about school logos and what they represent. A school logo should represent (literally, symbolically or metaphorically) something unique about a school that sets it apart from other schools. Beliefs, values, people, geographic location, heritage, and a school’s culture combine to create unique school environments. Schools emphasise certain characteristics over others and a school logo is a reflection of these characteristics.
Second, a common misconception about logos is that they should be able to stand on their own and clearly identify the brand they represent. While this can be true, for many this isn’t the case. The logo symbol might be abstract in nature and, over time, the public connecting the logo symbol with the brand grows as result of marketing the brand. That recognition between the logo symbol and brand can become so powerful that many brands only use the logo symbol without the brand name. There are many examples of companies that do this.
Importantly, a school logo should not be everything to everyone. It should stand for something that is fundamentally important to a school.
Regarding the slogan or tagline “Learning at Play”, this reinforces Waipahihi School’s distinct point of difference. In the very first paragraph of the Ministry of Education NZ Curriculum Brochure (Purpose and Scope) they define its principal function “…is to set the direction for student learning and to provide guidance for schools as they design and review their curriculum.” (my bolding). The New Zealand curriculum guides schools as they embark on a journey to define and design what learning looks like as part of their school curriculum (vision, values, key competencies, learning areas and principles). The result of this journey is a classroom curriculum that is the outward expression of the school curriculum design at each level of a child’s learning.
“Play” at Waipahihi School is an active and dynamic learning tool within the context of their classroom curriculum at all learning levels. This I felt was the key point of difference from other schools and hence the reason for the focus. It isn’t to say that other learning methods aren’t used. This is simply highlighting a key point of difference.
To add to this, a slogan should express a school’s USP (Unique Selling School Proposition or Point). It should address the question “What can I expect child if I send my child to Waipahihi School?” If “Play” is the central method used for learning (at all ages) then, rather than shying away from this key differentiating learning methodology (as defined by the Waipahihi Schoool Curriculum), embrace the difference and change perceptions so as to educate the broader community in understanding what “play” truly is in a modern school learning environment.
The word “play” used in conjunction with “at” rather than “with” enables the double meaning. If it were “with” it would be more "preschool sounding" and much less dynamic. “At” implies action – learning is happening now (at play). In this context the school is not talking about the action of “play” as the vehicle for learning, Waipahihi is saying “We’re an active dynamic learning environment NOW.” If “at” was replaced with “with” that very important meaning would be lost.
Waipahihi School is a school with a strong environmental focus. Some of the concerns around this important aspect were going to be addressed through the values branding. I show how this looks a little bit with, what I call, the Learning Ethos Models http://www.schoolbrandingmatters.co.nz/portfolio/learning-models/ They provide for parents a fuller picture of a school’s beliefs – vision, mission, and values and how these relate to each other. Included at this stage can be the information about Waipahihi School’s environmental education. These environmental aspects can be promoted further through the design of a PB4L/Values logo http://www.schoolbrandingmatters.co.nz/portfolio/pb4l-values-branding/ and associated graphics (flags, banners, posters etc http://www.schoolbrandingmatters.co.nz/portfolio/flags-banners/ ).
To that end, it’s important to remember that the logo is not the end of the graphic identity process. It is just the beginning. The logo is supported by content and graphics to help reinforce, define, and communicate what the Waiphihi School learning environment looks like.
I hope this helps address some of the concerns. That it is provocative and encourages the community to be curious is a good thing. And I felt that Waipahihi School required a solution that was very provocative (in a positive way) as a result of its unique, modern, risky, out of box, learning approach.
I wish you all a very merry Christmas,
Craig Burton (SBM Graphic Design Consultancy) was invited to our school to help us craft a compelling brand story around our school's unique character and cultural narrative. For a year we have been reviewing how we 'do' learning at Waipahihi and what it looks like across our school. We want to encapsulate the wide range of initiatives and passions that enable learning at our school and represent them in a conceptual way that both challenges, and inspires, all our stakeholders in what we do with learning at Waipahihi School.
Over the day he was here Craig gained insight and perspective from the conversations and observations he made, or had. While here Craig walked through our learning spaces, he spent an hour or so with the team leaders and senior leadership and then spent that after school time with the staff, adding further detail to the picture he was beginning to assimilate. He commented that the buzz around our school, both in our learning spaces and in the way the conversations described what learning looked like, put us in a place that he wanted to encapsulate in an 'edgy' way. Hence, he spent a week looking at the 'brain swarm' of ideas that he took away from his day here, drafting and redrafting the 'back story' of what he felt we were talking about, and, attempting to do. He then considered the many features of our place, our environment, and the features of what has been prominent in our learning 'story' to date. He attempted to draft an image, a brand, that gave voice to what makes our school, our place, unique.
The draft logo and 'catchphrase' proposal...
The Learning Story that supports it... Craig's draft...
At the heart of Waipahihi School’s learning approach is “PLAY”. - (the verb!)
PLAY is the driving force behind students DISCOVERING new ways to make sense of their world. It is COLLABORATIVE and CREATIVE. When students learn this way they become more CURIOUS about their world and this builds in them a sense of WONDER!
Just as TIA went on a journey and discovered Lake Taupo, students also go on a journey of discovery at Waipahihi School.
The logo is based on a stylised “PLAY” button icon which is a modern icon. The play button comprises of two koru shapes representing two figures - teacher and student, parent and child, or teacher and parent. It is a caring nurturing relationship where the two explore learning TOGETHER.
The PLAY button and swirl pattern shapes are inspired by the patterns on Tia’s head. The circle is symbolic of Lake Taupo while the red to blue blend is associated with the translation of “Waipahihi” which is “Scorching Water”. The colours also represent warmth (Waipahihi is a caring warm place) and energy (Waipahihi is a dynamic learning environment).
Waipahihi School is a creative pool of learning where students have the potential to explore endless possibilities. Just like the ripples on Lake Taupo that move and change, learning at Waipahihi School is
dynamic and adapts to the changing currents in the education world. The swirls and korus represent
the birth and rebirth of new creative ideas.
Overall the logo is dynamic with a sense of vitality and life about it. It is also playful with a strong cultural feel.
The Tagline “LEARNING AT PLAY”
The tagline is a “play” on words - a double entendre. It describes the Waipahihi School learning environment as a whole - Learning is happening (at play) here at Waipahihi! It also describes “PLAY” as the mechanism for learning - Waipahihi students are learning best while they are playing!
So, remember, it's not the noun 'play' but the verb 'play' that is important when looking at the catchphrase that he has drafted. Ask yourself, what learning is being provoked in my child/rens learning area and how would you talk about it?
Read the 'backstory' again that supports the different elements and colours that he has attempted to draw on to give life to our schools uniqueness. Consider our geographical uniqueness, the way we collaborate, the way we talk about learning within a creative, responsive curriculum across all levels of our school. We are not one element, or initiative, or passion, or interest, or project but the sum of them all.
Every school logo Craig creates is a unique one off design. He trys to include rich layers of symbolism and meaning so that when staff, students and parents look at the logo they can understand why it looks the way it looks. To that end a logo can help in putting all stakeholders on the same page. The school community plays an important role, as part of the collaborative process, in the final look of their school logo. It is your logo, representing our school, to our community.
Your feedback, via the comment section below, is welcome and wanted!
In an effective reporting process, the Ministry of Education states that information sharing is guided by the following:
1. Ako - describing and exampling the teaching and learning relationship in everyday examples.
2. Focus and coverage across the curriculum to give real learning context to progress and achievement.
3. Foundations for learning - Information shared is clear about a students understanding and skills.
4. Student responsibility - Reporting involves and benefits student's by exampling the process of progress and achievement from both the teacher and the student.
5. Motivation - Information is deliberately designed to enhance student, parent and whānau motivation and engagement.
6. Using Technology to engage and support and engage students' further learning.
Using Seesaw gives us a process that gives respect to these guiding principles and best examples the learning progress and achievement for each student across the curriculum. It demonstrates, in real time, learning that can't be summed up on a piece of paper. These journal entries will contain both picture and written content that is crafted by your child's teacher or teachers from within their learning group.
A typical 2016 End of Year Report post will include the following:
The Report posts will form part of your child's timeline from the end of October until the end of the year. These will be shared with you via your child's seesaw account which has been set to be private to you and your child. All supporting comments in any journal entry will provide the specific curriculum context that enriches the skills being displayed, and will demonstrate progress and achievement towards the appropriate Curriculum Level expectation which form the basis for the National Standards statements.
If you have any questions about this process please approach your child's homeroom, teaching team, team leader, or any member of the senior leadership team.
Over the past year our school has been reviewing and developing how we do learning around here and how that uniqueness is represented in a vision, or a brand. Earlier in the year this process has involved Staff, Friends of the School, Whanau Hui, and the Board. We are now working with Craig Burton, from School Branding Matters, to bring these words and images to life. We want this work represented in a strong image and story that gives life, and represents, what we do. Below are some of the words and image ideas that Craig gleaned from a day at our school and the discussion that involved. Please feel free to comment on any headings and specific words that you feel really resonate with you and your children!
Words That Describe Our Difference
A School with Spark! Give it a go! Living on the Edge Spontaneous Risk Takers Questioning Non Traditional Progressive in Thinking Living (not just referring to) our Beliefs Thinking Outside of the Box Forward Thinking
Words That Describe Our Learning Approach
Exploring Curiosity Dreaming Wondering Discovery Journeying Channeling Imagination Creativity Fluidity Playful
Words That Describe Our Nature
Resilient Inclusive Collaborative Proud (of ourselves and our environment) Strong Mindful Skillful Respectful Engaged Content (Happy with ourselves) Globally Intelligent Environmentally Aware & Engaged Individually Unique Leaders Overcomers Whole Driven Intuitive Multi-Talented Connected Centred Self Directed Student Led Active Enjoying
Words That Describe Our Personality
Warm Welcoming Friendly Passionate Down to Earth Happy Fun Nurturing Secure Focused Sharing Caring Supportive Energetic Family Focused Enthusiastic Accepting
Lake, Water (or Maori Symbols representing these)
Pathway showing discovery and journey
Hihi – Ray of sun
Pahihi – Passage
Native Birds, Ferns, Trees, Animals
Greens, Blues (Lake and Mountain)
Water Not Mountains (Blue)
White Sparkles representing children (curiosities and innovations)
Koru representing water (values)
Reflect children and their curiosity
Tia – Perseverance (own path), Guardian, Mascot
Lake as a Heart and Gateway for Learning
Stream of Discovery
Connection with the land (He Manu Whenua) – Gateway
Lake in the heart of Te ika Maui
Cloak of Tia
The overriding opinion for the logo seems to be around some type of water related logo, the stream and lake.
Life is made up of the discovery, or not, of the talents we have. Our changed teaching structure for 2017 is about taking the best of what we have happening across our school and infusing it across all the different ages and stages we have, together, as a team.
Our key initiatives, around teacher and student collaboration, developing a whole connected curriculum approach (seven learning areas), effective and creative use of digital tools, all contribute to creating the atmosphere for intentional and targeted professional practice.
The ability to teach as a general practitioner across the different ages and stages of primary school is not seeing oneself as a 'knower' but a learner. Knowledge is not about what you know, but what you don't know and being prepared to say I'm going to find out. This is key for life - whether you are a student learner, or a teacher learner.
These are just a couple of key points (which I have used to example our context) that are highlighted in the video below from Ken Robinson (British author, speaker and international adviser on education). If you have ten minutes it's an interesting quick view!
I am readily available for any chat that you would like to have around what our school is up to and how we are structuring ourselves to get there. A quick email to make a time, or a request before or after school is all it takes. Never forget that there is a lot of thought, reflection and 'what ifs' considered with all school operation and planning. As a parent with two boys here myself, change is not done for changes sake!
Looking ahead to 2017
2017 School Funding Changes - How does it all work?
With the information (based on July 1 student numbers and predictions) being received from the Ministry of Education arrives the time to begin the planning process for the next year. Every child in zone comes with three elements of funding. They are: dollars; staffing; & classroom space. Out of zone children come with two of three elements - dollars & staffing. Hence maintaining our student roll for the actual footprint (classroom space) we have is a balancing act. By not taking in large numbers of out of zone families we maintain acceptable class sizes that fit into the space we have. The flip side of this is that you can't always have your cake and eat it too. By maintaining our school roll around 500 students the predicted number of students we will have for the next year ends up lowering operational and staffing funding. At the same time the government is again not even adjusting public school operational funding for inflation.
What does this mean for 2017?
We therefore have to plan for a new year, with the fixed elements of running a school (eg heat, light, water, cleaning, support services etc) slowly increasing in cost, with the same amount of money. We also have to staff our school in 2017 on a predicted roll that has reduced our staffing by just over one and half teachers. That's one full-time teacher and some part time hours (which are used to support the full-time teachers through learning support, release time etc). Some of this change can be absorbed through natural attrition (ie individuals own choice) and some change means an employment process has to be completed. For our school, this has resulted in the following. Kim Colebrook (R19) has decided to follow a different job direction in 2017 and won't be returning. Following Kim's decision the school had three positions that we could maintain for the beginning of the 2017 school year with five current fixed term teachers who were interested in applying. Following the process completed with the five internal applicants (Jodie Appleton, Ian McCabe - NE team; Mel Lee - R14; Jen Maloney, Jo Dundas - R17&18) three successful applicants were confirmed (Jodie, Ian, Jen). Mel and Jo, unfortunately, were unable to be retained within the 2017 staffing restraints. This was a difficult decision to make as all applicants bring different strengths to our team and all are valued and invested in by us as a wider team and school.
Staffing changes for 2017 also include the return of Chanelle Wootten from extended parental leave to a classroom teaching job and Kristin Mason who returns from a years leave to the position of Deputy Principal alongside Judy Nepia, while Sarah Sherriff returns to a team leader's position.
What does this mean for the strategic direction of our school?
With staff returning from leave and teaching positions confirmed the leadership team then spent considerable time looking at the teaching and learning environment our school is developing and the strengths and development needs of our staff.
This development is are centred around our four key initiatives that drive the professional learning and development of our school:
So what is the teaching structure for 2017?
With all that whole school development in mind the leadership team (senior leadership and team leaders) looked across our team and planned out what structure could take our school to the next level and share and grow the innovation that is apparent across our teaching teams. We wanted a structure that was professionally rewarding to our teaching staff, while at the same time being personally challenging.
The team leaders themselves proposed their own challenge of where to teach and lead. With this 'leading by example' we confirmed the following structure for 2017. This was presented to staff at the end of last term.
New Entrant Teaching Team
Team Leader: Beth Wills teaching with: Jane Lowe, Fiona Griffin
Junior School Teaching Team (Year 1&2)
Team Leader: Jeff Diack
Teaching Teams and partnerships for this level are:
Jeff Diack & Susan Palmer (2); Deb Garrett, Jodie Appleton & Kylie Parkes (3)
Middle School Teaching Team Year 3&4
Team Leader: Amanda Wilson
Teaching Teams and partnerships for this level are:
Amanda Wilson & Lisa Birchenough (2); Kim Stevens & Jeni Shekell (2); Hilary Sutton & Ian McCabe (2)
Senior School Teaching Team Year 5&6
Team Leader: Sarah Sherriff
Teaching Teams and partnerships for this level are:
Sarah Sherriff & Holly Morrell (2); Jen Maloney & Kylie Barbour (2); Pam Kerr & Chanelle Wootton (2)
Obviously the overall class level year structure (eg Y3&4 etc) listed above may adjust as numbers, names and needs of children are sorted for final class lists. This is a process that takes some considerable time over the next several weeks. However, whatever the final iteration of that is, the main overall theme is that teachers are changing levels as we look to strategically grow and challenge our team as a whole.
As this short, yet intensely busy, term comes to a close and you are faced with your children invading your time and space with the impending term break it is timely to reflect on the opportunity this gives you to compliment what school is for your child.
Children spend more time out of school than in it. As parents, and as families, we have a major influence on our child's achievement in school. When schools, parents, and families work together in the right ways, there are all kinds of benefits for everyone involved. Yet, this benefit looks different for every child and every family. Some of the considerations for you to ponder over the term break around this are detailed below.
See the individual...
All children are unique. They may be similar to some of their relatives, but, in most respects they are most like themselves, with their own temperaments, interests, talents and dispositions. We can help our children by treating them as individuals and by not assuming that they should follow the same paths or be judged against the same criteria in school.
Our children are always sending signals about who they are and it is critical for us as parents and teachers to be vigilant and to pay attention. Treating them as the individual they are helps them not struggle in school.
Life is not linear...
One of the perils of standardised education is the idea that one size fits all and life is linear. The truth is that our education system is not standardised. The New Zealand Curriculum Framework is that - a framework! It gives equal weight to developing values and key competencies for life within the context provided within eight learning areas. This broad and contextually relevant learning expectation means that we cannot and should not assume that the sort of education we may have had will inevitably be right for them. We may assume that some subjects will necessarily be more useful than others for finding a career. As the world continues to change, that may simply not be true. The best you can do is help your children develop in their different ways the general competencies needed for life and to identify the personal talents and interests that engage them most. They will create and live their own lives, as we have all done. Care as we must and try as we will, we cannot do that for them.
- inspired from the chapter 'Bring It All Back Home' Chapter 9, 'Creative Schools' by Sir Ken Robinson
Spa Park Success
Our Cross Country on Tuesday was an outstanding day. It was a real example of a parent and school community coming together for a competitive event that encouraged enthusiastic participation from all those involved! From Matua Mel running all day long in his tutu, Ms Griffin's awesome organising with the support of the whole staff, to Jude Messenger's (with helpers) sterling effort on the microphone, it all came together to make one of our first whole school events a great success.
Days like this are how we build community, and bring community together. The atmosphere this event had was something to celebrate - along with the great coffee from 'Steaming Bean' and the sausage sizzle organised by Manu Kotui (Rooms 17&18).
We look forward to connecting with you in the next school sporting event in Term 4 which will be the school swimming sports at AC Baths.