Schools have changed a lot since I attended one as a student, all those years ago. Even in
my time as Principal of Kaipara College, there has been significant change at both local and national levels to education. There is no hiding from the fact that change is hard. It is unsettling, and some cope better than others. What hasn’t changed though, is the core purpose of schools. Schools are still charged with ensuring all students achieve their academic potential. Academic potential means different things for us all, but a school’s job is to ensure that each person leaves with the ability to contribute positively to society.
Academic achievement should be the focus for all teenagers at school, after all, that is their current ‘job’. Increasingly important to ensuring students reach their potential though, is the holistic education that schools offer. To ensure our young people can meet their potential, schools are tasked with the responsibility of caring and protecting their students, who often have personal circumstances that spill into the school arena. We deal with each of these on a case by case basis with the child being placed at the centre of decisions.
Kaipara College is greatly supported by various staff and community groups to ensure we provide a complete wraparound support service. Having access to counsellors, GP’s, social workers, youth workers, and various government agencies makes the school a safe place for all students. The level of community involvement in Kaipara College is one we should all be proud of, and one that is leading the way within the constraints of an outdated education system as a whole. This does provide challenges of course, but the benefit to our students far outweighs these. Due to the amazing community support, it is clear that students of Kaipara College are very well placed, should they choose to, to achieve their potential.
Alongside academic achievement, schools play a very special part in the community involving many people in sport, music and cultural pursuits. Representing one’s school builds pride in the individual, as well as the school, and the community. There have been numerous school events recently that our community can be proud of, be it Waka Ama, Equestrian or Bowls with sport, Band Factory with Music, or the success of our Visual Arts students. The recent Careers seminars, the upcoming Nathan Wallce events, and our Kapa Haka roopu performing at Polyfest will sure to be crowd pleasers in the next month. School is more than academic success.
Secondary school is tough for many young people. As a result, they do not always make the right decisions, bringing themselves, their school and their whanau disappointment, embarrassment and sometimes shame. What is great about school now though, is that we strive to support our young people to be better people when they leave. We wrap around our young people, their whanau and provide them with assistance to navigate the teenage years. Teenage years are hard. Change is hard and our school is here to support our young people to achieve their best and then go off and change the world for the better.