Title slide: Connecting with the community
Gary Roberts, Principal, Hornby Primary School, Christchurch, facing camera
If you ever have the opportunity to participate in someone's, sort of like, their backyard – it could be at church, it could be in sporting, or it could be, you know, when you invite parents to school over food, song, dance, whatever. So if you ever have an opportunity to engage Pacific families in their own setting you'll get great value out of it.
As a school, we put ourselves to the community to express our desire to be the school for the community. And to make that work we need to understand the community, and it means we've got to keep upskilling ourselves with what the community is and what makes them tick, you know, what they’re made up of and what they need to know and need to learn and what some of the trends that might be going through the community are.
It's a matter of having people who are in the community when we get an opportunity to appoint somebody. Certainly, it's advantageous to appoint people who know the community, whether they’re living in the community, whether they’re parents in the community, whether they’re former students. So it's a matter of putting together, you know, an overall strategy where you value the community and what opportunities you've got to ask the community, to engage the community, to work in with local church groups perhaps or local sports groups.
Children in the playground
It's a matter of being connected with the community and having your finger on the pulse of what's happening in the community, so that we can make sure that we work with them providing programmes, providing support, sharing what they need to know because we are that hub in the community. We’re that non-denominational hub where we facilitate learning opportunities that are meaningful, that are future-focused, that are inspirational.
Phil Muir, Principal, Northcote Intermediate, Auckland, facing camera
We need to know what the community wants. We need to know what the community is, how they're changing if they're changing so that we can respond to that appropriately. To be relevant and meaningful to the future of this country, we need to be relevant and meaningful to our community that we serve.
Today’s a good example of a project, for want of a better word, where we have a range of organisations coming together at the school to let students learn about themselves. Today's project is centred around... it came about with the Pacific Assist Trust, where we made a connection. They provide furniture, they take surplus furniture and send it to schools up in the Pacific Islands. So we went through that stage a couple of weeks ago where we had some surplus furniture that we weren’t going to use and wasn't going to be used for the foreseeable future. We knew there were people out there that would benefit from it.
So we're linking a range of organisations together across the community, presenting to students what it's all about, so they’re learning about what a project can look like to make a big change to a person or to a community of people, and then they’re part of it.