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The benefits of connecting with the community

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Duration: 4:8

Principal, Dave McShane, teacher Susan Lee, and kaumatua from Te Kura o Kutarere discuss how technologies have helped to engage the local community to support and share students learning.

Part of the ability of turning a school around has been to been to get on board all the community members themselves.

As with the maraes, the school is also the central part of the community.

Because of the sharing in the community, learning opportunities are coming our way regularly. Today we had Apirana Taylor visit – that’s as a result of the e-learning project and the work that the kids have been doing with their literacy.

We have a website, you can get to us through there. Email, you can come through there, Facebook even. Just all those kinds of things connect the community.

Of the families that have access to the Internet and are able to go on and look at the kids’ stories we’ve had nothing but positive feedback about that. The same kind of excitement that’s been generated here at school is out there in our community.

I’ve got three mokopuna that come to this school and I’ve seen at home they just want to be on the computer and they’re doing lots of stuff like that. They tell me about the e-learning and this kind of stuff and the exciting things that they’re doing at school.

We have hapū support, with our three maraes. We have our kaumātua that come up to the school.

When I first came up here and saw them I got a fright. To see them all buzzing around and helping one another. It’s like this, it’s like that, and you know.

The community is right there, right behind the school.

I think it’s important to help our mokopuna and what have you.

Weekly we’re able to go on to the website and show the school the new things that are up there.

My grandchildren are always asking me you need to go on here, have a look at this, have a look at that and they’re showing me these things so that’s pretty exciting.

They talk about the science and computers they use. I suppose there’s that era now. It’s exciting to hear them.

When we’ve had visitors here and they’ve performed kapa haka – that’s been made into a movie. Storybird stories have been made into movies and they love that sharing.

The are really aware that I am right behind everything that they do and that the school do - so that just encourages them to do, you know, that little bit more. To make themselves proud as well as make me proud.

Some of our students who have families overseas, for example, one boy who has family in Australia gets them to regularly check the website to look for his work and look at what we’re doing at Te Kura o Kutarere. And other children who have aunties and uncles and cousins in different towns have liked being able to give them the website address too.

I believe that Māori children achieve when they know who they are. I think the way we probably measure success in English and success in Māori are two different things. With the e-learning I probably hook into the kura kaupapa around the country and they can actually get that interaction with other kura kaupapa to further their learning.

It’s just a matter of constantly finding out about other things that are on offer, other websites that we can use and letting the kids go for it.

I don’t think you’ll have much trouble because it’s every day, it’s in their house, it’s at school, any job you want to go to they ask you computer skills. It doesn’t matter what the job, even to count sheep. Well I’d say these tools whatever they’ve got it’s there. They have a bright future but they’ve got to grab it.

Tags: Primary, Community engagement, MASAM, Māori