Home' Auckland City Harbour News : January 23rd 2013 Contents www.aucklandcityharbournews.co.nz
AUCKLAND CITY HARBOUR NEWS, JANUARY 23, 2013
Free composting workshop near you:
Herne Bay -- Saturday 9 February 2013
Imagine a society
living off scraps.
Attend a free local workshop.
With 3-hour workshops all over Auckland it's
easy to find one in your area. Learn which
system is right for you -- bokashi, worm farm
or compost. On completion, you receive a $46
subsidy on a composting system. Enrol today.
Composting turns waste into food.
Food and garden waste is best returned
to the soil as compost. So learn how to
turn your waste into nutritious compost
and in three months your family could
be enjoying the results.
Book online at www.kaipatiki.org.nz or phone 09 482 1172
A lesson worth learning for schools
Sadly, it s too easy to equate the
nation s schools with deep problems
-- as a place which can t even get its
sums right on pay day, where play-
ground strife always gets high
headlines, which seems to produce
the community s dropouts and
crims, where unthinking parents
play no part and don t even give
their trouble-making hoodlums
school lunch, much less breakfast.
New education is up and running.
So are the kids. Literally anxious
to start each day, with new com-
puter equipment, new ideas, new
It s epitomised at Pt England
School, now the hub of a cluster of
nine Tamaki district schools -- two
more to join later this year -- where
the new education is up and doing --
and winning, harnessing the digital
Two quotes give a strong guide to
the thinking and the product.
When curious business leaders
visit, hopefully with a chequebook
in their pocket, they are told: We
are training your key staff for the
future -- not caretakers or cleaners.
These are the computer wizards,
planners, engineers and accoun-
tants who will staff and build your
This seems an unlikely target for
a group of low decile, Maori and
Pasifika suburbs. But they mean it,
believe me. The other quote,
colourfully and eloquently tells the
story of growing success.
A league coach complained to
principal Russell Burt that he
couldn t get on with lunchtime
training because too many of the
team were in the library -- reading
A hint that they might not necess-
arily make some future Warriors
team but could end with a first class
degree and a future.
I m taken back decades to a Radio
Pacific interview I had with Donna
Awatere who had organised a
scheme in South Auckland where
pupils there had four minutes of
reading, one-on-one teaching every
day and where parents were taught
how to coach at home.
She told of kids actually running
to school so as not to miss their four
minutes reading, of schools where
truancy had dropped away, where
high percentage staff resignations
because of rough house classrooms
and playground violence were
things of the past.
Where parents previously unseen
were joining in school activities.
South Auckland headmasters fil-
led callback time with their enthusi-
astic backing for her claims.
But the government of the day
refused grants so the scheme strug-
gled on briefly with Save the Chil-
dren funding then died.
Donna went her sometimes
bizarre career way. On the basis of
her four-minute plan I ve always
rated her as a lost talent.
Times and policies have changed
dramatically. There is no money
risk in this innovative Pt England-
The problems there reflect a stat-
istic of our time. In those distant
years ago when you and I went to
school -- perhaps with a framed
piece of slate to work on, later chalk
and a dusty blackboard, many of us
at five were already able to spell our
name and perhaps the school s, able
to recite the alphabet and count to
20.Now in schools like those in the
Tamaki decile 1 hub, many of
today s 5-year-olds arrive with only
the limited know-how of a 3-year-
The Tamaki hub s teaching meth-
ods and state of the art equipment
deal with that lack and lead the
kids down the first path towards a
21st century education.
Pat Snedden, chairman of the
Manaiakalani Education Trust,
explains the aims and the succes-
Nine Tamaki schools -- 11 by next
year -- are part of a project harnes-
sing the best of the digital age to
improve educational standards in
their largely Maori and Pasifika
area. Overcoming that two-year lag
from impromptu home learning is a
first target. The group s promotio-
nal material talks about ensuring
the tools of digital citizenship are
available to our students to achieve
the best outcomes for them .
In partnership with the Manaia-
kalani cluster of schools and the
parents of the Tamaki community,
more than 2000 students in years 5
to 13 now have their own netbook
(small laptop) to work on.
To balance some of those pre-
judices about neglectful, uncaring
parents, what about this?
In an area where average adult
income a year is only around
$19,000 a year, Tamaki parents
have committed themselves to pay
$3.50 a week towards paying for the
netbooks, their upkeep and safety.
More than that, around 300
parents are being taught to use the
netbook at home and how to support
their children s new drive for learn-
The trust is justifiably proud of
its parents -- and for good reason.
Those weekly new book payments
are part of parents paying a third of
the trust s bills. The Government
and what Mr Snedden refers to as
philanthropy from individuals and
commercial institutions balance the
The shared cost: $4.5 million over
four years so far with parents as the
single highest contributor.
It s all a matter of huge satisfac-
tion for all involved -- like success-
fully swimming against the current.
The outcome: Student involve-
ment has improved dramatically,
reading, writing, numeracy and oral
expression have improved steadily
in line with programme expecta-
More than that, the hub group is
now working on a sustainable wire-
less network with Pt England
School as its hub.
Mr Snedden sums up the future:
This affordable wireless internet
which parents will help subsidise,
will serve the entire Tamaki area --
the first project of its kind in New
By the end of the first term all
Manaiakalani cluster students with
netbooks will have exclusive access
to it. This is a noteworthy achieve-
ment, not only in a low-decile Maori
and Pasifika community like ours
but for any community around New
We aim to create a blueprint for
community engagement in student
learning and digital citizenship as a
means of furthering educational
Learning systems pioneered in
the Tamaki community will spread
to other low decile New Zealand
schools in a significant project
which could potentially affect more
than 100,000 in the next three
And the next step for Tamaki s
future digitally skilled graduates?
Mr Snedden points to Tamaki
College where progressive principal
Soana Pamaka heads the school
which she led to become New Zea-
land s first fully digital state school.
Mr Snedden and the cluster s
ambition: That Manaiakalani con-
tinues to be at the forefront of
innovative eLearning solutions in
this country ... and around the
This means more of our children
have the chance of the education
they deserve -- but too often miss --
to succeed in this brave new digital
world. It s a winner and deserves an
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