Te Maunga Tuu is a cluster of seven Taranaki schools that includes Opunake High School, Hawera High School, Coastal Taranaki, Inglewood High Shool, Waitara High School, Spotswood College, and Stratford High School. We have been planning this initiative for two years.
The Ministry of Education has agreed to fund our project (a schooling improvement/ professional development project) and this should finally get under way in 2009.
Why is this necessary? In a nutshell the situation in all of our schools is one of poor comparable achievement by Maori students at NCEA Level 1 compared to non Maori.
At Stratford High School the measures of success indicate that our Maori and non Maori students are comparable in years 9 and 10 and in numeracy and literacy at year 11 (indeed our Maori students out perform our non Maori in these important areas). The concern for us is that our Maori students are not able to perform as well as non Maori at NCEA level one. As a school we are improving the success rate over time (ie we have more than doubled the success rate from 15 to 35 per cent but this is low compared to the combined year 11 success rate of 66 per cent achieving NCEA level 1).
The schooling improvement project is targeting this concern. An action research methodology will be used and the project will be undertaken under the Co-construction model - working always within a culturally appropriate and responsive context.
Action research involves the following framework: An issue is defined > reconnaissance of the 'problem' or situation > intervention put into place > evaluation of intervention > intervention > evaluation > intervention > evaluation and so on.
Currently the project has a governance group (the seven Principals, Maori representatives and a Ministry of Education rep) and a data collection group working with Evaluation Associates, and a lead teacher group. For Stratford High School the lead teachers are Whaea Tina O'Carroll, Matua Jack Tamihana, and Philip Keenan.
Where to next? Tasks to be completed over the next few weeks: work on questions for a Cultural Audit to happen within schools, development / selection of a student engagement tool, data people will meet and set up protocols for a data audit for schools, the Theory for Improvment (TFI) and Action Plan will be redrafted, and Cluster-wide NCEA data will be sent to the cluster from MoE.
I will keep the community informed about Te Maunga Tuu progress via this blog.
Na - Warren Purdy