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Showing posts from July, 2018

The Principal Diaries - same, same but different

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Today marks the end of my first week as Principal at Albany Senior High School.

The week began with a stunning powhiri to mark the hand over from Hobsonville Point Secondary School to Albany Senior High School and a beautiful way to mark my transition from Deputy Principal to Principal. It was genuinely touching to have my HPSS whanau, my family and friends to support me on my journey to the "other side". My whaikorero from the powhiri probably sums it up best:



Firstly I would like to thank and acknowledge my Hobsonville Point Secondary School whanau for getting me to this point. I really can’t overstate the impact that working at Hobsonville Point Secondary School over these last five and a half years has had on me as a person, as an educator and as a leader. I have often acknowledged that starting a school is a less than a once in a lifetime opportunity. Working collaboratively to flesh out a vision, develop a set of guiding principles and designing and developing a curricu…

Impact Projects - Prototyping an innovation project

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HPSS has prioritised project learning from day one. Inspired by the likes of The Met School, High Tech High and Albany Senior High School we decided very early on that projects would be an important part of our curriculum design and to that end Learning Projects became one third of the HPSS curriculum story.


Learning Projects evolved over the last five years (first led by Sarah Wakeford and more recently overseen by Liz, Jayne, Rebecca and Cairan) to become a differentiated range of offerings including Big Projects (more teacher led projects aimed at Years 9-10), Impact Projects (more student led projects based on the ASHS model) and Pathways Projects (aimed at Years 12-13 with a focus on pathways beyond schools such as gateway, work experience and tertiary studies). Whilst the focus may change there is a common learning design model and framework that underpins them all, with students going through a kick off phase, planning, action, review and finally showtime. 


This year was my f…

My HPSS Journey - reflecting on an awesome five and a half years

2013 - De-schooling and re-schooling 2013 was a year that many educators do not get to experience. It was a year of "de-schooling" and "re-schooling". Maurie, Lea, Di and myself were given the most phenomenal gift of time and space to plan and prepare for the opening of Hobsonville Point Secondary School. In those first six months we spent time fleshing out our school vision, developing a set of guiding principles and establishing (with our community) what was to become our Hobsonville Habits. In that time we visited a wide range of schools here (Ormiston Senior, Albany Senior, Unlimited and Hagley) and several schools in Canada and the USA on our grand Edu-tour. Our first stop was Providence, Rhode Island to visit the founding Big Picture School, Dennis Littky's Met School. The second group of schools we visited was all part of the Canadian Coalition of Self-Directed Schools, including Westmount, Mary Ward (Toronto), Bishop Carroll School (Calgary) and Thomas …

NCEA - Considering the 'Big Opportunities'

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These recent months have seen a number of groups start putting their stake in the ground around the NCEA Review. It has been interesting seeing people reveal their cards, and often exposing some odd assumptions about what is actually being reviewed and who is shaping the review within the Labour/Green/NZ First camp. For the sake of "joining the conversation" I thought I might share some my personal thoughts about the NCEA Review and it's proposed "Big Opportunities".

Note - the parts in italics are taken from this document: Download the Big Opportunities discussion document which can be found here

For what it's worth I actually think NCEA is pretty cool as it is. I like it's flexibility and that it already let's "you do you". If anything I think it is our mindsets that needs to be reviewed first before we get to the actual framework. Here is my pondering about that perspective: NCEA - we need to review our mindset first

But that said, I al…