The opening keynote for the conference was presented by Mike Anderson, Principal of Waimairi School and John Leonard, Principal of Freeville School, both located in Christchurch. They described the aftermath of the February Earthquake, which devasted Christchurch and changed it forever.
It was a harrowing journey that they took us on, describing panic and students and communities who were broken. Throughout this, staff remained calm and the schools became a focal point for the community.
Although both schools still face some uncertainty with rebuilding projects and the possibility of merger, Mike and John had several key messages.
Schools and communities need to feel ownership over decisions about their school.
They don't want repairs, they want transformation.
New buildings should match effective pedagogy.
Staff, students and the community should have input into new school design.
Mark Treadwell also added to these ideas in a later keynote: "In times of change, we have huge opportunities for innovation. Risk taking is risky, but no risk taking is catastrophic. Buildings need to be in sync with learning."
John discussed how a key change for his school had been the redefining of what a community is and where schools sit in the community. In the days and weeks after the earthquake, schools provided a community space, a return to normality and a place for people to meet and support each other.
"Ka pu te ruha ka hao te rangatahi"
As an old net withers, another is remade.
Kia Kaha Christchurch.
What is the most effective way for government, schools, communities and stake holders to work together to create an amazing future for education in our area? How can we ensure that innovate and transform, rather than rebuild?
My name is Ngaire Shepherd-Wills. This website is a record of my TeachNZ sabbatical, Term 2, 2013 and then I have continued to share my wonderings and discoveries about Innovative Learning Practices. I now work for CORE Education. Views are my own.