A school in our cluster is in some troubled waters. Hopefully that is all that it is, because continually I have been astounded and amazed by the passion, strength and care that these teachers show to their school and their students. I am stoked to have gotten to know a few of these teachers and had the opportunities to visit Waimokoia and work alongside them at our cluster days.
Many of you would have been following the poor efforts of the NZ Herald in keeping a non-judgmental viewpoint to this discussion on the closing of Waimokoia school. Even the so-called positive spin that is the latest article, fails to shed great light on the way the school now operates. It is still being judged on its past - how long for? I think Podgorani sums it up nicely with his comments about the newspapers taking some time out to see what life is really like in these schools, before they judge them and the academic achievements of the students. What these kids learn and get at Waimokoia is more than the worth of an academic score card.
The teachers of this school work in a tough environment - with kids who have reached the limits of the everyday school resources. They talk of closing the schools and spending the money on 'wrap around' services that would much better serve the schools and students. As a teacher, I fail to see that this will support these students well. For the students and whanau who we do see in these situations, who need the support of a residential stay, we fill in pages and pages of paperwork - to be told we are waiting in line or that they are not 'eligible'. How will this support the students that Waimokoia work with? It will take longer for them to find their way to a place that can nurture and support them and keep them hooked into a good life and education. Just take a look at some of the amazing stuff that the staff are doing to hook these kids into school, learning and develop their self!
I have nothing but strong faith and hope for the teachers and students of Waimokoia. Please lend a hand to them and support them anyway that you can.