Powerful Partnerships and Authentic Learning-Let’s shift the conversation away from the system…

Recent conversations about education have focused on the NCEA Review and the potential outcomes of this, both intended and unintended. Purposefully, I would like to shift the dialogue away from this. Reflecting over the holidays is a time to try and consolidate thoughts, actions and potential routes to embed the vision and values of our Kura across all that we do. You may ask, “has that not happened yet?” Well no! We are always in an on-going journey of reflection and action to make sure we are gaining positive outcomes for all our ākonga. We are looking at some developments that move further down the track of gathering evidence and measuring what we truly value.

AT HPSS we have put systems and teaching and learning programmes in place that we believe lead towards the action and implementation of our vision and values.

HPSS Vision Circles

One of our principles that you will see above is powerful partnerships. We try to enable these through different parts of our Curriculum. Including, projects and pathways aspects that include our internship programme that runs on a Wednesday alongside our projects. Here are a few stories from our internship programme that we have shared recently.

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In addition to the internship programme, we have powerful partnerships with all of our projects. See the following presentation to get an idea of the types of partners that we work with, this booklet sits alongside the exhibition evening that we hold once a year. The evening invites in authentic partners, whānau and the local community and celebrates the learning that has occurred over the year in projects.

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The strands are the focus of these powerful partnerships.

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Impact Project Showtime booklet

The booklet shows a variety of projects, with visuals and description of partnerships and focuses.

In addition, we create powerful partnerships with whānau and do this through our hub aspect of the curriculum. Where we have one hub coach who works alongside a small group of students.

What Learning Coaches do:  The Hub & our role as Coaches allows us to make  learning relevant, connected & personalised for ALL our learners.

  • Never stop finding ways to get to know their learners.
  • Develop sustainable connections with whānau / family.
  • Warm – demanding relationships, built around learning conversations and high expectations.
  • Track learners journey through dispositions (Hobsonville Habits) and build academic and personal excellence.
  • Support students in building their Learner Profile by telling their learning story through conferencing and IEMs.  
  • Grow learners to be inquirers and self-directed learners.
  • Create structures and resources that ensure rigour, but allow for flexibility and personalisation.
  • Negotiate / co-construct Learn paths to ensure exposure, coverage and passions 
  • Never give up

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While we do assess our values through our project learning, we want to develop things a bit further. We have tried different ways for learners to reflect on their learning, dispositions etc… over time. However, we have definitely not nailed this aspect. Here are a couple of samples of this type of reflective work from the past few years…

Here was an example of a Year 9 Boy reflecting on his learning in 2015… The structure and focus of hubs was slightly different at this time…

“My Being:
I have learnt over not just this semester but the first one is that school isn’t just about scores and test but also how you have to work others and it’s about getting along with your peers and teachers because in a real life situation such as work you aren’t going to be judge on how smart you are at maths and you aren’t going to be given multi choice tests about maths but you will need skills such as communication and other social and interpersonal skills.

My personal achievements have been to be able to work more independently without help from teachers and I have achieved this, it’s just I need some guidance such as this blog post here. I’m doing it independently but there are guidelines to help me so I stay on the right topic. Another achievement is that my grades improve which in some aspects of learning like science and technology they have but in reading and maths I got the same scores as my mid-term e-asttle test and I even when down in some aspects of reading like language features but I did go up in other aspects such as my understanding of the text.

I have been inspired by a lot of things, some of the main things being art and design. Because of my dream to be a graphic designer, seeing all these different pieces of art and design work just wants inspires me to follow that dream. For example when I saw what the students did last year for big projects and how they created those banners, I thought it was really cool how we can do art and design but it is also helping out the community and when I got a chance to do it my self I took it up immediately.

When people like Johnny (a school/public speaker) came in it gave me a real good understanding of how other people and teenagers think and the situations they go through and now I have a better understanding of why some people do things and also I have better understanding of things that seem cool but can really harmful because they can say it in a way that everybody can relate to. So now that I can understand why people act the way they do I can find a way to help or at least try to help if it is a bad situation.

This semester I have been thinking about my future such as what I want to have as a job and I am working towards that by taking class learning how to use tools for graphic design and I have been In contact with my uncle (works for a web design company) and he has said that he could give me a small job and maybe an internship and the business which I am really excited about to see what the work space is like and how to work in the environment.

My Communities:

My place in the world and how I make a difference, now and in the future. The connections I bring and the connections I make.

One highlight of working in my community is how I have created new friends through working with people I don’t normally work with, it’s not just in the school but outside like the primary I have created new friends and I get along with a few of the primary kids. I also made some friends when the year 8’s came for there orientation day. In my classes I have had to work with people I don’t really get along with but I have been forced to get along with them and now we are sort of friends. Being able to get out of the class and help out people from all around the community really brings out what this school means and how we are extremely community based.

Manaakitanga: I have shown Manaakitanga by respecting other equipment by using my own stuff and not relying on others to from equipment, for example at the start of the semester I would always forget my maths book and would have to use pages out of my friends book but now I have been more purposeful and have just kept my book in my bag so I don’t need to use anyone else’s.

Whenua: I have shown Whenua in my big project because it has been all about sustainability and they way I am showing it is by creating movies and documentaries about the topic “sustainability”. For one activity we did, we went to the city and filmed things like cars, buildings and rubbish to show that even though New Zealand is considered “Green”, Its really not and we are creating lots of pollution and rubbish.

Whanaungatanga: I have shown Whanaungatanga when I have had to help out at the primary and teach LC4 how to play a certain sport, my crew and to teach a group how to play tee ball, different skills used in tee ball and how to practice those skills and incorporate these skills into a game of tee ball. I have also shown it in big projects as I had to work with Flynn and Jack, two people I had never worked with before, and we ended up working really well together and we came up with some good ideas for documentaries and then put those ideas into action.

My Learning:

This semester I have learnt a lot from things like why chemical reactions happen and why they split the way they do, things about geometry and angles and other areas in maths, in maths I have also done some Pythagoras theorems and other level 5 stuff. In technology I have expanded my knowledge on prototyping and creating a brief for a product. I have also learnt skills on Adobe Illustrator as a lot of web and graphic designers use this tool and if I am going to peruse my goal of becoming a graphic designer than it is a good skill to learn. Those are just some of the things I have learnt but a highlight of this semester has been that in my e-asttle reading test in some aspects I have progressed and achieved level 6 beginner which is at year 10/11 knowledge. Another thing I have done really well in was science and how I have been doing a little bit of year 11 science work independently, one example of this was when I stayed back after class and asked about why the chemical worked the way they did and Cindy, my science teacher, explained what was going on with the quickeze and why when added to the hydroelectric acid it lower the Ph level. She also explained why the chemicals bonded they way they did. I have enjoyed the class Lunchbox because I have learnt lots of skills that I wanted to know like how to design a product and brief as well as more complicated maths techniques and I have expanded my maths knowledge. They way I learn best is either by myself with no distractions and that way I am complete focused on completing the task or the other way is in a group doing each thing to make a whole but working together to make it get done quicker, for me there is no in between otherwise I would get distracted. I feel more confident about speaking in front others because of my class ABBS, in ABBS we have to go to the primary school and teach sports there and most of the time I have been the leader. This has boosted my confidence at talking in front of others.


Three habits that I showed this year are Resourcefulness, Contribution and Reflective.

My first habit Resourceful, means to use the materials/situation that are provided to come up with a solution to a problem. Some examples of me using this habit are when I have been able to sort out conflicts between friends such as when there was a bit of misunderstanding and one of my friends and I got into a fight but we talked it out and found out that we were thinking abut two complete different things. Another way I have shown this habit stepping outside my comfort zone and worked with people I don’t normally work with and I have shown this by in big projects working with Flynn and Jack who I wouldn’t normally get along with but we worked well together and it was a lot of fun working with and I got to know them better. This habit has helped me to make to best discussions in a unexpected situation and has also helped me make new friendships and I has made me more confident to try new things. My next steps in using this habit are to use the skills I have acquired to help me in everyday life and take it with me into everything I do.

My second habit is Contribution. This means to help in anyway possible and give things a go. Some examples of me using this habit are when I helped out at the primary school for my class A Brief Skill Session. For this class we have to help one of the primary school classes learn some sports such as tee-ball, football, touch, etc. This helped because it got me out and being contributive with the primary school, and in big projects working together as a group with people I haven’t worked with before to create documentaries about sustainability and this was good because I learnt who to be contributive in an environment in not used to. This habit has helped me to understand the needs of others and how to give things ago even when I’m not used to the environment or the activity that is happening. My next steps in using this habit are to contribute more in day to day life and getting out and helping out when the opportunity arises.

My third habit is Reflective. This means to look back at what you have done in the past and use that to make better choices in the future. Some examples of me using this habit are when I do most school work like in my spin “PROD” and in this spin we learn to create a product with the laser cutter using Adobe Illustrator. The way I used my prior knowledge on this was that I already knew a lot of skills in Photoshop and because the two are both made by Adobe the tools worked very similarly I pick up on how to use it really fast. Another way I was reflective was when we went to the city to film for my big project I already knew my way around the city and suggested where some good spots to film would be and in my smaller group of Jack, Flynn and I, I kinda took charge and worked as the navigator. This habit has helped me to draw from my prior knowledge to help me when needed for example don’t jump over fences because there could be a sharp pole in the ground. My next steps in using this habit are to before I do anything, it be a test, sports or just having fun always think about what happened last time and what the consequences are going to be.”

As well as the above way of reflecting, students have led their own IEMs (Individual Education Meetings) over time and have shared their learning and successes with their whānau.

Here is an example from a Foundation student in 2015.

IEM Presentation

We also have used templates, my portfolio and a variety of other platforms and structures that have not lasted the distance. We want to ensure that our ākonga can leave our Kura with a portfolio of how they have shown our dispositions (the Hobsonville Habits) and also the school values. We feel that a lot of the powerful learning that is occurring, is not always the focus of what we are gathering evidence of. We are going through a stage of… “How might we do this better?”


In addition to the collation of learning showing values and dispositions in action, we have a lot of learning going on that does not necessarily get measured by assessment such as NCEA. For example, these blogs are learning that has occurred during our project process for three of our ākonga in Year 11.

Those of you who know we do minimal assessment at Level 1, will realise that this learning  is often taking place without assessment against NCEA (it can, but often is not required). It is about the learning. If we develop our systems of capturing this learning in a better way, students can leave with a portfolio of how they have shown values etc… Students can capture this type of learning and then look at it through the lens of values and dispositions. The blogposts of the students are showing collaboration, connectedness, inquiry and so on…

We are having a tutu at the moment with developing some rubrics for our values. Please note these are a work in progress and need refinement. Instead of just sharing things just at end points, or when we think things are sorted, I am sharing some of our thinking along the way, in the same way, we want our ākonga to share their thinking and learning.

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We are wanting to shift further from the collection of evidence and measurement of what is valued by NCEA and more traditional assessment, towards our values and the habits and dispositions needed along the way. The thinking is that we want our ākonga to leave with a portfolio that highlights their greatest successes that align to these, We have been inspired by how two other Kura have used Linc Ed as a platform to personalise what this looks like in their own Kura. We are grateful to the sharing of their thinking and development of teaching and learning and measurement of what is powerful within this, of Haeata Campus and Ormiston Junior College. Their own vision and values put into action where aspects such as micro-credentialing and portfolios showing dispositions rather than just NCEA as a measure of success. We are excited to begin our journey with Linc Ed next term and hope to set this up for our ākonga and their whānau for 2020. We see this as a way for ākonga to not only share their learning and the development of this over time, but, also to have agency over what this looks like. We have talked of the possibility of micro-credentialing that other Kura are also exploring and really liked how the ākonga at Ormiston Junior College-pitched for their “badges” with their own evidence and reflections. We also really enjoyed reading about the graduate profile work taking place down at RJHS shared by Paula Wine in her blog… Paula’s Blog

We have been exploring and reflecting on our graduate profile with staff and also whānau, specifically with Māori and Pasifika Whānau asking what they want for their Tamariki. What do they see as success?

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We look forward to working further with our ākonga on this as we look to implement this change into 2020. We see ourselves as on-going learners, inquiring into our own practice and looking to see what more we can do for our ākonga to ensure positive personal outcomes as well as “Academic Achievement”. We are excited to see our ākonga moving forward along their learning journeys, BUT… even more so we are excited to see them leave with a true reflection of what they have gained at HPSS and beyond, in the forms of powerful partnerships, skills and dispositions, deep challenge and inquiry from across learning inside and outside the classroom. With evidence that shows authentic collaboration, connectedness, innovation and inquiry skills that will set them up for life long learning where we ….empower young people with the skills to contribute confidently and responsibly in our changing world. Watch this space….


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