Inspiring

July 15th, 2013 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

is all about the solution rather than the problem.

The 39-year-old is the principal at Tamatea College, Hawkes Bay, where she has been for a little more than two years.

What is her attitude to and achievement?

“I don’t like deciles, at all. It labels kids and it’s not fair on them.

“For me, there are no excuses. No matter where you come from, what language you speak or what your socio-economic status is, achieving is within your reach.”

It is this philosophy and strong mindset that has seen Ms Ngarewa’s popularity soar within the school community. The school’s academic results have also improved.

Participation in sports has sky-rocketed at the school, where there are about 300 students – 45 per cent Maori and the rest a mix of Asian, Iraqi, European and Pacific Island.

That’s a very diverse school. And for those wondering, it is decile 3.

NCEA achievement rates have doubled in the past two years; with 91 per cent of achievement at Level 1, 94 per cent in Level 2 and 95 per cent at Level 3.

“Now the kids are saying: ‘Oh, we’ve got to make 100 per cent this year’. That’s exactly the kind of attitude you want to see and hear in the playground.”

That’s an incredible turn-around and achievement. Can we clone her?

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25 Responses to “Inspiring”

  1. freedom101 (491 comments) says:

    The principal is the most important person in any school, and being principal ought to be as well paid as being CEO in any medium-sized business. Good examples of principal and school excellence are – Roger Moses at Wellington College and John Graham at Auckland Grammar.

    Teaching is a poor relation in the job market, mainly because it’s dominated by unions and socialist ideologies. It’s a miracle that some great leaders still emerge.

    We need to lift the prestige of teaching and recognise and reward excellence.

    Unfortunately the teacher unions are generally against anything which will help achieve that.

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  2. RightNow (6,966 comments) says:

    “Can we clone her?”

    I expect the question around NZEI will be “can we silence her”?

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  3. Nigel Kearney (969 comments) says:

    No need for cloning – just make her the principal of more than one school, or one school with multiple campuses. This is hardly rocket science and would happen automatically in any organization where innovation is encouraged or at least possible. Her physical presence on school grounds every hour of the day will have some effect but it is probably small. This also solves the salary issue raised in the first comment.

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  4. freedom101 (491 comments) says:

    State and integrated schools are salary capped with respect to principals. Some integrated schools have ways around this, such as employing the spouse of the principal in spurious roles involving little time commitment but a good salary. Integrated schools have boards of trustees and another board, such as a ‘board of proprietors’. Often the second board employs the spouse to provide “advisory services”. All of this so that the principal can be properly rewarded for their efforts.

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  5. Manolo (13,517 comments) says:

    She’s become an instant enemy of the unions and NZEI.
    All power to good and dedicated teachers.

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  6. thedavincimode (6,606 comments) says:

    Oh dear. She’ll have to go.

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  7. daveski (86 comments) says:

    A minor point – secondary is covered by the PPTA, not the NZEI altho I agree they are perceived as peas in a pod.

    @freedom – I wouldn’t necessarily describe either of those schools as examples of excellence due to the staff. Simple social economic factors will mean that a large number of students at those schools will do well regardless of the quality of the teachers.

    Conversely, we need to encourage and reward the top teachers and more importantly the inspirational teachers who can and do make a difference to teach at schools like Tamatea College. The irony is that it is the teacher unions dogmatic refusal to allow such incentives that makes it harder for some schools to make a difference.

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  8. Zebulon (82 comments) says:

    “For me, there are no excuses. No matter where you come from, what language you speak or what your socio-economic status is, achieving is within your reach.”

    No excuses – just getting on with it. That says it all really. An admirable person.

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  9. SPC (5,537 comments) says:

    It is probably based on pupils who struggle to achieve being helped at the second go at it, rather than just accepting the first result. The teachers are probably the same ones there before. Most pupils doing second year 5th or 6th in the old days would have a good chance – based on their motivation to have a second go. So here it is simply the motivation and support structures to keep trying that has been applied.

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  10. bc (1,364 comments) says:

    Here’s what I don’t get.
    Nowhere in that article are unions mentioned.
    The principal doesn’t mention them. The unions aren’t asked for a comment (and why would they).
    So why are the comments starting from the very first one from freedom101, just a boring anti-union rant.
    You guys are like a stuck record.
    This should be a chance to say something positive but instead the usual moaners and whingers come out to play with their predictable nastiness.

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  11. bc (1,364 comments) says:

    Anyway, a well deserved award. It would be great for a further article which goes into further depth explaining what the principal did to create a culture of success for the students.

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  12. bc (1,364 comments) says:

    Manolo @ 3.42pm – Any evidence that she is an “instant enemy” of the unions?

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  13. nasska (11,112 comments) says:

    Full marks to Ms Ngawera for a job well done & I echo the thoughts of previous commenters who reckon that she should be cloned. What would be interesting is an investigation into how she has achieved the result in the hope that it could be replicated in other colleges.

    It would make a change from reading of failed students, disinterested parents, militant teachers & drongo principals promoted beyond their capabilities.

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  14. OneTrack (2,970 comments) says:

    bc (907) Says:
    “July 15th, 2013 at 5:36 pm
    Anyway, a well deserved award. It would be great for a further article which goes into further depth explaining what the principal did to create a culture of success for the students.”

    You said it yourself – she didn’t mention the unions.

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  15. bc (1,364 comments) says:

    Exactly, OneTrack.
    So why the massive anti-union rant, other than there are people here who are either of limited intellegence or are so bitter and twisted (or both!) that they can only say the same thing over and over again.

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  16. slightlyrighty (2,506 comments) says:

    What needs to happen is a joint in depth study by the education Department and the PPTA to see what that school is doing differently from the norm, apart from not accepting mediocrity from students.

    I can only assume that this principal is not accepting mediocrity from teachers as well. To get this sort of result, I would imagine there are some ruffled feathers, and I would like to know whose. Some might question the wisdom of PPTA involvement. I would have them there in the hope that some of their sacred cows might be shown for what they actually are.

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  17. RightNow (6,966 comments) says:

    bc (908) Says:
    July 15th, 2013 at 5:34 pm
    “Here’s what I don’t get…”

    Gee, it’s almost as if many of us here have had negative experiences of unions. Go figure.

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  18. bc (1,364 comments) says:

    Based on your attitude about them, I’m not surprised RightNow.

    And no I’m not pro-union, just annoyed that when DPF posts a positive story about educators for once (instead of his usual selective negative posts), instead of celebrating the principals achievements we get a pathetic anti-union rant.

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  19. peterwn (3,238 comments) says:

    Some secondary school boards have recognised they are onto a good thing with their principals, and have stretched the boundaries with fringe benefits for fear of losing them, thus earning themselves a rap over the knuckles from the Ministry.

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  20. Rightandleft (662 comments) says:

    This is proof that the answer to the so-called long-tail is not charter schools trying to re-invent the wheel with less oversight and likely more radical and thus risky strategies. The solution is learning how schools like this are already succeeding within the current state school framework and then bring those strategies to the less successful schools.

    The PPTA is not anti-change, it dedicates a huge amount of resources to researching the newest methods in teaching and advocating for them. It provides professional development to get teachers up to speed with the newest methods and it supports a range of programmes being trialed in schools around the country. So there’s no reason to think PPTA would have any problems with this principal getting good results.

    Also the inference is that the PPTA would be upset because the principal must be doing it by getting rid of incompetent or lazy teachers and that the union wants to protect such teachers. In fact the PPTA does no such thing. Teachers are fired for incompetence every year and PPTA’s only role is to ensure the correct process is followed, not to prevent truly incompetent teachers from being exited from the profession.

    The difference between PPTA and other trade unions is that it is also a professional association which is constitutionally required to work towards the best results for students not just teachers.

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  21. RightNow (6,966 comments) says:

    “Based on your attitude about them, I’m not surprised RightNow.”

    Of course you’re not, why would you be? You don’t think I’d have this attitude about them if I hadn’t have had negative experiences do you?

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  22. nasska (11,112 comments) says:

    Rightandleft

    Fair comment….I reckon that our perception of teachers is soured by the crap attitudes & militancy of the NZEI.

    What in your opinion, makes Tamatea College stand out?

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  23. bc (1,364 comments) says:

    And you don’t think that your attitude in any way contributed to those negative experiences, RightNow?
    Most people are pretty reasonable if you are reasonable in return. You get more from people if you treat them with dignity and respect. Go in with a confrontational attitude and that’s what you get back from them.

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  24. RightNow (6,966 comments) says:

    bc, when the issue is the well being of my children I am the epitome of reasonableness and spread sunshine and honey liberally in order to facilitate an expedient positive outcome.
    As it happens, I don’t care if unions have a bad image, but I might have thought it meant something to them though. They aren’t doing their public image any favours.

    In the end I made a couple of OIA requests, engaged the NZPF, the Ombudsman, the BoT, and MoE, and then changed schools.
    New school, terrific principal. Happy son, happy parents.

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  25. bc (1,364 comments) says:

    So the issue was the school and/or principal, not the union?
    Anyway, glad things worked out well for you in the end. Going to call it a night, have a good one.

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