Two more charter schools

The Herald reports:

Two unusual new have been approved for Maori students in Rotorua and Taupo

One, in Rotorua, will be what is believed to be the country’s first school combining a science and technology focus with a Kaupapa Maori philosophy for 200 children throughout almost all school years 1 to 10, leaving out only the last three years of high school.

The other, in Taupo, will be a boarding school for 90 mainly Maori boys only in those last three years of high school, Years 11 to 13.

The Taupo school, Blue Light Senior Boys High School, will be run by Blue Light Ventures which runs youth activities out of police stations around the country.

Both schools seem like the sort of novel approaches to education that the charter school model is designed for.

He said Blue Light was run by former police officers and had a memorandum of understanding with the NZ Police, but the Police would not be directly involved in the school.

The school will open in February with 30 boys in Year 11 and will add Year 12 in 2019 and Year 13 in 2020, building up to a staff of 12 fulltime-equivalent teachers.

Jackson said it would offer outdoor activities and community service programmes such as the Duke of Edinburgh Award, but would also aim to get every boy through at least Level 2 of the National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA).

“We’ll be focusing particularly on maths, science and technology, and English of course because they will need it,” he said.

“We’ll be up with the kids early in the morning, working through to the evening, with classes scheduled throughout that time and remedial work in the evening with the staff.”

Superb. Again the flexibility in the model is paramount.

The school will be “trilingual” in English, Maori and computer coding. It will cover the full NZ curriculum but with a focus on science and technology, teaching literacy and other learning areas through science topics defined in Maori terms such as whakapapa (genetics) and ahuwhenua (agriculture).

Bennett said the span of years 1 to 10 was aimed at ending the “tragic transition points” from primary to intermediate and then to secondary school, where many Maori children now “just bleed out of the system”.

Both schools are taking a very novel approach to try and achieve better outcomes for those not suceeding in the state system.

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