Log in
  • Blogs
  • Parents, Whanau, Community

Parents, Whanau, Community's blogs


    At Terrace End School we use ICT to communicate with parents and whanau by sharing our children’s learning through our wikipages, the school website and facebook. The class wiki pages and facebook are easily accessible through links on the website and our wiki’s are also acknowledged in our newsletter. We have computers available in a room by the office which parents are able to use during the day and this allows them easy access of our website, facebook and class wikis. We have found facebook to be an excellent medium of communication and our parenst often comment on this. Our yr 5/6 class regularly has material available for facebook and the website and we are working towards extending this to other classes. All teachers provide recent photos of school events and celebrations, which are regularly updated on the website and facebook.

    During 3-way conferences and sharing days parents are introduced to studyladder and the class wiki’s both are useful tools that they can use at home to support learning.  At the start of each year a letter is also sent home, which informs our parents and whanau about studyladder and provides the user login and password.

    Whanau involvement also means  tuakana teina at our school either through buddy classes,  te kids or the older Year 1’s helping the new entrants.


       Tuakana Teina   Te Kid helping a younger student.

    Tuakana teina

    Children showing their parents ICT use in the class duing a sharing day.

    Link to website http://www.terrace-end.school.nz/site/index.htm    Our facebook and wiki pages can be reached by using this.

  • This year has seen a large change in the way that we are communicating with families as our new principal has instigated the use of Facebook and updated our school website to make these mediums a source of up to date information and celebration.  Some families have engaged eagerly through Facebook/website and see this as the way to share. Other families still struggle with the concept of using these mediums.  To enable participate from all families there is still a lot of information that is passed on via the newsletter but there is much more collaborative participation from those using the Facebook/website pages.  As a great deal of photos and successes and learning examples are posted on the internet, more families are seeking to access the information in this manner.

    Our community assemblies (1 per term) are now a much more multi-media affair and our goal is to show families how the learning taking place with the use of computers is valuable. It is vital that we as teachers continue to show strong links between what we learning and the tools that we use to get there. In our recent community assembly we were able to showcase some of the digi-award entries and some other ways that students add value to their writing using multimedia applications.  The authentic learning contexts for these coupled with the student’s eagerness to contribute using these digital avenues was yet another push into that direction.

    Next term, we are planning to have a student led e-learning evening where students will be showing how using computers, etc aren’t replacing good old fashioned learning but is enhancing it. We hope that this will further engage some families.   

    Through the digital citizenship PD teachers have had a lot of discussion about how to involve and inform our families and we hope to touch on this at next term’s e-learning evening, but a lot more development is going to be needed around this.  As part of our developing charter we will be addressing this and other ICT manners in a more in-depth manner.



  • When we held staff PD around developing a Digital Citizenship pathway (/blog/view/699816/digital-citizenship) one thing that we focused on personalising as a staff was how we are going to inform parents about and involve them in digital citizenship. Parents of children entering the school all attend 'SUPER Start' meetings and curriculum leaders explain how literacy, numeracy etc. works at St James. We decided that as these parents are a captive audience that next year we will introduce a SUPER Start session around e-learning and digital citizenship at St James. As e-learning leader I will structure and plan this session, but it will be run by the New Entrants teachers. We also have 'Meet the Teacher' parent evenings at the beginning of the year and a whole school parent meeting when we run the 'Keeping Ourselves Safe' scheme (both of these usually have good attendance) and these will give us other opportunities where we can address digital citizenship with parents. The sharing at the 'Meet the Teacher' evenings will be planned by myself, but delivered by class teachers and I will also plan and run the session when we have the 'Keeping Ourselves Safe' evening.

    Please look at our digital citizenship pathway to see how we have personalised the Parents/Whanau section: https://docs.google.com/a/stjamescatholic.school.nz/document/d/1UwBVeT3bs2di3fMvrZIW5vUrsxWd2RCuZpAiON5S14Y/edit

  • We held an assembly today where we celebrated all our children who entered work in the 2012 Manawatu InspireNet Digi Awards. http://thedigiawards.wikispaces.com/Home.

    Parents were invited along to view some of the amazing work that had been created and entered into the awards by the children. Also, there was a short survey at the door asking them some initial questions about there internet usage at home and whether they would be interested in learning more about how they and their children can be safe online. Several were filled out today and we will endeavour to get more responses before the end of term and early next. This will assist with how the school goes about communicating and educating digital citizenship concepts with our community. All bar one were interested in learning more so that is an encouraging start!

       Initial Parent Digital Citizenship Survey September 2012.pdf DSCF0708[1].JPG 

  •  On August 30 we held a parent maths evening. This involved the parents coming along to school from 6.30-7.30 to be engaged in heaps of different maths games and activities that they could do with their children back at home. Each teacher (x11) had a simple game or activity using simple resources, i.e. cards, iceblock sticks, counters... They were set out in the hall and parents came in, went to a table and played the game alongside their children and the teacher. When they had it sussed out, they moved on to another table - another game.

    The big draw card was that each family that came along received a pack with an instruction sheet for every game that was there and the necessary resources included, as well as a list of safe and user friendly maths websites for those in our community with internet to explore.

    Over 60 packs went out that night which was an excellent turn out and show of commitment to their children's learning. We also ran a raffle of donated prizes and of course, the barbeque was fired up for a sausage sizzle! One parent asked me, "OK, so when's the literacy evening then?" Perfect!

    DSCF0255.JPG More Maths night pics


  • Our middle syndicate, (Rata, year 3-4) recently held a sharing session in our school hall to celebrate and share their inquiry learning this term. Other classes and parents were invited. There were;

    • digital displays and clear e-learning integration
    • models
    • diagrams
    • posters
    • interactive activities

    The children were so keen to share their learning and were very confident with their understanding of the work they had produced, especially discussing their own wonderings and how they went about researching answers. This is partly due to an increased emphasis on student voice and choice in their learning.  The celebration finished up with  karakia and kai for everyone.

      Rata Inq Celebration.docx

  • Earlier this year we set up a school facebook page as another means of communicating with our parents and whanau, a task we are always looking for new and engaging ways to go about! Last year at a hui held at school based around Maori achievement, a number of parents indicated that they would be keen for us to communicate via this method.

    The types of communication we include on our fb page are;

    • Reminders of up coming events - sports, trips, 3 way conferences, assemblies etc
    • Thanking parents who help out at school 
    • Sharing successes of staff and students
    • Sharing photos of events around the school
    • Organising events and asking for parental support 
    • Promoting our school values

    At the time of writing this we have 32 'likes.' Difficult to really guage whether it is having a huge impact on opening up communication but the parents who are involved seem to visit it regularly. We are aware that a reasonably high proportion of our parent community do not have internet access. Of the 32, a few are staff and past members of the school. Some are also our current students (about 4) which highlights the importance of our digital citizenship work mentioned in other posts,(/blog/view/699816/digital-citizenship) as they are certainly not 13 yet! Fb will be a topic we bring to the attention of parents during future e-Learning discussions.

    I welcome any feedback/comments from other schools who are successfully using fb as a means of communication, and have/are also facing the 'too young for fb but on it anyway' issue within schools CoolCheers

  • The following is a summary of National Goal 4 for 2011 for the Mantar Cluster (Milestone 4).

    National Goal: Family and whanau to actively participate in their child's learning.

    Cluster Goal: Investigate, develop and implement ways to involve Family/Whanau in order to actively participate in and celebrate students learning success.

    Cluster: Year 2 of Cluster Programme - Primary Cluster Years 0-8

    Cluster Type: ICT PD

    Context: With the increasing development of E-Learning tools and strategies within the Cluster schools, comes the need to keep whanau and communities informed of school happenings and student reporting through the use of ICTs. Within the Mantar Cluster this has meant the ongoing development of school websites as well as class blogs, wikis, parent portals and facebook pages.


    There are three key areas the Cluster identified as areas of development when ensuring meaningful connections are made with whanau and community:

    • Principals will be using professional reading, investigation, BES/enabling e-learning website, Tataiako, Ka Hikitia, Measureabke Gains Framework.
    • Family/whanau participating in learning experiences which will help them to support their children and opportunities to celebrate and share student learning successes.
    • Charter development reflects the commitment to actively inolve family and whanau.

    Methods, Interventions and Actions:

    Two schools have been using facebook to involve family/whanau in celebrating student learning and to communicate with the community (http://www.facebook.com/pages/St-James-Catholic-School-Palmerston-North/209913949027338,http://www.facebook.com/pages/Somerset-Crescent-School/322927401096969/pg/blog/read/688708/active-family-whanau-involvement). St James' has been established for some time and is frequently visited by parents. Somerset Crescent's is a recent addition and came about from community consultation, requesting this as a way of communicating reminders/updates. It is still being actively promoted and more and more parents are joining up.

    All schools use some form of 3-way conferences, incorporating an ICT component into this, to celebrate individual students' learning successes (/pg/blog/read/688017/family-and-whanau-to-actively-participate-in-their-childs-learning).

    Two schools have introduced 'Reading Together' which is a programme that directly involves parents being trained in reading to their children. This takes place within the school or community and teachers and parents work together to promote reading and improve student achievement (/pg/blog/read/688708/active-family-whanau-involvement


    Somerset Crescent school has introduced 'Cuppa and a Chat' every second Monday. The Fale Whanau is open for parents to come in, have a cup of tea and borrow various reading and mathematics resources that they can take home and use with their children to support home learning (/pg/blog/read/688708/active-family-whanau-involvement). 

    At Somerset Crescent the prinicipal has read Tataiako and now plans to use the cultural competencies as part of the staff appraisal system (/pg/blog/read/688706/using-professional-readings). St James' has also used the Enabling E-learning website to support strategic planning (/pg/blog/read/688969/strategic-plan).

    St James' Charter includes the development of an e-learning strategic plan, which includes a goal a 'Beyond the Classroom' goal of: "The school community is deliberately engaged in learning focussed discussions through and about the potential of ICTs." The E-learning planning framework has been used to support the development of this plan (/pg/blog/read/688969/strategic-plan). Somerset Crescent has shared their Charter goals with the community and involved them in strategic planning (/pg/blog/read/688697/strategic-planning).

    Since the last milestone, the TeKids held a celebration evening to share their learning with parents/whanau and wider community (/pg/blog/read/205368/tekids-celebration-evening).

    Summary of Key Results:

    • Some Principals have been using professional readings and integrating them into effective practice.
    • All schools are actively investigating and trialling new ways of engaging family/whanu in learning experiences which will help them to support their children and opportunities to celebrate and share student learning success. A lot of these methods have an ICT component.
    • Schools' Charter development/strategic planning reflects the commitment to actively involve family and whanau.

    Next Steps:

    • Principals need to continue to use and implement professional readings such as BES/Enabling E-Learning website, Taiaiako, Ka Hikitia, Measureable Gains Framework.
  •   As a conclusion to our TEKids programme this year we held a parent information evening where the children showcased their learning from throughout the year. The children were up front leading, introducing and running the whole show, including the workshops that parents moved around and were informed of what the children were learning. The parents also had opportunities to sit down and do some hands-on learning for themselves with various web2 applications and different animation tools.

    The students were great and really enjoyed 'teaching' their parents and whanau members.

    We received fantastic feedback from the family members who attended as well as a couple ideas to make the event even better in the future. Take a look at the great feedback below!

    Parent feedback 

  • The following is a summary of National Goal 4 for 2011 for the Mantar Cluster (Milestone 4).

    Cluster: Year 2 of Cluster Programme - Primary Cluster Years 0-8

    Cluster Type: ICT PD

    Context: With the increasing development of E-Learning tools and strategies within the Cluster schools, comes the need to keep whanau and communities informed of school happenings and student reporting through the use of ICTs. Within the Mantar Cluster this has meant the ongoing development of school websites as well as class blogs or wikis. Two of our schools have been involved in the 'Computers In Homes' scheme as reported in Milestone 3 and reflected on here:

    /pg/blog/owner/group:61403   (see blog: 'Connected Whanau').

    Principal's have taken a significant role in the development of this and this is reported in Goal 2 as much work has been done by the Management Team in developing strategic plans and charters for each school. 

    Aims/Purpose: There are four key areas the Cluster identified as areas of development when ensuring meaningful connections are made with whanau and community:

    * Principal's needed to conduct professional reading around best practice for Home/School partnerships with a special focus on engaging whanau/community in school events including at reporting times

    * ICTs to be an integrated part in specially planned events that involve students showcasing their understandings

    * Student led celebrations/three way conferences would include ICTs and whanau/community is given the opportunity to provide feedback on this - possibly through the use of a survey

    * Opportunities should be provided to support whanau/community to use ICTs so that they may actively share in their children's learning

    Interventions/Summary of Key Results: Due to the varying communities for each school, methods of reaching the community and whanau vary dependent on the specific needs of each. Reflection and evidence of Principal's reading/investigation into best practice around this area can be found in their Reflective Summary as part of this Milestone report. 

    Each school has used different ways of engaging with their community and whanau to showcase student understandings. Family sharing days at Terrace End has been successful for this. Each class invites the community into their room for a short snap shot view of their child's learning and this is expected to include an element of ICT. These have been well received by the community with most classes having a good turn out on each of these days. Evidenced below is a link to a variety of ways the Cluster schools have connected with their communities, including a reflection on their success:


    Next Steps: The Cluster has made significant progress in communicating effectively with whanau/communities and will consider new ways of engaging with families as part of the variation writing process. The current feedback from teachers is that it difficult to engage whanau/communities in online spaces such as class blogs/wikis. There has been discussion about the Cluster schools engaging more Cluster wide with this so that it becomes a further connection between schools. This is an area for further development and discussion as teachers become more skilled in integrating the use of ICTs in the classroom and students become more confident in not only their own implementation of E-learning, but also in sharing that with their whanau/families. Continued research and pedagogical study by Management will continue in this area. Continuation of the successful integration of ICTs during assemblies, Student Led Conferences, learning celebrations, sharing evenings and wikis/blogs will continue but will be adjusted and refined according to school and community need.