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St Joseph’s School Hastings - Maori -Pasifika Hui Fono

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Started by Diane Mills 18 Sep 2014 3:29pm () Replies (1)

A fia vave o’o lou va’a, alo na o oe, ae a fia tuli mamao le taunu’uga, tatou ‘alo’alo faatasi.

If you want your canoe to go fast, go alone; if you want to go further, let us go together.

It is not always easy finding ways to entice busy parents in to school to support student learning, but St Joseph’s School in Hastings rose to that challenge by hosting a hui- fono - a meeting to celebrate Pasifika and Maori student achievement in reading.IMG_0657 (2).jpg

 How could parents resist this?  With the help of Togi Lemanu, the Learning with Digital Technology Pasifika facilitator, the evening fono was sold to parents and caregivers as a celebration of the great work that Pasifika and Maori students were doing.  Maori and Pasifika children from the senior, middle and junior classes prepared to share their reading skills and their work on the ipads at the evening.

Togi made sure that the invitation was translated for the weekly school newsletter, into Samoan, Cook Island and Kiribati languages to reach all of the Pasifika families and that protocols familiar to Maori and Pasifika families were used throughout the evening.  The students enjoyed working with Togi – one of their own – and teachers spoke of the visible pride Pasifika students were taking in their own culture as a result of this.  Parents at the hui-fono, related to Togi’s easy and culturally familiar style and felt comfortable sharing any issues they had.

In their words:

'It is nice to see a Pasifika person talking to us about how we can support our children'...

'It felt comfortable to share having you up there to start the sharing and conversation'…

The benefits for the school and students were many. This year The Board of Trustees had identified a need to consult with the Pasifika families because a similar meeting in 2013 had drawn only 2 parents. This was picked up by one teacher, as part of her inquiry, who decided to try to bring about change by combining a meeting for the Maori and Pasifika communities. As a result of a concerted and combined effort from a support team of 3 teachers manning the kitchen and preparing a sausage sizzle, 35  Maori and Pasifika parents and whanau attended the hui-fono - a big increase on previous meetings.

Students shared their reading with the audience and teachers modeled and explained successful reading strategies parents could use to support their students.

Parents and Caregivers were surveyed about reading and writing with their children.  These results were displayed on the interactive board helping to promote discussion and sharing of thoughts and feelings. The discussion was robust and very honest and at times caused a lot of laughter. This lead to some parents recommending the use of resources they knew of, in their language, for their children’s classes.

The Principal made the most of the opportunity, sharing a new reading program for parents and talking to them about how to work with their students. Two of the parents have now offered their support for the school reading program and suggested a theme of celebrating Pasifika languages through reading stories.

Seven of the students had been identified, as part of the teacher’s inquiry, as students who could benefit from learning with their families. These 7 children are now showing improvement in their literacy progressions. At the completion of the Inquiry, results and recommendations from the hui-fono were shared with the school Board of Trustees.

St Joseph’s School Hastings is doing all it can to help Pasifika parents and their families engage with the school in supporting their children’s learning - one of the key goals of the Pasifika Education Plan for 2013 - 2017.

 

 

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