He Kakano is a school-based professional development strategy for school leaders that:
- focuses explicitly on improving culturally responsive leadership and teacher practices to ensure that Maori students enjoy educational success as Maori.
- supports leaders to become relational and pedagogical leaders who are able to establish and sustain and maintain the educational , social and cultural conditions necessary to bring about educational change for Maori students. Essentially school leaders need to be argentic-agents of change-to ensure the success of Maori in our school.
- uses evidence and data as a basis for making change need to improve outcomes Maori students. This in turn leads to the setting of culturally responsive goals that lead to school based solutions to improving Maori levels of achievement.
Why are we involved in He Kakano?
Historically whenever we have looked at our achievement data, there always appeared to be very little difference between the achievement of our Maori students and Pakeha students. However, when we began to look more closely at our data particularly our AREA (attendance, retention, engagement and achievement ) data, it became clear that the picture was not as rosy as it seemed.
In digging deeper we found that a greater proportion of our Maori girls in Year 11-13 left before they sat their NCEA exams and thus our senior school achievement for Maori girls always looked good. Further analysis indicated that we needed to do more work to retain girls, to encourage them to stay at school, sit their respective exams and obtain as many qualifications as possible. Thus a priority for us in 2011 was reviewing retention data processes. As well, we set retention goals as part of our annual targets.
So why as a school is it important to have a specific focus and targets for Maori girls in our school?
1. National wide there is a gap in the level of achievement of Maori students in terms of their achievement. It is not a tail of underachievement as was previously noted by educational experts. Schools need to meet the needs of all learners and differentiate the learning for individuals in the classroom.
2. New Zealand has a bi-cultural education system. It is a legal obligation of all schools to ensure that they cater for the needs of both Maori and Pakeha.
3. By 2040 over half the population will be Maori. It is even more imperative for the social and economic growth of our country that we lift the levels of achievement and reverse the current achievement trends. The provision of education NZ needs to be equitable not equal. Equal implies treating people the same despite their interests, abilities and needs. Equity means treating students fairly and ensuring there are personalised learning opportunities for all.