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MBAS Board Talk of 24 June 2014

Whitianga | Tue June 24, 2014

Tena koutou,

Our roll at MBAS stands at 850+ students!

From these students stem an immense and complex range of diverse personalities, nationalities and individual quirks, habits and situations.

We have our families that are nuclear, single parent, same sex, bi-cultural, multi-cultural, grandparents raising grandchildren, older siblings raising younger siblings, step-parents, extended whanau, caregivers and from these we have our families that have regular income from jobs, income supplemented by WINZ, seasonal income, parents working away from home in New Zealand or overseas and shift workers.

From each and every one of these families we have students that attend MBAS on a daily basis to receive an education.

Our teachers are not just able to walk in to a classroom and teach the class. They are first having to be counsellor, mentor, referee, provider of food or uniform or sports gear, source of obtaining dollars for school trips or performances… And then once this is all sorted, they can get on and teach the class.

Last week I was in a meeting with our Board of Trustees chairman, our Mercury Bay Area School principal and our senior leadership team. It became apparent very early in the meeting that we are incredibly fortunate to have these people leading our school. They are truly supportive of the eclectic mix that makes our students who they are. They are always looking at ways to support and encourage our students, to extend their education and their learning, to develop each student as an individual and to assist in making each student’s learning a positive experience.

And what do they ask from us as parents and caregivers? That we ensure our children have respect, manners and follow the school rules. Not really a big ask is it?

Our kids pick up on our own attitudes or wairua and if we have an "us and them" mentality towards school and the people who work there, our children pick up on that, just like everything else they hear, see and feel. It may be unspoken, it may be subtle, but our children filter our perspectives. In a way it can be likened to racism, something that is systemic, generational and often non-verbal. Nevertheless it packs a powerful cultural and socio-economic punch.

Personally I don’t like reactionary, crisis control, ambulance-at-the-bottom-of-the-cliff measures any time - not in my life, not in your life and not in our kids’ lives because it creates a sense of continual chaos, a sense of being out of control. So, when those working for our kids’ education establish boundaries to create an environment in which our kids can learn to read, write, count and strive to achieve their dreams and potential, let’s support that. If we want to see our kids reach their full potential then that means its "gonna" take the village to raise the child, not just the ones that live two doors down, but also the people that live on the far side of the village and the ones that live up on the hill or down by the coast.

Yes, it takes aroha, it takes patience, it takes sensitivity and it takes educating those that have not walked in your shoes, whoever you may be.

Naku noa na,

Sandi Lowe

MBAS Board of Trustees

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