Taipa Area School and Community
Taipa Area School is located in Mangonui in Northern New Zealand, directly overlooking Taipa beach, (35° South, 173°28' East) north-east of Kaitaia. The school became an Area School in 1976, having existed as a District high school since 1956. We are the northern-most of the 39 Area Schools in New Zealand.
The diverse nature of our decile 3 community, combined with a geographically broad school area, (from Kaeo to the Karikari Peninsula, and inland toward Kaitaia), presents a unique school climate and culture. The community comprises predominantly of Maori and Pakeha families, whose socio-economic circumstances vary greatly. The school has a total roll of 400 students, 67% of whom identify as Maori. The primary school roll is just over 100 and 90% of these students identify as Maori. Contributing schools include Kaingaroa, Mangonui, Oruaiti, Peria, and Te Kura Kaupapa Maori Rangiawhia.
We have developed a bilingual unit with a roll of 60 students from Year 7–13. As well as developing Te Reo Maori, its purpose is to provide a context for increased academic performance for Maori students. A total immersion Maori class was established last year. We have a dedicated professional staff of 53 who provide a full range of academic, sporting, and cultural programs for our students.
Connectedness: Culture and Community
The community is connected physically to the school by bus routes throughout the region upon which numerous buses transport 95% of our students. Parent faces are not generally seen at school on a day-to-day basis, so developing a sense of family and togetherness is an aspect we hold as important. The physical distance that separates the school from its contributing families is an obstacle that is overcome by regular newsletters, a school website and annual school events. We are constantly reviewing ways in which to encourage meaningful community interaction with the school.
This strong drive to foster connectedness is maintained through our goals. We actively foster respectful relationships among staff, students and community so that the school provides all with a sense of place, purpose and identity. Teachers must implement effective teaching strategies to increase the engagement and achievement of all students.
Coherence: Changes and Challenges
High expectations of teaching and learning, of students and colleagues, drive us to achieve these goals. Through effective teaching strategies including restorative practices, we demand improved academic achievement and engagement from all students with a particular focus on Maori students. This requires teachers to commit to professional development in all these areas, key foci in our strategic development.
We are interested in creating different learning structures, teaching strategies and environments that research tells us will better cater for the varying needs of a diverse student population. A major emphasis in recent years has been the implementation of Cooperative Learning strategies across the school. The development of the new curriculum including the implementation of consistent assessment practices remains a work in progress.