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Sep 302017

Kuranui College will be offering a ground-breaking new curriculum for its Year 9 and 10 students from next year.

Students will no longer study subjects, but courses. Each course will combine a number of subjects to create a collaborative, future-focused environment where students solve real-life problems.

“We have recognised that every child is different and motivated by a variety of interests and passions. We believe these new personalised programmes of study will be far more relevant and a lot more engaging for our students,’ explained Vicki Wish, Kuranui Head of Junior College.

“They will ultimately give every student a chance to learn through real-life problems and situations, allowing them to grow into resilient, young adults capable of solving everyday issues that involve not just one skill, but a mix of skills, capability and know-how when they leave school.”

Kuranui Jnr Curr Web

The new programme will be delivered in two semesters each year, over the two years of junior college. Each student will study six courses per semester, 12 courses in each year, completing a total of 24 while in Years 9 and 10.

There will be a number of compulsory courses in the curriculum areas and in each curriculum area there will be choice. For example, students will be required to do three math courses over the two years, but they will have a choice of eight to choose from. A keen mathematician could potentially do all eight math courses.

Individual courses will have their own unique names. In a course entitled ‘Build it Now’, students will learn the mathematics needed to build a structure, while at the same time in design visual communication (DVC), they will learn the design process, so they can design the structure. Both these skills will be developed further when the students actually build the structure in ‘Build it Now II’.

‘Choconomics’, for example, brings together the social sciences, mathematics and design, and also explores real-life issues such as fair trade, environmental impacts, marketing, business ethics and public health policy. Through their own mini chocolate business, students will learn about the tough decisions producers and retailers have to make to maintain levels of consumption.

“When we began evaluating how effective we were in delivering the curriculum in our junior school, and started to look at what other schools were doing, we quickly identified that there were three key issues that needed to be addressed,” said Wish.

“We were giving an unequal amount of time to the study of core versus option subjects. Students were having little ownership in what they learnt, and many were experiencing difficulty in seeing the connections between the subjects they were studying and the relevance for real-life after leaving school.

“We currently require all our students to learn at the same pace as their peer group. The new curriculum will bring Year 9 and 10 students together to study without streaming. The courses are designed to accelerate students to a higher level if they are achieving beyond their expected level.

“The adult world of work is not divided into subjects, adults are expected to use all their skills and knowledge to solve problems and complete tasks. Learning should be a part of life,” added Wish.

An information evening on the new curriculum will be held for parents in the Kuranui College Library on Wednesday, 18 October at 7pm.

Sep 252017

The David Brockett Award for Backstage Achievement is awarded annually to a theatre practitioner working backstage in community theatre in New Zealand.

The 2017 award has been made to Kuranui Year 13 Student and Greytown Little Theatre member Alexander Southey. It was announced at the Theatre New Zealand, ‘Theatre Fest 2017 National Final’ held in Wellington on 17 September.

The Award was presented to Alexander by Greytown Little Theatre President, John Gilberthorpe and Vice President, Victoria Ross at the theatre following a performance of Steel Magnolias.

AJ Southey

Kuranui’s AJ Southey backstage with his award.

Alexander was acknowledged for the significant contribution he has made for his backstage roles at the Greytown Little Theatre since he joined in March 2016, when he undertook the lighting operation for ‘Take a Chance on Me’. He has subsequently worked on every production including; ‘Love Lust and Lies’, ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’, ‘Same Time Next Year’, ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’, ‘Quartet’, ‘I Shall Fly’, Silver Lillies in Concert, ‘An Unseasonable Fall of Snow’ and the most recent production ‘Steel Magnolias’. His roles have included lighting design and operation, sound operator, set construction and design.

John Gilberthorpe, President of Greytown Little Theatre said everyone is delighted that Alexander has won this award. “It’s a well-deserved recognition for the commitment and enthusiastic way Alexander has contributed to the all-important backstage disciplines of our theatre over the last 18 months. Our shows just couldn’t go on unless we have the commitment of backstage crew like Alexander”.

“He’s seen more than 50 performances, attended more than 100 plus rehearsals, spent countless hours rigging lights, building sets and worked with five Directors. These impressive stats don’t even include the shows he has acted in.”

Alexander Southey says he is chuffed with the award. “I’m absolutely blown away and humbled to receive this, my contribution to Greytown Little Theatre couldn’t have been possible without my father accepting me working at the theatre rather than playing rugby. It also could not be possible without my beautifully amazing drama teacher Juanita McLellan. I would like thank Greytown Little theatre for taking a chance on me and putting their faith in a young person such as myself. Thank you to all of my drama whanau”.

“No reira Tena koutou tena koutou tena koutou katoa.”

Sep 132017

Kuranui Principal Geoff Shepherd will be leaving the South Wairarapa college at the end of January 2018, but before he departs he has the small matter of completing a much deserved sabbatical.

Shepherd joined Kuranui in 1999 as Deputy Principal and took over the helm after Grey Tuck retired nearly 10 years ago. Shepherd says he is pleased to be leaving the college in ‘good heart’.

Geoff Shepherd“I will be very sad to go, but I’m pleased to be leaving the college in good heart,” he said. “There are a number of achievements I am particularly proud of. It has been a privilege to see our NCEA results lift year-on-year and to receive an acknowledgement from the Minister of Education for our achievements, particularly those gained by our Māori students.

“We have worked hard to develop culturally responsive pedagogy that allows our Māori students to succeed as Māori. Tikanga is now compulsory for all students in Years 9 and 10, and the whole school is now truly enjoying and embracing Māoriculture, language and history.

“I am also proud of the professionalism of our staff. They are hard-working and loyal and I love the way our staff know our students really well, how they adapt their programmes to suit individual needs, and go the extra mile to help our students succeed.

“We have focused on developing a senior curriculum that is responsive to each individual student, and we are just about to launch a really exciting revised junior curriculum that gives students more personal choice while providing them with a solid foundation.”

Shepherd is also proud of the improvements to the college infrastructure which he’s overseen. “I have enjoyed being involved in the development of our new buildings which has resulted in a modern, practical campus. The college is in good shape financially through strong stewardship and we have been able to establish a responsible and comprehensive asset management plan.

It’s been important for Shepherd to help students follow meaningful pathways and so he’s keen to spend his sabbatical looking into the adaptation of Level 3 programmes for non-university students.

“I’ve been looking forward to this new challenge for some time, and I’m delighted that I am now able to complete a project involving an area of education that really fascinates me,” he explained.

“Now is the right time for me to hand over the reins and take up a new challenge.”

“The Board would like to acknowledge the contribution Geoff has made for these last ten years that has positioned the college well to embark on the next phase and into a bright future,” added Belinda Cordwell the Chair of the Kuranui College Board of Trustees.