Stu­dents put back on right track

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By KARO­LINE TUCKEY

Sec­ond chances have meant the world to a group of Mana Col­lege stu­dents and their fam­i­lies who have marked the suc­cess of their al­ter­na­tive ed­u­ca­tion classes with cel­e­bra­tions.

The ‘10PZ’ class was set up in 2009 when the school ex­pe­ri­enced a bot­tle­neck of stu­dents who didn’t en­gage in the school environment and didn’t com­plete enough cred­its in year 9 to progress.

Now many of those stu­dents are still in school, pre­pared to take the next step to ter­tiary study and many have found a new out­look in life.

Teacher Ami Perez says the class has been a big suc­cess and stu­dents have seen mas­sive turn­abouts in both their school achieve­ments and de­ci­sions they were mak­ing out­side school.

Ear­lier this month three years’ worth of stu­dents who had come through the class, and their fam­i­lies, gath­ered with staff and com­mu­nity agen­cies to cel­e­brate the suc­cess of the pro­gramme and to mark their achieve­ments.

The class will not be run next year, due to fund­ing pres­sures and a re­duced need for it, says Mana Col­lege prin­ci­pal Mike Web­ster.

Mrs Perez says: to pro­vide an ‘‘We wanted al­ter­na­tive ap­proach to ed­u­ca­tion to en­gage stu­dents who tra­di­tion­ally dis­liked school and I feel that has been achieved be­yond our­ex­pec­ta­tions.’’

As well as dis­en­gage­ment with ed­u­ca­tion and fall­ing grades, many of the stu­dents were wag­ging, dis­rupt­ing classes and get­ting into trou­ble out­side school. They were ap­proached by her dur­ing the sum­mer hol­i­days and per­suaded to give school one more try.

‘‘One of the first stu­dents said to me ‘don’t waste your time be­cause I’m get­ting patched at the end of the year’. Now he’s grad­u­at­ing from the Ser­vices Academy at Mana Col­lege and next year he’s go­ing into the army. His fam­ily are just so proud of him.’’

The class had a max­i­mum of 12 stu­dents, most in year 10, so teach­ers could build a closer re­la­tion­ship with them and with their fam­i­lies.

‘‘Our first goal’s to keep them com­ing to school, get them in here fol­low­ing the school rules and then fo­cus on aca­demic suc­cesses, and our main goal’s to get them back into main­stream [to] con­tinue their learn­ing.’’

2011 10PZ stu­dent Gabrielle Snow­den-tahiwi says the class has made her en­joy school.

‘‘Be­fore I used to wag when­ever I felt like it, walk out of classes and swear a lot at all my teach­ers. I hated school and I was get­ting into trou­ble with the po­lice as well.’’

Gabrielle was put on a con­tract with the school and as­signed to the al­ter­na­tive class. She also had to meet 85 per cent of her cred­its, not wag, and be in full uni­form to be able to take part in the class’ Fri­day field trips. She is go­ing back to school next year and plans on be­ing a hair­dresser.

Those on the pro­gramme ‘‘are achiev­ing be­yond my ex­pec­ta­tions’’, Mrs Perez says.

Fi­nal year: Mana Col­lege al­ter­na­tive ed­u­ca­tion class teacher Ami Perez, with some of her stu­dents. The class has given many of them a sec­ond chance at school, and a fresh start to­ward a brighter fu­ture, but will not con­tinue due to lack of fund­ing.

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