New prin­ci­pal has big plans

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By AN­DREA O’NEIL

New prin­ci­pal Shirley Por­te­ous wants to put Greenacres School on the map – quite lit­er­ally.

The Tawa pri­mary school does not show up on in­ter­net search gi­ant Google’s maps, which Mrs Por­te­ous dis­cov­ered when ap­ply­ing for the prin­ci­pal’s job last year.

Cor­rect­ing the omis­sion will be a se­nior-stu­dent project this year, and Mrs Por­te­ous also hopes to in­stall bet­ter street signs di­rect­ing peo­ple to the school.

‘‘I want to get us more on the map, so peo­ple know who we are and where we are,’’ she says.

A New­lands res­i­dent, Mrs Por­te­ous has come from a deputy prin­ci­pal’s role at Fer­gus­son In­ter­me­di­ate in Up­per Hutt, and re­places long- time prin­ci­pal Graeme Schofield.

Greenacres’ strong com­mu­nity has warmly wel­comed her this term, she says.

‘‘I’m lov­ing it. Since I’ve been here I’ve been wel­comed so well. Peo­ple have been really, really sup­port­ive of the change, and they’re look­ing for­ward.’’

Mrs Por­te­ous has plenty more am­bi­tious changes in mind.

Greenacres is due to get a sub­stan­tial prop­erty grant from the Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion this year, and ex­ten­sive com­mu­nity con­sul­ta­tion will be done to de­cide how to spend the money, she says. The decile 9 school’s long-term di­rec­tion will also be dis­cussed dur­ing the con­sul­ta­tion.

‘‘It’s really good tim­ing for me to do that, with me be­ing new.’’

Mrs Por­te­ous hopes the com­mu­nity will get be­hind her idea to up­grade and mod­ernise class­rooms with some of the grant.

Sus­tain­abil­ity will be a fo­cus for Greenacres’ 200 pupils this year – Mrs Por­te­ous is passionate about the sub­ject and wants to es­tab­lish an en­vi­ron­ment group that will be­gin gar­den­ing and com­post­ing at school.

ICT is an­other fo­cus – Mrs Por­te­ous hopes to get more lap­tops and iPads into class­rooms and en­cour­age stu­dents’ on­line en­gage­ment. Lan­guage classes are also be­ing in­tro­duced, with Mrs Por­te­ous her­self teach­ing Span­ish, and other staff will be giv­ing Ja­panese and Ger­man lessons.

‘‘ A rich cur­ricu­lum is what we’re af­ter here, to ex­pose the kids to as many things as they can be ex­posed to,’’ she says.

Change coming: New Greenacres School prin­ci­pal, Shirley Por­te­ous, has plenty planned for her first year in charge, in­clud­ing a prop­erty makeover, for­eign lan­guage lessons and a sus­tain­abil­ity club.

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