End of par­ent-teacher in­ter­views?

Kapi-Mana News - - OUT & ABOUT - AMY JACKMAN

One Porirua school is turning the tra­di­tional par­ent-teacher in­ter­view on its head.

Ask­ing a par­ent to feel com­fort­able enough to ask hard ques­tions of teach­ers, or un­der­stand all the in­for­ma­tion about their child, in just 10 min­utes was not fea­si­ble any more, Holy Fam­ily School prin­ci­pal Chris Theobald said.

So he is in­tro­duc­ing a pro­gramme in which sup­port worker Me­tua Ten­garu vis­its each of the school’s 120 fam­i­lies in their homes for an hour, three times a year.

‘‘It’s not another job to be ticked. It’s a chance to con­nect and make a dif­fer­ence for a fam­ily, for our chil­dren,’’ Theobald said.

‘‘We want to make the par­ents feel in­volved with the school, and com­fort­able enough to ask the hard ques­tions of our teach­ers.’’

The prob­lem wasn’t that par­ents weren’t think­ing about the hard ques­tions, or didn’t want to be in­volved. Some­times they sim­ply didn’t think they had the right, or only spoke up when there was trou­ble.

Theobald said Ten­garu was known in the com­mu­nity through her work for the school and the church, so was well placed to be the point of con­tact for par­ents.

She would work closely with act­ing deputy prin­ci­pal Gina Le­faoseu to run the pro­gramme at the decile 1 Catholic school.

‘‘It needed to be some­one par­ents would be com­fort­able hav­ing in their homes.

‘‘When the prin­ci­pal rings up, par­ents think there’s trou­ble. If I went to do this, ev­ery­one would be on their best be­hav­iour and the con­nec­tion we want to make would take longer to es­tab­lish.’’

‘‘It’s not another job to be ticked. It’s a chance to con­nect and make a dif­fer­ence for a fam­ily, for our chil­dren.’’

The school will also run work­shops for par­ents on the New Zealand ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem, be­cause terms such as na­tional stan­dards, NCEA, Star, EasTTle, OTJs and sta­nines were of­ten used by teach­ers, but not un­der­stood by par­ents.

Liana Leiataua, who has three chil­dren at Holy Fam­ily, was one of the trial fam­i­lies for the pro­gramme and said she could not imag­ine go­ing back to the old par­ent-teacher in­ter­view.

‘‘It doesn’t give a full rep­re­sen­ta­tion of where your child is at, and is very lim­ited in the in­for- ma­tion they can give you in the time,’’ she said.

‘‘There’s a lot of in­for­ma­tion to talk about in just 10 min­utes.’’

Le­faoseu said the school had al­ready had pos­i­tive re­sults, with im­proved at­ten­dance and home­work and more par­ents com­ing into the school to see what was hap­pen­ing.

– Chris Theobald Liana Leiataua and her 3 daugh­ters, from left, Ella, 9, Eterei, 7, and Vaolupe Leiataua-Finau, 10.

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