Happy with the reading re­sults

Matamata Chronicle - - Your Paper, Your Place - ABBY BROWN

Al­though Hin­uera School did not win at the Prime Min­is­ter’s Ed­u­ca­tion Ex­cel­lence Award, their prin­ci­pal says there’s still so much to cel­e­brate.

"Even though we didn’t win, in mak­ing a fi­nals cat­e­gory we re­ceived a $3000 prize, and since we were in two cat­e­gories we won $6000 over­all for our en­try,’’ Dean McDon­nell said.

The award fi­nals took place on June 14.

He thanked the ‘‘spe­cial friend of the school, Mayor Jan Barnes, for be­ing with us at the din­ner’’.

McDon­nell said the school would have to loved to win even just one cat­e­gory, as it would have been great for the school and the com­mu­nity.

But he was grate­ful Barnes was there as she was still so pos­i­tive about what the school had achieved in be­ing named a fi­nal­ist.

As part of be­ing a fi­nal­ist, Hin­uera stu­dents and staff had pre­vi­ously been videoed at the school.

The school had the chal­lenge of be­ing up against one of the big­gest schools in the coun­try, Ran­gi­toto Col­lege, who won the Ex­cel­lence in gov­ern­ing award.

And Ro­torua Boys’ High School won the other cat­e­gory Hin­uera were a fi­nal­ist in, the Ex­cel­lence in lead­ing award.

The awards had a lot of mean­ing for the lit­er­acy lead­er­ship team and the Board of Trustees.

They had to get out pen and paper af­ter is­su­ing their Waikato school a writ­ing chal­lenge as part of a mis­sion to im­prove pupils’ writ­ing abil­ity at the end of 2011.

"The board even went to the lengths of get­ting into the class­rooms and ac­tu­ally see­ing what the writ­ing was like.

"We even got the teach­ers to come to a board meet­ing and have a bit of a writ­ing ses­sion with them, and make them ac­tu­ally write.’’

It paid off, with the 165-stu­dent school be­ing named amongst the 14 fi­nal­ists from more than 200 en­tries for the awards.

The school’s drive started af­ter 2011 re­sults showed most kids were work­ing above na­tional stan­dards in reading and maths, but the fig­ure was about 60 per cent for writ­ing. By the end of 2015 just over 90 per cent of stu­dents at Hin­uera were at or above na­tional stan­dard level for writ­ing.

PHOTO: SUP­PLIED

The Hin­uera School Board of Trustees, the lit­er­acy lead­er­ship team and the prin­ci­pal Dean McDon­nell cel­e­brated be­ing a fi­nal­ist in two cat­e­gories of the Prime Min­is­ter’s Ed­u­ca­tion Ex­cel­lence Award with mayor Jan Barnes.

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