COL Connections - Issue 1, July 2022
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Kia Ora and Welcome to this first e-dition for 2022 that aims to connect our CoL. 
This publication was unfortunately interrupted by Covid last year and we are now back! This newsletter shares some of the work that we are engaged in with our Boards of Trustees, staff, parents, whānau, and student communities as the Morrinsville Kāhui Ako - Community of Learning. I hope that you find this edition informative and interesting.


Across-School Leader for Morrinsville Kāhui Ako-Community of Learning

Ko Urchin te maunga e rū nei taku ngākau

Ko Waikato te awa e mahea nei aku māharahara

Nō Kirikiriroa ahau

Nō reira, tēnā koutou katoa

I am so excited to be one of the Across School Leaders for this year. I live in Hamilton with my husband Luke, cat Kayla and my new puppy, Ren. I love travelling and exploring new places around the world.

I have been teaching Year 3/4 students at David Street School for six years now, and before this, I taught Year 5/6 at Manurewa Central School. I am passionate about making connections between teachers and utilising my strengths to help others grow and develop. I am looking forward to meeting you and can be contacted by email: 


Sharing news from around our MKA-CoL

We were disappointed to farewell Rachel Howser from Orini School as our Across Leader at the end of 2021. Rachel was an excellent supporter of the Kāhui Ako. She was highly-experienced and worked alongside our ECEs with her wide knowledge of early childhood and junior primary education. Rachel and her family have now moved to the South Island for new adventures; we wish her all the very best.

St Joseph's Catholic School is sad to say goodbye to their Principal, Andrea Colebourn. Andrea, an ex-student of St. Joseph's herself, has been the Principal for the past eight years and will now take on the reins at Kaimai School. We want to wish Andrea all the very best in her new role, and thank her for her support of our Kāhui Ako. It has been our pleasure to work with Andrea.

Thilo Govender and Andrea Colebourn in Rangiriri at the end of Term 1 this year. We will miss Andrea's warm and bubbly personality as a strong supporter of this COL.


Two Teacher-Only Days were held in Term 1 this year.

COL Conference 27 January 2022
John Inger Performing Arts Centre & Woodlands Events Centre, Gordonton - Hybrid Conference [due to Covid restrictions]


Te Kura ki te Whai - Ao ki te Ao Mārama
Education for Health and Well-Being: from Reactive to Proactive

We invited three Keynote Speakers who are all experts in their own field. We were very grateful to Professor Berryman and Nigel Latta for working between our two venues so that our teachers could have in-person presentations. It's safe to say that this was an excellent example of a hybrid conference, well before hybrid learning became so popularised. We have had fantastic feedback from those schools that attended: Morrinsville College, Morrinsville Intermediate, St. Joseph’s Catholic School, Tatuanui School, Tahuna School, Tauhei School, Whitikahu School, Motumaoho School and Kiwitahi School.

Professor Mere Berryman, ONZM PhD, MEd (Hons), BEd
Professor Berryman discussed how we might understand the Hauora - Health and Well-being of our students, staff and community against the backdrop of our shared history and wider contemporary society. She made connections between the historical relationships developed between tangata whenua and the coloniser and the impact these relationships continue to have for both Treaty partners today. She challenged us to consider why, while we have known about the importance of developing positive classroom relationships as foundational to a quality education since last century, the evidence shows that for the majority of Māori learners across their learning pathway little has changed.  

Assoc. Prof Katie Fitzpatrick, PhD, BSpLS (Hons), BEd, DipTchg
Assoc. Professor Katie Fitzpatrick talked about her background and how she has come to work in the research and teaching space of Mental Health Education. She discussed her text, how she envisages teachers using the resource in their classrooms and our schools. Assoc. Professor Fitzpatrick discussed why we need a focus on health equity and health education in Aotearoa now more than ever in a pandemic, and how teachers and leaders can show the way in this new era where health and well-being is crucially important.

Mr. Nigel Latta, ONZM
Clinical Psychologist, author and TV presenter, Nigel Latta presented about resiliency in an anxious world  and how we can manage change when disruption is the new normal. Nigel talked about why the world is changing so quickly, what it means for anyone trying to run a school or business, and some of the things we can do to cope. Nigel offered staff some simple things that we can do to increase our resiliency and improve our well-being, and discussed how we can support our students with their anxieties and concerns in a rapidly changing world.

Professor Berryman discussed how developing more effective relationships:
  • requires educators to be agentic rather than deficit in their response and that this is ‘heart work’
  • can support teachers and students to be better prepared to face the challenges in today’s education systems and also in wider society
  • can contribute to future proofing against the global crises that is our collective reality
  • can help us learn more deeply about the profession by beginning with our own agency.


Our second TOD was a COL Hui out to the North Waikato:
a day of learning that will last long in our memories.

COL Hui 14 April 2022
It was our pleasure and privilege to be hosted by Matua Brad Totorewa and Ohorei Consultants for this second Teacher-Only Day. We began the morning listening to the stories of local Iwi at the foothills of Taupiri Maunga and ended the day after a moving tribute at the battle site in Rangiriri. The content of the day included the following aspects:
Taupiri: History of Taupiri Maunga 
Te Awa o Waikato 
Tikanga Urupaa Te Putu 
The Origins of the Kiingitanga Movement History 
The Proclamation 
Raigiriri Township: History of local Church & Cemetery 
History of Rangiriri Invasion & Narratives of Carved Pou 

The schools that attended [ Morrinsville College, Morrinsville Intermediate School, St. Joseph’s Catholic School, Tatuanui School and Tahuna School] all reported that that this was some of the best professional learning we have had to date. We are very grateful for the opportunity to engage with Iwi and others to learn more about the history of New Zealand and the Waikato as part of our aim to be culturally responsive and culturally intelligent. We are indebted to Ohorei Consultants for a special day of learning and an enlightening experience in Rangiriri.  


The MKA-CoL was delighted to present John Parsons - Cyber Safety Expert. John joined us online to present to our students, staff and community at the end of Term 1.

John is an expert at educating young people how to:

  • understand the value of identity to use ICT safely and ethically, and
  • respect and protect friends and family identity when using technology

John works with education, health and private sectors, providing specialist advice and direction on the safe and ethical use of Digital Communication Technology. He is a published author of “Keeping Your Children Safe Online” and a social commentator who works throughout New Zealand and Internationally. You can watch some of John's videos through this link here.

Centrally-Funded Professional Learning and Development (CFPLD) Fund
We are fortunate to have been approved for 400 hours of CFPLD time to be used over 2 years. This means that our COL schools can support teachers in each school, and also across our schools to improve and support their professional learning. We currently enjoy positive relationships with all our external providers of professional learning and some of them have now been working in our schools for a significant period of time. We have allocated our hours as follows:
  • TupuOra Education and Development Ltd – 115 hours [Tatuanui School]
  • Ohorei Consultants – 50 hours – [All COL Schools and ECEs]
  • Using Technology Better – 60 hours [Morrinsville Intermediate School]
  • Tabitha Leonard Consulting – 145 hours [All COL Schools and ECEs]
  • University of Waikato – 30 hours [David Street School]
Attendance and Engagement Fund
It was also an unexpected surprise when the Ministry of Education allocated $26, 350 in mid-June to our Kāhui Ako to improve attendance and engagement across our COL. A small committee has been working on a viable solution for how this money can be divided amongst our COL organisations to support the work that schools and ECEs do to improve attendance. The committee has used attendance data from the MOE for each school in our COL and proposals were made by leaders for how the money can be used in their schools to support attendance. A final decision about how we will share and utilise this fund will be further discussed next term. We will keep everyone updated with this information. 

In the meantime, if you are interested to know more about the MOE's new Attendance and Engagement Strategy, you can access this here.

The Morrinsville Kāhui Ako-Community of Learning is a collaboration between our schools and ECEs that enables networks for teachers and leaders to ensure purposeful and engaging collaboration to Empower Learning for All. Most recently we resurrected the concept of Collaborative Learning Groups [CLGs] in which groups of teachers come together to advance their learning around specific topics of interest.

Our ethos for the COL CLGs is to Connect - Share - Learn. The goal is to engender thoughtful discussion and debate about what works best in our school and ECE settings, how we can improve exisiting practices and how we can shape improvements in our own unique work contexts. When we learn from within and share knowledge across our organisations, we can develop a sustainable to approach to improving professional practice that is limitless and empowering. I look forward to keeping you updated on our progress.

If you have any queries, thoughts, or ideas on how we can forge strong partnerships that empower learning for all, please get in touch. Best wishes for a happy and restful Term 2 school holidays.

Best Regards, Ngā Mihi Nui
Dr. Thilo Govender | MKA-CoL Leader

ADDRESS:  c/o Morrinsville College, PO Box 325, Morrinsville, 3340, NZ 
PHONE: 07 8898308