Everyone comes to a school from a different background, and it is the job of the school to cater to and communicate with everyone on their own terms.
If the school fails on this front, they will likely fail to engage the community when they need it. Kohia Terrace School, with an incredibly diverse cultural background, ran into this issue after completing their strategic plan.
Background: Building a plan
Alison Spence, Principal of Kohia Terrace School (KHS), came to the Strategic Leadership for Principals Programme (SLPP) in 2014. She had been in the role for eight years, and during the course began engaging parents over the school’s strategic goals.
However, this presented some unique challenges. A decile 10 school, KHS has a 50% NZ European roll, with the other half comprised of Chinese, Indian, Pasifika, Sri Lankan, Māori, Fijian, Filipino and Latin American ethnicities – just to name a few.
As the roll grew increasingly diverse and Alison aimed to communicate her strategic plan, a strong parent engagement strategy was absolutely critical.
The project: Canvas the community
It began with a meeting. Alison came to Springboard Trust in October 2015, a year after completing SLPP. She worked with a volunteer Subject Matter Expert, Rich Easton, to refine the school charter and scope out projects for the following year.
At this point, they involved Deputy Principal Philippa Campbell, who was to spearhead a KTS Parents Guide.
“My goal was to enable parents to pick up what makes us KTS, the Kohia Terrace School.”