Leading Change: 10 students and 0.5 teachers at a time!

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I will be beginning a new position next year as a Sole-Charge Principal at Pukeokahu School (Pukeokahu means The Hill of The Hawk).  To put this into perspective for you non-kiwis out there – I will begin the year (Feb 2nd 2010) with 10 students aged between 7 and 12 years, with two 5 year olds beginning half way through the year.  I am expected to teach across all age levels with 0.3 release (one and a half days per week) to complete school administration.  One of the biggest appeals about this school is the extremely high level of community support.  The Board of Trustees (BOT) fundraises every year to employ a second teacher for an additional one and a half hours per day (0.2 teaching time) to focus on Junior Literacy (Yeah! I’m not alone!).

Soooo … I have a bit of a challenge ahead of me.  The teaching part will be as sweet as a nut, but I now need to learn all about the compliance stuff!  The paper work, administration, budgets, pay-roll (eek! I have heard many a horrible tale about pay-roll!), and water-testing will definitely be a challenge for me.  Yes, you did read that correctly, I do have to test the drinking water once a month!  But what is life without a challenge?  I say bring it on because I also get to do the exciting stuff, and by exciting I mean super-sized-geeky-fun exciting stuff! I now have a blank slate to create a personalised elearning environment for my school community. Woohoooo!

I thought I might share my ever increasing ‘To Do’ list with you:

  1. Obtain Domain Name details.
  2. Sign up for Google Apps.
  3. Sigh and stare at my tiny budget.
  4. Re-assess our ISP – InspireNet, Telecom, or Vodafone? (we have very limited options in Kiwi-land)
  5. Spend at least 17 hours fixing internet connection problems or just waiting while I am on hold.
  6. Create a new (official serious stuff) school website  – Self-hosted with Joomla or hosted by InspireNet with WordPress MU or use a hosted site like Weebly or Google Sites.
  7. Up-load all policy documents to Google Docs and link to school site.
  8. Write the elearning policy.
  9. Sigh and stare at my tiny budget.
  10. Start applying for Trust Grants to up-grade the current elearning infra-structure.
  11. Set up school accounts – Flickr, Voicethread, Delicious, Edublogs, GlogsterEdu, etc.
  12. Sigh and stare at my tiny budget.
  13. Decide if I should go to Learning @School or Ulearn10 and/or the NZPF National Conference.
  14. Create a school/class learning blog (for the fun learning stuff in edublogs) am thinking I might get the students to create a school mascot to host the blog.
  15. Create an ePortfolio for each child (in Edublogs) and set up their school email accounts.
  16. Clean out the old school room (currently used as storage) and turn it into an awesome Creative Art Space!
  17. Feed the chickens.

As you can see, I have quite a lot to do and a few decisions to make before the beginning of the new school year.  I will be blogging as I go to let you all know how I go.  Hopefully I will have plenty of tips and tricks I can share with you all as I bumble along.  I would also appreciate any wisdom and in-sites you could share with me 🙂

Images sourced gratefully under creative commons licence from:




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A New Zealand Principal, living in Taneatua. Where's that you say? Just Google IT!

6 thoughts on “Leading Change: 10 students and 0.5 teachers at a time!”

  1. Marama, I look forward to sharing this journey with you! I will be drawing on your extensive knowledge (and your kind offer) to assist me with the establishment of a school website and which platform to use. Although I would like to use Word Press as I have an understanding of that and can use it. Many things to do and like you, many things mulling around in my head, not least of all, understanding the budget. We will be fine!

  2. Marama, it sounds exciting! well, apart from the tiny budget part 😉
    You know if you want any help figuring out the geeky stuff, I’ll be up for it, just let me know!

  3. What fun times you have ahead 🙂 Congratulations. You will do a fabulous job there. Now, after every “Sigh and stare at my tiny budget, “perhaps you should add “Buy a LOTTO ticket” Think you could use a win.

  4. I have given the Lotto ticket plan a go since I started grimacing and groaning at my m0rtgage, though I have found it to be not so reliable 🙂

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