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In the flow . . . Deputy principal Brian Hays says Rangiora High Schools new innovating learning environment, Rakahuri, celebrates the Ashley River. This photo looks downstream. Photo: David Hill

 

 

By DAVID HILL

Ashley Rakahuri River is being celebrated in the South Island’s largest school classroom.

Rangiora High School’s new innovative learning environment (ILE), Rakahuri, which is the equivalent of 26 teaching spaces, was officially opened on Tuesday, May 9, by Associate Education Minister Louise Upston.

Deputy principal Brian Hays says the long anticipated facility houses 355 year 9 students divided in six learning hubs for each pastoral house, as well as the year 12 and 13 science classes.

“This future proofs us for roll growth only until 2019. If we keep growing in the 2020s there’s stage B in our redevelopment where we will get another one of these.”

The new ILE has been designed with the Ashley Rakahuri River in mind, Mr Hays says.

Entering from the eastern end, beside the hall entrance, you see the year 13 Common Room known as Te Tauraka (the Landing), careers office, kitchen and indoor grandstand.

Immediately upstream on the right is the Hillary learning hub, Oharua, complete with state of the art facilities including small units which are “halfway between a lectern and a computer unit”, wide screen televisions, wi fi and breakout rooms, Mr Hays says.

As you continue upstream you find the Mansfield learning hub or Pataku, the Ngata learning hub or Kapika, Sheppard is Okuku, Lydiard is Huritini and the Rutherford learning hub is Te Rua.

There is small lecture theatre, several small “co-labs” or multi purpose labs, charging stations where students can recharge their BYODs (bring your own devices), a “theory wall” or blackboard where students can write down ideas and at the “headwaters” is the science hub or Puketeraki.

There are also six kaiako or teacher work stations, where teachers collaborate across the core curriculum subjects, including English, maths, science and social studies.

“It’s known as ‘connected-curriculum’. The teachers work together across the subjects so they know what each other is doing,” Mr Hays says.

“If they go on a class trip, instead of it just being a social studies trip, they could do lessons across several subjects.”

Mr Hays says the scale and layout of the ILE means it could be used for “mini-conferences”.

“It will be great for staff meetings and professional development. You can gather everyone together in the grandstand and then break off into the different hubs and breakout rooms – it’s totally multi-functional.”

The opening of the new ILE means old J block classrooms J2 to J13 and G12 and G13 will be demolished later this year.