‘Know me before you teach me.’
It’s this statement that drives principal Bruce Jepsen, and his vision for the teaching and learning outcomes for all learners at Te Ākau ki Pāpāmoa School.
Bruce, of Ngāti Raukawa and Tūwharetoa descent, joined Te Ākau ki Pāpāmoa in 2007.
It was New Zealand’s first Apple Distinguished School (ADS) and one of the country’s leading mainstream schools in normalising the delivery of te reo Māori and cultural competencies alongside positive impacts on student achievement, school, and community culture.
According to Apple, an ADS is “a centre of leadership and educational excellence that demonstrates our vision of exemplary learning environments”. Apple products are used to “inspire student creativity, collaboration, and critical thinking, and leadership cultivates environments in which students are excited about learning”. All this was already integral of how the school was evolving, when Apple representatives visited them. They pointed out that the school’s innovative work met the criteria for ADS status (a global award that recognises the use of technology to improve student achievement). Their application was successful in gaining the award, and now the entire school benefits from the use of Apple products in the classroom, insofar that each student is presented with an Ipad on their first day of school.
‘Creativity and innovation allow us to express our unique self, our identity, our language and our culture. The tools allow our voices to be heard and our hearts to be felt.’
Bruce has 15 years principalship experience and has mentored widely throughout New Zealand. When he became principal of Te Ākau ki Pāpāmoa School in 2007, 90% of the students at the school were failing, and could not read, write or do math. 12 years on, the school is now one of the most successful primary schools in the country, and digital technology plays a big part in that success.
Bruce currently serves on the National Māori Principals Executive (Te Akatea), National Resource Teachers of Learning & Behaviour Executive, National Māori Achievement Collaborative Trust Board, National Māori Medium reference group, National Education Act Sector reference group, and has experience on the NZ Educational Institute Principals Council.
He has also presented at international and national education leadership conferences including NZSTA, NZEI, Te Akatea, International Conference of Thinking (Belfast, Ireland, 2011 & Bilbao, Spain, 2015), Apple Leadership Summit (Gold Coast, 2017), CORE uLearn (2014 - 17), First Time Principals Leadership Residential Conferences (2012 - 2016), Apple Technology Integration (with Ruben Puentedura, Christchurch 2015), Apple World Innovation Summit (2018), and Apple Global Education Leaders - First Foreign Keynote Speaker (Silicon Valley, 2018).