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Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o te Puaha o Waikato

Achieving a seamless teaching and learning experience with Google for Education and TTS.

Te Kura Kaupapa M ori o Te Puaha o Waikato Primary

Located in a far-reaching but tight-knit community, the Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Te Puaha o Waikato primary school is a nurturing environment, dedicated to providing the best education to their cohort of students. What they lack in size, they make up for in heart and a desire to embrace technology for better education outcomes.


A lack of funds, resistance to change, and a disengaged student population was making life hard for Gaylene Smith, Chief Administrator at Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Te Puaha o Waikato primary. “As a school, we were way behind,” says Gaylene, who has been one of the driving forces behind introducing Google for Education into the school. “We had a PC, and we had 10 Chromebooks, but only one of the teachers knew how to use it.


Creating significant impacts in teaching and learning processes.

When a new Acting Principal with a taste for technology stepped into the role, she joined forces with Gaylene to start making necessary changes. “We needed funding for professional development, which we had to apply for from the Ministry of Education,” explained Gaylene. “Once that was approved, we asked our IT partner Telco Technology Services Ltd (TTS) to get us started straight away.”

Gaylene, and the other dedicated staff at the school knew that with the correct training, they could use Google for Education products to bring the school into the 21st century and create significant impacts in teaching and learning processes and outcomes. The staff were soon receiving daily assistance from TTS who offered 1:1 coaching as well as group sessions. From everyday administration tasks, to student engagement, to how teachers marked assessments and collaborated on lesson plans, Google Workspace for Education Plus has touched every part of the school and the community, who are just beginning their technology journey.

“The kids missed out on a lot. It was really sad. Now when I go into a Google Classroom and I see them – they’re just so happy. And we’re talking about kids who didn’t come to school. Since we started using Chromebooks, they don’t miss a lesson.”

- Administrator, Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o te Puaha o Waikato

Solution Deep Dive

A seamless teaching and learning experience

Gaylene and her team were looking to solve a variety of problems caused by a lack of technology. Administratively, simple tasks were taking far too long. “Most of our service providers, (who provide us with everything from light and power to stationery) send invoices via physical post” explains Gaylene, who had no access to a photocopier or scanner within the school. “I used the local library.” Gaylene estimates that for every invoice received, it would take her around two weeks to properly process the paperwork and provide it to accountants. “I was taking a lot of work home. I just couldn’t get it done in working hours.”

Teachers were having similar issues, using an outdated system to log student results that could not be digitally copied, meaning Gaylene had to manually type the information into a document. Student engagement was also at a low. In short, everything had to change, and the solution came in the shape of Google Workspace for Education.

What they wanted

  • Access to professional development training, focusing on technology fluency
  • A modern administration system that would save time and money
  • The ability to provide education to children homeschooling digitally
  • Better access to, and communication with, families in the community
  • Devices, tools and apps to excite their students and increase engagement in the classroom and at home

What they did

  • Applied for funding from the Ministry of Education NZ and provided students with access to Chromebooks
  • Acquired Chrome Education Upgrade licenses to leverage the full capabilities of Chromebooks and Chrome OS
  • Liaised with IT partner TTS to start daily professional development training for teachers and administrative staff
  • Introduced Google Docs for office admin tasks and supplied Google Classroom to children learning remotely due to lockdown
  • Enabled teachers to access Google Sheets and Docs for collaborative purposes
  • Started to explore apps for Chromebooks, such as Jamboard, to better engage students

What they achieved

  • A new, collaborative process for teachers, whereby they can now work from Google Docs to plan curriculum and lesson pathways
  • The ability to provide remote learning to children
  • A cohesive rollout of Google Classroom to homeschooling students who have access to wi-fi, removing the need for “hardpacks” to be purchased and mailed home
  • Better relationships with families who now have daily access to teachers and their children’s work via Google Classroom introductions each morning
  • Significant cost and time savings across all areas of the school, meaning budgets can now be funnelled back into professional development for teachers and more devices for students

Key Benefits

While Gaylene still hopes one day Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Te Puaha o Waikato primary school can provide a 1:1 Chromebook with Chrome Upgrade licencing ratio to all students, she has already recorded some significant wins across all areas of the school. “The old processes were so tiring for me and the teachers, so I can see they’re just loving products like Google Docs because it’s made life so much easier and so simple.”

1. Significant cost savings

During the first pandemic-led lockdown, with children learning from home, the school spent almost $3,000 on hardpacks that had to be mailed out to students. With no access to technology, everything was done with little collaboration between teachers and families. In 2021 alone, the school saved almost $2,000 by using Google Classroom for those children with access to wi-fi and a suitable device at home.

2. Thousands of hours claimed back

With more than 10 suppliers regularly sending invoices, Gaylene was spending a monumental number of hours manually copying, entering, and filing the data. The process of invoice handling originally took two weeks, however the entire process now takes as little as three or four hours on Google Docs and Sheets. Chrome Education Upgrade licenses have also simplified device management, giving educators more time to focus on learning outcomes.

3. 100% greater engagement from student and staff

A happy school is a successful school and Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Te Puaha o Waikato primary is setting the benchmark for a significant turnaround in both staff and students. “We had children who weren’t attending class. When they did, they wouldn’t speak or engage. Today I have teachers who can’t believe the changes. I have parents calling me up saying they can’t believe the change. It’s all because of the Chromebooks and the apps and tools they’re using. They’re excited. They love it.”

4. Access to the community and the ability to provide assistance

The pandemic has hit parts of the community hard, with people losing jobs and experiencing a loss of income. With parents joining their children for the daily Google Classroom morning introduction, teachers can now check in with families and ask if assistance is needed. “We can see if anyone needs food packs, or if someone can use a device at home so children with access to no device can use one of the school Chromebooks. Parents and teachers have really rallied. I think Google Classroom has made parents more comfortable in asking for help, which can be tough to do, because they see the teachers every day. We’re more approachable now.”

Hi, I'm Janet

janet badley

I have been working for TTS for the past 7 years assisting schools with their technology infrastructure and digital alignment with the MoE.

Before that I was completing a Batchelors of Business with a major in Management and a Graduate Diploma in Business Administration, I worked in Massey University tutoring, relief lecturing, and marking in the business college while also being a director of a small software company. I also previously held roles as sales manager in the corporate world.

Within the professional learning environment, I specialise in assisting schools with strategic management, change management and leadership. These are all challenging areas that often require specific planning and implementation. Change is not only synonymous with technology but is part of the daily environment in education and embracing change can be a daunting. My goal is to assist schools to feel comfortable and accepting of necessary change.

Hi, I'm Caroline

I have worked in Education for over 25 years in early childhood, primary, intermediate, secondary and currently at a tertiary level. During that time, I led many diverse roles including being a teacher aide, a teacher, a co-counsellor and an adult educator. I have a post-graduate diploma in Teaching as well as a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Education. In 2022, I completed a Master in Contemporary Teaching through The Mindlab.
Currently a lecturer in Unitec, Te Pūkenga on a foundation course for ākonga with disability and/ or neurodiversity, I had spent the last four years working in a specialist residential school for ākonga with extreme behaviours. Throughout this time, I researched, trialled and implemented trauma-informed practices to help support ākonga who had previously disengaged from education to re-engage.
My passion for trying to grow resilience and self-efficacy in ākonga runs alongside a passion for using digital applications/ techniques, personalised learning and gamerfication for encouraging and increasing engagement.

Hi, I'm Nicole

tts pld team nicole middleton

I am a graphic and digital designer with nearly 20 years experience designing for the digital realm. I have a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Visual Communication, a Certificate in Computer Engineering and am a certified Adobe Creative Educator.

I am passionate about using technology to bring ideas to life and love encouraging learners to look for new ways to answer old questions. As a life-long learner myself, I always enjoy trying out new creative tools and exploring the impact they can have on students’ learning outcomes.

I am excited to be part of the TTS team and continue to help schools make the most of their websites and support teachers and students in creating engaging graphics, presentations, videos, websites, and more.

Hi, I'm Dr. Wendy

Dr. Wendy Slatter

I’m a teacher with 20 years of classroom experience in a range of schools, locations, deciles and age groupings. I have background in technology education with a specialisation in Food and Material Technology.

I am passionate about technology education. So much so that it lead me to complete a Masters and PhD in Education qualifications where I explored communities of practice, teacher pedagogy and defined technological food literacy. I believe that many hands make light work, and networking and collaboration are key tools in the teacher kete.

I am currently part of the Subject Expert Group working with the Ministry of Education on the Review of Achievement Standards project.

Hi, I'm Karen

I am a primary trained teacher with over 20 years’ experience finding new ways to effectively implement digital technologies into the classroom. I have always been passionate about finding and utilising digital tools within my class, and I enjoy exploring the internet to find new tools and learn about new ways in which other educators use digital technologies to best support their students.

I believe that is it important to find the right tools for you and your students as every class and school is different. Digital tools and technologies change rapidly and what may not have been suitable in the past could be just what you need now. I look forward to working with and supporting you to find and implement the best digital technologies for your specific learning environment.

Hi, I'm Dr. Phill

I am a specialist teacher and PLD provider of creative writing, drawing on 20 years’ hands-on experience in the primary classroom teaching years 0-6, and as literacy leader, ALL teacher and CoL teacher.

In addition to my classroom experience, I bring my own experiences as a creative writer to my PLD sessions. I have published over 100-chapter books and 9 novels. Much of my published content is for the education market in NZ, Australia, the U.S, U.K and China. Publishers include Macmillan, Pearson, Oxford University Press, Capstone, Lift education, Sunshine books and Cengage. In addition, I have written several assessment and comprehension guides as well as books on how to teach creative writing (Essential resources). I hold a Doctorate in Education (EdD), where I investigated how primary school teachers teach creative writing, often focusing on the use of digital technology. As well as education and teaching qualifications, I also hold a Masters in Creative Writing.

I can provide individual hands-on modelling and feedback, as well as whole staff PLD. In addition, I examine the potential of new media (technology) in creative writing pedagogy.

Hi, I'm Heather

I am a primary teacher of 30+ years experience covering all year levels from 1-8. I believe in “lifelong learning” and am passionate about encouraging teachers to be facilitators of their learning, and that of their students. I believe knowing when, what, why and how to implement digital tools to fit the purpose of “the teaching and learning” is essential today. I believe relationships are intrinsic in education, connecting people with tools/resources for teaching and learning, and how they support creativity, collaboration and innovation.

Hi, I'm Michael

Michael is a teacher with 8 years classroom experience, and has taught students from years 1 through to 8. He has a bachelor of teaching and continues to learn through post-graduate studies. Michael is passionate about literacy education, and how reading and writing can – and should – be made accessible and interesting for all learners in schools. As a teacher, he recognises the need for resources that engage, enable, and empower students so they can achieve a meaningful, successful, and sustainable education.

Hi, I'm Nick

I am an MoE Accredited PLD facilitator with a BEd (Hons) Degree in Education. I have over 20 years of experience in teaching 11 to 18-year-olds, with the last fourteen years being in New Zealand. I believe in empowering teachers to be confident in a modern learning environment and to discover new ways of inspiring students. I am a firm believer of continuous improvement in the skills of a teacher to deliver a more interactive, productive and engaging experience. I am extremely skilled with Google Suite/Apps and Microsoft.

Hi, I'm Steve