Seven low decile schools in Hawke's Bay with predominantly Māori students are working together as a cluster to raise the achievement levels of their students.
Close to 100 teachers met today at Pukemokimoki Marae in Napier today as they look for new ways to educate their some 1500 students combined.
"The benefits will come but we think that if we work collaboratively together to support all our students that in time we will see their progress," says principal of Maraenui Bilingual School Chris Worsley.
The seven schools work together in a cluster called Matariki, the schools involved are Hukarere Girls College, Maraenui Bilingual School, William Colenso College, Marewa Primary School, Henry Hill, Richmond School and Te Awa.
All of them have a high percentage of Māori so the main focus is to get them engaged in subjects like Maths and Science.
"So making Māori kids get in touch with their culture isn't just about making them feel good, it's literally about raising their IQ it's about making them more intelligent it's about making them better at literacy and numeracy because they're proud of their culture," explains Nathan Wallice Neuro Science Educator.
It is a recent government initiative through the Ministry of Education called Investing in Educational Success (IES) which is aimed at lifting student achievement.
"The majority of our teachers are European so it's also about supporting them to be able to understand the Māori culture and identity," says Hukarere treacher Kōkā-Hauwai Te Aoweta.
The schools also encourage community involvement and family engagement outside of school hours.