Thursday, October 24, 2013

Media Release - New School Journal Provider

Lift Education (Lift), a division of South Pacific Press Limited, has been named as the new provider of publishing services for the Ministry of Education’s instructional series, which includes the School Journal, Ready to Read and Connected.

Neale Pitches, CEO of South Pacific Press (and former CEO of Learning Media) is excited about working on this series with the Ministry, who will be the publisher. “We will continue to support the Ministry to tell New Zealand stories and to build the School Journal community of excited readers and Kiwi talent,” said Pitches.

“We have a quality team of educators and publishers who push the boundaries,” Pitches said. “We also hold what might be described as an ‘abundance model’ of teaching and learning, preferring to focus on what students bring to the classroom rather than what they don’t know. This has led us to take an interest in research that questions so-called ability grouping of students and to develop new models of teaching and learning in the middle years that offer all students in diverse classrooms the chance to learn and think at higher levels than may have previously been encouraged.
The role of vibrant, engaging, and professionally-developed learning materials across media platforms is often underestimated in our quest to improve student achievement.”

“The new arrangement is best described as a ‘collaboration’, with the Ministry as publisher,” Pitches said. “We offer the people, expertise, skills and passion that the Ministry needs to meet its goal of lifting student achievement, especially for priority learners, and to continue the unique New-Zealand tradition of supporting students and teachers with government-sponsored learning materials of the highest quality.”

A feature of this contract is a commitment to nurturing aspiring New Zealand writers and illustrators. “We are fortunate that New Zealand’s best, including Joy Cowley, Witi Ihimaera, Patricia Grace, Gus Sinaumea Hunter and Gavin Bishop have agreed to mentor new authors and illustrators,” said Pitches.

Pitches and fellow director Meryl-Lynn Pluck (publisher of Rainbow Reading) have spent nine years developing South Pacific Press Ltd. They bought Lift from founder Dr Sue Watson in 2007. The Wellington-based company now has two imprints, Lift and CSI Literacy.

Both imprints featured in the 2012 CLNZ Educational Publishing Awards. Lift was shortlisted for its work with the New Zealand Fire Service and CSI Literacy Kit 3 was awarded ‘Best Programme or Resource for Export’. Another CSI resource, CSI Chapters, is a finalist in the export category in this year’s awards, which will be announced on 14 November.

“We are extremely proud to be shortlisted again. When developing CSI Literacy learning materials for New Zealand and overseas classrooms, we ask schools to submit evaluation data so we can see if we’re on the right track.
Dr Sarah Powell has analysed this case-study data to quantify student achievement and we are very pleased with the achievement data, especially for Māori, Pasifika and struggling readers,” said Pitches.

Pitches emphasises Lift’s strong track record as instructional designers. In recent years, Lift has developed literacy and curriculum resources for the government, and corporate and non-corporate organisations, including the Ministry of Education, New Zealand Blood Service, Electoral Commission, New Zealand Olympic Committee, New Zealand Fire Service, New Zealand Transport Agency, and many more.

“We always commission local content where possible, when developing resources for our clients and for export. New Zealand has a talented pool of educators, authors, illustrators, photographers, designers and technologists, who are fantastic at bringing New Zealand content to life for New Zealand and international learners. We will continue to draw from this pool for the instructional series, as we have done for Connected 2013 which is entirely written, illustrated, designed, edited and overseen by New Zealanders,” said Pitches.

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