Student Perspective: Mapping our school’s future

student kristenIn March this year the Sustainable Future Institute team held a conference

in Wellington; StrategyNZ – Mapping Our Future.

One hundred people came from all over the country to envisage what they wanted a future New Zealand to look like and how they would go about getting there. These people formed groups and went through a complex process to come up with a strategy map, clearly outlining their vision.

Four students from Kristin attended this conference myself included. I found the conference inspiring to say the least – the diverse groups worked so well together and created a fantastic result.

On my return, I spoke with Mr Heath, the principal of Kristin Middle School, and we decided to take the concept and build a strategic think-tank for students to discuss the future of Kristin School.

My goal was to take the ideas of students from all over the school and put them down on paper. In the weeks leading up to the event I organised some ‘working lunches’ where inspirational people from the school community spoke to student participants about key aspects to consider. All students were invited to participate, with the catered lunches providing an incentive.

The main event, Futures@Kristin, was held over two days in September and kicked off with guest speaker Wendy McGuiness of the Sustainable Futures Institute, who was behind the original StrategyNZ conference. Her presentation was insightful and covered some of the factors required to think about the future. Over 40 students from Years 7-11 attended Futures@Kristin and were asked “What could Kristin be like in 2021?” These participants were split in eight randomly assembled groups and worked tirelessly over the two days to cover the four steps of strategy mapping:


The short phrase explaining where they wanted Kristin to go. This was a chance to get all of their ideas on paper.

Vision Advantage Scope (VAS)

Formalising their ideas and beginning to outline requirements for the vision.

Strategy Map

Creating specific themes around their vision and creating the specific steps to reach their vision. Taking these ideas and putting them in a ‘map’ format.


Creating a story around their vision – what Kristin will look like in 2021. Their presentation had to have their strategy map and a mock cover of the school magazine, Kaleidoscope.

A variety of different ideas came up, ranging from rooftop gardens to check-in class rooms. Needless to say, every group came up with a strategy map that could be applied to the school’s future. Two winning groups were chosen and will be presenting to the principals and the board of governors later this year.

The atmosphere at Futures@Kristin was constantly buzzing with excitement, and the students who took part felt very fulfilled with what they achieved. There is even word of the concept being applied to other schools through the Sustainable Futures Institute.

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