Principal Garry de Theirry believes the best way to find out what works in a school is to ask the students.
He said Rotorua Intermediate School emphasised the involvement of students.
"This is their place and we're here to support them," de Theirry said. "We are in the service industry of providing a quality education and getting real feedback about how it's going for them."
For the students at the school, there's a lot they like, and there's a lot they will miss when they move on.
"I will miss the teachers and the students," Shakana Corbett, 12, said.
Austin Lash, 12, said he'd learned a lot from attending the school, in a short period,
"It's taught me to give everything a try; sport, academic, leadership opportunities."
Hunter Geary, 12, said he had learned to be a better person by attending the school.
"I was a bit naughty last year and I got a bit of a talking to," Hunter said.
"If there was any advice for a year 7 it would be, don't be a rat bag and keep persevering. Don't get in trouble and always have a role model."
Prefect Jessica Dudson said she liked being a student leader because it meant she could represent the school and meet a lot of new people.
"It's taught me a lot about how to make friends ... there were so many people behind me and cheering me on when i became a prefect."
Principal Garry de Theirry described the school as vibrant, and said listening to students was what made it different.
"There's an emphasis on students being involved and knowing this is their place and we're here to support them."
When the students do leave they have lots of advice for the year 7s.
"I would say do everything you can and give it a go and always try your hardest," Austin said.
Jovan Bosch agreed: "Take every opportunity you can".
About the school
Principal: Garry de Thierry
Location: Malfroy Rd
Type: State, Co-educational, Intermediate
Roll: 706 (in 2016)
Gender composition: Female - 46 per cent, Male - 54 per cent (in 2016)
Ethnic composition: Maori - 68 per cent, Pakeha - 22 per cent, Other - 10 per cent. (In 2016)
Motto: Kia kaha, kia maia - Be strong and courageous