Monday, 3 July 2017
Thursday, 29 June 2017
Friday last week CPDS celebrated Matariki in style.
Safe from the weather in the hall, approximately 200 of our school whanau sang, laughed and ate together whilst learning about this fantastic event. Godfrey Rudolph, our school Kaumatua, greeted us in style and caused us to pause and think deeply about what Matariki means. Valance Smith, our guest speaker, involved all children and parents in song and voice. His humour, exceptional knowledge and enthusiasm helped make this event special.
The PTA and Sanitarium helped to feed everyone. Thanks must also go to our AP Alicia Whata, Lisa Rolle, staff and the PTA for their help and support of this event. It didn’t, however, end after the Dawn Celebration. Throughout the day all tamariki were involved in creating and exploring Matariki and Tikanga Maori. This culminated in a fun-filled assembly where students shared and explained their new knowledge. This celebration of Matariki is now a CPDS tradition and we look forward to it happening all over again in 2018.
Wednesday, 5 April 2017
Last Wednesday, 5 April, the Across School Leaders along with Jill Farquharson and Madeline Gunn met at Cornwall Park District School to strategically map out 2017 and beyond, using the Community of Learning Development Plans provided in the Ministry of Education resource 'Personalised Pathways for Kids: through quality teaching in Communities of Learning.' Close inspection of the Development Maps allowed us to find where we were in our journey in terms of the establishment and functionality of the Community, and give us direction in terms of our next steps. There were also some important questions that arose during the meeting relating to some of our responsibilities as leaders.
A number of goals arose following some robust discussion around each of the six domains. The plan is for these goals to eventually be turned into a more detailed action plan that will make up a lot of our work for the rest of the year.
There was also some discussion around the type of questions Madeline would be asking when she visited the schools. We worked together to refine these and were happy with the succinct and relevant nature of the end product.
Following this, we spoke of the importance of having some direction when working with the various ISL focus groups at our meetings throughout the term. What did we want to achieve with each group and what would be the basis for discussions? Some members of the team agreed to meet at EGGs in Week 11 to nut out the content and focus of these gatherings, starting early next term.
Furthermore, the Progress Indicators are being developed so that we can track and celebrate our progress during the year. These will be ready in draft form this term.
To finish, Alaric spoke briefly on the recent PCT meeting at Parnell Primary School. Apparently this was a valuable gathering for those at the start of their careers.
Sunday, 12 March 2017
My first cross-sector forum and the Hon Hekia Parata, Minister of Education’s last, was stimulating and inspiring. The theme of the forum was transformation via personalised pathways for kids through quality teaching in Communities of Learning (CoLs). Embedding Communities of Learning/Kahui Ako to ensure better outcomes for learners in Aotearoa is transforming the way both schools and the Ministry of Education operates. Anthony Mackay, deputy chair of the New Zealand Education Council drew the international stage to our attention, saying that global eyes are on the Community of Learning/Kahui Ako model.
Sitting in pre-arranged nation-wide groupings each table consisted of an employee of the Ministry of Education, an Expert Partner, school principals, an across-school teachers and a representative from the public sector such as the Tertiary Education Commission. Expert Partners are a group of academics and practitioners who are available (without extra cost) as required by a community. Examples of Expert Partners are published academics such as Michael Absolum, Cathy Wylie, Mere Berryman, Alex Hotere-Barnes, and Earl Irving (ex-Starpath). The Ministry has made Expert Partners available to act as critical friends assisting communities in various ways such as problem definition or writing professional learning development plans to ensure CoLs can successfully meet their achievement challenges. A simulation exercise where we brokered resources across an imaginary CoL highlighted the idea that resources can be collectively used across the community to meet achievement challenges.
Opportunities to network, while gathering knowledge occurred in expo neighbourhoods which focused on five domains: teaching collaboratively; leading for progress; using evidence; educational journey pathways; and partnering with the wider community, for example through local iwi. The proffered lens with which to view the neighbourhoods was through the experience of everyday learners. This focus on learners demonstrates the commitment to ensure our decisions and actions are student-centered.
The expo highlighted various Ministry developed tools that are available to assist the success of the CoLs. A stand on TLIF, the Teacher-led Innovation Fund, highlighted that funds are available for collaborative groups to attain achievement challenges. I downloaded The Learning Progressions app, which has student exemplars in Reading, Writing and Mathematics. I look forward to using the Local Curriculum Smart Tool to learn more about the local environment, economy, history and people of our community.
Hekia Parata’s oratory modeled dynamic bilingualism and her inspirational challenge that we become bilingual resonated. I enjoyed her autobiographical story, one of ten children, who did not lack wealth, despite growing up without a car or their own home in Ruatoria, because whanau and teachers supported educational pathways. She spoke of the new dawn; just as Ruatoria literally sees the first light, communities of learning are the new light in education.
Sunday, 5 March 2017
On March 1st the across school leaders hosted the first 2017 meeting of in school leaders for the ACCoS. After a year of 'forming' the community, it was exciting to see familiar faces and meet new additions to the team. Opening definitions of student agency and literacy represented the overarching goals of the community for 2017.
Three key focus points were covered over the course of the meeting. Starting with a question about how we use the student achievement data from our various schools to deepen the inquiry process. Cross sector groups analysed and discussed the trends apparent in the student 2014-16 achievement data collated under each ACCoS Achievement Challenge. Next there was an opportunity to sign up to cross sector focus groups that will continue to meet over 2017, building community networks and sharing of practice. Lastly, there was valuable discussion about how student agency can be measured, which was run Educafe style, bringing some interesting philosophical and practical questions to light and further adding to an awareness of what student agency means in practice. It was an energetic afternoon, testimony to a growing understanding of the shared aims across the community.
Tuesday, 21 February 2017
A new year, a new gear. After a break it is often time to "shift up" as we prepare for challenges ahead. The Across School Leaders spent our first meeting of the year in deep discussion around how to support the schools and students in our community over 2017. We welcomed Alaric Nicholls and Erin Hooper to the team which is now complete. We are looking forward to engaging with everyone and getting underway.
We congratulate Madeline Gunn on being made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to education.
Saturday, 19 November 2016
Last Monday I shared our Google tools with the ACCoS principals. Some of the links may not work to those outside the community. However if you are in the community and still unpacking everything then these slides will help.