Sunday, 27 August 2017

Leading change with the help of digital technologies

Date: 17th of August 2017
Venue: Selwyn College
Facilitators: Connected Learning Advisors Clive Francis and Viv Hall
Cost: Free
Focus: Introduction to theories of change leadership with practical activities to prompt thinking and share experience.
Who for: Cross-Community of Learning | Kāhui Ako, in-school teachers and other teachers who have responsibility for planning for, leading and managing the use of digital technologies for learning.

Last week I was quite excited to attend a session with Clive and Viv at Selwyn College. My main reason for attending was to make connections with other Kāhui Ako Across School Leaders and to find out more about the Connected Learning Advisory services available to us.

The facilitators created a variety of activities so that we could connect with others and get to know them and share our stories. The session began with the advisor introducing themselves via their pepeha so that immediately we can could start to make connections and build relationships. How often in schools do we get straight to business and forget this important part of learning. Find out about your learners and share who you are as a teacher.

Then we moved into a ‘know your team activity’ where we had to draw huge feet on a piece of paper, stand in them and describe a leader we admired. I found the activity allowed me to verbilise leadership qualities that I admired and why.
Then we had a group activity known as ‘the jigsaw activity’ so that we could learn about research around change leadership. We spent time in teams to find out all we could about various change leadership models and I selected to work with Tū Rangatira.

Viv and Clive gave us questions to lead our group discussion, a time frame and we could whatever tool we wanted to share our learning. In our team we used a shared google presentation. Here was what our team came up with and we added  stories and photos of change from our schools.

Our final product  was shared on a common padlet and we could revisit other models.

Once shared we then returned to our original group and shared what we found out about our change leadership model. Therefore we came away with a general understanding of other models.
  1. Cynefin
  2. Kotter’s 8 Steps
  3. Coherence - Fullan
  4. Tū Rangatira

Our final activity involved researching a digital technology to support change in our  school or Kāhui Ako  and we were placed into pairs. We completed a PMI on a shared presentation about the technology and was able to view what others had written.
I laughed in delight because my buddy for this activity was @BridgetCasse so we had some fun in this activity and a chance to talk about our own approaches to developing change in our schools.

In summary the morning session was particularly worthwhile and I thank being a member of NZCOL Facegroup group where I had first seen the message that these free sessions were running.

Where to Next:
I have used the CLA previously for technical support and have to mention that I have found this service exceptional. However from attending this session I have a greater understanding of how the CLA can act as a critical friend via online community spaces such as the Virtual Learning Network and via Pond. In addition I would also say twitter and give them a shout out for them on twitter, Viv Hall @nzvh and Clive Francis @CliveFrancisNZ. If you are not already following them then do so.

In addition here are some links to check out.

In Summary
I came away with a reminder about
  • Making connections with our team members
  • Knowing our team
  • Have research that frames what we do.
  • Share and leave breadcrumbs of our work
  • Use online spaces to continue learning and ensure ease of access
  • Be open to digital ways of teams working together

Overall I really liked the session because the facilitators had us moving around and learning all the time and spaces where we could share what we had learnt. I came away with a few new connections and a chance to catch up with some others. I was super excited to see members from schools in our Kāhui Ako including a principal and members from management teams.

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Cultural Connectedness: Pasifika Pride

On June 21st Julie Miller and Carl Maskell of Remuera Intermediate School took the Pasifika Pride and Ka Hikitia students on a trip to the Auckland Museum.

This was no ordinary trip through the public viewing galleries however, but an immersive, interactive and emotional journey of cultural connectedness as the students got close up and personal with a range of artefacts from throughout Polynesia.

They worked behind the scenes with the museum archaeologists, historians and curators to build stronger connections with their cultural heritage as Pasifika. The students came away from this invaluable experience with a renewed sense of pride in their Pasifika roots, feeling humbled and honoured to have gained a greater understanding of the journeys their ancestors embarked on to colonise Polynesia.

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Matariki 2017 Epsom Girls Grammar

Students, whanau and teachers gathered outside the Raye Freedman Arts Centre at 5.30am for karakia to celebrate te ao marama and remember our ancestors. Together we walked up Maungawhau to glimpse the glinting Matariki constellation. The in-zone students sang a beautiful waiata to mark the event before the mist and patupaiarehe rolled in. At dawn we returned for delicious kai, fried bread prepared by the Food Technology team, cereal from Sanitarium and lots of good coffee. The walk is part of a PLG with a focus on bicultural classrooms in 2017.

Friday, 30 June 2017

Matariki @ Cornwall Park District School

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.

Thursday, 6 April 2017

Strategic Planning Meeting at Cornwall Park District School

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.

Monday, 13 March 2017

Cross-sector forum

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

First meeting for 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.