EPS -Educational Positioning System

eps

Tē tōia, tē haumatia

Nothing can be achieved without a plan

The ACCoS CoL have achievement challenges which act as a roadmap to identify where we have come from and where we are going. Our Achievement Challenges set realistic goals by supporting learners as they move through their learning using the national curriculum.

The core purpose of CoL is to know learning is happening and how to capture it. Over the past few weeks I have been comparing results from previous years by tracking historical data at our school. It is powerful to know that learning is taking place by observing the progress constantly. I have been aligning the reading with the writing data and have been looking at trends. When I lay the English Language Learning data alongside then interesting trends begin to surface and I think back to the graph of Thomas and Collier who describe the length of time to gain academic proficiency in a second language. I have been reading up on attendance and how much of a gauge that year 7 attendance has for achieving NCEA levels. The national data shows that higher decile schools have stronger attendance than lower decile schools and that Asian learners have the strongest attendance data of all groups.

Learning on the job, with senior staff, mentors and coaches is the way to go and our ACCoS planned for Across School Leaders to be trained in coaching skills. At our school our management team found the training invaluable so much so that we have focussed on coaching skills for all our teachers for this year.  We know that sharing best practices is where real change happens. As educators we have to be  accountable to our learners and reduce the levels of mediocrity in our education system.

Being strategic is knowing what to achieve, and then finding the best ways to get there” (Kaufman,1992).

2016 is the third year year for ACCoS and this year I can already see a change happening as our Across School Leaders swing into greater action with a greater focus on empowering all students for success. There is a stronger direction of data and a revisit of our achievement challenges. As an ASL team we are in the process of completing our first yearly report. We have begun meeting with our in school leaders (ISL) and the minutes coming through highlight the following :

  • Drilling down to find more specific information on each achievement challenge.
  • Comparing results from previous years by tracking historic data.

I have learnt to look for what cannot be seen and look for whose voice is not being heard.

Where to next for us

  • Data

This year a greater part of our work will be looking closer at our data. Research in assessment indicates that assessment information should be drawn from a comprehensive range of diverse sources including at least one norm-referenced or externally-referenced tool. We have it stated in our achievement challenge under evaluation that is an ACCoS expectation and it is now a matter of ensuring that all schools and teachers have this same message. The ministry have made our task so much easier by including all our data in one space. We will share this with our In School Leaders at our next across schools meeting. We have asked for all In Schools Leaders to bring their 2016 school data and we will begin the task of data discussion. I believe that we will all need training on data analysis. Many of our primary school teachers are just beginning to use spreadsheets and that is why working across schools is so exciting because we can call on our secondary colleagues who have been doing this for many years. As we dig deeper with our data there will be dips and that helps identify what still needs to be done. If we consistently focus on Hattie’s Effect Size and look at ways of measuring interventions then there is less chance of ‘plucking the baubles on the Christmas tree.’

 

  • Parent Engagement and Participation

 

Our fifth achievement challenge is Parent Engagement and Participation. We have also highlighted this achievement challenge as an area for greater focus this year.

There are pockets of excellence across our schools and it is timely to share these. So again this will be another area of focus for our in school leaders. This achievement challenge will be another reflection from me.

This week we will be meeting again as an Across School Leadership team and I look forward to the discussion with my colleagues.

Those of you who are part of CoLs what is your focus for this year?

Endnote

As an analogy I was searching for something in education that was similar to ‘GPS’. So I searched for Educational Positional System and this link turned up. I felt deflated because I thought I had thought of it first. But not to matter because this is a fabulous read.

http://eps.core-ed.org/eps-difference

Reference

Kaufman, R. (1992) Mapping Educational success: Strategic thinking and planning for school administrators. Newbury Park, CA: Corwin Press

Other links of Interest

Global Collaboration

Last year November 3  I joined Julie Lindsay and several other Global Educators as part of K12 Online Conference’s.

I was part of a panel discussion around ideas presented in Julie Lindsay’s opening keynote presentation.

Some of the panelists included

  • Dr. Leigh Zeitz: ISTE Global Collaboration PLN President
  • Lucy Gray: Global Education Conference
  • Anne Mirtschin: global educator from Australia
  • Sonya Van Schaijik: Chinese language teacher from New Zealand

The discussion was hosted on youtube and the audience were invited to comment and ask us questions.

Before the session, Julie sent us questions of what she would raise so I created some notes for the session.

 

Why is online global collaboration important as a pedagogy? as a curriculum?

For me it is glocalisation. Where I have taken what I have learnt with Julie and put a local context on it.

Our classrooms at Newmarket School are already filled with a face to face of the world. I believe that global collaboration is important as a pedagogy because it exposes our teachers to the changing face of our classrooms. Making connections and collaborating supports our teachers and students  as they develop empathies for their new friends. A classic example for us was when we worked with Lincoln School in Nepal with teachers Brian and Sudha. Our children in the project were worried about their new friends affected by the earthquake that they set up a project and raised money to support the earthquake appeal. Another example was using the skills I have learnt on Flat Connection and connected with our sister school in in our sister city of Ningbo China.  

2. Do educators find the concept of global education and/or the practice of online global collaboration challenging? Why? Any suggestions to help them?

Yes because initially I believe our teachers see online global collaboration challenging and as an add on to an already busy curriculum. However as I work with our teachers I support them in the journey to realise that it is should be part of what they do because we are preparing children for the now and future. I believe that if we can teach our children to develop empathy through working with children when they are young then maybe one day as world leaders they can make decisions that support peaceful initiatives in the world.

3. What is required for the design and management of online global collaboration? Can you provide examples?

I have been part of online global collaboration since I was a child and my Canadian teacher set me up with a penpal. Then when I was a younger educator I was part of UNESCO’s peace project. You do not need flash wifi or the latest technology to make connections. Just the determination to make it work. For example whether it is via snailmail, email, skype, wechat and my latest favourite technology, a  bit of bluetack to the television so that the iPad works as a camera. However the work I do and have done with Julie has allowed me to push the way I do things to a new level. One of this is the importance of values when online. The respect we show for others through the handshake, though developing connections like using a digital handshake,  because without establishing connections, collaboration just does not work.

4. Can you share outcomes of global connections and collaborations that have changed or shifted the practice/approach/understanding of you or colleagues or students? Shifted in what way?

My biggest personal shift in thinking is about construction. In 2015 I was approached to judge some of the digiteen co-constructed videos and blown away by the quality of what I saw. It takes longer to do this however the relationship building in the process is what I believe is the true learning. Last year I set up an online system to do the same thing with about 38 educators and I saw first hand that the product was just the tip of the iceberg. The relationship building through making connections and working together was the real learning.

That was my ahhah moment. This year I have just joined a community of learners (CoL) as part of our Auckland Central 11 Schools. Again we have a massive achievement goal that we have set.  I already see that making connections and relationship building across our schools is actually the key learning. Because many of our teachers have never experienced global collaboration as a pedagogy they continue to believe that face to face learning is somehow the only way. They have yet to experience face to face through technology. There appears to be a belief that somehow technology is a barrier to relationship building.

I think of my own journey with Julie. For months I cyberstalked her work and then when an opportunity came to work with her in person, I jumped at the chance. But my real learning developed when I undertook her online course as an educator. Last year I brought in teachers and students to work with me. This year I am doing the same. But even more exciting is having convinced my principal to do this because to really shift a school in thinking we know that it takes a whole school approach. I can already see the results of this happening as we plan for next year.

Some of my takeaways from the online panel discussion

  • Collaboration is collective and is about the group succeeding not the individual. Hattie calls this effective teacher efficaey.
  • We need to set up conditions and systems for collaborations. I am doing this right now with our Auckland Central Community of Schools (ACCoS) group.
  • Opening up to the world we have to admit and anticipate the unexpected. This will go wrong and it is the thinking of how we deal with the challenges.

What is it that we can know that we don’t know. Taking risks and making mistakes is valuable for learning. Perfection gets you nowhere. When I am encouraging teachers to take part in a global project I give them some idea of what they are in for. However that is never enough because they will really learn by doing. 

Being part of Flat Connections Week in the Life bring children and teachers together to work on a common issue. However the learning is really about working together to build wisdom and knowledge.

Sow and create possibilities for future generations. I am speaking here about the generation that is online in the next hour, week, month and so forth.

Create knowledge through relationships. We have been learning coaching skills as an ACCoS Across school leader and embedded in the professional learning is the importance of building relationships and everything we say and act with others must come from the human layer.

I am passionate and curious to how far I can learn online with the teachers I work with. I am not focused on an endpoint because there never is one but I am focused to see how far we can go.

As an aside you can read more about the work I do in Julies Book, The Global Educator. 

Afakasi

afakasi

Mum,  me-2 years old, dad and my older sisters.

“E iloa e le tagata lona tulaga i upu e te tautala ai.” quote from Matalaoa. 

I was born and bred in Samoa. My mum is Samoan and my dad is Palagi. That means I am afakasi or half caste, literal translation. I am super proud of being Samoan so much so that I received my Malu 10 years ago and yes I am a fluent speaker. 

Tūrangawaewae has been part of my life for most of the week as I have learnt about some distant cousins. I believe that the more I find out about my family’s past and heritage, the more my own identity changes and evolves. These holidays I have been learning more about my Samoan family. Those of you who know me, know that I am actually more than afakasi and know what an incredible mixture I have in my genealogical makeup. For me there is no Samoan term to describe my blood except it is fabulous. This is one question I should have asked Aiono Fanaafi Le Tagaloa when she was still alive. She used to always provide me with historical terms to describe modern day developments. My favourite was ‘Fau o le Upegatafaailelagi’ – webmaster. (Builder of the net in the sky.)

I have been super excited from my recent Facebook family connections. I always believe that each social media has its place and to find the purpose for it will encourage use. Well this past fortnight I have lived and breathed it as I have connected with relatives of my generation, the last of my mother’s generation through their children and starting to know the next generation. I have learnt more about the term ‘usugagafa‘.  I have managed to piece together so many gaps of our puzzle. I have retrawled Papers Past and again have uncovered a treasure trove of information. Everytime I go on the archives get better and better. Those of you with Samoan Ancestry will find heaps of information. It is still very Eurocentric yet I have managed to find many of my Samoan ancestors mentioned.  

I created shared Google Draw documents and invited branches to add their information. This has worked superbly well. The flood of photos has given me extra excitement and pleasure as mum and I have poured over faces and had some amazing bonding moments. Through her I have learnt a little more as well about her. 

Milestones.

This year my dad turns 90 and this year it is my parents 60th wedding anniversary. I have been working on my dad’s biography for a few years now and this milestone will give me the incentive to pull everything together. 

 

Tūrangawaewae

turangawaewae

In January 2016, I chose Whānaungatanga as my #oneword2016. I wrote a blog post setting 5 goals around Whānaungatanga, family, community, learning Mandarin, health and well being.

When I reflect on my 2016 year my goals have been nailed  and I feel content that I have developed growing understanding around my goals. My own understanding of Whānaungatanga has deepened and I thank Nathaniel  @nlouwrens for setting the challenges last year to help with #EdBlogNZ.

This year my #oneword2017 is Tūrangawaewae.

I have chosen this word because I believe that if you know who you are and where you come from then you are more in control of who you want to be and in choosing the paths to take to get there. I am actually at a stage of life where I feel contentment. I am happy in my work and with my home life. I give enough service to the education community to fulfil who I am. My sons are grown and I am proud of who they have turned out to be. My health is good but there is always room for improvement. By focussing of Tūrangawaewae. I want to identify and reflect on the spaces and people who help shape me. I have written about Tūrangawaewae previously and knew straight away that I have identified my oneword for 2017.

Mandarin

This year I will continue with Mandarin and take it into a second year. Yes I have passed HSK level 1 but if you throw a formulaic expression at me, I still feel tongue tied so want to move into basic proficiency communication.

Aging Parents

I want to continue taking care of my aging parents and acknowledge that is this really a family commitment and not just my decision so will continue the dialogue with my sisters. This year my dad will be 90 and I would like to complete his story with photos in preparation for this massive event and then start mums one.

Personal Health

My fitness levels have definitely improved this year and now to work on making healthier food choices. I love my bread by really must recognise the damage that this is having on my health.

ACCoS

This year as an Across School Leader for the ACCoS community I am aiming to grow the online community into a vibrant place for sharing and discussion.

Blogging and Presenting

I would like to aim for a weekly blog reflection post. I am just about there but maybe if I consciously put it out there then I will do it. I gave many presentations in 2016 and for this year I will consciously focus on co- presenting and even co-blogging.

Google

I have missed running TeachMeetNZ using Google+ Hangout and would like to run another session sometime this year with teachers from our school or in the ACCoS group. I am aiming to sit my level one Google Certification, something long overdue.

Travel

I am also really keen to travel more and will need my sisters support for this one as someone needs to be with mum and dad while I am gone.

Loss

Just on a sad note, I will be attending a funeral for a young man who died tragically. He was a friend of my younger son and oh so young having just turned 21 years old. As a teacher our students can touch our lives in many ways. I was his first teacher in that I relieved in his class the day his teacher was away.  He came right out and said who are you? I explained the circumstances of why I was in his class for the day and after that if I was out on duty he would come looking for me. As the years passed he became part of our family and would call all my sisters as aunties and my parents as Grandma and Grandad. But would still call me Mrs Van Schaijik and I never corrected him to using my first name. Events like this can remind us the importance of family and friendship. I watch my own son devastated by the event and know that this is one Christmas he will never forget and will be a marker for him for the rest of his live.

Tiritirimatangi

Just to finish with, if you are looking for an amazing place to spend a day then visit Tiritirimatangi. It is a small island in the Hauraki Gulf. Soon we will visit this incredible space for our Teacher Only Day. I haven’t quite convinced staff to come and stay there with me. For me Tiritirimatangi is one place that I feel incredibly connected to and that is what Tūrangawaewae istiri

 

 

 

The specialness of 3

three

In my family, I am one of fours daughters. Here in Auckland three of us we look after mum and dad. In my house we have three people living. They are mum, dad and myself.

In the past my house had three people living. They were my two sons and me.

This Christmas my sons spent Christmas with their dad. However circumstances change and my youngest arrived on boxing day.

I have a new set of ‘kids’ to look after and this year I put up the Christmas tree for them.

Mum helped me decorate the tree and then likes to sit in her chair and watch the lights. On Christmas eve I took her to mass and as usual the best part was singing the carols. That and her coming out to claim kisses from the parish priest. He was so sweet and teased her right back and even responded to her in Samoan.

On Christmas day we celebrated at my older sister’s house. She had her three children with her as they have all been traveling the world.

Also there with mum and dad was my my other sister. So again this Christmas us three sisters were together.

There is no way I can look after mum and dad myself so with their help we are able to have them with us. Yes there are challenges and there is also a lot of laughs and special times. This post is really about my sisters because they do a lot for me and I often need to remind myself that I have come this far through their ongoing support and help.

As soon as school finished I took off to my island of sanctuary Tiritirimatangi while my two sisters took over the evening care of our parents. I usually spend three nights there and this always allows me to feel like I have had a break so I came back refreshed.

Last night I had family arrive from overseas and again the number three popped up as they greeted each of us with three kisses.

I finished the night skyping with my cousin and aunty and took a screen shot of the three of us talking.

This morning mum and dad and I will have breakfast. Just the three of us. Then later on, us three sisters will be together again.

Walking in my learner’s shoes.

shoes

Photo ninjaed from Ainslie Whitfield

This year has been an incredible year of personal learning. As I take time to reflect on this year I have much to celebrate.

(Listing is multistructural and I am aware of the ‘I’ however am just dumping information.)

So what does it mean to walk in my learner’s shoes?

This year I learnt a lot about the children I work with. Part of that was due to unpacking the ESOL Data at our school. I understood frustration as I developed foundation proficiency in Mandarin. I struggled to learn to read or even write in my new language. I can recognise just a few characters and celebrate my students who learn to quickly memorise 67 frequency words in English for reading. I understand the embarrassment of being put on the spot to speak in another language and feel my tongue swell up as I struggle to recall basic formulaic sentences. As for the tones, well that is another reflection.

I built strong relationships with my students learning English. Again unpacking their data supported this. I built stronger relationships with parents as I took time to find out more about them and where they came from. Like my learners I pushed myself to the limits of my comfort zone.  I chose to understand China at a greater level and made it a mission to attend events happening in Auckland. I also coordinated a school week focusing on Chinese language and activities.

Challenges?

  • Balancing work, life and family responsibilities.
  • Maintaining my Mandarin.
  • Continue to make connections with people face 2 face.

That work life balance is delicate at the moment.

Soon I will  head out to my place of sanctuary Tiritirimatangi. There my social media choice is instagram. I can practice mindfullness amongst the trees and snorkelling.

Where to next?

In 2017 I have my learning coach and I am excited because I enjoy having learning conversations with her. The last time she worked with me I ended up publishing a book with Pam so I can’t wait to see what happens next. I have chosen my focus word and that is Turangawaewae. This year was whānaungatanga.

 

ACCoS

bot_sonya

Thanks Nelson for the photo.

Tūrangawaewae – a place to stand (Adapted from Te ara)

Tūrangawaewae is one of the most well-known and powerful Māori concepts. Literally tūranga (standing place), waewae (feet), it is often translated as ‘a place to stand’. Tūrangawaewae are places where we feel especially empowered and connected. They are our tūranga, our kura, our akonga, our wānanga.

Key facts about ACCoS

ACCoS stands for the Auckland central community of schools. We are one of several Communities of Learning from around New Zealand. We are made up of 11 schools ranging from several primary schools up to year 6, some full primary schools year 8, two intermediates and one secondary school. We also have one kindergarten in our cluster. We are funded for 9 across school teachers and 43 in school teachers. We have a lead school and lead principal. In addition we have two other sub lead principals and one external facilitator. Together we serve 8, 145 students and their whānau. When we look over our data our ethnic mix highlights that we have a strong Asian student group and a growing number of learners who are ESOL funded.

Before ACCoS

Before ACCoS was formed our local principals met on a regular basis as part of various local principals’ networks.  These networks varied in their work, some focusing on what was happening in their schools at a reasonably surface level, others, like the Learning and Change Networks, Mutukaroa, and ICT Clusters, focused on student learning.  Most of our school leaders had positive experiences of working with each other and had developed strong professional connections.

Since ACCoS

However since ACCoS was launched, our principals are now meeting much more regularly and sharing more than just ‘stories.’ They are learning much more together with and from each other. The connections appear stronger and there seems to be a greater sense of supporting each other. I witnessed this with the arrival of two new principals to the group and the support that they received.  There are stronger links forming between the schools as was recently evidence between our school and a nearby school coming together to share strategic planning.  Other schools in the Community have had a shared parent hui.  And, members of boards from all schools recently met together to gain a greater understanding of the working of ACCoS. Relationships appear to be developing between our schools at a much deeper level.

In addition synergies are happening across the network as our intermediate school and college begin to share ways of providing more relevant and diverse transition information. Primary schools are looking at more effective and consistent ways of passing information to our intermediates, in particular, utilising technology.  We are also fortunate to have a kindergarten in ACCoS as the transition to school is another area of focus.

Why was ACCoS formed?

Our lead principal called a meeting for local principals after the call for community of learning were publicised as part of Improving Education Success (IES). All of the local principals were asked, however a few were against the concept for a variety of reasons. Myself I cannot understand why because of the exciting pathway of where this collective inquiry could lead.

Joining Auckland Central Community of Schools

Recently I presented at Ulearn and my topic was Community of Learners. I have always had a fascination with communities both digital and face to face. I have built several just because I believe sharing and working across schools is important and rather than just talk about learning, I have always created my own. For my current position as an across school teacher in the Auckland Central Community of Schools, I applied for the specific role of building the ACCoS community digitally` and ensuring that learning taking place in our CoL is transparent.

Across School Teachers

The current challenge I experience with our ACCoS Community is the varying levels of experience and skills of our across school teachers.  We have all been chosen for a variety of reasons and as with other new groups we must learn to work together collaboratively and be inclusive of the strengths of all members.  Currently we are settling into our roles, and any rub is positive.  I find it useful to work with others who think quite differently from me as this helps drive my own thinking deeper. I was selected several terms after the initial teachers were selected because of my      recognised and proven ability to utilise technology to build professional learning communities. As well, I have proven ability to use technology to strengthen data analysis and have an online record of building capacity in others through collaboration.

Leading from the middle.

The key message coming through our ACCoS is influenced by the work of Michael Fullan who speaks about leading from the middle. My understanding of leading from the middle rests with the principals within the cluster, and also the lateral leadership of the in school and across school leaders. Principals are in the middle with education policy, which influences the work we do at one end, and learners and community whom we serve at the other end. As across school teachers we support the principals as together we implement our cluster’s vision.  In my new role I have to keep reminding myself of the focus of what I was brought in to do.  As with any new network our work seems messy as we we act, probe and reflect on our actions, iterating ways of working.  Cynefin link.

Build Capacity

Our across school teachers have expertise at capacity building and that is why we were chosen. We are beginning to identify what our roles look like. I am a ‘fix it kind of a gal’ who loves solving problems and streamlining systems and have built a name for myself for building communities in the digital world. For me to hold back and build capacity through listening  is an enormous challenge. I sit in the meetings and try really hard to just listen. I find that challenging because I believe I already know instinctively why we are together and what we need to do. Therefore I have taken to blogging my thoughts to try and make sense of it all.

Achievement Goals

Our across school role is about collaborative inquiry and in order to carry that out, what we do is promote best practice. These best practices have been highlighted  in our national goals as cultural competency, transition support, community engagement, pedagogy and teaching practice. Our ACCoS group is guided by our achievement challenges set in 2014 which have been taken from our National Standards Data. When we unpack these goals they are underpinned by the low performance we have with our Maori and Pasifika learners. As an ESOL trained teacher who has recently published a book about writing and second language learners, being part of ACCoS is like the stars are aligning. It is like acknowledging what we have done has only worked to an extent but we can do better. By going into something different we want to make a greater difference. What we have always done is no longer good enough.  One of the first things I did in my ‘fix it mode’ was to collate all the schools national standards data in one place and make these transparent across the schools. I then asked for all the ESOL data to be added because I had already predicted that the numbers would impact our longitudinal data. Our achievement goals have been predicted for the next three years, however I know from the research of Thomas and Collier that we really won’t see much change in the data until at least 7 years have passed because it takes 6-8 years for academic proficiency to happen in our children’s second language.

I have often wondered how my learners have achieved after they leave us. For the first time in my teaching career I will have the opportunity to find out. I can also find out if my predictions for the children I taught came true and that they surpassed their peers at secondary school. I always told them that they were race horses and they begin at the rear against first language learners but by the time they get to secondary school they will be up at the front. I always wondered if the grounding we give our primary school learners, the sense of urgency we instill in our teachers about our learners and the close monitoring of data really does pay off by secondary school.

Our in school teachers

The in school teachers are at the coal face, and are a key part of our large community of learners. Our in school teachers are scattered across the community and come together to discuss and identify strategies for learning that will make a difference.  One group I have been involved in has been Year 3-4 writing. Together we have learnt that across the schools our systems at identifying levels are not yet aligned and we are working on that. I recently collated our historic ethnicity data and this shows the fast changing face of our Auckland Central Community of Schools.

We have recently surveyed our in school teachers about how the first ACCoS year has gone for them and one of the ways I have in unpacking written narratives is to wordle what is written and identify any key words that spring out. Straight away I can see that as a cluster we have yet to acknowledge the pivotal role and effects on learning  that families and communities have on our learners. Particularly when making sense of the fact that our learners get 1000 hours with us in school and 5000 with their families and communities.

Pedagogy and Teaching Practice

Because we are working with one of our local secondary schools, this also influences who and what we do. For example their teaching inquiries focuses on strategies that impact on learning.  These include Learning Maps, English Language Learners, G&T, SOLO Taxonomy, scholarship, Wellbeing, Mindfulness and Agency. At the primary level our inquiry is centred around writing as we have noted writing as an area for improvement. Therefore the connections we are making across sectors enable us to see ourselves in a mirror as we see ourselves how they see us. The extra exciting advantage of being an across school teacher allows me to hear the schools narrative from the in school teachers themselves as they share their learning.

Learner Agency

Agency features strongly in our Achievement Goals. The central diagram of our document features Parent Agency, Teacher Agency and Student Agency. The document looks at agency that underpins ownership of learning and has still to address agency as citizenship especially citizenship which focuses on contributing to society and making a difference. But that element of agency is beginning to surface as schools look carefully at experiences for learning for our second year.

Elements of Community

So as my focus is on the digital forms of communications that support our ACCoS again I wonder how I can foster the elements that build our community of learners in a positive way. Here are some of my thoughts:

  • sharing and owning the data builds community;
  • face to face events build community;
  • digital curation of our narrative builds community;
  • transparency builds community;
  • fostering and building connections builds community;
  • blogging builds community;
  • presenting builds community;
  • sharing builds community;
  • sharing photos and videos as highlights builds community;
  • learning who are our members are builds community;
  • broadcasting our FAILs improves community;
  • Celebrating our successes builds community.

Some of the wonders I have in regards to our CoL are:

  • How many of us in our ACCoS schools have second language training? Dip Tessol, TDPL. Even something as basic as CELTA?
  • How many of us are trained in transition between year levels and sectors?
  • How many of us speak an Asian language which are the dominant languages of our learners?
  • How many of us are skilled at utilising communications technology in our pedagogy?
  • How many of us have Google Certification, even at stage 1?

Digital Systems

In ACCoS we have utilised Google Docs, Google+ and Google Calendar to ensure that our systems are transparent.  Not all schools have the same Learning Management System and Google was able to be utilised by all ACCoS members. Not all our schools had Google domains, so that came with some challenges. Some schools have KARAZY wifi systems but somehow or other the schools want things to work and work hard at making it all work. We have now moved fully into online communication because email does not curate information as successfully. This concept comes with mindset challenges as our teachers rethink the way they have usually carried out sharing.

Other exciting developments

Our lead principals have formed connections with other groups of COLs and recently shared some of our success and FAILs. I continually remind them about collecting visual artefacts from these meetings, for example, where are the photos of the recent sharing for our narrative? In the scheme of IES we were one of the original 14 CoLs and therefore we are in a position to share some of our hurdles and some of our highlights.

Overall in our community of learners, the sense of tūrangawaewae is broadened into the Auckland Central Community of Schools and located within Improving Education Success.

To find out more about our journey you can check out our ACCoS across school teacher’s blog. Our blog is a window and lets you have a view of some of what we are doing.