logo.jpghorohoropupil.jpg Milestone Report 10

Task / Action
Evidence required
Provide a brief report on progress from each school.
  • significant progress since term four - why, how?
  • significant challenges - what, why, anything over come,
Since Term 4, 2008 we have focussed our energies on the revised curriculum and the impact that will have on curriculum delivery, planning and inevitably assessment. This is the second year of using a school wide themed approach to each term and is working more smoothly this year. We have spent significant time on the key competencies and how they fit with our revised values and vision at Horohoro School.
Our charter and strategic plan have been revised to include and reflect our new thinking about school development, curriculum and assessment. In term 1 we participated in a Ministry study with 5 other NZ schools on empowering community consultation in restructuring curriculum, planning, self review and reporting. This information booklet is due for release by the end of term 2.

As our strategic goals for 2008 focus on raising achievement in reading of our Maori boys and on the acquisition of oral language in the junior and middle school these have also been our focii for 2008 in ICT PD.

Across the whole school we are using a number of online resources in particular You Tube resources and the ability with Tube TV to download resources for later use.

In the junior and middle school BiteSize resources are being used in classrooms to complement the literacy and numeracy programmes.
NZ Maths has been used extensively in the senior school in collaboration with the Numeracy project.

ICT Challenges:
We have 'thrown the towel in' with interactive whiteboards and have decided to sell them at a bargain price to schools who can make them work with their kaupapa. Currently the digital whiteboards conflict with our philosophy of learning and our pedagogical beliefs.
We would rather place the money (and physical space) on more Apple imacs, cameras and film/music making equipment.

Curriculum/Assessment Challenges:
Our main philosophical challenges are around authentic and evidence based assessment. We need to collect accurate data on achievement in reading, writing, maths and oral language. We also need to ensure assessment methods are aligned with our beliefs about teaching and learning. This has been more challenging than we had considered. For example, if we are teaching from an 'inquiry' base it then makes little sense to use a tool like PAT or STAR to assess what our students "know" and "can do" and give them a stanine score.
As a result we have begun using some of the assessment resources developed by Sharon Friesen at the University of Calgary www.ucalgary.ca/~sfriesen/nz/rotorua/index.html which involve students in their next steps for learning and work on a peer level. This however doesn't give us a definitive 'score' and therefore makes school wide reporting on progress more challenging. We listened to Sharon's podcast around assessment scores "Do marks matter?" and this made us decide to find a more appropriate way of 'testing'.
This week we also listened to a podcast released from the UK on Wed 17th May on school testing and the validity of the SAT's tests.
It is however possible to combine the two approaches and produce a very accurate and informed evidence base around student achievement. We are working closely with the Education Rotorua initiative and with another cluster of Rotorua Schools looking at curriculum development. The challenges are exciting and foster the ability to develop and strong professional learning community both within our school but with our community and with other schools both in Rotorua, NZ wide and internationally.
Report on the impact for cluster personnel of the ‘Learning at School’ Conference.
  • who attended, how did they feed back, what was invaluable, affirmations or new directions because of L@S?
The principal and senior school teacher attended Learning at School this year and brought back a number of new ideas and initiatives that have been implemented as a result.
The senior school teacher has begun to use www.librarything.com in her classroom to further raise the profile of reading in the senior school. She has linked this to work with authors like ND Wilson and to a class iweb page.
The teacher was also introduced to new hardware and software and the new microscopes purchased have been invaluable in the term one topic of "Space Invaders" which focussed on things (like mice, rats, wasps, flys, bees) that invade our space.
We have trialled the use a class blogs this year and also used a number of online resources eg BiteSize activities (see above).
Feedback from the conference was to the staff and BoT and links are still being made back to ideas generated as a result of the conference. A sharing day across the cluster is planned for Thurs 22nd May.

Collaborative learning for both students and teachers across the cluster is established and being hosted by the online cluster space.
  • please provide feedback on the senior and middle schools visits to school - include impact, inspiration
  • comment on progress so far on the steps toward collaboration across the cluster - its impact so far and potential
  • Principals please comment on this from a management perspective ie breeze, skype, the cluster wiki for agendas etc
We were unable to participate in the term one school visits due to the timing of ERO but are planning a to visit Point England School in Auckland as a school staff.
We appreciated the online feedback from the cluster facilitator about the school visits and found some of the information, photos, and ideas useful, especially in the redevelopment of our school library.

We enjoy as a school contributing to the online cluster space and try to provide as much information to other cluster schools as possible.
We could do better at this as there is always more you could and should share and this is a firm goal for us towards the second half of this year to ensure we set the ground for sustainability firmly.
We would like as a school to see more collaboration and sharing from the other schools but have made it a goal for us to be more proactive in asking other cluster schools for their feedback.

We have struggled technically with Skype due to SchoolZone - we need to work on resolving this in the next few weeks. We now have an authentic reason to have either Skype or ichat working as we have the opportunity of linking with a school in Neustadt, Germany in week 9 of term 2, we would like to be able to video conference with them to improve our German.
We use the cluster wiki by adding information from our thinking around the impact the cluster is having on our development. We would like to see the other schools using it to share more.
In school systems and structures have allowed opportunities for staff and students to lead in the development and up skilling of colleagues in ICT skill and best practice.
  • as a result of Merryns principal day in term 4 and the principal/lead teacher day this year what has impacted on the above milestone?
  • how have you addressed the upskilling of staff at your school in sustainable ways, how have you encouraged or allowed staff to learn from each other or share with other cluster members?
  • How are you supporting that which individual staff members are putting in place and learning as a result of the ICTPD. How have systems and structures changed to meet the needs of teachers as their practices, knowledge and understandings change as a result of the ICTPD?
  • How are individual teachers sharing learning and knowledge about their practice?
  • How many staff meetings have been dedicated to the goals of the contract and what has the content of these meetings been? Who has lead or facilitated these and what have the outcomes been?
We had begun working on our vision, mission and values after our first meeting with Merryn a year ago.
We have gone through a rigorous and thoroughly enjoyable process (and are still in a cyclical review process which is set to continue for the foreseeable future!).
This year we introduced 'Buddy' to our community (see pic above). Buddy is the jargon free embodiment of our mission, vision and values. It took a year to develop Buddy and required termly face to face consultation and discussion with our community. Buddy carries a kete of knowledge which are in reality our educative goals for our students written in non educative speak. These are the things we have agreed as a school and community that all of our student should carry with them when they leave our school. We focus on the values Buddy has around them in classes and refer to Buddy frequently at school. In the same way Duffy is our icon for reading at school through the Duffy Books in Homes schme, Buddy is our charter icon and appears on newsletters and all correspondence from the school.

Teachers enthusiastically share their learning and knowledge about their practice at every opportunity, morning teas, lunchtime, after school in each others rooms and formal staff meetings. It is an integral part of how we are, it has just become normal to have indepth pedagogical discussions over morning tea - because we all enjoy challenging ourselves and want to be the best educators we can be.

Teachers are encouraged to attend anything and everything they believe will be useful to informing their practice, out BoT are extremely supportive and our cluster facilitator provides high quality guidance and support to our staff.
The school has budgeted for significant provision of quality hardware and software, professional development and release time for teachers taking away any barriers to progress by ensuring they have time, opportunity, money and equipment to do whatever they want to trial in their classrooms. We believe when you trust people as professionals and provide the support the sky is the limit.

The senior school teacher will further her ICT PD skills and knowledge by attending the Sept Apple Bus tour http://red.co.nz/bustrips.php#1

The school ERO report from March this year makes the following report on the impact of our school ICT knowledge and skills, as an area of good performance.
"The schools use of ICT is effectively integrated into literacy teaching and learning. Ongoing ICT professional development is allowing both teachers and students to develop new skills, establish networks and learn alongside adults and children from other schools. Teachers have a planned approach to the implementation of ICT strategies which support students to develop their skills and knowledge progressively as they move through school. Teachers are successfully using a range of ICT as tools for enhancing teaching and learning and student confidence in oral language, reading and writing"

Our staff meetings are always based on professional learning and professional dialogue, planned and agreed on in advance and linked to our strategic targets. 5 of the 11 staff meetings in term one were linked to goals of the ICTPD contract and at the same time school strategic plans as there is alignment between the two.

The meetings have been facilitated by the principal, lead teacher, and cluster facilitator as well as visiting speakers from within NZ and overseas.
Teachers/Leaders pedagogical understanding is evident in best practice teaching and leading of learning communities.
  • how is practice changing? why is it changing?
  • what are the teachers understandings of why they are choosing to teach or foster learning in certain ways (this question links directly to the resource "targeting effective teaching and learning" shared in principals pd in term 4 and again at the lead teacher/principal hui)
  • as a result of the lead teacher/principal hui how have professional learning communities been established within the school, and how have leaders used professional dialogue and questioning to promote reflective practice?
Arghh such a lot has changed and IS changing.
Our next target in terms of ICT is to ensure our paper based home school books are replaced with Digital Portfolios produced in iweb. This will consist of an overarching room based report on what was covered in curriculum this year and any special events throughout the school year. There will then be an iweb of work, photos, podcasts, videos from each child, linked to term themes and school implementation plans for the year. Our goal is also to ensure students are further empowered in decisions about their learning. We are beginning to use Sharon Friesen's bulleye as a method of peer assessment (see above).

We used a significant amount of the research in the Trevor Bond document "Targeting Effective Teaching and Learning" for us it raised a number of issues for discussion. The areas this hui and resource impacted on us was firstly in assisting the development of Buddy. The document acted as a checklist for the work we had already done around re-visioning. We asked students "How do you know when you are learning?" and "What are barriers to your learning?" the students were surprisingly candid in their responses and as a result of what they said, in particular that one of their barriers to learning was "the teachers voice, talking too much" we have changed our classroom practice.
The second area of discussion which this document provoked was the work around "Why we miss so often" by Graham Nuttall
"Our teaching beliefs should be founded on our learning beliefs, often these are dislocated in terms of what happens in many of our classrooms.There are many basic concepts about learning, supported by theory and research, such as ‘hands on’, ‘real life experiences’, ‘problem solving’,‘collaborative learning’, and ‘enquiry learning’ that should drive and centre our teaching beliefs. However in our busy schools we seldom spend time talking about our learning and teaching beliefs so these often lie in a subconscious realm and we are buried in the complex and consuming activities of the day. If we haven’t identified our learning beliefs and we haven’t identified our teaching beliefs, resulting in teaching practice that has little or no congruence to good learning theory."
We found this rang true for us and was the initiator for discussion with our students and community around what we believe about learning.

Thirdly we looked at the research by John Hattie cited by Trevor Bond in the article, this provoked a great deal of discussion in our staff meeting around the place of homework. We are now planning to use a Tony Ryan approach to de-constructing what we believe about homework and work with our students and community to state what we believe about the place and function of homework and the flip side of doing away with homework altogether. We should have some research to share on this in term 3.

We have by necessity used professional dialogue and questioning to inform our planning and reporting this year. if we had not we would have the same old, same old approach to schooling which we believe we are moving strongly away from.
The school ERO report from March this year makes the following report on the impact of the Horohoro school Professional Learning Community, as an area of good performance.
"Teachers involvement in high quality professional learning and development is contributing to the establishment of an active culture within the school. Professional learning and development is well planned and organised. All teachers are currently involved in an ICT professional development contract which makes effective use of both internal and external expertise. Teachers have a variety of opportunities to reflect, share ideas and engage in professional dialogue about the implications of professional learning for their teaching practice. This approach to professional learning and development is resulting in high levels of collegiality among staff."