Sunday, 30 August 2015

Mary and Brian in Oamaru sharing Infinity

We were fortunate to be able to welcome Mary Wootton and Brian Annan to Oamaru last week. They have played key roles in the Learning and Change Network developments over the past few years. They have forged ahead with their own company - Infinity where the learning never ends.

They gave us an insight into what they can offer in the way of learning and support for leaders, teachers and families. You can read more about their visit on this link.

Whitestone Education Profile

Thanks to Rob Mill for sharing the Whitestone Education profile with us. This shows achievement information for all Whitestone learners from 2013-2014 and for New Zealand learners 2013-2014.

Please share your thoughts.

Saturday, 29 August 2015

Primary students give a presentation to high school teachers

Year 8 (12,13 year olds) students from Weston and St Joseph's shared learning with high school and primary staff across our network.
The primary schools collaborated on google sheets to prepare a slide show presentation.
Here is the St Joseph's presentation.

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

National LCN Networking Hui Auckland July 2015

Nicky, Sharlene and Jenny were fortunate to experience an inspiring two days at the National Networking Hui in the July school holidays. 
Sharlene's presentation Learning through different eyes was very well received and reflected the work that she has done with Weston students contributing to her sabbatical work. 
Participants came to Nicky and Jenny's Sustainability session interested in the way forward for their own clusters now that the official LCN contract has come to an end.

You can access photos, videos and links to learning sessions from the National Networking Hui on this link.

This is the futuristic learning map that we created for our Whitestone network based on discussions around Valerie Hannon's key global themes for learning and change. We shared this with other participants who offered thoughts and ideas based on their own experiences.

When we come together on Friday 24th July at 3:45pm at Weston school we will look at this as a collective and plan our next steps forward. Although the official LCN initiative has come to an end, we want to maintain the momentum and keep moving forward ourselves.

Here is a link to a collaborative agenda for Friday. Please add to it.

Saturday, 4 July 2015

Waitaki District Education Forum, Sustainability and Infinity

As the government's Learning and Change network strategy draws to an end in July, we have begun to proactively reach out to other schools across North Otago to share our learning.
Paul sent an invitation to all schools across North Otago. 

This was the agenda :

There was an excellent turnout from across the education sector and some engaging forward thinking discussion and collaboration.
This was Paul's follow up response.
Three of us will be attending the National Network Hui in the July holidays. Sharlene will facilitate a seminar on her work with engaging priority learners.
Nicky and Jenny will focus on sustainability.

This is great representation from the Whitestone Network and we thank the organisers for the travel subsidy we have all received. 
In light of the official conclusion of the government strategy, we would like to especially thank all of the facilitators who have played a key role in our professional growth as a network: Brian Annan, Mary Wootton, Rob Mill and Janine Simpson. We wish Brian, Mary, Jean Annan and Natalie MacGuire all the best with their new venture INFINITY  

As for the Whitestone Network, we are adamant that our network learning will never end. The leaders will come together on Friday 24th July and plan our next learning steps. We are looking forward to bringing to the table our learning from the National Network Hui.

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Milestone 6 Prezi Whitestone LCN

This prezi encapsulates and celebrates the learning and activities of the Whitestone Learning and Change Network so far. Thanks to everyone who contributed their data and thanks to Paul Cartlidge for preparing this prezi.

Monday, 11 May 2015

Where to next ? Network sustainability driven by passion, innovation, inspiration & colleageality

Last week four of our network leaders met in the rector's den within the walls of the infamous Redcastle at St Kevin's College. Who knows how many rectors, Christian brothers and trustees or students have met there in the past, in a room steeped in history and tradition.
This time, Nicky (Weston), Jenny (St Joseph's), Sean (Papakaio) and Paul (St Kevin's) came together to discuss the way forward  for our vibrant, future focused Learning and Change Network.
Each of us are genuinely passionate about the personal and professional growth that has occurred as a direct result of working as a family of four schools. Most importantly, our students are thriving and excelling within the environments that have evolved . We firmly believe that the LCN is the catalyst for the energising learning communities that abound in our schools. We are living proof that school environments and communities, steeped in tradition can evolve into authentic student led entities that are open to embracing motivational forward thinking learning and change.
This passion must exist to drive the network forward and sustain future growth and innovation.
Each of us have had personnel change within our schools with sabbaticals and promotions. But we have sustained our network and the unified collegiality is propelling us further forward.
Recent reflections on the impact of the LCN for the Milestone 6 report have helped us to realize that we must continue together. Other local schools have indicated interest in our learning and we warmly welcome them to join our LCN. We are eager to share and collaborate for the benefit of all students across the network.
Expectations for the Milestone 6 report due 15th May.
Being invited to share learning at the National Hui in Auckland in July around network sustainability will be an exciting opportunity for Nicky and Jenny. We are all adamant that network sustainability must be driven by passion, innovation, inspiration & collegiality.
Our change priorities of student agency, parent engagement and transition continue to be the focus for our work. Next week, staff from all of our schools will come together to listen to Year 8's share what's important for them in their learning. There will be powerful messages for the high school staff, just as there were when the Year 9's shared their views during our last combined meeting.

Monday, 9 March 2015

Staff from six schools meet to listen to Yr 10 students

Staff from St Kevin's College, Weston, St Joseph's, Papakaio, Ardgowan and Totara schools came together in the St Kevin's library to focus on collaboration and student agency.

Insightful presentations about the purpose and strength of being part of a Learning and Change network were shared by Nicky from Weston and Paul from St Kevin's. Jenny from St Joseph's shared the video she had made around the value and nature of Learning and Change networks.

Learning and Change video link
The most powerful part of our time together was listening to Year 10 students representing (some who had attended our full primary schools), share their personal experiences around transition to high school. We thank all of the students for the courage that they demonstrated during their talks and their honest reflections.

The information from the students will be collated and shared with us all so that we can use it to inform our next steps.
We finished by creating an inventory of the diverse teaching talents and personal passions of all of the participants across our schools. This will also be collated for the network.

Thanks to St Kevin's for hosting this event. We look forward to continuing to strengthen our capacity as a network as we strive to make a positive difference to student learning and achievement across our schools together. 

Friday, 27 February 2015

Another step forward for the Whitestone LCN Cluster

Some snippets from our first official meeting for 2015 :

We welcomed some interested principals from other schools and all of us present were asked to contribute . We had 2 minutes each to share where we are on the continuum of
21st Century learning and student agency.

SKC capturing pedagogy - whole school community to understand what this is in a 21st Century learning environment. Readying kids and adapting.
Papakaio - student agency in passion learning, 4PLearning focussing on students leading 20% of learning.
Weston - Student Agency - WIG Wildly Important Goal Skilful thinkers know that happiness helps the learner grow. Parents are a part of this.
St Joe’s - Collaborative design for learning from offices to classroom, everyone team teaching. Collaborative planning online so learners, parents and all teachers can see what is happening - transparency in learning.  Student-directed curriculum, key competency focus underlying all learning.
Ardgowan - development of ICT and SNUP underway learning GAFE (Google Apps for Education). Multiple intelligences and kids are in charge of own learning. Passion projects.

Totara - opened up all spaces and working with team teaching. Individualising learning through IEPs for all children. Kids have choice in leading the learning.

Screenshot from video
Video links mentioned during our meeting:
Engagement in deep learning and change (Video to understand the nature and value of the LCN strategy )
Engage Every student in deep learning for success (Sabbatical video)

Planning for the joint staff meeting  (next Whitestone LCN big event ) took place. It will be held at St Kevin's in the library at 3:45 Monday 9th March. The highlight will be the Year 9/10 students from the feeder schools sharing their perspectives on learning and their transition to high school. This will be a huge step forward with the high school staff participating for the first time in a joint staff meeting with the primary schools.

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Whitestone Cluster 2015 plans underway as well as an insight into ELS's at St Joseph's.

A small group of available principals (Gary Shirley Papakaio, Paul Olsen St Kevin's College and Jenny Jackson St Joseph's with apologies from Anne Pratt St Patrick's and Nicky Ryan Weston), came together last week at St Joseph's to begin to share and action plans for 2015.

As the closing date for expressions of interest in the Teacher - led Innovation Fund is almost due (noon Feb 20th), it's important to arrange a time for a group of our teachers to prepare their research inquiry. At the end of 2014, after analyzing our 2014 data, all of the schools agreed to focus on Maths, in particular transition from our full primary schools to high school. A time has been arranged for staff from St Kevin's, Papakaio and St Joseph's schools to meet this coming week. A google doc has been shared to allow for collaboration around the application. Janine Simpson had already forwarded suggestions and is keen to continue to support us in 2015.

In 2014, our Year 7 and 8 teachers worked closely with the English department of our high school around writing expectations. As the schools across the cluster created common reading, writing  and maths progressions from Year 1-8, we agreed that extending these to Year 10 would be beneficial for all learners and teachers.

This is the purpose of the Teacher - led Innovation Fund :

The fund supports teams of teachers to develop innovative practices that improve learning outcomes, particularly for students who are Māori, Pasifika, have special education needs, and/or come from low socio-economic backgrounds.
The fund allows kaiako/teachers the time and opportunity to:
  • inquire into ‘puzzles of practice’, with other kaiako/teachers, to find ways of helping individual (or groups of) students to succeed 
  • work with experts, for example, academics, researchers and/or community experts to test ideas in a teacher-led research project
  • share what works with other kura/schools and educators across Aotearoa New Zealand.
Innovative projects involve inquiring into new practices, or applying existing practices in new contexts, and investigating in a systematic way whether they result in improved learning outcomes. (Education.

Dates for the year have been set as follows:
Our Lead Development LCN Advisor (Rob Mill ) collated and formatted the Whitestone tracked student data from Weston, Papakaio and St Joseph's 2013-2014 so that we could see the network picture . We will discuss this further at the meeting on the 26th February.
This next meeting will take place at St Joseph's at 3:45pm and is an open meeting for other full primary schools and early learning centres.

ELE's Engaging Learning Spaces at St Joseph's
Both Gary and Paul explored St Joseph's redesigned learning spaces and the newly developed Teaching and Learning Site. Jenny pointed out that although St Joseph's still looks the same from the outside, thanks to a growth mindset and the ingenuity and hard work from staff and the board, we have created new look ELS's. ELS's is our own newly developed term for Engaged Learning Spaces. This fits with St Joseph's focus on their school wide goal: To engage every student in deep learning for success. The 'deep learning' is reflected in the learning hub planning on the public Teaching and Learning site freely accessible to parents and learners and the world ! This is distinct from the school website. It is basically a 'one stop' shop for learners , parents and staff to access everything they need to understand about teaching and learning at St Joseph's. Deep learning is reflected in learning links to SOLO taxonomy and the development of rubriks for Learner Licences ( adapted from Myross Bush school acknowledgement to Tim Lovelock and staff).
Gary was quick to take a photo of the new "standing leaners" that have proved popular workspace options.
Gary also took a photo of the "child friendly"  indicators for the senior learning licenses. These are displayed in each of the learning hubs (Senior 1 and 2, Junior 1 and 2) and incorporate the key competencies necessary to grow  self - regulating and self-motivated lifelong learners.

This year at St Joseph's every teacher across the school is teaching as part of a team in a Learning Hub of 2 or 3 ELS's. There are no longer any teachers teaching independently in single cell classrooms. All teacher planning for the coming week is available online by 5pm of the Sunday before a new week begins on our Teaching and Learning Site. Parents are now able to have learning conversations with their children that go much deeper than "What did you do at school today?" You can learn more about our Family Learning Hui's and our Teaching and Learning Site here.