Teachers from Owhiro Bay and Berhampore kindergartens, Houghton Valley School, SWIS, WHS and three students from WHS shared what’s going well for members of the LGBTQ+ communities (students, whānau and staff) in our schools and kindergartens, what the challenges are and some next steps we can follow up.
The meeting was very positive, ranging from how to support transitioning teachers, to the range of ways rainbow students and whānau express themselves. We were able to see the progression from early childhood to students last years at school, especially as one of the students from WHS had also been to Houghton Valley School and SWIS. She was impressed at how the awareness and response to our rainbow community has progressed since she was at those schools.
However, the strongest message we took from the session is to never assume that your school is fine. There is always more room for progression, no matter how ‘progressive’ you think you are.
Here are our shared notes from the TeachMeet
Our second Community of Practice sessions took place last Tuesday (8th September). It was a wonderful opportunity to build on work on Cultural Relationships for Responsive Pedagogy and Inclusive Student-Led Learning from earlier in the term.
Lynette, Claire (from Poutama Pounamu) and Mitch (ASL) led some robust and gritty conversations in the morning session on Cultural Relationships, supported by karakia leaders - Maria for Island Bays School (Karakia Timata) and Tineke, Christina and Kate from Owhiro Bay School & Kindy (Karakia mo te Kai). Kia ora to all of them for being so willingly to lead and share.
Chrisse (Core Education) and Catherine (ASL) delved deeper into the guidelines of Universal Design for Learning in the afternoon, offering the opportunity to connect with new people across the schools in our Kāhui Ako and think about our own practice during the lockdown using the UDL framework.
Thank you to all the participants and presenters from both sessions for coming with such enthusiasm. We are looking forward to our third sessions on Tuesday, 27th October (Term 4, week 3).
Information shared at our previous hui brought clarity to the role of the Learning Services and Support community of practice and informed the focus of our second session -
PIanning how we would pool our information so we can target our actions and resources.
Janine Devenport, Lead of the Whakaoriori Kāhui Ako (Masterton) and Principal of Fernridge School, joined this session and shared how they began the work of collating their learners' needs across their cluster. Their story provided a valuable practical example and deeper insight into the nature of the work.
Our next hui is in Week 2 of Term 4, 22 October @ Ridgway School from 2 - 3.30pm.
Forming Community and Shaping Our Learners’ Needs
In coming together for the first time, we began by listening to stories from our students of their experiences of learning support within our cluster of schools. This was a powerful way to focus the group on why we were coming together and to bring some clarity around what we want for all our learners.
We then shared what we were noticing "Big picture" that was happening in our schools around learning support. This broad picture will bring clarity to the role of this Learning Services and Support group and will inform our first steps in supporting our learners in a positive and consistent manner across our cluster.
This is the focus of our second hui,
Shaping the Plan
To Support Our Learners’ Together
Date/time: Thursday 20 August, 2:00 - 3:30pm
Venue: Ridgway School, 102 Mornington Road, Portacom Room 3.
E ai ki te korero:
‘Whaia te iti kahurangi; ki te tuohu koe, me he maunga teitei’.
Pursue the highest ideals; if you must submit, let it be to a lofty mountain.
Bringing together teachers from across our Kāhui Ako to meet, engage and connect was a picture of the power of collaboration. Right from the start there was a positive buzz in the room, and it was encouraging to see our kaiako step out of comfort zones and connect across learning pathways.
The day started with a whanaungatanga activity, in which we learned many interesting things about one another and many different ways we are connected - a love for walking and the outdoors, a strong value to family and whenua, and a shared experience of spotting Matariki in our skies.
As the morning progressed, we unpacked some significant texts and shared both our experiences and ideas about what we were reading. Tātaiako, Cultural Competencies for Teachers of Māori Learners was one of the documents that we engaged with - an opportunity to refresh our thinking around this important resource.
“Evidence shows high-quality teaching is the most important influence the education system can have on high-quality outcomes for students with diverse learning needs.”
Ka Hikitia: Managing for Success
Each person took time to think about a takeaway that they could implement in their teaching practice in the coming weeks. Looking ahead, we have paired up to form accountability partners - we will be checking in on our buddies between sessions to see how we are going with following through on our next steps.
We finished our session with framing key questions that arose out of our readings and discussions. These key questions will inform and frame our next session - Tuesday 8 September.
Thanks to all those who came along and contributed to our collaborative discussions. Your unique perspectives are invaluable as we journey together.
Ehara taku toa i te toa takitahi, engari he toa takitini.
My strength is not that of a single warrior, but that of many.
“Without a systematic way to interrupt current practice in the classroom the impact of these barriers is repeatedly faced by each generation without significant forward motion to break the cycle once & for all.”
Bae, S., Ofiesh, N. S., Blackorby, J. (2018)
In this messy year, how wonderful to join together teachers from across our seven Kāhui Ako schools for our inclusive student-led learning session on Tuesday 4th August in the beautiful round room at the Berhampore Community Centre. The session was facilitated by Chrissie Butler from CORE Education. Chrissie has years of experience in the field of Universal Design Learning (UDL) and her gentle and genuine sharing of her expertise was both provocative and inspiring for those attending the session. Using the principles of UDL and overt explanations, her manner of presenting was purposefully designed to include everyone in the room.
Our next session will be on Tuesday, September 8th. In between sessions, we have been asked to
If you are interested, please help the participants from your school with the last item of homework!
We were delighted to welcome Harriette Cowan, year 1-3 teacher at Ridgway and a new Within School Teacher and Christina Rizos, Senior Head Teacher at the Owhiro Bay Kindergarten, one of the ten ECEs now joined up to our Kāhui Ako.
Karen lead an inspiring and provocative presentation that led us through thinking about the Potama Pounamu metaphor of mahi ngātahi: “where teachers, learners and whānau share in the power of contributing their own sense-making to the learning of others” --Poutama Pounamu, through understanding the nature of change and finally to think about what what ‘working with’ others looks like in practice and how we can all enhance our next steps in our areas of inquiry. We are aiming at change that may take our colleagues into uncomfortable spaces in the process of creating better learning experiences for our ākonga.
It was exciting to see the WSLs leave with a clearer idea of what their next steps are in their inquiry cycle and food for thinking about how to have rigorous, safe and robust conversations with our colleagues in our own schools. Our ASLs are looking forward to working with the WSLs to help them make sense of the learning and put it into practice.
Over the past three weeks we have been talking with ākonga in all our primary schools, recording their stories and thoughts around wellbeing. These rich conversations have given us deeper insight into what makes them feel good about themselves and what helps them to get along with others and feel that they belong in our schools.
If you would like to find out more about this scanning work check out our Hauora and Wellbeing page.
Once we have met with ākonga at Wellington High School early in Term 3 we will share what we have learned. Watch this space!
We are excited to be looking forward to Term 3-4 as we have now launched our Kāhui Ako Professional Learning programme for staff across all our schools and centres. It is designed to set up communities of practice to sustain our shared conversations around areas of need, as well as bring different groups together for sprint sharing of resources at TeachMeets.
View the intro video below, browse the programme on offer, and talk with your colleagues about opportunities to connect to current work.
From the outset, our Kāhui Ako has worked to connect and learn with other networks, both in Wellington and beyond. We have attended shared professional learning across the Wellington basin and pooled thinking and resources. In Wellington, students move across several Kāhui Ako so it makes sense!
This week, our Kāhui Ako was part of a session with the Christchurch-based Grow Waitaha initiative, pulling together stories from Kāhui Ako across the country to explore how different networks had pivoted during lockdown to support our schools.
Karen filmed an snippet to share our story - below - and one of our Across School Leads, Catherine Hill, attended to share and take questions.