We have had conversations with over 400 children from the age of 9 years through to the age of 18 years old. We have been blown away by their honesty and enthusiasm to share ideas and opinions in the hope that we can all make a difference for our future learning and wellbeing. A highlight has been the insight from students and their messages to us. In particular, if they return in five years time, they are interested in seeing whether we will have acted on the things they told us. Each school has had a chance to explore what the students have said about their school in more detail in staff meetings led by their Kāhui Ako Across School Teachers.
Workshops have been provided for teachers to share initiatives that support wellbeing, equity and strategies to support students to have more ownership in their learning. During term 4, Year 9 Deans and 2020 Year 9 teachers from the secondary schools have visited primary schools to see the learning environments that students are familiar with. Year 9 and Year 10 students have visited some primary schools to talk to Year 8 students to share some tips and key information to help them at the next stage of College. We have had a great year of building the team and gathering information that we can now use to inform our work for 2020. The Co Leaders have worked hard to establish a strong group of teachers who can encourage and influence change.
Staff have become more involved as the year has continued and we are excited to see more action during 2020. We know from the gathering of student voice that there are common threads for improvement which are very important to feeling valued and a sense of wellbeing.
On Tuesday we brought together the Across School Leaders from the Kāhui Ako across the basin. We joined Motu Kairangi, Capital, Tawa and Wellington Catholic Schools Community of Learning to talk about the challenges and successes we are finding across our communities. All the Kāhui Ako have similar challenges and we many of us are at similar stages in development so we are finding the collaboration very valuable. We focused on community engagement, visiting schools and challenges. It was a stimulating afternoon with many good conversations and lots of fantastic learnings to take away.
We are excited to welcome Brooklyn School to our Kāhui Ako. Liz Rhodes, the Principal of Brooklyn School has been working closely with us for over a year in an informal capacity so it's nice to be able to make it official now. We look forward to meeting with the staff and students in the next term.
We are delighted to announce the appointment of Phil McIntosh to our Across School team. He currently teaches Year 2 and 3 learners at Karori Normal School. He has been teaching for 11 years and is passionate about creating environments where learners feel empowered. Most recently, he has been interested in looking at improving the teaching and learning of mathematics through the lens of student agency.
Last week our Across School Leaders began going into schools to talk to our students. After analysing the wellbeing@school survey results, they realised they wanted to find out more about student perceptions of our culture of care within our schools. So far the students have been wonderful, sharing thoughtful comments on the things they love about the schools but also what they would like to see more of. We look forward to collating the results in a few weeks once we have been to all the schools.
Last week we held a hui for all our in school teachers. The Across School teachers organised it. The key aim of the afternoon was to allow teachers from other schools across our Kāhui Ako to connect with each other. Being able to chat with someone going through the same experiences as them, makes the learning journey much easier. We shared some of our hopes. Most important for all of us, is that the work we are doing impacts on our staff and students in a positive way. We want our rangatahi to enjoy their learning. We know that learning is most powerful when it is personalised, connected with who they are and takes into account their holistic wellbeing. This hui was the first chance to connect more widely for many of our staff. We learnt that primary and secondary teachers face many of the same challenges and are trying many of the same things in their classrooms. We are looking forward to our next hui, where we'll be able to start deepening some of those connections.
The last few months have seen the Across School Teachers wrestling with data. All schools in the Kāhui Ako have completed either the NZCER Wellbeing@school or Me and My School survey. This has given us a really good picture of the culture and climate in our schools. Cathie Johnson from NZCER gave our Kāhui Ako some really good support in how to look at the data effectively. Some key things from the feedback showed that across our schools our students feel:
We have spent the last few weeks setting the structures in place that will begin the guide our next steps with our Kāhui Ako. Our across school teachers have begun the challenging task of unpacking the data so we know what conversations we need to have with our learners. Meanwhile, the in-school teachers are beginning to work with their senior leadership teams to identify areas for inquiry and explore those areas in more depth.
The Across School Leaders have spent some of their time considering how we are going to make progress with our achievement challenges. A combination of data (qualitative and quantitative) and our levers for change will be used to shape our approaches in schools.
So what's next? Our across school teachers will take the opportunity to visit each of our contributing schools so we can get to know everyone better. We will also be looking more closely at the data to determine what we need to dig into more deeply and continuing to develop a theory of improvement.