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FORUM: Collaboration in Kāhui Ako

Posted by Tessa Gray

When: 9:00, 7 Sep 2017 - 16:00, 7 Oct 2017

Venue: Enabling e-Learning Leadership group

Fees: FREE

Organiser: Enabling e-Learning

Contact: tessa.gray@core-ed.net

smiley FORUM: Collaboration in Kāhui Ako, 7 September - 7 October

CollaborationWhat's working well in the early stages of CoLs development and what will need more time and focus for collaborative goals to be realised within and between schools?Collaboration is the #1 recurring theme for Communities of Learning | Kāhui Ako. What does this mean and do we know we're being collaborative or successful in a collaborative model. We'd love for you to dive in and share what you think collaboration looks like in an innovative PLD model. This conversation will be hosted in the Leadership group

Audience: CoL leaders, school leaders, within/across school leaders, facilitators


  • Anna Voyce

    Hi, my name is Anna and I am currently working as an Across School Mentor within the Maungakiekie Kahui Ako.  What an exciting journey this has been for us!

    Within our COL we have our lead principal, our overall management team (principals) 4 Across School Mentors and 16 Within School Coaches.  

    Our major foci for Terms 1 and 2 of 2017 have been around gaining valid reliable data and the spiral of inquiry.

    In accordance with our achievement challenges the Across School Mentors have been working alongside the WSC's on raising their skills levels in assessment and the spiral so that they could then take this back to their own schools and be successful at leading and supporting their colleagues .  

    At the beginning of this year, there was a range of expertise within our COL in regards the Spiral of Inquiry and so a lot of time and effort has been put into raising the WSC's (and our own!) knowledge of the spiral so that by the end of 2017, every school/teacher within our COL is using the spiral of inquiry to drive change.  What this looks like - is twice a term we bring all our WSC's together and run professional development.  This gives our WSC's the time that they need to not only increase their knowledge, but it also gives them the opportunity to talk to other WSC's about what being a WSC looks like at their schools, they talk about what's working and any challenges that are presenting themselves.....this is such valuable time for us all and we intend to continue these sessions during the latter half of 2017.

    What is exciting, is the amount of enthusiasm that is currently present within our COL.  Yes there are ups and downs, yes there are high points and challenges....however 6 schools working together as one, supporting and caring for one another in order to give our children the best educational experience they can possibly have is very very powerful.

  • Tessa Gray

    Anna, kia ora and thank you for sharing such a great snippet of your school/CoL so far. I can really see how you've been inspired by a call for action through professional inquiry. I'm hoping when the forum kicks off we'll hear from more people working in and across CoLs - both from leaders and teachers. Why? Because I think it's really helpful to hear a variety of stories as we embark on new territory together ie: what's working, challenges, possible solutions. In fact I'd love to hear more...don't be surprised if I come and message you today for more... wink

    In the meantime, I hope you're rugged up and treating yourself with some relaxing time and catch-ups during these holidays. smiley

  • Sonya Van Schaijik

    Hi Tessa Gray, great to have this discussion.

    Do check out the FaceBook Page for Kāhui Ako set up by Rachel Boyd.

    I am an Across School Leader for ACCoS Kāhui Ako. This ACCoS site link will tell you more about us.

    We are into our third year so have lots to share about our journey. We have learnt to set up our structures and develop communication and connections across our 11 schools. Because before collaboration happens connections must be in place. We are now at that next level of teachers between and across schools working together. Like Anne's narrative we also needed to establish reliable data and understanding of spirals of inquiry. We share using a google+ community and highlight the importance of tracking our journey. These are exciting times as schools share more than just surface communication. 

  • Ritu Sehji

    Hi Anna, Tessa and Sonya,

    I agree Tessa, great post by Anna. I am intrigued to find out more about COLs hence joining in.

    All of your posts and shares are really helping me to gain a much better understanding of COLs and the impact it is having at your school on knowledge and skill building. I think gaining valid reliable data and then embarking on the inquiries is a great starting point, Anna! Sonya, thanks for sharing the links to your FB page for  Kāhui Ako and the ACCoS. This will help me gain insights into how COLs work. My school embarks on this journey soon and I am super excited about the opportunities and the possibilities☺

    Ngā mihi,


  • Tessa Gray

    Sonya, always exciting to hear from you my friend. Thanks for the Facebook invite, always useful to make connections to other social networking sites for teachers. Thanks also for sharing the web site for the CoL. Websites like Google is something I forgot to add to a previous forum on Connecting Communities of Learning through technologies. Google + sounds like a great tool to use for on-going blended connections. Does this help create some informality in the way you all work together do you think?

    Like Ritu says, I'd love to hear more about processes and resources for establishing reliable data and understanding spirals of inquiry. That in itself is complex - ie: what organizational structures need to be in place and what teacher capability/competencies are needed for this to happen well? 

    Ritu, please feel welcome to dive in and share your story when the forum starts on the 7th Sept as well. I'm hoping some folk will elaborate on some aspects of their professional inquiry, for some collaborative inquiry as well - ie: purpose, potential, possible barriers. So looking forward to chatting some more! smiley

  • traceycringle

    Hi - I am also a recently appointed Across Schools COL member. I look forward to chatting more about the progress we are all making within the Forum

  • Tessa Gray

    Nice one Tracey, smiley I'm sure there are many others who'd also be interested in your story so far. Keep an eye out for the forum starting 7 Sept, I'd particularly love to hear what systems of support you're putting in place for yourself (as a leader) and for your teachers. yes

  • Ritu Sehji

    Hi Tessa, thank you for such a warm welcome to this forum. I am looking forward to joining in when the forum begins.

    Congrats, Tracey! So keen to hear all about how you and the team are going. Like Tessa, I am also interested in learning more about what happens and how you go about it! 

  • Tessa Gray

    Kia ora Ritu, we'd enjoy hearing your story too. For example, do you/have you had a leadership role like this before, and if so, what has been the benefits/challenges of leading change within and beyond your own school? Love to hear more... smiley

  • Ritu Sehji

    Hi Tessa,

    Our school has only just sent an email out for a combined COL staff hui on 22nd August, today. The email outlines the lead Principal and the schools involved in the North Shore COL

  • Ritu Sehji


    As for leading change within and beyond my own school here are some of the things that have been very beneficial for me for my personal and professional growth:

    1. Having professional connections on a global level 

    2. Meeting teachers from feeder schools to discuss courses and links to NZC

    3. Skype sessions with teachers in NZ and beyond to share practice and connect students irrespective of year level or age.

    4. Mentor children and students beyond my school.

    5. Mentor beginning food technology teachers from other schools in NZ 

    6. Taking up challenges and opportunities to try new things, learn myself

    7. Sharing innovative contexts with others 

    8. Using a range of platforms to connect myself and my students

    9. Reading, reading and reading to inform my practice 

    10. Communicating and articulating thoughts and vision for my learners, with my learners and with community. 

    11. Inviting experts from around the world

    12. Being proactive about seeking advice, feedback and feed forward from my professional learning network (PLN). 

    13. Managing an edchat #INZpirED for PLN to share pedagogy, insights, thoughts

    14. Understanding that my perceptions about my students may be wrong too and challenging those

    15. Taking deliberate action to make a difference that is visible with students and teachers.

    I think I will stop now and I hope I have not bored you all. Think I will blog about "The 15 ways of leading change" (haha, I am just joking!

  • Tessa Gray

    Oh my goodness Ritu, thank you so much for sharing! 

    Each of those 15 points are loaded and worth teasing in more details so hold that thought, I'm certain we'd like to hear more, so I'll be in touch about how we can transfer some of these lessons learned across to the forum once its starts - too much gold to lose here.

    Talk soon. smiley


  • Adelle Banks

    Hi, my name is Adelle and we have started our C.o.L journey this year.  I have been appointed as our school’s In-School Teacher and am really excited about the opportunities that this form of collaboration can open up for our schools.


    We have started our journey by placing an importance on the relationship building between staff. We felt that successful collaboration can only begin after there is relational trust. Our C.o.L is slightly unique in that it covers 5 Area Schools and a geographical distance of around 355 km. This has made it more difficult to organise face to face meetings and a lot of our initial discussion has been done via google hangouts.  However many members of staff do not feel willing to communicate via hangout until they have met the other teachers. We have a jumbo day planned for the end of this month to give teachers this opportunity.  


    As part of my own development I have completed a core education paper on inquiry to help me better understand the inquiry process and to help me lead others in this area.  The learnings from this have been shared with our staff and our inquiry model redefined.  Hopefully cross school inquiries will soon develop from this next year.  


    We are currently in the process of making sure that we have the teacher’s voices in terms of what they see as a priority for our C.o.L and what P.L.D is important to them (writing being our target area).


    I’m looking forward to hearing the progress of other C.o.Ls.


  • Tessa Gray

    Sonya, Anna, Ritu, Tracey and Adelle, thank you again for these responses, we've finally kicked off the forum discussion now, so any developments since you last posted here would be an awesome addition to the thread started yesterday: /discussion/view/976085.

    Looking forward to seeing you there! smiley


  • David McKenzie

    Collaboration in a COL

    This sounds easy, as everyone of us believes that we are collaborative. 

    What I've discovered is that word collaboration is almost a statement of vision rather than of fact.  

    We say 'We want to be collaborative'. 

    Everyone agrees!  'Yes of course we do', we say. 'We're professional.  We are collaborative already.'   

    And yes they maybe within their organisation, where they are in charge, with their own staff, in their own style, that everyone knows and is comfortable with.

    However, in a COL it is another whole thing altogether.  What is collaboration to one, is not to another and very quickly things can unravel.

    In the perfect science of hindsight the following is worth doing...in times of positive peace when everyone thinks things could never get tough, hard, uneasy, tense, strained or blurred.

    1. Decide on the values that underpin your interpersonal relationships.
    2. Decide on what organisation learning looks like.  
    3. Decide on how to disagree without becoming disagreeable.
    4. Decide on how consultation looks.
    5. Decide on what areas requires consultation.
    6. Decide on the playing field that each COL role takes.
    7. Decide on a problem solving process for issues that WILL arise.    

    With that in place, collaboration becomes a verb that infuses the lifeblood of a COL.  It becomes a way of operating, a culture of collaboration.