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e-Central ICT PD Regional Cluster VLN Reflection-Milestone 3

About the Cluster

The e-Central Cluster is a Regional cluster made up of 26 Primary and Secondary Schools from across Central Otago, a wide geographical area.  Schools vary in size from small schools with 15 students to large Secondary schools with almost 800 students.  Creating opportunities for collaboration between schools as well as building the capacity of both schools and teachers across the region so that development is sustainable are key goals for the Cluster.

Cluster Goal


Programme Outcome B: To promote the use of e learning to improve teaching and learning and to strengthen the home school partnership. (“Authentic integration”)


Goal: Supporting Lead Teachers in building schools’ and teachers’ capability to use  e learning as part of their everyday teaching (National Goal 2 and 4)

Why is this important to us? Intentions


Teachers in schools are incredibly busy, especially those within smaller schools juggling responsibilities for a number of curriculum areas as well as their roles as Lead teachers.  We wanted to provide practical support in response to feedback from LTs in 2010 as well as feedback from Principals and leadership teams about managing change and integrating e learning into the curriculum.


Interventions-What we did:


In order to support Lead Teachers to build the capability of both their staff and their school as a whole to use  e learning as part of their everyday teaching, a key step was to assist Lead Teachers by equipping them with practical skills and strategies in both Coaching/Mentoring and Leadership.  We see this as an essential part of their development and so have chosen to focus on this in our reflection.

After discussion last year with Lead Teachers, Principals and the Governance group for the Cluster it was felt that this needed to be a specific focus of the 2011 programme.  We wanted to do this in partnership with the COPA (Central Otago Principals Association) so that Leadership Team’s supported the importance of the integration of e learning throughout the curriculum.

Jan Robertson (Senior associate from the NZ Coaching and Mentoring Centre and Bestselling author of ‘Coaching educational Leadership) facilitated a focused session at our first Lead Teacher day in Term One as well as running a session for Principals.  

Shared Google Doc from Lead Teacher Session  

Feedback was overwhelmingly positive from both Principals and Lead Teachers with strategies implemented in many schools. These assisted the implementation of integration strategies across the curriculum.  Two schools chose to run focused sessions with their whole staff based on Jan’s session.

To follow up the success of the work with Jan Robertson, Mel Stopford a href="((http://www.engaginglearners.co.nz/)  was booked in to introduce both LTs and Principals to her extremely practical ‘Teacher Coach’ strategies.  This was shared with the Cluster while still in the planning process and all agreed this would be a available next step for both LTs and Leadership Teams.

These focused sessions using recognised professionals were supported by in school visits with facilitators for interested schools (5 Primary schools took up this offer in addition to the targeted support offered to Secomndary schools by the facilitators and Cluster Director with additional support from Geoff Scrimouger) as well as support via skype, e-mail and staff meetings or PD

Impact on Students/Teachers/Whanau


Teacher feedback though positive, has been anecdotal at this stage and the focus for us for the remainder of the contract is to improve how we record teacher feedback and reflection to assist us with future planning and monitoring.  

Lead Teachers have expressed that they feel more confident about meeting with their Principals and Leadership Teams to discuss not only the integration of e learning into the curriculum but also to talk about ways this can be embedded.  

Strategies practised can be used with a range of staff and LTs feel they are better equipped to deal with some of the more challenging staff and issues that arise when attempting to integrate e learning throughout the school.

LTs are reporting an increased understanding of the role of e learning and as a result an increased use of a range of ICT tools as part of their ‘everyday teaching’.  This has also been supported by specific provision for less confident teachers with sessions run across the cluster to meet their needs in an informal, relaxed environment

Challenges


With many schools implementing and attempting to integrate national standards into their schools, at first some felt that e learning was ‘another extra’.  The focus on practical coaching and mentoring strategies has, we believe, assisted LTs and schools to be able to present e learning not as an 'add on' but as something that can be woven through our everyday teaching across all curriculum areas, supported by the expectations of the key competencies and the goals of the document itself.

Another challenge for us has been building in opportunities for teacher reflection and feedback in other ways that oral feedback or anecdotal comments.  This is a particular focus for us for the remainder of this year and in 2012.

This goal will continue to be a focus for us as we seek to empower LTs to assist staff in their own schools in a confident, informed and knowledgeable manner to build sustainability for this to continue beyond the life of the cluster and available facilitator support.

Next Steps


For the remainder of this year, support will be provided by the facilitators to build on the work undertaken by Jan and Mel but next year enquiries are being made to engage David Anderson and Joan Dalton to deliver either specific support through their ‘Art of Facilitation’ programme to a group of LTs who would then deliver this back to the cluster or a bespoke version to all LTs

Reflection will also be a key priority to better understand what is and is not working and to be able to tailor support based on this feedback in the final year of the cluster to ensure sustainability.