Thursday, August 17, 2017

Toolbox 101 - Senior Management 'Need to Know'

Although this seminar was aimed at Senior Management looking at obtaining a Principal role, it was obvious to me that the information shared, was also very valuable to an AP/DP.

Things covered were:
  1. Appointments (Appointment letters, fixed term, permanent, job sharing and beginning teachers)... The discussions we had for fixed term and support staff appointments and whether they adhere to the PTCA and the Employment Act was definitely an eye opener. After working through a couple of scenarios, it became clear that commonly cited reasons for these appointments are not always that straight forward.
  2. Unit Allocations... A fair process is to look at what is the needs at school and to have a conversation with staff. Put out a job description for the unit. Open to anybody who would like to apply. Needs to be clear, fair and transparent. 60% of units should be permanent and 40% can be fixed-term.
  3. Leave (Sick, parental, bereavement, discretionary, refreshment)... Some very interesting clarifications came out of this, e.g. Stress and mental health are not considered illnesses for sick leave. It is also important to have conversations with staff about the entitlement for bereavement leave, so that they are clear about what this is.
  4. Support Staff Review (Variation of hours, grading, annual salary reviews, surplus staffing)... It is important to look at allocation hours for the year coming up, as you cannot change hours in a school year (although, e.g. T/A - 10 permanent hours & 10 fixed-term, you can change fixed to 5). Variation should not be more that 20% of their permanent hours.
  5. Competency / Conduct / Impairment Issues... The main message that came through was that the process should be fair to the parties involved. Discussion is absolutely crucial to ensure the non escalation of the issue. The mana and dignity of a person should be intact during this time. When this was discussed, it made me think of a thread I read a while ago and a discussion on a well know programme...  

An overwhelming body of research is highlighting the excessive stress faced by New Zealand’s educators. Therefore, it is my opinion that no-one needs any 'uncertainty' added to any process that might impact on their well-being. Communication is vital...

~ "Compassion is an action word with no boundaries." - Prince ~

Friday, August 11, 2017

Learner Engagement... 'Me and My School'

I was privileged to attend a NZCER 'Me and My School' Learner Engagement Survey Workshop.

"Me and My School is a unique, research-based student engagement survey designed for New Zealand students Years 4 to 10. It offers a snapshot of the learning culture in your school, standardised data to track progress over time and a nationally referenced gender, ethnicity, and year level comparison." - NZCER

Why 'Me and My School'? (Theory of Action)

Outcomes of using 'Me and My school':
- Impact of NPeW
- Potential link to other data
- Useful assessment at multiple level (schools, CoLs, District)
- Input into school strategic plans for 2018

What does the survey measures? 3 main aspects: - Behavioural - Effective / emotional - Cognitive (willing to try new things??) Links to the Key Competencies

Getting staff ready for online survey:

- Use demo sites to introduce staff - Teachers need to talk students through 'instructions' & 'about me' parts - When students start with survey, advised that teacher should not be walking around, due to anonymous nature

Results: - With online reports you can view interim reports - Making sense of the reports - lots of different ways that data can be looked at / intrepid. Tips: Think about protocols on how to administer - maybe get students to all do it together in class or think about how it works best for your students. If someone is away, get them to do it when they are back. Aim to get all students to partake.

This assessment tool is designed to give a school robust and systematic information about student engagement.

~ "Measure what you value instead of valuing only what you can measure" - Andy Hargreaves ~

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Digital Technologies / Hangarau Matihiko Consultation

I have been really interested in attending the consultation sessions, since the official announcement in regards to the addition to the New Zealand Curriculum from Education Minister Nikki Kaye and as Digital Technologies|Hangarau Matihiko is to be formally added into the NZ Curriculum by 2018 and fully integrated by 2020.

My notes:
Leadership / BOT session - 9.00am - 12.00pm
When thinking of DT, think about people using it.
Digital supports arts, science etc. It is not standing alone.


What is needed to teach DTIHM?:

Algorithms are not new to us. Give students the opportunity to learn the language.

- Writing a program brings the algorithm to life.
- Computational thinking is about how to create something new.

In Technological Areas part - (‘Computational thinking for digital technologies’ & ‘Designing and developing digital outcomes’) are the new part of the Curriculum.

How would you start a conversation about DT in your school? What does it look like? What is it about? 
- Take away the ‘plugged’ element
- Unplugged/ de-plugged (

It is not about the pc that sits on the desk, but the pc that sits in the mind. Schools have autonomy on how to implement.

Teachers' session - 1.00pm - 3.00pm

Students should be "doing" computational thinking without computer / numbers (using alphabet)
How would you explain this whole new digital world to primary schools?
This is not about tech hardware, it’s about our brain.
We have a role as navigators and guides to our children

Creating with technology can have students feel ownership.

Algorithm comes up quite a lot in the new curriculum. All data is represented by using 2 values (binary code). A bit is the smallest bit of information...

As I am really passionate about technologies and how it can be used to support learning, I am looking forward to the implementation and embedding of ‘Computational thinking for digital technologies’ & ‘Designing and developing digital outcomes’ in learning by 2020.

Additional links:
Strengthening Digital Technologies Hangarau Matihiko in the Curriculum - A collaborative Doc created by Allanah King.
- Digital technology | Hangarau matihiko curriculum consultation: Workshop video
- Blog post by Sonya Van Schaijik

~ "Technology opens the door to the world. It's up to us to walk through it in a meaning ful and respectful way." - Unknown ~