Teacher only day was a good opportunity for teachers to examine once again what works in classrooms and how the teaching strategies they use in class will make a difference. Our focus was on Written Languge but the strategies I am listing below count for all teaching and for all curriculum areas:
- Positiive relationships with children and a positive partnership between school and home
- Knowing your subject that you are teaching i.e. good curriculum knowledge
- High expectations
- Targeted teaching and learning and explicit instructional teaching
- Cross curricular learning
- Learning intentions and success criteria
- Teacher modelling
- Modelling book
- Teaching children the skills to do independent work and using the modelling book as part of scaffolding independent work
- Authentic learning
- Differentiated learning
- Monitoring, conferencing, assessing and next step teaching and learning
How do you know if the teacher is doing a good job? Because you will observe these things happening in their classroom and they understand why each of the above bullet points are important.
A good decision by the Minister to reverse the decision on increasing class sizes at the Year 2 and 3 level and to take away all extra staffing for Year 7 and 8 technology. Congratulations to the Minister for showing courage to do this and to take responsibility for the original policy. The winners of this latest move are the children and the power of parent voice. The sector is keen to work with the government to decide on educational priorities and solutions. Lets hope that a positive outcome of this saga is that the Government consults and has dialogue with parents and educationalists on future changes to schooling.
The budget was meant to be a winner for education. The impact on Cashmere Primary falls well short of the definition of a winner. We are faced with the prospect of bigger classes for year 2 and 3 classes and a major change to Year 7 and 8 technology provision. The changes have been justified as a proactive move to improve teacher quality within schools quoting research by Professor John Hattie. Ask any teacher and any parent and they will tell you class size does matter. I believe that a focus on teacher quality is important and should happen but not by reducing the quality of eduacational provision for 6 and 7 year olds and 11 to 13 year olds. These decisions need a re think. Children are our future and can't advocate for themselves. Adults need to do that on behalf of children. The expected saving of $43 million can be found in other areas of the economy so children are left out of economic decisions that they can't influence or debate yet have the potential to disadvantage them. if the saving is vital to the economy I suggest that the Government works with the sector to identify savings or ways state schools can create income streams or different organisational structures that can be used to keep class sizes down.
2012 has started well and all of us are delighted that camps and swimming sports have been run without incident. There is still alot to do ensuring that our infrastructure is up and running. Our main focus is getting our swimming pool ready for term 4 and currently there are indepth reports happening on the pool so we know the full extent of damage and the best repair option. I will keep parents and whanau updated on the outcomes of these reports.
Charter schools: From NZPF principal news letter:
Did you know that the first country in the world to introduce charter schools was New Zealand? Tomorrow’s Schools reforms introduced self-managed, community controlled (through boards of trustees) charter schools. The charter is the document of accountability between the school and the Ministry, and ERO is the independent body that makes sure the school is meeting compliance requirements and is managing its self-review processes well. It’s a system that works, especially since the review of our NZ curriculum. Our public school, charter model coupled with this excellent curriculum has given us world class achievement results for some years. So what then is all the fuss over charter schools?
The difference between our charter schools and the ones being proposed by Government is that the curent NZ schools are about giving every Kiwi kid similar and regulated educational opportunity in a publicly funded schooling system. The model proposed is an American model called KIPP. KIPP schools in America are populated by children from disadvantaged backgrounds, 95% of whom are African-American and Latino children. Click here for more. Interestingly, they are described as the ‘underserved’. Typically, these schools are dependent on high levels of philanthropic funding. To check who the donors are click here.
The questions that need to be answered are: How will this model add value to the charter school system that we already have? Do we want public education to be privately funded? As always I ask parents and whanau to do their own thinking as the implications will be wide spread across the Education Sector