Wednesday, September 28, 2005

What does your school stand for?

Schools to develop a NZ identity. Posted by Picasa

I have little holiday job to help a school draft out what it stands for.

This shouldn’t be a difficult task because having visited the school to see it in action it will just be a matter of selecting ideas from their current documentation, reflecting on what I observed, and then crafting these ideas into a simple new vision and beliefs document.

Ironically the best description of the particular ‘schools way’ is written up in their excellent Education Review Report. It just goes to show that if a school is demonstrating excellent teaching across all classes it will not be 'punished' by ERO – thankfully they are no longer focusing on compliance and are looking for evidence of quality teaching and learning.

The key to success of course is demonstrating quality teaching and learning. It may be easier for some schools that haven’t developed a sense of shared philosophy to stick to compliance, clear folders and endless graphs!

The secret of the school I am working with is its principal – he won’t mind me saying he is of an age that complying to imposed requirements is not an issue to him; he only wants to create an environment based on positive relationships that expects the best from both the staff and students. Simple stuff but too often lost in the guilt felt by many principals if they do not do what they think others expect them to do!

So what does your school stand for?
Can your teachers, their students and the wider community express such ideas?
Why don't you ask them - it ought to part of your School Review!
It is worth having a go at trying to document your ideas on one page.

Michael Fullan writes that schools have ‘six years (or eight) to have a conversation with their parents’. If parents haven’t got the message of what your school stands for by then you have been focusing on the wrong things. He also says that it all depends on the ‘power of three’ – teachers, parents and students working together.

The school I am working with has ‘customized’ elements of the Te Ara vision available on the Leading and Learning website.

Defining what your school stands for is a good way to start.


Anonymous said...
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Bruce said...

Just another spam!

Bruce said...

The school I was refering to was a treat to visit becuse it exhibited creativity and imagination in all rooms. Unlike most schools it hadn't turned the curriculum into a 'Victorian literacy/ numeracy and the rest programme' - with the first two taking up 50% of the time! Instead it valued student's talents, 'identity' and 'voice' as priorities.It was as if all the contractual nonsense imposed on schools since the 90s had washed lighty over them.

Clearfolders and graphs were not to be seen - success dripped from all the walls and the childrens learning journals. Most of the relationships beween teachers and students were as co-learners.Curriculum challenges were being 'designed' not 'delivered'!

So refreshing!

Anonymous said...

Must be great to find such a school - schools are becoming clone like and overtly managerial! Rule by clearfolder and limited by narrow targets. It has been an era of careful leadership at best!

Anonymous said...

NZ schools are at best good but more ofen mediocre - we need some creativity and imagination to liven the mix!

Bruce said...

We have creative teachers in New Zealand it is just that we have become obsessed with getting ideas 'delivered' through contracts by 'pseudo' experts.This has developed a culture of dependency.