What is te Kāhui Ako o Kaipara - The Kaipara Community of Learning (COL) ?
In 2018 we marked the launch of te Kāhui Ako o Kaipara - The Kaipara Community of Learning (“COL”).
The Kaipara COL consists of Gumboots Early Learning Centre, The Cottage Kindergarten, Waimauku School, Woodhill School, Kaukapakapa School, Waioneke School, Helensville School, Parakai School, Waitoki School and Kaipara College.
The Kaipara COL is part of a wider government initiative designed to encourage greater collaboration and sharing of knowledge between Early Childhood Centres, Primary Schools, Secondary Schools and Tertiary providers within a geographic area. For students, the experience at school is an educational journey which starts when a child enters Early Childhood Education and can continue through until Tertiary studies.
How does te Kāhui Ako o Kaipara (COL) work for teachers and students?
Within and Across School Leadership
We have 15 Within School Lead teachers (WSLs) from the Primary Schools and Kaipara College, who are allocated resources and release time (i.e. time out of their classrooms) to complete a year-long inquiry. This is essentially a research project, focussed on a particular aspect of teaching or learning that has been identified as presenting a challenge or barrier. Our WSL team work together and within their schools to carry out surveys, interviews, read existing research, trial improved practice, make recommendations to staff and management, and to provide support for improved learning outcomes. A few examples of areas for Inquiry for 2019 are: Development of place value understanding in mathematics; implementing play-based learning to improve transitions from ECE to Y1; Creating tools for teachers to support students displaying symptoms of anxiety; Successful transitions from Y13 to tertiary/trades work; Creating a shared understanding of tikanga within our Kāhui Ako. We also have two Across School Lead teachers (ASLs) who report to the COL Lead Principal (Gary Pasfield, Waimauku School). The ASLs have classroom release time provided to facilitate meetings and collaboration between teachers across the community, as well as providing support for WSLs.
Collaboration between teachers
Prior to the establishment of the Kāhui Ako, each sector of the NZ education system - ECE, Primary, Secondary and Tertiary, have traditionally operated separately, with very limited consultation across sectors. To improve the students’ transition as they progress through their educational journey, there is a need for schools and teachers to gain a greater understanding of what is being taught (and how) at each curriculum level, and to share the wealth of knowledge of effective teaching that staff across the COL possess. In support of this, regular meetings have begun between staff from our community to address shared challenges e.g. in Literacy and Mathematics. This means we have staff from all sectors now meeting to discuss common problems they are facing and to share and spread solutions and successes. 2019 will continue the focus of breaking down the artificial barriers that separate teaching professionals across our COL and facilitate the sharing of teaching practice. In doing so, we hope to improve the transitions, wellbeing and academic outcomes of all students within our community.
Plan for achievement
Our achievement challenges are derived from data across all schools in the COL. Our data shows us that areas of focus are writing and mathematics. In Years 1-8 we are aiming to lift levels of student achievement from 75.9% of learners At or Above expectations for their year level to 89%, across all schools. In maths, the goal is to lift student achievement from 81.5% of learners At or Above expectations for their year level to 88%, across all schools.