Convening principal, Lee Whitelaw describes how the Kaikohekohe cluster principals and lead teachers collaborate.
So our cluster works in a really collaborative way. I’m the lead principal, really because we needed a lead principal for our Manaiakalani Outreach cluster. We work as a principals' group so we have principals' meetings and we have a lead teacher from each school.
Our principals and lead teachers work really closely together and we meet usually twice a term. And we have our Trust which employs a facilitator part time, three days a week, to work across all the schools. We’re also supported by Manaiakalani who, because we’re an outreach cluster, provide a facilitator to work as well, but our own Trust facilitator works in the schools on a timetable basis. Our schools all contribute, $300 per full time teacher equivalent as their contribution for the year, to help pay for the facilitator. We also have an administrator that the Trust pays for to administer the Chromebooks across the schools. We have a professional development day for everybody at the beginning of the year.
Our lead teachers meet separately, as well as meeting with principals because they are the ones on the ground and in the schools that know the needs, so it’s very much needs based on what schools and teachers need to help with their work in their classrooms. It’s ongoing throughout the year. Lead teachers, principals meeting and looking at the data, talking about what’s working well, what do we need to do to help these teachers change their practice if they need to? So the professional learning group is held once a term and that’s usually everyone together and that’s some kind of professional development.
The toolkits are held once a term, sometimes twice a term, depending on the need and they are very much tailored to things in the classrooms. So while we were upskilling people on digital things, it was quite digital focused. Tools that people would need to use in their classrooms. The last one was more writing focused, writing tools that people could use, so very much needs driven. So another really important aspect is the involvement and collaboration across the schools and within the community, so every year we have an e-learning symposium. From three o’clock till five the e-learning symposium is open to members of the community, and the children share what they’re learning and what they can do and they have displays and it’s great and all the teachers come as well. It was great because children learnt at the beginning and children have an opportunity to go and learn from the other children that are from the other schools as well.