Three teachers from Woodend School explain how being part of the Katote cluster has benefited them. The schools in the cluster have collaborated by sharing ideas from their PD and the tools they have implemented in their classrooms.
Adrienne Simpson: Being part of the Katote cluster has been really beneficial for our staff and our school. It’s created links between the staff at other schools and ours. We’ve done quite a lot of inter-school visits at looking at the innovative learning practices that are happening within other schools and that’s been the springboard for our staff to launch into their own types of innovative learning practices. They’ve done that at different stages and different rates as each team has been ready.
The other thing that has been beneficial about being part of the cluster is that we’ve been able to put together some other PD. So we’ve got probably three or four different focuses within the cluster. One of them is the innovative learning practices, another one is success for Māori. We’ve been working with Raewyn Tipene-Clark around successful Māori across the whole cluster and that seems to be just starting to gain momentum which is going really well. Also, we’re just starting, or launching into, some maths professional learning and development across the cluster as well. So it’s at a lot of different levels and a lot of connections are made between the schools and between the teachers.
Mike Crawford: Woodend School is part of the Katote cluster and the biggest benefit of getting together with them is seeing what other schools are doing and sharing our practice, seeing what works, seeing the application in another context. That’s what’s most valuable to me.
Emma Neylon: As a cluster, what we’ve been doing is we’ve been getting together termly, and we’re meeting together with CORE Education and CORE Education is giving us the tools and how we’re going to implement it within our school. From there, what we’re doing is, we’ve had whole cluster PLD and so we’ve got together as a whole cluster at Kaiapoi High School and we talked about different things and from there different e-leaders were chosen to take different workshops. So I took a workshop on how to implement and get started the way we were doing MLP, so we talked about things like going to visit other schools. From there, we made connections with other schools and these teachers have since contacted us and I’ve gone out to helped them one-on-one, or they’ve come to me and they’ve watched me in the classroom.
We’ve maintained that contact and communication so that if they need any further help down the line, they just need to get in touch with us. The connection that we’ve had through other schools is we can see schools in our cluster that have trialled things that we may not have trialled yet and we can learn from what they’ve done. For example, if they’ve found a really good use for Google Docs that we would like to use as well for our formative assessment, then they’ve got ideas that we can then use. And it’s something within our cluster, they have got similar values, we’ve worked together on our cluster values so we know that what they’re implementing will work with us as well.