Rotorua Central Kāhui Ako leader, Nancy Macfarlane explains how their community of learning developed their action plan and strategic framework.
Developing an action plan
Making our plan of action at our starting point was really around our theory of improvement. What sits underneath our theory of improvement is a very comprehensive implementation plan. The implementation plans break down every aspect within our theory of improvement and how we’re going to go about achieving those. We have a theory of improvement and an implementation plan for every single one of our achievement challenges. And in July this year, the entire CoL, undertook the first review where we looked at the measures of success. We utilised the evaluative thinking to start then setting the next activities that we would undertake and looking at the outcomes that we want by the end of this year.
Developing a strategic plan
We actually realised as a CoL we needed a strategic plan. Things were happening in terms of the development of PLD, the implementation of the PaCT that we need to pull it all together and consider how were we going to strategically place all of these, and were we thinking in terms of how much work load that was going to be? Considering how long change takes? Developing Across and Within leaders to be change agents? So we had to consider how that was all going to happen over a period of time. We have since developed a strategic plan, which is looking at a four year development at this stage and each of those achievement challenges are across that four years.
And alongside of that we also have things within our CoL that we had identified that we wanted to work on like culturally responsive practice, student engagement, transitions through learning pathways. Once we had a strategic plan, we then, in Governance, realised that we needed to consider a vision and a charter for our CoL. So that was a next step that we utilised our expert partner to collaborate with us, to help be that critical friend around how do we develop a vision and a charter for our CoL as well?
So we had some work with our expert partner that challenged us in terms of – what does it look like, sound like, feel like to be a CoL? What level of commitment might be required as an individual leader to be part of a CoL? Challenging some historical things that have happened in the past and how do we move into the future? And once we had had some of those conversations, what that might look like in terms of being part of an agreement together. So that’s where we’ve come to in terms of developing a charter and a vision for our CoL.
Inquiry and review
We’ve been very strategic in terms of official reviews. We have looked in July, we’ve done a complete review of all our achievement challenges and our theories of improvement. And we will do that yet again at the end of this year. However, in saying that, each time the Across and Within leads meet together as a group, they are constantly going over their spirals of inquiry and what’s happening within their schools. We have an appraisal structure around collating information from the Withins and the Across’ so we’re still ticking off what has been done and what needs to be challenged to be done so there’s spiral of inquiry around that as well, including too what’s happening in each of the individual schools, but it’s all linking back to the work that’s on those theories of improvement.
Planning for change
From what I envisage is that, this is a marathon and not a sprint. When we established, we put in our memorandum of agreement that we would prefer no one else to join for the first year of our establishment so that we did have a clear pathway of what we were trying to do. After that, yeah, we’ve had other schools come onboard. You’ve also got changes in personnel. So it’s going to have to be considered all the time that there is an element of change. So we’re very aware that, you know, nothing is locked and loaded but what we do have is a genuine plan to keep us in the right direction at this point in time. At the moment, this is what’s working for us and we’d like to ensure that we give it actually a good chance rather than looking at consistent change that we’re actually going to measure whether or not we need change.