Graeme Barber, Principal at Woodend School, discusses the ways in which the Katote cluster works together. Graeme focuses on how they have used the cluster to create a seamless transition for children as they move from primary school into secondary school. The students from Kaiapoi High School worked with the students and parents at Woodend Primary School to help them view year 9 as their, ‘next year of learning, not my new high school’.
We are part of the Katote Cluster. We ended up amalgamating two clusters, the Mahanui Cluster and Kaiapoi Cluster into Katote. Both those clusters have been travelling a pathway of establishing their vision and values and we went through a process of bringing them together through a very important conversation and so that’s what drives us now.
It’s very important for us to have a sense of belonging. So, it’s around the community involvement, having the right culture, we want people to have a sense of identity that they actually belong to and contribute to. Relationships was another important value for us. So the relationships is about how we work together, how we get along, how we support each other. We regularly have high school students here supporting and helping us, and our kids visit that school as well.
And the third important thing is preparing learners for success. Seamless transition was a very important context that has helped the cluster grow together. So we have worked strongly on working out some of the key drivers or principles that support seamless transition. Some of those are around doing things together, being rich in data and information, about being very collaborative in that space. And so it’s really important for us that we recognise that it’s a journey not an event.
So, in doing that we’ve actually looked at what we need to do before, during, and after any change transition and importantly, especially the one from year 8 to year 9. And we see year 9 as my next year of learning, not my new high school. So some of the examples of how that works is that we want to be, as I said, rich in data and information. The purpose is to help the child seamlessly or easily move from year 8 to year 9. And we’re also really focused on relationships. So how do we do that connect? So what we’ve done with Kaiapoi High School, is that school comes and visits each child and their parents here at school. They have a conversation. We’re getting much stronger in the Google space. And so are all of the schools in our cluster. So that provides some opportunities to have accounts set up that can travel seamlessly from this school to the high school and that will happen in time.
There’s still some work to do, but you know, that’s the intention. Part of our journey with learning with digital devices is about how we provide enough devices in the school, as well as having students being able to bring devices from home, because essentially we want students to be able to use, to be able to browse, and store in the Cloud so they can access the material at anytime, anyplace. That’s all about learner agency. So we’ve had a number of conversations about the way we’ll do that within each school and between schools. We’re trying to identify any barriers that any of our staff might have, our students and parents. We’re going through the CBAM approach to try and achieve that. So that’s one of the many sort of collaborative tools that we use to ensure that we’ve actually cleared away any of the questions that people have got and together identify the best action.