Rotorua Central Community of Learning

In June of 2016 a cluster of schools based in Central Rotorua joined forces and became the Rotorua Central Community of Learning (RCCoL).

RCCoL is made up of 2 Primary Schools, 1 Full Primary School, 1 Intermediate and 2 High Schools. The reason for these schools coming together as a Community of Learning (CoL) was the one thing we had in common: the majority of students from our schools feed into the intermediate and/or high schools. Since starting the CoL mid 2016, we have had 2 other full Primary Schools join us early in 2017.

My role in the CoL is a Within School Leader for Literacy and Students with Additional Needs (SWANs).Lots of work as a CoL has taken place over the past 12 months. A Theory for Improvement for each learning area set by the Governance Team was developed with the assistance of Helen Timperly from Auckland University. These Theories of Improvements have been reworked and continue to change as our knowledge and experience as a CoL is developed.

Our Key Learning Areas:
– Writing
– Reading
– Math
– NCEA 2
– Students with Additional Needs (SWANs)

During 2018 I was given the opportunity to lead within the RCCOL as an Across Lead for Visible Learning. This was exciting as it is something I have been very passionate about. My role to was guide the small schools in our CoL and help them to learn, understand and implement Visible Learning into their schools. I worked very closely with the Across Lead of the big schools to develop the Theory of Improvement and School Action Plans.

Our Key Learning Areas changed to the following:
– Writing
– Visible Learning
– Students with Additional Needs (SWANs)

Below are the links to the evidence collected while carrying out my role as Across Lead:

ASL Term 1-2 report
ASL Term 3-4 report

Reflections:

2018
This was such an exciting experience for me. When you are passionate about something, it makes it easier and more enjoyable to lead. I learnt a lot about working across different schools who each have their own path they are following, their own timelines, and their own personalities. At times, there were differences, but with the understanding that I was only there to support and provide guidance when needed made my position easier. I made sure that readings were available for others to access, that templates were designed and shared to take the workload off Within Leaders and that I had time to give each school my undivided attention when needed.

There was one downside to this experience, and that was my class. I was out of the classroom 2 days per week which I struggled with as I had never shared my class with another teacher before. I also felt the students struggled with the very different teaching practices, routines and expectations.

I learnt a lot from the experience of sharing my class and leading across schools. It was a bit of a disappointment that I didn’t get to continue for a second year. The first year is always the settling time – honeymoon period, the second year is monitoring and gaining consistency in procedures set up. If given the opportunity to lead in the RCCOL again, I would, but again it would have to be in an area I am passionate about.

2017

I have had a very busy year this year with my Within School position. While most Within School Leaders have only focused on one area, I have focused on two areas: Literacy – Writing; and SWANS – Students With Additional Needs. It has been a great experience as a lot of the work completed throughout the year for the Literacy Team, also became useful toward the end of the year in the SWANS Team. This was because of a couple of reasons:

1. the cross over in assessment results which helped the SWANS Team to determine the greatest need to enable us to develop our teams inquiry question,

2. some of the practices and strategies adapted in the Literacy Team became valuable to share with the SWANS Team so that information across our CoL was correct and valid.

As an individual, I have been able to reflect on my practice especially when analysing data, and use this information to more efficiently provide relevant information to both the CoL Teams I was a part of and to my fellow colleagues at school. This has also meant I am better prepared to teach my students in areas of need for them to progress, rather than the need for me to tick off a box. Working with both teams were positive experiences. Both teams had members that were very passionate about their position and all were happy to share, assist, direct, and present ideas.