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Principal's Report: End of year 2010
Outlined below are the most significant achievements which took place during 2010, contributing to the on-going provision of a quality education for the students at Greenmeadows Intermediate School.
PLANS AND POLICIES
The school charter was formally submitted to the Ministry of Education on 7 April 2010. The letter acknowledging that these plans met the requirements of the legislation for charters contained in section 61 of the Education Action was received 30 July 2010.
SCHOOL CURRICULUM PLAN
A good deal of supporting documentation was added to the school curriculum framework developed in 2009. Supporting documentation included:
• Literacy & Mathematics Implementation Plans with supporting documents to guide planning.
• Further detail on how we encourage, model and explore our school values.
• A section on Effective Pedagogy and what this might look like at Greenmeadows.
• Connected Curriculum Overviews with frameworks to guide topic planning.
• Updated Assessment Overview. This folder continues to be a work in progress and further detail will continued to be added in 2011.
School Assessment documentation was revised and adapted in relation to how the school will implement National Standards. School achievement targets, are aligned to National Standards expectations and curriculum achievement bands. As a school we are working to develop a robust, reliable and valid way of developing achievement targets based on wide ranging evidence on which judgements are made on how many of our students are achieving at, above, or below National Standards. This is very problematic at the intermediate level, particularly when Year 7’s are new to the school.
STAND DOWNS & SUSPENSIONS
Overall statistics for 2010 were as follows:
ROSEHILL SPECIAL SCHOOL - Satellite Class
Greenmeadows Intermediate School has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with Rosehill School in relation to the provision of a Satellite Unit on our school site. It is predicted that the necessary property developments will be completed in order to enable the class to be opened in Term 3, 2011.
STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT - LEARNING PROGRAMMES
RAISING STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT IN READING
Literacy continued to be the major development focus area for teachers in 2010. With the school fully engaged in the Manurewa Literacy Cluster Schooling Improvement Programme. The focus of the 2010 was to: - develop a shared understanding across staff of effective Literacy practices and programmes
known to support improved student achievement.
• Strengthen teacher knowledge and understanding of learning progression in Literary.
• Review and refine how we make connections within and across the curriculum.
• Review intervention programmes for students requiring additional support.
Significant difference has been made to the achievement of the 171 Year 8 students who have been at our school for 2 years. 90% of these students are now achieving within expectation in Reading, with 57% achieving above the median. This compares to 50% in March 2009 achieving within the expected achievement band. The same rate of progress is not as evident in Year 7. We are coming to the realisation that our target is to ensure students leave Greenmeadows at the expected standard. We are noticing a trend that it takes us 2 years to achieve this:
This year the main focus of the in school programme was to increase the capacity of the literacy leaders to lead teacher development and provide in class support. The practises of our literacy leaders have strengthened considerably and there is consistency between literacy leaders in expectations etc. Observations have become more focused and specific and feedback is linked directly to student outcomes. Attendance at the MLC Leadership sessions has been a very worthwhile professional development.
The Learning Media Facilitators have been working with teachers in classrooms, modelling, observing and leading staff meetings. A lot of emphasis has been placed on making learning authentic and meaningful for students. Changes made to teacher practices this year have significantly focused on ensuring they had very clear purpose and intentions for literacy lessons, that they were clear about what they wanted students to learn, that they chose material that met the required purpose and maintained pace during lessons. This has been a big learning curve for some teachers. A lot of professional learning has taken place in regards to the implementation of National Standards. This has helped teachers to develop a deeper understanding of progressions of learning, the expectation for achievement in Year 7 & 8 and what that might look like. Refer to “Implementation of National Standards – Actions taken” documentation for further detail.
Analysis of data showed that the target students who made the least progress were the critically at risk students. These students need deeper interventions and additional support – many were referred to outside agencies, however the interventions they implemented did not result in successful gains in progress and were not always designed specifically to meet the presenting problem. Next year, we intend to appoint our own Learning Support Leader and design implementations which match the direction the school is taking with literacy through our involvement in cluster work. The impact of these interventions will be able to be more closely monitored and teachers will have in class support in ways to better cater for these students in the classroom.
Both Arts and Technology teachers are beginning to integrate strategies to support literacy learning. They attended all staff meeting and will be part of the in depth programme with facilitators in 2011.
The focus for professional learning in mathematics was on the implementation of National Standards and on strengthening teacher content knowledge at the upper stages. Achievement data shows that as for Reading, the most significant progress is made in Year 8. By the end of the year, 66% of Year 8 students were achieving within or above curriculum expectation. The number of students underachieving decreased significantly (from 62% to 34%).
Most teachers have developed a better understanding of the learning progression in Maths. The National Standards have also provided additional support for teachers as they unpacked what achievement should “look like” at each year level.
The Maths Team facilitated workshops aimed at improving teacher content knowledge in Statistics, Fractions, Ratios and Proportions. These workshops were scheduled to take place just prior to the strand being taught in class really deepened the content of class programmes. Activities were much more challenging and appropriate, particularly for our more able students.
IMPLEMENTATION OF NATIONAL STANDARDS
As a school, considerable work has gone into the successful implementation of National Standards. The timeframe imposed by the Ministry was problematic for the school as it did not (from schools perspective) allow sufficient time to build the capacity of staff to make valid, reliable, defensible overall teacher judgements on student achievement prior to having to provide reports to parents. Despite this, the school has made significant progress and so far have achieved the following:
Attended all MOE Training Days
Detailed strategy for implementing National standards in school charter.
Used Self Review tools with BOT and management staff to assess with identifying areas of need for development.
Review and recrafted school reports in relation to National standards. These were issued in Term 1 & 4.
Introduced 3 Way Conferences – these were held each term and were highly successful.
An Information Evening was held for parents on steps we have taken to implement National Standards and the implications for reporting to parents.
On-going teacher professional learning to up skill staff including Teacher Only Days and regular staff meetings.
We will continue with this work as we move into 2011 with the focus being on establishing robust systems to moderate teacher judgements across the school informed by a wide range of evidence.
The board allocated considerable funds to support the use of ICT to enhance class programmes. Computers in the suite were all replaced and all classes received 2 new computers. Added to the school COW was updated with newer laptops. There has been a significant increase in the use of ICT by students in many classes.
A priority for this year was to strengthen the delivery of the Connected Curriculum across the school, beginning with focussed topic plans that are authentic and engaging for our students.
Teachers now have a shared understanding of how to effectively plan topic studies, and the system is quite embedded and deliberate to enable this to happen. The framework for each topic is developed as a whole staff during staff meetings with key concepts & ideas to be developed over the course of the study established along with clear learning intentions. Professional learning linked to the topic is provided as required (eg for the Changes & Choices topic, Family Planning facilitated a series of staff meetings to build teacher knowledge and expertise in relation to Puberty) Teams then flesh out their topic plan with activities linked to the inquiry process. Deliberate links are made to support the literacy demands for each topic and assessment tasks are deliberately planned from the start.
This year a framework for the implementation of Ka Mau te Wehi was developed with the Maori/Pasifika team providing support for staff using this resource to teach Te Reo as a second language in class. Explicit teaching of Te Reo has yet to be consistently and progressively taught in all classes across the school and this is a priority for the Maori & Pasifika team next year.
ME & MY SCHOOL SURVEY
The NZCER Me and My School a student engagement survey was once again carried out with a random sample of 207 students in August. Results indicated that overall engagement levels at our school are higher than the National Norm in both Year 7 & 8. Overall engagement of Maori students is comparative to Non Maori. Information about Student Engagement was compared across the 3 years we have now been doing this survey. Over this time there has been a significant increase in the number of students strongly agreeing with various statements – in particular;
• How proud they are to be at this school
• How much they look forward to coming to school
• How safe they feel at school
• How much people care about each other
• How accepted they feel for who they are
• How much they care what their teachers think of them
• How interested they are in what they are learning
As a school we have created an environment and school culture that engages students – Greenmeadows is a school they now feel a strong sense of belonging to. Our next challenge is to take this one step further and ensure all students are at the same time fully engaged and experiencing success in learning.
EDUCATION OUTSIDE THE CLASSROOM
One of the ways we seek to enhance learning and engagement is by providing a range of opportunities for students to learn outside the classroom.
2010 ACTIVITIES OF PARTICULAR NOTE INCLUDED
• Kotare Team visited the Mangroves at Weymouth in Term One as part of their inquiry into how we can reduce our impact on the environment in order to maintain earths resources.
• The school choir performed at the Suzanne Prentice “Kid for Kids” concert in Term 2 and at the Manurewa Harmony Festival in Term 3. Two of our school councilors MC’d this community event and were outstanding ambassadors for our school.
• Northcross Intermediate School Performing Arts show performed for the Year 7 students in May.
• The Maia Leadership Programme took place in Term 1 and 2, mentoring Maori & Pacific Island students who demonstrate leadership potential.
• School Sports Teams participated in a wide range of zone tournaments in 2010 – swimming, basketball, netball, rugby league, hockey, soccer, rugby, softball, athletics and cricket. Most noteworthy were the basketball and rugby league teams who went on to compete in Auckland Interzone Competitions.
• 71 students attended camp at Kawau Island in Week 7, Term 3. Again this was a high successful experience with students enjoying immensely the opportunity to participate in a wide range of outdoor activities including kayaking, sailing, bushwalking, orienteering, confidence course and fishing.
• We had 2 teams enter the Counties Manukau Mathex Competition on 10 August.
• School Councillors attended the Young Leaders Conference, visited the SPCA and had a team building day at Rainbows End.
• R11 & 20 attended The Young Readers and Writers Conference.
TRANSITION AND ENROLMENT
The school continued it’s focus on supporting a smooth transition for students from our contributing schools. Enrolments for 2010 Year 7 classes were again greater than the previous year and the Board applied for a review of the 2011 staffing. This was approved and subsequently staffing for 2011 is based on 424 students (395 in 2010).
BOARD OF TRUSTEES
The Board of Trustees Elections was held 7 May 2010. We farewelled Carol Page and Caline Ruri-Kerr from the Board of Trustees as they did not stand for re-election. There were 3 vacancies and 4 parent representatives who stood for election. Malcolm Johnston was re-elected to the board, and we welcomed new members David Hyde and Ruta Su’a. Malcolm was subsequently elected to the position of Chairperson, with Hayley Bourke Deputy Chair.
STAFFING : TEACHING
Staffing again remained stable throughout 2010. Joe Lukupa joined us at the start of the year, filling the vacancy left by Haara Popata.
Nicole Davison went on maternity leave at the end of 2010 and we look forward to her return in 2012.
STAFFING : SUPPORT
Hamish Maxwell was reappointed as a Teacher Aide in a fixed term capacity until the end of the year. As the students for whom the funding was allocated for his position left at the end of the year, we were unable to offer him a contract for 2011. Sue Mundy and Pam Mackereth resigned at the end of 2010 to move on to other opportunities.
The Board of Trustees allocates significant funds to support on-gong, in-depth professional development of staff. In 2010, major focuses were on building Literacy and leadership capacity of staff. Opportunities for strengthening teachers capacity in these areas included:
• I participated in the Experienced Principals Development Pilot through the year, facilitated by the Centre for Educational Leadership. The programme focused on inquiring deeply into leadership practices known to impact on improving student outcomes. It also involved completing an inquiry project entitled “Raising Literacy Achievement at GIS” specifically focusing on the strengths and areas for improvement in relation to current leadership priorities in the school.
• 3 teachers were involved in the Induction & Mentoring of PRT’s pilot facilitated by University of Auckland. This involved indepth learning through inquiry into their own practices in relation to the mentoring of PRT’s.
• All staff participated in the Manurewa Literacy Cluster programme. This involved in class support – development for all teachers, along Leadership Learning for Literacy Leaders. Added to this, as part of my role on the design team I attended the BECSI Learning sessions.
• The Management Team attended Literacy & Numeracy National Standards Training Workshops.
• Nirvana Rao participated in the Manurewa Numeracy Cluster Leaders Learning.
• Debbie Gill participated in the Technology Leadership Cluster development programme throughout the year.
PHYSICAL, EMOTIONAL & SOCIAL SAFETY
PEER MEDITATION PROGRAMME
The “Cool Schools” Peer Mediation programme was introduced at school in Term 3. Staff participated in professional development facilitated by the Peace Foundation and conflict resolution was an integral aspect of the Term 3 Changes and Choices topic. Mediators in the Playground began at the same time, with 30 mediators (both year 7 & 8) being trained by the Associated Principal to appropriately mediate minor conflict between students. To date this has proved to be highly successful.
HEALTH PROMOTING SCHOOLS
The school achieved accreditation at the Manuka level at the end of Term 3. As a result of consultation with the community in 2009, Health programmes were adapted to place greater emphasis on Puberty, Conflict Resolution and Cyber bullying – three areas identified as being of the highest priority. The Changes and Choices topic held in Term 3 centred around these concepts and included parent information evenings which were really well attended by our families.
SCHOOL-WIDE BEHAVIOUR MANAGEMENT PROGRAMME
This was reviewed and revised in Term 3.