Yesterday Di, Kylee and I had the privilege of visiting Stonefields School for a couple of hours. Stonefields have a great reputation for making learning visible and as I blogged about a couple of weeks ago, our team have a focus on developing the usage of our common learning language at HPSS. This post will cover the major takeaways for me from this visit – Sharing progression, seamless use of learning process and learner qualities, vision/leadership, familiar tensions and a collaborative future. Hopefully it will also encapsulate how inspiring Sarah Martin and her team are.
Students have Learning Progression documents for Mathematics, Reading, Writing and the Stonefields Learner Qualities. These documents break the curriculum own into student-friendly language and demonstrate what all students need to understand as they progress through the school. One awesome student sharing his progressions with us described them as a learning bucket list. Continue reading
Our school structures are different than other NZ secondary schools. We have no subject departments, our courses are organised differently and our timetable looks different than most:
A question we get often is how do we know that this is better than traditional school structures? My answer: we don’t YET. Our principal Maurie recently turned this around on the questioner by asking how he knew that his school’s system was working for that year’s students. Not last year’s students but the group in your classes right now. The fact is none of us can answer this without putting clones of students into 2 different systems so that you have a consistent base to start from.
We are collecting lots of data and talking regularly with students about evidencing their learning. Our students can tell you exactly what their curriculum coverage is like after 2 terms and have used this data to inform their Term 3 module choices. We are doing our best to start developing a tool so teachers, parents and students can easily check progress against the NZC and hope to have it up and running soon.
The next step I want to see stems from this awesome post by Bo Adams from Mount Vernon Presbyterian School. In it he outlines how they are using Learning Walks and Instructional Rounds to gather data and study their own school.
How do you know that your school structure is working for this year’s students?
This post is Day 2 of my Questioning Quest (even if I completely blew the 60 word target…)