Thursday, 3 December 2015

reaCh into the future - 8 positives and 5 developments

Reach for the Stars as Lifelong Learners in the Catholic Faith
This is our vision statement developed as a result of community consultation just after I became principal in 2007. We are preparing to relaunch our vision as we reaCh into the future in readiness for 2016.

At the start of our final school term for 2015, we recorded the key skills and attitudes our learners develop as they progress from Junior Hub 1 to the end of Senior Hub 2 (Year 1 to 8). Our collaborative teaching methods and the resources we use (including but not limited to digital ones) are the tools to support our learners to be the best versions of themselves by the time they transition to high school. 
Our Deputy Principal, Paul Cartlidge creatively collated these progressions onto a weebly site to help make them explicit and tangible. Our next step is to develop an informative brochure to visually share these skills and attitudes with our community.
Our Assistant Principal, Siobhan Burke reminded us about the brochure and be theme captured our attention at the Catholic Convention.

This got me thinking...
DRAFT ideas at this stage
Here are my active reflections around the potential of using the word reaCh.

Our vision to Reach for the Stars as Lifelong Learners in the Catholic Faith can be captured in the single word reaCh.
respectfully engage & achieve with and through Christ
r represents our 4'R's - respect, reverence, resilience and good relationships
engage links to our school wide goal:To engage in deep learning for success
a is the way we aim to actively achieve in all that we do
Ch reminds us how we do everything, in, with and through Christ. Ch also reminds us of the church and the importance of being active in our Catholic faith.

Other variations could include:

What will this look like in 2016 ? I will look forward to sharing this with you when we develop it further with input from students, board, staff and whanau.

Positives from 2015 and next steps going forward for 2016
Across the school all of the children are benefitting from:
1. A dedicated class teacher who is a point of contact for children and parents. 
2. Having the expertise of a team of two to three teachers who plan, review and action the teaching and learning for all children across hubs.
3. A dedicated teaching and learning site updated weekly. Parents can keep up with their children's learning and initiate learning conversations at home.
4. Hub and class blogs, regularly updated with photos and snippets of information pertinent to each class or hub.
5. The senior hub learners work towards competent independence by the end of Year 8. Thirty-two days total during Year 7 and 8 are spent at St Kevin's high school for Tech classes. Our Year 8's feel throughly prepared for high school. Listen to Siva and Trish share their views.

6. Staff email class groups on a weekly basis. Communication is better than ever before with the newsblog the school website and our Facebook page updated regularly. 
7. Specialist teachers and teacher aides add depth of learning and provide further support and extension for our children.
8. Individual student blogs support engagement and achievement in the Senior Hub. Student blogs gives students a global audience, a purpose for writing beyond the eyes of the class teacher.
Further developments for 2016 include: 
1. Consolidation of independent learning strategies at the start of Senior Hub 2 (Yr 6) and at the end of Senior Hub 2 (Yr 8) as the learners transition into the hub and off to high school.
2. A review and focus on hub expectations across the school in relation to our school values - the 4R's.
3. The potential opportunity to use student blogs in Senior Hub 2 (Years 6 to 8) as formative assessment portfolios.
4. The use of Linewise in relation to digital devices and access to acceptable learning resources.

5.Further development of the reaChmodel and an informative brochure as explained above for parents and the community to be shared at the first Family Learning Hui.

In 2015 we actively created learning spaces for deeper engagement in learning. We developed our Engaging Learning Spaces (ELS's) based on our schoolwide goal: To engage in deep learning for success. We have the flexibility to utilise our spaces to best suit the needs of our learners across the school. We will continue to review and refine our ELS's based on feedback and continued active reflection as we enthusiastically move forward into 2016. 


  1. Jenny St Joseph's is a credit to you, the students, your whanua and community. I thorough enjoy your very informative blog. I love the reaCH model that is being developed. It made me start thinking; reaCH inwardly, reaCH beyond... So many ways to go with this. What an amazing learning journey your school has been on this year in 2015. Thank you for being inspirational to the wider community.

    1. Thank you Helen for your thoughtful feedback. I love your extra reaCH suggestions, please keep them coming. I am sure your school has also had a superb year with your inspiring contributions. I hope our paths cross again in 2016.