Gilberthorpe school

Gilberthorpe school

Friday, 15 July 2016

Student Achievement

Student Achievement

NZSTA Annual Conference 2016
Tom Scollard

The number of attendees at Student Achievement Workshops, shows that trustees are dedicated to and care about student achievement.  

At times we get tied up with other areas of school such as the physicality.  Student Achievement is often something that may get overlooked.  

Section 75 of the Education Act outlines the Board role and responsibility.  The one piece of information and legislation that every prospective board member should read and continue to keep in the forefront of minds, is this section.
Functions and powers of boards
A school’s board must perform its functions and exercise its powers in such a way as to ensure that every student at the school is able to attain his or her highest possible

standard in educational achievement.
Except to the extent that any enactment or the general law of New Zealand provides otherwise, a school’s board has complete discretion to control the management of the school as it thinks fit.
Section 75replaced, on 13 June 2013, by section 16 of the Education Amendment Act 2013 (2013 No 34).

We are building capacity and providing the opportunity to attain.  This is not for some students, it is for every.  This is the fundamental thing for understand our focus. The importance of one.  Every student in our school will have the best possible opportunity to attain their highest possible standard.  Central focus is our students. Decisions benefit all students in our schools.  

When we think of our governance role, if we think of it as power or being the boss of the school, we need to change this thinking to realise that our role is to be guardians of our school. Guardians of the vision that every child is able to achieve.  Sometimes we understand the word guardian more so than governance.
Ask ourselves...
Is this going to make a difference to our children?  If it isn't, why are we spending time talking about it?


The New Zealand Curriculum is future focussed.  The children in our schools today are our future.  This may sound like a cliche but it will be a reality in thirty years.  Young people being confident, connected, actively involved life long learners.
Two intrinsic belong and to have purpose.  We need to ensure children, staff, principal and ourselves have purpose.  Purpose of the Board, Section 75.  

Slide generation ago the digital age began with the faze our of the slide rule and the introduction of a Casio calculator.  
From this...

To this...

In a very short period of time, things have changed and continue to do so at a rapid pace.

We are preparing our kids for the future that we have no idea about how that will look.  
Key Competencies- These are not just about the academic elements.  This embodies the whole person, the whole child.
In Partnership of Learning- What is it like between students, teachers, school, parents, whānau?  What kind of partnership do we have and what do we want? Does homework help or hinder relationships at home?  Is it homework or home learning? How do we help our parents learn?  We are in a world of constant change.

What is Educational Achievement?
Reaching milestones, understanding, reaching objectives, choice, being a good citizen, social skills, inclusion.  
Ask ourselves, what do our kids actually need?  Review this and what we are doing.

Graduate Profile
Thinking ahead to describe what skills we want our students to have when they move on from our school.  These include being resourceful, trade skills, academic skills, planning skills, career planning, knowledge and knowing how to access knowledge and to discern what knowledge is true.  Information and attitudes.  Socially responsible.  Values...these are seen in action within our school.  We don't trade our values.  Make sure these are truly valued.  
Belonging and purpose is a massive driving force in our kids psyche.  

In governance we give our principal power to act.  How do we do that and what do we need to change? 
National Standards and Data- Legislation.  Purely to help us measure where children track.  The Plunket book is full of lines to measure height and weight.  Reference points or signposts.  Are the only things in learning we can measure.  The intention is good.  In schools we become so focussed on that, that we lose the whole child.  

When not performing academically, it may not just be because of what is happening in the classroom.  We learn when we are happy.  How do we know how happy our students are?  Student well being survey.  The place where children communicate the most, is not the classroom.  Reporting...national standards and where they are in relation to their own goals. 

Our Charter needs to be truly future focussed.  Focussed around our core objective.  (Section 75).  Needs to be reflective about what we need.  Asking questions of our community...What are your concerns?  Aspirations for your child's learning in next five years. 

Does our budget reflect the priorities of the needs of our kids?   

Our Priorities
Are they a true priority or someone's fad?  Are they really focussed on where our children are going?  Professional Development for staff is not a cost.  Is an investment.

Our Targets
Need to be clear that they are smart, Specific, Measurable, Agreed upon, Realistic, Time based.  Make sure improvement is sustained and will continue.  

Data needs to be summarised and well articulated with recommendations.  Next steps are needed.  

Average adult will focus for 90 minutes.  Do priority stuff first.  Meetings need to be strategic and purposeful.  Ask ourselves at the end of meetings, "Did we discuss anything that makes a difference to our kids?"  

Asking questions and having robust discussions.  If you don't understand it, don't agree to it.  Stop the distractions.  Keep things in perspective.

Need to be well considered and future focussed.  Need to realise that our decisions have a lasting impact.  Be proactive and considered.  Seek evidence and ask what the facts are and what is true.  Make decisions on that.  Be deliberate and do things POD Proactive, Objective and Deliberate.

Information being reported to is in house.  When reporting to the community, the Board needs to know what is being reported.  Have an acronym free report to parents.  Ask if what we are reporting to parents makes sense.

1 comment:

  1. It looks like you have got a lot out of this conference. It is cool to see that they have PD for our BOT.
    The difference between governance and guardian is a nice one - I really like it.
    I also like the mentality of "it takes a village to raise a child".
    The main thing I took away from this post was that we should always have the students happiness at the front of our learning. If our students are enjoying the learning process and feeling successful then we are doing our job right!