Hello to all.
This year the PLD horizons seem a little less defined for many of you but I am really keen to offer you support that will help you to address the teaching and learning needs of your schools. I am not constrained by MoE contracts now so can really tailor a programme to your specific needs, or the needs of a group of schools wishing to cluster. On top of the in-school potential, I will also be developing courses and workshops during the year as opportunities arise.

To show you what I have to offer, I have created a blog which will allow me to update these offerings during the year - http://hearthebell.blogspot.co.nz/ (Hear the Bell :). The PLD opportunities are on the tabs across the top and these will be added to as new needs are identified.

I am working in a couple of areas that may be new to you this year, as well as what you will already know me for. For information, see the website http://hearthebell.blogspot.co.nz/
  1. Special Needs Education - these students are in the targeted 20% of students who are 'underserved by the system' and will be under the microscope this year
  2. Teaching as Inquiry - understand the impact of your teaching and demonstrate the difference you are making to learning
  3. Web based strategies to improve learning
  4. Implementing NZC in your school

I am happy to talk to you about these concepts, all of which are flexible in delivery approach to suit your school's needs.

I trust you had your well deserved break and managed to get enough vitamin D from what little sunshine we had to offer. And for the farmers, I know you will have enjoyed the relaxed feeling created by all that rain. I've attached a wee poem for you just in case you're feeling too content.

Looking forward to making contact again soon.

Cheers, Heather


Happy New Year all - hope you found somewhere dry to bring in the new year and weren't washed away.
Here's an article worth reading. It is about the education system in Finland and why it is working so well. Finland consistently scores well in the PISA survey which compares 15-year-olds in different countries in reading, math, and science. Pasi Sahlberg, director of the Finnish Ministry of Education's Center for International Mobility, compares the Finnish education model with the American one and you find a very different focus on what is valued. You might argue it's a different focus to ours too but the key message really is a focus on equity not excellence - isn't that what we're really on about now? Perhaps you should reserve judgment till you've read it as I see some real connections to what we value here and why it works for us. Read and join the dots - think about our national standards and realise how lucky we were not to get national testing.
Keep on enjoying your break.
Cheers, Heather



Hi All
If you are tired of being prevented access to applications that you feel you really need in your school by the tech geeks that control your laptop settings, here's a way around the problem that doesn't change your settings in any way. Portable Apps is installed on a portable flash (USB) or cloud-based drive and allows you to use apps (e.g. Skype) without actually installing them on your computer. Everyone's happy, no rules are broken, and you get what you want. Sweet!
Have a great night tomorrow. mind you, if you're reading this today there is definitely something wrong!
Cheers, Heather
Merry Christmas everyone. Have a fantastic well deserved break. I look forward to working with you all again next year.

Try our video maker at Animoto.

Thanks for doing the survey everyone. This survey along with the presentations you gave at the last hui gave us really rich data to work with. Some truly amazing comments that show how much you've achieved through participating in this project. And I've been told that the milestone was great so it must have been good data!
You may be aware that Deb Struthers from MoE is framing up a new project for next year called Learning Networks. It is not the same as this project, but it hopes to support existing clusters that are already successful, hoping to help them keep going and spread their good work across the country. There is no set funding, but there is access to support such as PD, researchers, release, etc that will help you maintain the momentum. You must demonstrate that you are already doing effective work in your cluster, and have accepted charters and agree with national standards, but i think you're all good at that by now. I expect there will be some news officially out soon so keep an eye out for this.
I've mentioned a couple of platforms (Googlesites and Weebly) that schools can use to build their own websites on recently, and here's another one. I am working with Riverslea School at present in a different piece of work and just found that they are using a NZ based platform called Schoolground to create their school website that seems to be pretty good. NZ based is a real bonus, and it's free of course as everything you need should be. Have a look at Riverslea's website (which is quite new) just to see what a small school can do with it, and then look at the platform information.


I have just sent an email asking for the last piece of data from your cluster project this year. Please spare some time to do this to ensure our milestone data is accurate.
Thanks, Heather
Click here to take survey

You will have received an email recently from Karen Sewell informing you of changes in the timing of charter submission next year. It now has to be in by February 1st.
'This letter outlines my expectations for you to submit your annual charter update for 2012 to the Ministry of Education by 1 February 2012. As you are aware Charters are an important part of your school’s self-review cycle. Much of their value comes from their being in place at the start of the school year so that your goals and direction are clear to all. They provide clarity of direction and a strong sense of purpose, in many respects your school compass."
I have just been talking about this in an online meeting with MoE and want to stress that this is only a change in timing, not content or format. So although this compressed timeline is going to impact on you significantly, content requirements have not changed.
To assist with your Annual Reporting of student progress and achievement, MoE has just published a booklet that guides schools and provides examples to work with. In case you haven't seen this, here it is.
Link to MoE site

Cheers, Heather

IPod Touch in Education

Improving literacy with iPod touch

Some of you are starting to consider purchasing iPod touch or iPads, or their Android equivalents but wonder perhaps are they are just the latest fad or is there something more to them. Here is a story about a school using iPod touch in their classrooms with an apparently high level of success. Granted, they have one per student and this cost probably us prohibitive for most of you, but it is worth watching to get you thinking. Perhaps there are ways to approach this that may not be quite so costly.
Although this story is based on iPod touch devices, the device is not important here.
"iPod touch has transformed the learning experience for fourth-grade students at Central Elementary School in Escondido, California. These students are excited about learning. And they have the test results to prove it."
Click on the picture to go to the story.


Capturing student voice

Here is a talk from David Kinane who presented at the recent ULearn conference. He mentions the impact of publishing initial workings from children and encouraging feedback to help them extend and enhance their work, giving authenticity to the stages that occur before the polished product.
"David Kinane is an independent e-learning consultant. David discusses the benefits of capturing student voice and rapidly publishing this content in a public space. He argues that student work does not need to be polished before publishing. Putting up work ‘raw and flawed’ work allows students to receive peer feedback and engage in collaborative processes."



ULearn 2011

Hi All.
Just returned from the ULearn conference in Rotorua and i thought I'd share some of the gems around schools of the future with you. Here are the videos of the keynotes and some other workshops of note.
Stephen Heppell (9 mins) talks here about getting children to think and act rather than know. He mentioned the three days it took people in NZ to act when the ship ran aground of the Bay of Plenty, jokes that it took three days to fill in the forms. He says schools of the future need to astonish kids. "If they don't astonish children, they won't be able to astonish us back and we'll be trapped in a world where we'll be overwhelmed by the Egypts and tsunamis and catastrophes of the future."
This one could be a useful addition to the kete to help parents understand why we teach differently now compared to what education was like in their day.

Simon Breakspear, an international education consultant, was an amazing presenter - truly motivational to watch and listen to. His presentation was about the four qualities of what he calls "Edupreneurship"
  1. Question (smart may have all the answers but stupid has all the interesting questions)
  2. Embrace user centred design (it is not a deficit in the user but a deficit in the design)
  3. Experiment (the only way to get better is to fail more often)
  4. Lead (start a movement - don’t fall into the trap of keeping your good ideas to yourself)
Worth finding some time to listen to him.


You can contribute to this NZCER research!

Here's something worth considering folks. From what I have personally seen this year and from what you have recently shared with others through the hui and wiki, many of your clusters are showing some really innovative ways of working that would fit the criteria for this Schooling for the Future research project. NZCER "would like to hear from principals, teachers, and others who work with school-aged learners (approx 5-18 years old) about their innovative educational practices and ideas for teaching and learning for the 21st century."
The 'contribution' takes the form of an online questionnaire that takes about 15 mins to complete. It's not an onerous request, and if you are happy to share your stories this would be a great way to make a difference.
"From mid-September 2011 we are inviting schools that teach in English-medium, and others who support young people's learning, to contribute their stories of innovative practices and future-focussed thinking to the research through an online submission form, where you can read more about the kinds of practices we are interested in hearing about."
Check out their website (click on the image below) to find out more.


RIP SteveJobs. @56 - You've left some mighty big shoes to fill.

Many people have been asking about what is happening next year with the NLCs. Although I cannot say for sure, there has been a strong message that MoE is very keen to support 'Learning Networks' as they recognise their significant impact as a change broker. What this means no-one can say at present but i will keep you informed as soon as i know. Rumour is that Learning Networks will consist of selected lead schools mentoring others who have particular needs, so while it's not the same as those currently operating, I do know that some of you are working this way now. I expect it will mean that some sort of funding will be available to enable these to function.

The funding for PLD from the Ministry of Education has changed dramatically for 2012 and 2013 with much less being available to schools. Only those most at risk schools, or schools who have high numbers of students within the targeted 20% category will be able to access funding, and this may be at the MoE's direction. As a result, the chances of receiving PLD as you know it from the MoE are very small unless you fit those criteria. However we have assurances from our director that Massey will be offering PLD next year, unlike another university close by that will be closing their adviser wing down. This will be on a cost recovery basis, but around half of you this year have already been paying for such services within your clusters, so this will not be too different for you. Massey's advantage is the level of current and direct connection we have had with MoE and the understanding of their goals and directions. And of course the breadth and depth of our facilitators' knowledge and experience. As a result we will continue to work with schools and clusters to plan their PD, tailoring this to meet individual needs, which will be on a cost recovery basis. That cost will be negotiated with the schools or clusters.

I expect everyone is in wind down mode with the holidays looming. I hope you have plans in place to get away from school for a while at least.


What are you all doing to embed the values into your schools? We have heard a couple of really good stories from country schools but nothing from the bigger or more urban schools. MoE are interested to hear the way these are being handled and demonstrated so if any of you are prepared to give a taster that would be great.
Have a great weekend folks. Heather
Hi All, there's a conversation going on in the discussion forum (see page link top left) about uploading video and audio in a powerpoint. Anyone with ideas and suggestions, or similar issues, please add your piece to the thread.
Thanks, Heather

Hi Kirsty. I'm a fan of Google Sites at the moment, but if you want something nice and simple - drag and drop components, try Weebly. Both of these are totally free, as they should be.
Mary Mayes from Tareha School has just started using Weebly for her school website and is very happy with it. It's simple and lets you do more than enough for your year 7 and 8 students
Let us know what you think. Have the rest of you got any other suggestions?
Weebly uses drag and drop components

Anyone know of a good website design programme to use? Am wanting to get students to build their own tourist information websites for Hawkes Bay.
Any advice would be wonderful.
Thanks Sue. I was a relatively stress free piece of work for us - we just got you guys to do it all for us!!! But it was wonderful to be able to hear the richness of the stories you all have. I've been working with you all for 2 years now and the shift in your ability to talk about the changes and progress towards your goals has been phenomenal. Really impressed!
It does look like Prezie had been a real winner on the day. It's a wonderful tool but you have to be very disciplined or it will take on a life of its own. Really good idea to have a look at what others have posted.
Keep up the chat, this is really important.

Hello all, I got a lot from the sessions I managed to make over the two days. Heather and ken thnaks for the wwork setting it all up you managed to cover a wide range of relevant and useful material. I got a lot from the ICT expertise you shared with us. Taking part in the discussion group ( 4) was very powerful. I come away very humbled with the expertise, enthusiasim and generosity shared in our group.I am looking forward to reading through presentations and exploring prezi as a tool.It was great to catch up with others in the group, especially some of the staff from schools we have visited in our cluster.

Hi people!
Enjoyable couple of days. Lovely again to make contact with new people and bounce and share ideas off one another. Wow! There are some incredible things happening out there.
Marama - fabulous sharing session! We have created a Wallwisher and the girls have posted messages on it for me already. They thought it was pretty cool.
Am just trying to sort out my Google Docs in the class. So have one or two questions.
I have managed to get a couple of girls to sign up to Google Docs using their own school email address so they don't have to have a GMail account - however it does come up with an 'alert!' if the student is under 13. Is there any way around this, I'm not particularly keen to tell the girls to make themselves 13 by lying. Or am I doing something wrong?
Help please?
I am planning on sharing the Google Docs site with the staff hopefully next week in staff meeting - then people don't have to write on big sheets of paper and then some poor PA type it up after we've finished!
So many possibilities! Where do we start??!!!
Thanks people, hope somebody out there can help me.
  • Hi Kirsty, basically this is an American Law to protect children against any possible marketing towards children under 13 years of age. However, this is circumvented if you have their Parent or Guardian's permission and the fact that you will be supervising. Basically I would draw up a permission/ user agreement form for the girls to use google doc stating the purpose and agreed guidelines from the kids ie. this is for education, we will be safe about giving information, we will respect privacy etc. Hope this helps. Marama
  • Thanks Marama. Have emailed parents of girls under 13. All have been happy for them to sign up. They are loving it. Creating their own documents and working on them collaboratively.

Just been updating myself on the EdLeaders website and found this In Your Own Words story about how Invercargill schools are dealing with transitions between primary and secondary schools. As this was a strong point of discussion yesterday (thanks to Marama and the Wallwisher), I think we could all benefit from having a look and using the attached reflective questions to challenge our current practices. Did you know that if you log in, you can post a comment onto the site (see image below - it's at the bottom of the page where this story is loaded if you are logged in). Here's the challenge then, who will be the first to post a comment about that story?

cheers, Heather

Thank you all for an awesome two days - there is so much amazing "stuff" happening in our schools and it's always great to share. You are an inspiration :) My next goal is to have a tutu on Prezi, as well as looking through all the presentations. Big thanks to Heather and Ken for your facilitation. Lovely venue and food as well. Well worth the time and effort. Thanks again - heaps!

Thanks Mary. Let's see if we can keep the PD going through the collaboration of the group. The presentations on Monday were extremely good, pity Massey isn't hiring - I'd be worried :) Thanks again to those who put so much work into those, and I appreciate that this was overtime for all of you. Please direct your questions etc from these through the wiki forum so that these presenters are not put upon to respond to you all individually. That way we can all get the benefit of the answers and conversations.
I've been looking through the presentations that were uploaded today and am amazed at the work that has gone on this year. You seem to have been far more focused on the goals and the evaluation of these has clearly been guided by the action plans you all sweated over at the beginning. It is worth spending time trolling through the work other clusters have done everyone. Really worth it. Then you can ask questions to clarify how or why things were rolled out as they were, and get some genuine reflection happening personally and as a collective. That's the real learning!
You are awesome! Thanks so much for the work you've done. And it does seem that Prezie has stolen the march on forms of presentation - not sure who to blame for that one Marama.
Final word - please use this chat page for questions and answers about anything you're doing - whether it's related to the hui or not. Chat here and we'll all benefit, email and it belongs to the two people involved only.

Great hui - loved marama !! I am checking out more open source software , anymore ideas esp for quick reflective comments on learning .
(Mary Cuming?)
Great day yesterday, thanks everyone. And a wonderful dinner last night for those who managed to make it through the rain.
By the way, ask Rick about facecream ...


There's a new resource designed to help all educators think about what it takes to successfully teach Māori learners. Check it out on the Maori Success page.
Thanks to those of you who have asked me for some help with your hui presentations already, I'm happy to get out and help where i can.
I understand from Sonja that almost everyone will be able to attend the cluster meeting on the 19th and 20th September, that's great. If you can't and there is no-one else in your cluster who can attend on your behalf, please remember you presentation of the cluster's work needs to be available for everyone on the day to show how you are progressing towards your achieving your goals. This can be in any format you choose as long as we can load it onto the wiki at the end - so an off the cuff talk won't work, but anything from a few pages discussing your work through to a video interview with your cluster would. We have said 10 mins, but this is the absolute max, preferably 5 mins so we can get through everyone this year.
I am available to come and help you to develop this presentation over the next couple of weeks. Please let me know when would be a suitable time to come and work with you on this. It's not a test (don't panic), and I'm more than happy to help you with it so please call. Apart from sharing great practice, we need this as part of our data gathering for the upcoming milestone.
Cheers, heather

Some schools are tougher than others obviously. Check out Jared's website for Tokomaru School Some people will do anything for a real context for learning :)
Thanks for the response to the next hui everyone. While there are a couple that can't make it, it seems that in most cases they are able to send others from their clusters instead. If you can't make it yourself, we do ask that you find a replacement where possible. If you haven't responded yet, please put Sonja out of her misery and let her know what your intentions are as the world cup is making motel bookings a bit tricky.
Cheers, Heather


Hi All. I hope you're all rugged up warm and enjoying the break. Snow on the farm today which is an uncommon occurrence - it's only about every 5 years that it gets down to us at 200m. I'm heading for Taihape again on Wednesday so that could be interesting too.
I've put up a bit of an outline for the next hui in September. It's looking really interesting but if there is anything in particular that you also want us to include, let me know and we'll see what we can arrange.
Cheers, Heather

I've just seen this video on Pukeokahu's website and thought that we should all share it. Another Ken Robinson gem. this would make a great staff discussion (for those of you with more than one teacher:) Any comments about how you would use it? Please share your thinking so we can make the best of it.
If you are interested in the original Ken Robinson video that this is based on, click here


Just had a couple of days with Taihape Schools this week. Interesting journey! It was minus 8 on Monday, which over the Gentle Annie made for a slow trip and just a few slippery moments - there are down sides to the Annie being completely sealed now. Tuesday was interesting too as I ended up at Pukeokahu for the afternoon and wandered home the back way through some gorgeous country. No fences, cattle stops and fords, so an equally slow trip, but at least gravel doesn't get iced up.
No cellphone coverage hasn't stopped these schools using the internet really successfully to engage their students in their learning. Their students are sharing through such things as Google Docs, voicethreads, wikis and blogs. Marama Stewart at Pukeokahu has a wonderful website which is worth having a look at. They are using Google Apps to manage their accounts which allows students to have their own email addresses (useful for tracking students' online activity) yet is completely controlled by the principal who is able to restrict access to the programmes that are inappropriate at the time or age of particular students. For those of you having trouble with your providers (like schoolzone perhaps), this might be the time to make some inquiries into this free option. Get in touch if you are interested, but I hope to encourage Marama to share this with us at our next meeting.

Thanks Mary. The Oroura Cluster is certainly getting some leverage in the work you are doing now. It will be great to see the PMIs when you have them to share.

National Standards Debate

Not sure how many of you heard the Insight programme on Radio NZ this morning. I found it presented a clear picture of the current situation that has been highlighted by the recent deadline. Here is both a copy of the programme and a link, in case it's not compatable with your laptop. I will try to do some thinking to develop some reflective questions to go alongside it as I think this could make a great conversation starter for parents, BoTs or your staff. Mary Chamberlain is at her best, explaining aspects in plain simple terms, and there are arguments put from left, right and centre of the debate, but all clear thinking without any emotional hype. Worth a listen.


Apiti School have been busy please check these links to see our e-portfoilos
http://apitischoolwiki.wikispaces.com/ especially see the Fairy Story animated movies
Check these speeches and reflections
The Oroua Cluster of schools are meeting all BOTs and teachers with Geoff Lovegrove - ex Principal Fed Chairperson to discuss common celebrations, problems and needs including National Standards, governance/management, buses ops grant. We will be doing PMI sheet for all aspects of BOT responsibilities. This will be available to share.
Mary Cuming

Well I missed it! Celebrities visiting our schools and I knew nothing about it. Marama Stewart at Pukeokahu recently raised funds for the Westpac rescue helicopter and was rewarded with a visit from a well known (well to most of children) person. Read about this on her blog, which is really worth going to for lots of reasons. Apart from making you jealous :) Well done Marama.
Can you please let me know if you still haven't received your funding for your cluster? Just trying to do the final tidy up.
21st NEW!!!
I've added a new page to showcase what is happening in the Maori Educational Success as Maori field as things seem to be really moving in this area. Thanks Jan for your comments about your work, it sounds like you really have made some progress in this important aspect of our work. I'm expecting to hear from Liz Harrison at Ramanui shortly to outline the day she held last week, which was fantastic.
I've also added new material to the Educational Leaders page. Many of you have mentioned that video resources are easy to watch and are more useful for staff meetings, so this has made me do some looking through the site to see what is there. I've tagged a presentation by Viviane Robinson this week as her work in building trust through open to learning conversations will be familiar to you no doubt. Hope it's useful.

For those of us with the latest Christchurch earthquake on their minds, I just thought I'd show you what GNS (Geo Nuclear Science) earthquake scientists really discuss at work. Does this concern anyone??? :)
Cheers, Heather
Hi All
We (Conquering the Mountain - Taranaki) met yesterday to look at our Maori success goal and had a really good meeting. It was interesting to find that we were all at a similar point on the MGF - 3.2. One of our leaders has recently worked in the experienced principals programme and had identified Maori success as one of her goals and she has been working on this for about a year now. At our next meeting, she is going to share her school's journey and the school outcomes that were generated with us. What she told us about her findings about Maori learning made us see the value and importance of this goal, rather than it being merely a MoE requirement. We are also going to utilise the resources off this site - Promoting Success for Maori Students (ERO report) and Colleen Douglas's Ka Hikitia presentation from earlier this year. At the end of this session we will set individual school goals to promote Maori success so we can share and discuss our findings.
Our next meeting is not till August so I'd be really interested to hear what others are doing in this area.
Looking forward to the discussions.
Cheers, Jan.

Many of you will know Carolyn Shorter from Whareorino School, one of our most remote schools in Taranaki. She has lead the Taranaki small schools NLC cluster for quite a while now and done some amazing work with these very small schools. Sadly Carolyn passed away on Tuesday. Carolyn will leave a huge hole in the Taranaki district as she has taught there for many years. Deepest sympathies to her family and those whose lives she touched and brightened. Arohanui.

Thanks to the 13 cluster leaders who have completed the survey. The data so far is really rich and will be useful to guide our involvement for the rest of the year. I will be giving a gentle reminder to those who have not got to it yet this week. 19 school leaders have also completed their survey so that's a great start. This gives us a really good set of feedback to use to write the milestone. Please keep the pressure on your cluster leaders to complete this survey.
The Taranaki Small Schools cluster has been busy making Voicethreads of younger students writing and getting their students to comment on each others' work. They will continue to build up this work with their students over the next few months and will be discussing the learning impact at an upcoming meeting in July. Hopefully we will hear from them soon about their thinking. Teresa and Pauline have been Skyping with me to sort out issues and strengthen understanding as they created these and it's been wonderful to hear how their thinking is evolving. Watch this space!
I will be visiting some Hawke's Bay clusters this week, and heading towards Hawera the following week. Taranaki will be visited in mid July. If you want me to call in, let me know. Remember i'm based in Napier but am happy to come and visit to bounce your ideas around.
If anyone has photos of the work their clusters are doing, I'd love to see them. Email them to me and I'll do something jazzy to show you all off.
cheers, Heather



Milestone Data Important!!!

Here are the surveys that we need you to complete so you can meet your contractual obligations to the MoE contract. Please take some time to gather your data from the sources you identified in your cluster's action plan before you complete the survey. This year we have asked you to identify yourselves so we will know who we can chase up if we don't hear from you.
There are two separate surveys, one for Sector Leaders, the other for the Participants in your clusters. Please Don't fill both of them in. If you are the sector leader, you may wish to seek some views from your cluster before you complete it.
Sector Leaders
(the fund holder school)
Cluster Participants
(the other schools in the cluster)
Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey, the world's leading questionnaire tool.

Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey, the world's leading questionnaire tool.

I have recently been involved in a National Sole Charge Principal's Conference and of course, just had to create a wiki for them. I have put a link to it in the navigation panel on the left.
I've found some really great ways to use Google Search which I think you'll enjoy and have created a page on their wiki to show how to use it effectively. Rather than duplicate the page, here is a link.
Cheers, heather
Thanks so much for your work today everyone. The day seemed to fly through so quickly and the discussions were really rich.
Wasn't it great to be able to connect, albeit sporadically. It finally meant we could all work on a shared document at the same time. I've put a link to the collaborative GoogleDoc onto the Implementing NZC page, and a word copy of it. It is a great piece of shared writing that will be useful to have as a reminder - and for those whose notes are a little confusing. It makes you think about the possibilities of using this tool with your students to quickly gather their thinking after introducing some new concepts. Anyone given this a go? I'd love to hear from you if you have.

If you were set up to use our network, you may need to go into your settings to enable you to access your school networks when you get back.
Usually this means:
  • click on
  • Tools
  • Internet options
  • connections
  • LAN settings
then comes the tricky bit. There are three boxes in front of you.
either ...
  • If one has a tick in it, remove it.
  • if none have a tick in them, put one in.
In some cases this will be in the bottom box that talks about proxy settings, in other cases it will be about automatically detecting settings. They will all be different, so just try all three until one works.
  • Refresh your page and it should connect.
If all fails, get hold of me and I'll talk you through it.

Thanks again.
cheers, Heather

Hi All. Don't forget your laptops - we are able to connect to the Massey network now. If you get there early Steven will enable this on your laptops.
cheers, heather
Faxback form for the May Hui !!!
I promised i'd put the fax form up here and have finally done it. I won't post them out, I got a great response on the first day of school so i'll keep up the pressure through email to remind you. If you haven't responded yet, please do so as quickly as you can.
We've managed to get Dr Jenny Poskitt who is an international speaker to give a session on assessment and moderation in the morning for you. I've just seen her presentation and am convinced you will really get something out of it. And her material is applicable to primary just as much as secondary, so that's even better.
Cheers, Heather

2nd again
Sorry, Is anyone going to the Middle Schools conference in Queensland in May? Please let me know ASAP if you are, it effects out planning for the sector leaders day.
Hi All. I emailed a copy of the NLC hui registration form to all sector leaders last week and have had 6 replies before lunch this morning!!! Thanks for getting onto this early.
As the focus last time was on the Building Leadership and Maori Success As Maori aspects of this work, this time we will focus entirely on Implementing NZC. I'm negotiating with a well respected researcher in this field at the moment and it's shaping up to be a really interesting programme. You're travelling a long way for one day's PLD so it's up to us to make this worth your while.
A few of you may be staying over for the Sole Charge Principal's conference later that week. If you are, I am in PN on Tuesday 17th and am happy to be available to work with you any time during the day.
hope your holidays went well and that the first day back was a comfortable transition.
cheers, Heather


Reminder - next cluster meeting for sector leaders in 16th May in PN
I've spent the past two weeks with clusters to finalise their action plans and we have most of these well under control now. Thanks for your efforts on these. They wil certainly help you to keep yourselves on track this year, and when we ask you for your data later on you will have procedures in place to gather this. There are some amazing things proposed in the action plans, and our discussions with the sector leaders have helped to show how these address the MoE requirements for this contract. If we have agreed that the action plans are good to go, they will then be sent on to be formally attached to a contract which will be mailed on to the sector leaders. Once we have these signed and returned to us, the funding will be released. Thanks for your patience on this.
The visits have also helped me to identify some areas of really good practice around the 3 goals of; Maori success as Maori, developing leadership and implementing NZC. As these build momentum over the year, I will be asking some people to share their stories with the rest of you both online and at the upcoming cluster meetings. As the research we've discusses with you is strongly indicating, the process of learning from each other is vitally important to the success of this work. If there is something that you are doing that is particularly successful in helping your cluster to meet its goals, please get in touch. We're happy to work alongside you to put something together you can share with everyone else.
Keep up the great work in this last week of the term so you can relax and enjoy your holidays.


Thanks Wendy. Many of you have talked about how you will keep an eye on the effectiveness of your nlc meetings so i hope this offer is taken up. (see Wendy's Meeting Data Collection comment below)
Uruti School has produced a Hitachi Day video for a competition. It is soooo good that you've all just got to get onto it and look. The more views, the more chances they get to win, so please encourage all your students to click on the link too.
Here's Pauline's comment:
"Here’s an innovative way for a small rural school of 8 children to raise money. Uruti School have produced a talent act, complete with rural necessities including their animals, videoed it and posted it on You Tube, hoping to get the most hits to win a nationwide Hitachi Day competition. The video with the most hits until 29th April, wins $10,000.

PLEASE click on this link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-CGFcD--tYE
And this link www.hitachiday.co.nz/videos?page=3 <http://www.hitachiday.co.nz/videos?page=3> and click on Uruti School every day until Friday 29th April and help these talented stars win $10,000."


Meeting data collection

Hi I have been looking at meeting templates as a form of data collection for the objectives in my action plan. Is there anyone who would be interested in critiquing and or sharing ideas? Wendy Gray

ERO has just published a report titled "Evaluation at a Glance. What ERO Knows About Effective Schools." Here's an excerpt from the introduction.

"The Education Review Office (ERO) evaluates the quality of education and care in schools and early childhood services. It reports publicly with the aim of improving the achievement of all students. ERO also conducts evaluations of areas of national interest and publishes reports on these. Evaluation at a Glance is a synthesis of material from national evaluations and reports of good practice published in the last four or so years that, taken together, give a picture of what makes effective schools."
This report is the first in a series that highlights themes that emerge from their evaluations. It could be worthwhile reading. I will put the actual document up onto the resources page too, but the link above will take you there.

There is some new material on the Cluster Leadership page about using the self review tool to monitor your leadership goals. Hope it's helpful.
I've been getting quite a few dates sent through to put on the calendar - thanks for that. It certainly helps to give an overview of the activity across the region. The Small Schools combined cluster in Taranaki have set dates for almost every month so they clearly have themselves mapped out. Thanks Jenn and Carolyn. If you can't manage the calendar yourself, send the dates to me and I'll put them up. I recognise that Google calendars are not easy until you get to know them.
So far I have about 7 action plans that have been approved and those sector leaders will be receiving contracts very soon - if you don't have them already. Ken and I are meeting with all sector leaders to finalise these so they should be completed within the next few weeks. If you haven't heard from us about this yet, let me know please.
Cheers, Heather

Ok, I'm a becoming more that a little wary of the world theme we seem to be developing this year. There are too many similarities between Japan and NZ to ignore. I hope you and your families and friends are all safe. I expect you will all be making the most of the rich contexts for challenging the thinking of your students right about now and look forward to hearing how you are doing this.

Leadership Goals

I have been working with quite a few of you lately to finalise your action plans. If you haven't heard from either me or Ken, please get in touch soon.
In support of the two extra goals we asked you to include, I have begun a new page (Cluster Leadership) with material and challenges around building/strengthening your leadership. Please feed me information that you think could go on that page, and we in turn will do our best to keep you up to date with the research and resources that we come in contact with in our work.


As you start to talk to your clusters about your action plans, you may need to have some extra notes to use as backup so I have started to strengthen the guidance for these based on the ones I have read. Have a look on the Action Plans page to see if there is anything that could be useful.

The full official Schagen and MECI reports are up on the resources page, along with the excerpts we used at the hui. SOme bedtime reading for you.
I have been looking over the draft action plans and it seems that you have pretty well nailed it. I'll be in touch with most of you this week to talk them through.

I hope that Christchurch has not had serious impact on you - if it has, our thoughts are with you. Two of my sons are down there with their urban search and rescue teams at the moment so I guess they will be having some pretty difficult and harrowing experiences, although tempered with knowledge that they will get to go home to safety soon. When those text messages were coming through on Tuesday, we knew it was bad, but I for one had no conception of the seriousness of the situation and how awful it was going to get. It does make for realism around just how prepared we really are.
Kia Kaha, Heather

Thanks so much everyone for your input over the past two days. It certainly was intense and heavy going but hopefully the outcome was worth the effort. Steph and Ken and I will be looking over your draft thinking over the next few days and we'll give feedback if we think you need it.

After all that secret squirrel stuff over those coloured reports you were reading this week, this arrived this afternoon! Grrr. I'll put them up for you on the Resources page when I get the e-copies. The only one still not available is the Cyperus report done by Dr Lorrae Ward.
"Release of MECI and Schagen Reports
Graham Collins has confirmed today (23 Feb 2011) that MECI and Schagen are no longer confidential and can be shared by you with schools, sector leaders etc. E-copies of the two reports will be put here today."


Several of you are coming from quite a distance to the hui next week. If you are interested in sharing transport, feel free to have a conversation about this here. However, contact details are on the hui planning page if you wish to get it organised personally.

20 sector leader registrations, plus a couple of extra cluster principals. It's going to be a great opportunity to really network at this rate.
If you've lost your form, email me and i'll include you on the list anyway.
17 registrations ... Great! Heather

11 registrations in already! That's great, keep them coming :) Sonja Ensink is organising accommodation and food for us already so you'll be hearing from her soon.


Have you sent in your faxback form yet?
If you haven't received an acceptance letter and you did submit an application, please get in touch ASAP. Never trust the mail at this time of year :)

Modelling Teacher Inquiry.

Many of you made reference in your feedback and applications to a need to improve your understanding of the teacher inquiry model. The NZP from June last year to discusses the ArikiRural Project (thanks to Doug Drysdale for alerting me to it). This project allowed a group of principals to meet regularly online to work as a Quality Learning Circle which is essentially the same as our NLCs. The article identifies how the group functioned and some of the outcomes they achieved as a result of their connections and there are a lot of strong links to be made with this project. I strongly suggest you read the article - click on the picture for a link and you'll need to scroll down the page to get to the article.

This rural online part of the project ran alongside the main face to face version for the bigger schools. I encourage you to listen to the podcast of some of the principals discussing the benefits of the project.
This is a strong example of a teacher inquiry model in practice. These principals are using the following models to support their project work:
  • evidence based discussion
  • reflective inquiry
  • professional discretion
  • collegial obligation
How are these evidenced in the NLC groups that you are in? Are they? If not, what could you be doing to weave them in? What support will you need to get them in place?
It would be fantastic to be able to include a discussion on this at our upcoming hui in February. I've started a discussion tab above so sharing your pre-thinking would be great too.

Looking forward to your comments
Cheers, Heather

Welcome to 2011 everyone. I hope you had a great break.
Just letting sector leaders know that your NLC acceptance letters are being typed right now so should be in the mail to you very soon. Remember those dates that were set last year, especially the 21st and 22nd February as it's coming up really soon. Sector leaders will need to get in touch with the other leaders in your cluster before you come so that you have some material to work with to develop your action plans at the hui.
cheers, Heather