How do you know that your school structure is working for this year’s students?

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:

HPSS Timetable

HPSS Timetable

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…)

Enabling Constraints

Snip20131031_3Seeing your Principal send a tweet like this is so incredibly affirming and validating of the work you have been undertaking. Especially when it comes on a day where your team is sharing the outcome of weeks of work putting together the structures for learning to take place in your school.

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The time spent on the vision, values etc. last term was the foundation for the structures coming into place over the past 2 weeks. All our decisions in putting these in place are well grounded in the school vision and values. Then in one day this week we introduced the staff to all the structures supporting the delivery of our curriculum: Continue reading