Nga Puna O Waiorea

2011 – a year of important school developments

The annual review of the Western Springs College strategic plan has resulted in the addition of significant new objectives for each of the school’s five strategic goals.

Note that the major school planning documents for 2011 – the WSC Strategic Plan and the WSC Annual Plan – have been placed on this website. (See the Charter/Plans link.)

Goal One
To attain the highest academic, cultural and sporting standards of student achievement by:
e) strengthening the academic culture of the junior school;

The main foci for efforts to strengthen the academic rigour of the junior school will be personal goal setting and a restructuring of the academic awards system for Years 9 and 10 students. A combination of entry data, diagnostic assessments, subject assessment results and student-selected targets will influence expectations for individual achievement. The awards system will seek to mirror NCEA in terms of Excellence and Merit endorsements, however, there will also continue to be recognition of individual effort and improvement.

h) strengthening the organisation of sport in the school

The intention this year is to further strengthen the sports culture in the school by highlighting the importance of commitment to the sports code of conduct. The code is articulated in the WSC sports contract signed and adhered to by all players of all teams in all sports and their parents. Another objective is to facilitate closer partnerships between team coaches and managers and parents by scheduling meetings and providing improved access to information on the website.

Goal Two
To provide quality teaching across all curriculum areas by:
a) establishing (new) structures and processes for facilitating staff professional development

The drive towards integrating into teaching practice the effective pedagogies espoused by the New Zealand Curriculum is currently being facilitated by the establishment of cross-curricula Professional Learning Circles. The teachers in each group are coming together to explore a common interest in further developing their practice in a particular area, for example, enhancing student engagement or differentiating among students with diverse learning needs. The PLCs operate during the time made available by late-start Tuesdays.

b) sustaining a focus on implementation of the New Zealand Curriculum
This time on Tuesday mornings is also being used for curriculum area department meetings with a focus on scheme development and unit writing oriented towards not only implementation of the various dimensions of the NZ Curriculum ( the Values, Principles, Key Competencies and Effective Pedagogies ) but also introduction of new Level 1 (2011) and Level 2 (2012) achievement standards into NCEA courses.

Beyond subject classes vertical form classes have been chosen as a forum for furthering individual student development of the Key Competencies, especially self management, relating to others and participating/contributing.

c) utilising recently available learning technologies
One of the staff Professional Learning Circles has chosen to focus on the new learning management systems being promoted through the auspices of the Ministry of Education. Teacher management of their own e-portfolios is seen as a precursor to facilitating school-wide use of student e-portfolios, enabling students to develop their own learning profiles and manage their own electronic resources.

Considerable funding has been targeted this year to development of the ICT infrastructure which will be further enhanced when the Government brings broadband to the school gate. In the meantime the IP address update has been completed, increasing the school’s capacity to accommodate more machines. A wireless upgrade will be carried out in term two. At the same time a single sign-on user name and password system will be established. We expect that the parent portal will be accessible by term three, enabling direct access to assessment data, learning programme and attendance information.

In addition to outfitting the B8 computer suite with new machines last term WSC is now moving towards the widespread resourcing of mobile class sets of notebooks ( for internet research and word processing ) to relieve the immense pressure on the existing suites.

Goal Three
To develop a safe, inclusive staff teaching and student learning environment by:
b) developing the student leadership structures

The main developments being undertaken this year are designed to broaden the range of leadership opportunities for Year 13 students, to facilitate the emergence of student leaders in the junior school, and to assign student leaders more specifically to the school’s environmental sustainability initiatives.

Goal Four
To provide a learning environment enhanced by up-to-date and sustainable facilities and services by:
a) providing students and staff with new and modernised teaching and learning spaces

The WSC Board of Trustees is currently waiting for an imminent Ministry of Education decision concerning the replacement of E, F, B and D blocks in the aftermath of building structure seismic risk reports which have called for the replacement of all four blocks. It appears that the school is on the brink of a large scale redevelopment.

Pending this decision all modernisation project funding has been frozen with the exception of the demolition and relocation of the grounds compound and two small marae development projects.

The upgrade of the south-western fields is currently well advanced and due for completion by summer.

Goal Five
To strengthen school-home and school-community partnerships by:
a) increasing community support for the school

We are close to finalising the appointment of the newly created position of school development manager. The job description assigned to this role is to increase locally raised funds for school development projects and to develop closer links with current families, former students and community organisations.
c) improving parent access to student learning information
Reference has been made above ( See Goal Two c) ) to the establishment next term of a parent portal.

Ken Havill, Principal