Ōtūmoetai Community of Learning/ Kāhui Ako ( CoL)
Ōtūmoetai Primary are part of the Ōtūmoetai Community of Learning/Kāhui Ako (CoL). The Ōtūmoetai Community of Learning consists of Ōtūmoetai College, Ōtūmoetai intermediate, Ōtumoetai Primary, Bellevue Primary, Brookfield Primary, Bethlehem Primary, Matua Primary, Pillans Point Primary and Te Wharekura o Mauao.
Communities of Learning | Kāhui Ako are primarily about raising student achievement and encouraging a collaborative approach to education. They are about improving student progress, achievement and well-being throughout the learner pathway from Early Childhood Education to Tertiary Education. The development of Communities of Learning/ Kāhui Ako are a transformational change within the New Zealand education system.
The responsibility for governance of our Community of Learning/ Kāhui Ako rests with the nine schools’ Boards of Trustees collectively. For practical purposes a steering committee has been delegated the task of establishing and overseeing our Community of Learning/ Kāhui Ako.
Representatives on this committee are principals and / or senior leaders from each member school, Iwi partners, 2 x Early Childhood Education (ECE) reps and Ministry of Education Advisors.
Our Achievement Challenges
STUDENT WELL-BEING / WHOLE CHILD (over riding focus for CoL)
ORAL LANGUAGE (English) / KŌRERO (priority focus in the ECE to Year 3 area of our CoL)
KŌRERO TE REO MĀORI (priority for Maori medium classes and Te Wharekura o Mauao and an area for development in mainstream classes.)
READING / PĀNUI (One of our challenges which goes hand in hand with writing)
WRITING / TUHITUHI (Priority focus in the year 4 to year 13 areas of the CoL.)
PRIORITY LEARNERS (These are students with learning support needs and Maori boys in particular.)
We have appointed six across-school teachers whose role is to develop greater collaboration and assist teachers to build on their teaching practice across our nine schools.
Each school was given the responsibility to appoint their within-school teachers and we have 35 of these teachers working in our Community of Learning/ Kāhui Ako. Their roles have been defined by each school and are based on specific school needs in meeting our Community of Learning/ Kāhui Ako achievement goals.
A continuing development in our CoL is the involvement of our Early Childhood Centres and Kohunga Reo. Our 37 local ECE’s have come together and are committed to working with our Community of Learning/ Kāhui Ako. They have elected two representatives who participate in our steering committee meetings.
We are also developing closer relationships with our Marae based Kōhanga Reo.
The ECE’s don’t get any funding from the Ministry of Education to join our CoL, however we have been able to provide their teachers with opportunities to join with us in professional development they may not normally access.
Transition is important as children move from ECE to primary school so this is a major focus as well as the acquisition of oral language in the junior area of our Community of Learning/ Kāhui Ako
Our Community of Learning/ Kāhui Ako is committed to forming enduring partnerships with our Tauranga Moana Iwi.
As our Community of Learning/ Kāhui Ako develops and builds on collaborative practice between our schools and between teachers in our schools, we recognise and acknowledge the importance of forming close and meaningful relationships with our whānau and Tauranga Moana iwi.
New Learning Support framework Co-construction and Trial
Our Community of Learning/ Kāhui Ako has been asked by the Ministry of Education to assist in the development of a new framework for Learning Support. This replaces what used to be known as Special Education and the intent is to create a new streamlined system for parents and schools to access support for students with Learning Support needs.
We have combined with the Whakatane and Taupo Communities of Learning/ Kāhui Ako in co-constructing and trialling a new system for referrals and support.
Community of Learning/ Kāhui Ako working groups
Our Community of Learning/ Kāhui Ako is organised into four broad levels and led by learning mentors nominated by and drawn from the nine schools in our Community of Learning/ Kāhui Ako.
The learning mentors are deputy principals and senior leaders in their own school whose role is to mentor and give advice and guidance to our new across-school and within-school teachers. We have a combination of learning mentors and across-school teachers in each of the following levels and working groups:
ECE through Year 1 to Year 3, Year 4 to Year 6, Year 7 and Year 8, Year 9 to Year 13.
The across-school teachers have been meeting with their learning mentors to develop action plans for collaborative practice across our nine schools.
The focus for the ECE to Year 3 area is the development of oral language and good progress is being made in linking ECEs with our teachers in years 1 to 3.
The focus for Years 4 to 6, Years 7 and 8 and Years 9 to 13 is writing. The learning mentors in these areas have brought together student data from across the Community of Learning/ Kāhui Ako and are now developing actions for building teacher capacity in specific areas of writing using the Learning Progressions as a basis.
We are starting to see collaborative practice within each level, across the levels and between English and Maori Medium schools and classes.
Teachers in each school can expect to become more involved as the across-school teachers make contact with them and start leading collaborative practice across our collective schools.
The intent is to have all teachers and school leaders working collaboratively within and across our schools in partnership with our key stakeholders: parents and students in lifting student achievement in the achievement challenges above.
Professional development for teachers
A lot of professional development is happening within and across our schools in oral language, writing, and mathematics. Our schools have begun to work together in delivering professional development to all teachers in our Community of Learning/ Kāhui Ako and we are seeing the benefit of collaboration and the sharing ideas between teachers as they meet and work with colleagues from other schools in our Community of Learning/ Kāhui Ako.
Student well being / Hauora as an overall focus
Now we are up and running in the collaboration between schools, we are turning our attention to student well-being as an overall focus. This includes the students’ self-efficacy, sense of belonging, valuing each student’s culture, attendance at school, engagement with their learning, having a growth mind-set and emotional resilience.