Monday, September 23, 2013

As ERO sees it

I've struggled to start writing tonight's blog post because I'm not sure how to write about the day.

ERO was here for the day to begin their Readiness Review. Last week the SLT met briefly to discuss the visit and quickly agreed that we didn't need to do anything special and that we were confident that we could talk confidently about what we had done, what we were doing and what we still had to do. I spoke briefly with our LOLs to let them know that ERO would want to meet with them and talk to them about the work that they were doing.

So what happened today?

After a short mihi we burst into a fine rendition of Folsom Prison Blues on our ukuleles which I suggest would be the first time this was used as a waiata to support our mihi. Claire, Lea, Di and I, with BOT Chair Alan, then talked with them for an hour on how we were bringing the board's vision to reality. We talked about the very strong relationship we have been forming with our community and contributing primary schools, the processes we followed to appoint our stunning staff and how we were shaping up our curriculum delivery processes, structures and practices.

Claire, Lea and Di were then taken off by one of the reviewers each (Di, Deb and Anne) and talked with them about their roles in leading the development of the curriculum and growing the leadership of their teams. I have never felt so relaxed about ERO talking to staff without me "keeping an eye on things".

After a lovely morning tea of Lea's homebaked scones Deb and Anne then had an hour with the Learning Team Leaders (LTLs) and Specialised Learning Leaders (SLLs). Once again I had no fears about our people, who have only been with us for 8 weeks, being able to speak confidently about their contributions to the development of our school. While this was going on Di was quizzing me about the exciting topic of 'documentation'.

After lunch, which was another great banquet, Deb, Di and Anne spent 2 hours comparing their notes and pulling their thoughts together. I was able to act like a ninja and take a stealth photo of them at work.
Ninja Photo

While ERO were having their hui our team just kept working.

ERO Reviewer, Di, later admitted that rather than reading through the documents I had left with her she kept an ear on the team in the photo above as they were developing their professional learning ideas for the full team next term. She was moved to comment very favourably on the way in which members of the team were  putting their views forward while remaining open to the views of others.

ERO then asked if they could give their initial feedback to the whole group as they were not sure if they would get the opportunity to do so tomorrow as they would only be in briefly. Their feedback was outstanding. They all commented on the vibe they were feeling and that they saw total coherence across the team about the vision and how we were moving it closer to practice. It was totally affirming for the team and I was rapt that they were sharing their thoughts with everybody.

The biggest struggle of the day was poor Sarah and Steve who had to miss out on the scones and lunch banquet because of their commitment to the Live Below the Line project whereby they have to live off food that costs no more than $2.25 per day!
Steve's cup of mint tea with mint plucked from his garden

Go Steve!


Let's hope ERO's more formal feedback apopo supports what I've put up here! I'll let you know.

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