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Building a platform of trust at Pomaria School

Duration: 05:06

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Teachers at Pomaria School share their reflections, challenges, and successes with each other in an environment of trust. Having an online space for collaboration has made this process easier. This film is part of a series, that describes the journey of curriculum change at Pomaria School.

Professional learning conversations

These questions and suggested actions encourage you to reflect on your own school context.

The importance of trust

"In examining the characteristics of struggling schools that have made significant gains, researchers have verified what most educators already know to be true: the quality of the relationships within a school community makes a difference. In schools that are improving, where trust and cooperative adult efforts are strong, students report that they feel safe, sense that teachers care about them, and experience greater academic challenge. In contrast, in schools with flat or declining test scores, teachers are more likely to state that they do not trust one another.” (Sebring & Bryk, 2000). 

from Building Trusting Relationships for School Improvement: Implications for Principals and Teachers

Discussion Tool

What is our School Culture Like? – A Checklist for Analysing a School’s Culture
At Pomaria school, a culture of transparency and trust is being built. This checklist can be used as a tool to analyse your school's culture. Gathering the data for this audit should allow you to identify the range of cultural issues, beliefs, practices, norms, and values that prevail in your school as an initial step to evaluating how these might impact upon student learning.

Transcript

Kevin Choromanski
It’s been a number of years that we’ve actually worked on building this platform of trust with our teachers, and a lot of what we’ve done was as a result of the curriculum design and how we’ve implemented curriculum right across the school, instilling that trust model of transparency with our teachers through the whole process of curriculum mapping. By having a repository of information from our teachers around their reflection, this has enabled me as a leader, as well as with my management team, to have an insight into what is actually happening within classes. That information is also fed back to our board, so when it comes to making decisions around where finances will go to support professional development, the board is fully aware of where those decisions come from.

Jackie Rogers 
On our board here at Pomaria we are extremely lucky to be able to use a programme called Atlas. It’s an online programme which as board members we can access, our staff can access, and it’s used very wisely in our school–it’s hugely open. When we’re at our board meeting, you can, whatever is recorded at the time, the teachers can refresh it if they are at home, and they can see everything that we’re doing at the meeting.

Kerry Anne Jackson 
We all get a computer and we log into the Atlas programme. So as the minutes are being typed, we can then correct them as they’re going. But we can also access the teacher’s information, so we can look at their reflections, we can look at what’s happening. I suppose I am lucky enough that I can go into it being on the board, but as a parent, it’s reassuring to know how much extra work our teachers are putting into our children. It doesn’t just stop at three o’clock when the children have gone home. The amount of reflection that our teachers do, it just, it blows me away.

Vikki Rihari
At Pomaria it’s, everything is transparent. So as a teacher in the classroom I know exactly what is happening in everyone else's classroom simply by going and reading the minutes from their meetings. I can read other people's reflections and I can also see what’s happening in the board and what’s coming up, so there’s no secrets. Another area that we would use it would be as a PLG leader to keep us focused because there are four of us, we can bounce ideas off each other and when we’ve got a professional reading around something I can see how another PLG has unpacked that and I can see if that was successful or I can use that. So I can use it in the classroom but I can also use it with teachers as well.

Donna Abraham 
One of the advantages of having a hub of information is that teachers can go up and look through in their own time. So one of those aspects of, that hub of information is personal teacher reflections. So, I personally use it by going up and looking at other teachers, the learning that’s taking place and I look to see what I can use from it. The challenges as well. Sometimes they reflect what I’m going through in the classroom and at times I’m at a loss as where to go to next. So I can see some of their ideas that they’re trialling and have been successful with.

Kath Aiavao 
Having that hub of information is a very powerful avenue, I guess you could say, of shared practice across the school as mentioned already, through teachers. But also it’s a powerful tool for our whānau to also engage with us and to share. For example, we had a workshop at the beginning of the year and there was a place up in Atlas where parents had actually able to make a comment about that workshop and give some feedback about that. And that was really powerful because it empowered our parents to share their voice and also share their suggestions about the "where to next". Also we look at our students and valuing their voice. We have our student leaders that come from the four different PLG’s that represent our whole school and they meet once a month with one of our BOT members and they put fresh ideas on the table -  things that they may be suggesting to improve our school, it may be things around our values, our PPLB’s, it may be events that they would like to have happening at Pomaria, so those are also recorded up in our hub of information and all the teachers have access to that.

Kevin Choromanski 
But I think the most important thing for us is for our teachers to continually to be reflective and how they can look at changing their practice or shifting what they are doing, so their children's achievement will improve within their classes and inevitably right across our entire school.


Published on: 08 May 2015


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