Everything is nothing with a twist…I am not a non existent teacher who just lets students go!

everything is nothing

Everything is nothing with a twist…

Even after a wonderful performance by the All Blacks this morning, I cannot get out of my mind this article in stuff.co.nz re: modern learning. Riddled with assumptions and possibly fuelled by an agenda to fight MOE changes to classrooms of the future, I feel to stay quiet on the article would be to agree in a passive manner. Here is the article… http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/education/73042309/Top-schools-give-multi-million-dollar-classrooms-a-fail-grade

I never judge a colleague, a practitioner, a teacher, a learner, by what school they are in. I never make judgements about what might be happening in a persons classroom, how they are helping their learners to grow. I never make judgements about how school communities are trying to ensure positive student outcomes, academically, socially or emotionally. I always assume that no matter where a person in education works, both in and outside/alongside the school community, that they have the best interest of the students at heart.

So… how is it when it comes to modern learning environments that many choose to make assumptions and generalisations about what is occurring. As I said in the title of the blog, I am not a non existent teacher who just lets students go! I feel that I need to stand in support of my colleagues working in a modern learning environment and challenge what has been said.

This is my 20th year in education, I have taught in a variety of decile schools and have seen quality practice in every school I have ever worked in. Passionate colleagues who have the best interest of the students at heart. Teachers who have put the students at the centre and personalised learning for them, working with them and not doing education to them. Personalised learning is not therefore just letting go and letting students go. There is a power shift required. However, this is nothing new, this has come in educational theory for years…see this old post on going old school in a new school. https://sallyhart72.wordpress.com/2013/10/20/going-old-school-at-a-new-school/

Colleagues at HPSS are shifting education for sure, however, they are excellent practitioners, who are differentiating and connecting learning more than I have ever seen before. As I say, not to take away from any other school or setting as I believe there is good practice everywhere. Yes we allow students to explore, make sense, focus and more… (aspects of our learning design model, that allows for cohesion in the language of learning across the school) see post by Steve on this in more depth… https://stevemouldey.wordpress.com/2015/02/22/empowering-language/

Teachers are getting also to deep learning at school rather than just surface. Teachers are working to make learning visible and meaningful to their learners. https://sallyhart72.wordpress.com/2015/05/30/what-are-we-really-learning-making-learning-visible/

Oh of course a teacher in a MLE is going to say these sorts of things…they must not believe in assessment, they will never get in the league tables, do we care about that? No. Do we care about positive student outcomes? For sure! What are those? Now this is something up for debate? Who decides what positive student outcomes are “we do!” our school, our community, our learners, our whānau.

I believe that I have a good handle of curriculum, assessment and pedagogy, here is a link to my MEd (1st class honours) http://researchcommons.waikato.ac.nz/handle/10289/8984 show off putting that here! No proving that there is depth and an understanding of education to be challenging the view points put forward in the article. Also working as National Assessment Moderator for NZQA for 5 years, I also have a reasonably good handle of what is required to achieve success as is currently measured. We are looking to shift things and transform things in our context. However, we are well aware of constraints and work to see these in different ways, how can we collect naturally occurring evidence? How can we align curriculum, assessment and pedagogy and ensure that assessment is not the main driver?

It is not a dichotomy… modern learning vs traditional learning. Maybe it can be seen more as a dialectical relationship for your Marxists out there. Where hegemony and counter-hegemony work against each other to create a new hegemony. Where things do need a radical shift, but not to throw out the old, but to truly re-vision what success in education is and can be? It does not have to be a dichotomy…


I want to paint a picture…I am currently teaching collaboratively in a module with Tanya, who has many years under her belt as a Mathematician, she is an amazing practitioner differentiating more than she has ever done before. Working hard to put her students at the centre and achieving not only depth in learning, but also extending her learners more than she has ever before. Yes it is in a MLE, however, she is pushing herself as a practitioner more than she has ever done before, scaffolding and supporting along the way, not just letting go…however, that will come more as the students move further along the school pathway. She is also connecting with HPE, who would have thought that! Here is a write up on that module and the awesome social action taking place within it by @Sarvnazz http://attitudelive.com/blog/sarvnaz-taherian/opinion-exploring-disabilities-gain-empathy

Then we have https://twitter.com/CbwynnWynn our awesome SCT (specialist classroom teacher) who supports SCT across the region, has been an advisor and also a National Assessment Moderator for Biology. An amazing practitioner in any setting. She always has the student at the centre, more than any other practitioner I know, she always has, no matter where she has taught, she personalises learning constantly. However, she too scaffolds, supports, differentiates all the way. She is responsive to the learners and listens to their voice. This is good practice whatever school you are in.

I could go through all my colleagues at school and give you a brief on them and their teaching and learning programmes in their classes in the same manner. They are awesome practitioners, constantly inquiring into their own practice striving for positive student outcomes. I could have also done this when I taught at Onehunga High School, Takapuna Grammar School, St Cuthbert’s College and in London. Why, because I always see the best in my colleagues, I don’t run down other schools for what they are doing, I don’t see education as competition, I see it as collaboration to get the best for akonga/students across the nation. For allowing schools to work in their context in their way, with their communities, akonga/students, whānau to work out the best way to achieve “positive student outcomes” in line with their vision. If we are all working towards the same goal only then… Everything is nothing with a twist…


Doing things differently is not always easy!

Doing things differently is not always easy!

Coming back to the kaupapa! Things are pretty busy on the ground. Many different aspects to our model, how to have cohesion, develop capability and support. It is all a balancing act as a leader… Today I got the coaches to reflect back on our initial kaupapa doc and key parts to our role. Here is the two docs…

HPSS Kaupapa of the Learning Hub

The Learning Hub

A Learning Hub is a small group within a Learning Community. Each Learning Hub has a Learning Coach. They are central to the school’s goal to empower learners by “Innovating through personalising learning, Engaging through powerful partnerships, and inspiring through deep challenge and inquiry .

When the school is at full capacity, students will remain with the same Learning Hub for their time at school. This is so they will get to understand and know each other and their Learning Coach well. In the first few establishment years there will be some shifts due to growing groups. However, this will always be done by involving students and their families.

The Learning Coach is to act as the academic and pastoral mentor for each of their students. In this way, the Learning Hub is a support system for the learner and is a bit like an extended family. Within this system every student has an adult in the school who cares about him or her deeply.

The Learning Hub is a time for students to be exposed to a wide range of ideas, interests, skills and experiences which support their learning. During Learning Hub time students develop skills around learning to learn, and the habits to be successful inquirers and self-directed learners.

The Role of the Learning Coach

The Learning Coach has the opportunity to be a teacher of learning and to radically change the entire schooling experience for their students. An important role of the Learning Coach is to create a caring, intellectually stimulating and well-organised Learning Hub.

The Learning Coach is responsible for guiding each one of their students through their learning journey. The Learning Coach works with students to identify passions and link their interests and needs to their learning. Learners negotiate their LearnPath (personalised learning programme) with their Coach to ensure that what they are learning is relevant to them.

The Learning Coach supports learners to reach academic and personal excellence by supporting them to set learning goals, constantly revisiting them and revising them and to seek ways of supporting each learner to enjoy the success of achieving their goals. The Coach also works with learners to track their learning journey, to discuss learning issues and find solutions, provide pastoral care, provide guidance for life beyond school and build on learners’ capacities to take responsibility for their learning.


There was a lot of reflection by the coaches in my community, concerns over one on one time and how to facilitate this without just giving busy work, also still the difficulty of being in a new role and developing things on the ground. Finding a balance between time for developing capability and making things explicit, between teaching something separately or catching it in action -eg our habits and dispositions…How much is in the moment and how do we learn as we develop our understanding, it won’t just happen, we need to take the time…

To support but not too much, to build their capability…the interesting thing is that I made the shift from resourcing all to us all building our capability as coaches, by dividing up and sharing our resources around the habits and my-learning. In the reflections today hubs were coming back to wanting to do more on learning to learn and specific processes such as goal setting, how to skim and scan etc…

So…..it is all about balance, while returning to our kaupapa, a shift away from support the coaches, to actually WHY hubs!!!!

It was not long enough for our meeting so I need to revisit further… after the meeting I clarified our discussions with this email…

Kia ora all, just while it is fresh in our minds, I feel like we rushed past it this morning.

It was good to have time to reflect on hubs and coaching this morning. Thank you all for your honest reflections on things. As you are aware, it is a new role to all, that we are working on refining and developing as time goes on.

Hubs are an extremely important part of what we do with the learners/akonga here at HPSS.

I am also aware that there are a lot of parts to the model, these are parts that were co-contsructed early on in the process of the school as being important for developing the whole learner, their being, what they give to the community and how they go about learning in a time where knowledge is ever changing and readily accessible.

The way forward…

1. My learning is your responsibility as a hub coach…you had some very important feedback re this and learning to learn and what the kids need… it is finding a balance of this just in time teaching and supporting each other and growing our capabilities to talk about and recognise the habits in action, across all aspects of the school…as Martin said “capturing it as it happens”. The balance though is that we are all developing our understanding around this and it is different to anything we have done ever before.
So you decide what is best for your learners on a Monday, is it focusing on a habit, is it goal setting? Is it different things for different learners???

2. My communities is a time to draw on whanaungatanga in action etc… this does require what we have done with a bit of up front teaching of what this means… we can then as Jill said, use the students as teachers “Tuakana Teina” in action, try not to worry about the terms, however, I don’t think we should shy away from using aspects of Te Reo with our learners, even if it is new for us.

3. My-being is structured I realise (it took a while!!) But it should not be seen as something we are doing to learners….when you work with the learners on these activities, we are recognising their stresses, their worries, this truly is about knowing the learner.

This morning was not to stress you out about what you are not doing well, in the scheme of things it was mainly the one on one that came up as an issue. We can develop our skills in doing this better…but we must hold tight with the good things you are doing as coaches, that you do know your learners, that you know how to support good learning and that we are all developing in this role.

I believe you are all doing an amazing job and we can continue to refine and tweak to become even more awesome hub coaches. Remember also what we build now in our learners, they will be able to support younger learners later on.

Keep up the good work.


Where to now…. for me to rethink how I support, with the kaupapa always in mind, what do the akonga/ learners need, not what do the coaches need and how can I support the coaches to provide that….

Even though I have not been the best about the coaching with Suzanne, I often have reflective conversations with a mentor of mine at school here (guru and SCT Cindy), it is hard yakka on the ground leading in an environment where everything is so new, Cindy used the metaphor of trying to cut your way through the bush and making new paths with what you are doing, while it could be easy to revert back to what you know, sitting in your subject silo, doing what you have always done, we must hold strong to the why??? Keep coming back to why we are doing what we are doing.

It is about the akonga…





Highlighting Habits and Developing Dispositions…Leadership Inquiry…

In a world where knowledge is ever changing and easily accessible, shifts are occurring in the way teaching and learning occurs. Many talk of developing dispositions, working learning muscles, learning to learn, key competencies, capabilities, metacognition, making learning visible and more…However, while I am in full agreement with this shift in focus, I am also aware that this is an area that will not just occur, that need to be thoughtfully planned for, scaffolded and made explicit to the learner. Not just done to the learner and not just assumed that if you think you are developing dispositions that it will happen. Do the learners recognise what they are developing, can they highlight strengths and weaknesses, where they are at and where to next? If these aspects of learning are not explicit, who holds the power in learning? Also if as a learner I do not recognise these dispositions in action, how can I transfer their use to other contexts, situations and learning. Here at HPSS we have our Hobsonville Habits, this is our dispositional curriculum based on the Key Competencies and developed in conjunction with our school community, (learners and whānau). Based on what dispositions our community wanted to see developed to allow learners positive outcomes in education and life. Allowing them to “flounder intelligently” (Guy Claxton) in our ever changing world. Hobsonville habits

How these habits are being developed is an on-going process, that is changing over time, with a recognition that we do need to make these more explicit with our learners. This means that as coaches of our Hubs and teachers of our Learning Modules, we are in an on-going process of reflection and action of how can we do this better? How might we make these clearer? How can we develop these and not just see them as inherent in who we are? That we can change, develop and earn more than just content knowledge in education and work towards our goal of “Personal Excellence” as well as “Academic Excellence”. For me as a Learning Team Leader at school, this is something that I believe I have not supported my community on enough. For us as educators at HPSS, there is many new aspects to how we are doing things around here. Due to this it can be full on at times on the ground with your head in many spaces. If you follow the blogs of others at HPSS, you may be aware of those aspects. If you follow Sarah you will know about project learning here at HPSS https://twitter.com/hpssprojects Also our shift to collaboratively taught, cross curricular modules Steve explains these better than I could as a member of the SLL team https://stevemouldey.wordpress.com/2014/02/10/personalised-learning-at-hpss/#more-610 We are also reporting on learning in a very different manner here which Heemi explains in his posts on reporting and assessment https://heemimcdonald.wordpress.com/2015/06/04/school-reporting-whats-to-keep-secret/ So with many different aspects to the school curriculum at HPSS, I believe I need to better support my coaches in how we develop and make explicit the dispositional curriculum at HPSS. This does not mean that I believe that dispositions sit siloed in hubs and with coaches, more that if I help to build capability at a hub level, then I can support my coaches in transferring this to their teaching and learning in other aspects of the curriculum at HPSS. In contrast to sitting siloed I believe that we need to be making this clear, every day, capturing dispositions in action, “speaking learnish” as Guy Claxton would say and acknowledging when these dispositions are used, need to be used, or need to be developed. Due to this I am on a journey as a leader and have made the focus of my leadership inquiry for NAPP on helping to support the dispositional curriculum and the capability of my coaches to help make this explicit with their learners across HPSS. To do this I would take targetted action in my community-Waiarohia. To do this I needed starting data. My data is two fold, looking at my leadership strengths and weaknesses and also at my coaches perceptions of their capability in using the dispositional curriculum. Here is the starting data that I gathered, so that I can measure qualitatively the journey that we all take, including mine as a leader and my coaches as dispositional curriculum leaders. I gathered the responses from my coaches in an anonymous google form and this is a summary of the data…

What do you consider to be Sally’s strengths as the leader of Waiarohia? And why do you think that? Give examples where you can… Sally has many leadership qualities that she exercises in her work as W leader. For example Sally is purposeful in her work with students and staff. To be purposeful you need to spend time thinking about, analysing and planning for the purpose of what you do.Sally is always well planned in her work and has thought about where it might take people. Another great leadership quality of Sally’s is her enthusiasm for her work. This enthusiasm takes others along with her. She is also confident enough to take risks in what she does with teachers and try new ideas and new things eg planning the multifaceted Hub time programme. Sally also realises she needs to be responsive to people thoughts and feelings. She listens carefully in meetings and negotiates well through sometimes tricky situations. She is willing to change tack too if the feedback warrants it. This to me says she is very knowledgable in how to work closely with and lead a team of thinking adults to get the best out of them. As if this were not enough Sally also has the impact/outcomes on the students…in all her work with staff it always comes back to what is going to be best for student learning. Sally is also committed to doing things well and refining until it works well. Sally cares about the people she works with and develops good relationships with them….they are then happy to work with and for her and go the extra …. Passionate – You are clearly passionate about the learning that takes place in our community which is evident in your language and the activities you plan, particularly around the dispositional curriculum. This is a strength because it drives the team to participate, engage, and support the dispositions within our community. Collaborative leadership – You demonstrate a highly collaborative model of leadership which encompasses the views of all team members. This allows each member to be heard and feel valued even if they do not agree with the outcome or decision taken. Approachable/Supportive – You are always prepared to listen to, and consider different points of view. On a personal level you are also extremely supportive which makes for a supportive working environment within our community team. Knowledgeable – You know what is going on and always up to date with current discussion topics. As a result, you are confident with what is happening at any given time. This is reassuring as a team member. Her ability to support us as hub coaches around activities were are strengths do not lie (Hauroa). That is where her passions lies developing growth and understanding for the students. Very organised. Always has resources and ideas at the ready to help us and makes sure we know what we’re doing. Willing to listen to any feedback – always asks for opinions (even if no one has any!) Is keen to give support and has good ideas about how to do this. It always feels like Sally is on our side.

What do you consider to be things Sally could do better as a leader of Waiarohia? And why do you think that? Give examples where you can… ?? Have confidence in your ability as a leader. You are doing a fantastic job! You lead a positive, supportive team which reflects your leadership style. I can’t think of anything to improve on, sorry. I will try to think of something.

How confident am I in coaching learners in my hub, the dispositional curriculum- Hobsonville Habits? and why do you feel this way? I think I’m okay with it, but sometimes struggle with coming up with specific examples of what some of the habits look like in relation to “my learning’ e.g. adventurous. I have a vague idea of what adventurous learning might look like, but find it difficult to give specific examples of what students might do to be adventurous in their learning. I am confident in some aspects…growing in confidence and learning all the time. I feel this way because it is still new and we are all learning about it. I am not overly confident with the dispositional curriculum or habits because it is not something I have taught to any great extent in the past. I feel I have only a superficial understanding of this content myself. Hmmm to be honest I feel like I am walking in the dark sometimes I feel like I understand the direction of where we should be going but than other times I feel lost. When it comes to the Habits – it is hard from myself to explain in different contexts as one students might see it differently than the next student. Somewhat confident – I think I could do better in this. I’m not confident that my hub are thinking about and using the Habits apart from when we explicitly talk about them. I get this feeling from evidencing habits in the Learner Narrative – it feels like the kids are making stuff up on the spot rather than thinking about using the habits throughout the week.

How can Sally support my learning to better coach the learners in my hub the dispositional curriculum? The materials and activities you have provided are very helpful. Additional PD on dispositional curriculum and habits and how they impact learning would give greater depth to these activities. Keep on listening to your people…..keep on co-constructing the pathway through while keeping your eye on the goal…you are good at this (it is a hard thing to do but you do it well!) It would be great if we had some resources for talking about the operation of the habits in their learning. For example, videos or students in class or encountering difficult work and how they are using the habits or might better use the habits. Students seem to have difficulty relating the habits to their daily lives at school. Maybe suggest activities which students can use to gather evidence for habits? We could make that evidence gathering more explicit in extended hub but stress that it is not sufficient. How to scaffold the breakdowns of habits to students? Perhaps having learning conversations prompters ???

Is there any other ideas, thoughts, feed forward, feedback that you think would be useful to Sally in embarking on an inquiry into leading the dispositional curriculum and how it is coached/supported? Demonstrate how the dispositional curriculum and habits are integral to learning and not merely tacked on as an extra. This will make it more relevant to staff and therefore students. Awesome Miss. Love to hear how all this is going along the way. Making it easier to find all the information that Lea and LTL have placed….I struggle to find it – maybe it is the system we have created. Perhaps a more centralised system for tracking habits in a public way (like a star chart or something, rather than the Learner Narrative) to support getting in the habit of gathering evidence for the habits.

So while my coaches gave positive feedback about my processes of leadership, I also critically reflected on how they are feeling about the dispositional curriculum and see this as an issue in my leadership, that I have not supported them enough and that I need to take steps with my leadership to do so. There has been two parts to this journey so far and I have shifted my thinking on this after some reading and learning. As a community we have been working to make the habits visible with activities such as…



Each term we have had a focus on one or two habits that we dig deeper with. To start off with on this journey I started to develop resources and create activities to make the habits more visible, to use and share with the coaches. Coaches take turns at leading activities which focus on these habits and we try to consolidate this with greater focus on one or two. Cindy, Cairan, Jill, Martin, Tanya and Leoni have lead some awesome activities that have been carefully thought through and linked to the habits… To help support further, I have tried to develop some more activities. First of all I tried to scaffold the habits a bit further, using some of the work of Guy Claxton on building learning power https://magic.piktochart.com/output/5007410-hobsonville-habits-taken-furth The link takes you to an online version of this..

Hobsonville Habits Taken Further Copy

I have also tried a number of activities to make the habits more explicit in different contexts… Where learners developed thinking on habits such as… and this…

Petra and Emily - Habits of the Athletes (1) and Connor Seb

Also activities such as this, which was sparked by Bryce a member of staff who epitomises the Hobsonville Habits through his life journey, provoking the learners linking Habits to Hauora…

Untitled drawing

I consider myself to be a servant leader and in doing this I often go about doing what I am asking others to do and trying to “awhi” and support this in others. What I have realised part way through this process is this does not always lead to “sustainable leadership”. So I realised when I read “Coaching Leadership” a book by Jan Robertson that I was not always building capability in my coaches, if the leadership of the dispositional curriculum is to become more sustainable, then I need buy in and ownership by all my coaches as leaders. So aspects such as us taking turns to develop the habits in our community do build capability, by me developing resources to give to my coaches, I am not. So I believe I need to find a balance of developing and supporting ideas, which my coaches have asked for, but also allowing them to lead alongside me and develop their own capability in using the dispositional curriculum. Here are some snippets from Jan’s Book that show what sparked my reflections.

image copy image_1 image_2 image_3 So after reading this, I shifted my inquiry, I asked my coaches, who wanted to be involved in a coaching group, where we work together to develop and collaborate around leading the dispositional curriculum. There was no imperative to do so, all of my coaches have agreed to be a part of this. While I had already started developing activities, we have shifted to all coaches taking two habits each to develop my learning activities for their hubs next term. Coaches will lead these with their own hubs and will reflect and refine after leading these. We will all share our process, refinements and thinking as well as supporting resources. This will enable all to be a part of the development, while also sharing the workload of doing this. I will also gather feedback and voice in coaching conversations about how this has supported or otherwise coaches next term. In finding a balance and not transferring everything to coaches and still supporting others, as we have IEM’s coming up where the learners are to reflect on “my-being, my learning, my communities and my habits” and this is a source of unease for some coaches, I have developed some scaffolds to support learners in thinking about these… Here is the IEM doc as developed by the LTL’s and Lea.. Here are some supporting scaffolds I have developed… Thinking about Habits and Goals Thinking about my being Thinking about my communities Thinking about My Learning Anyway, this is a very long blog post, however it is important for my leadership inquiry that I keep a record of my process and journey of leadership and learning, there is still a lot more to come, I hope this journey will help me build my leadership skills and also build the capability and leadership of others, while also helping to embed our dispositional curriculum in a sustainable way….

Whānau connections: What? How? Why? So What? Now What? The importance of whanaungatanga at HPSS.

koru fern maori nature photos lucy g-11

1. (noun) relationship, kinship, sense of family connection – a relationship through shared experiences and working together which provides people with a sense of belonging. It develops as a result of kinship rights and obligations, which also serve to strengthen each member of the kin group. It also extends to others to whom one develops a close familial, friendship or reciprocal relationship.
Kōrero ai ngā whakapapa mō te whanaungatanga i waenganui i te ira tangata me te ao (Te Ara 2011). / Whakapapa describe the relationships between humans and nature.

The following post involves reflection and potential action in the ongoing development of whānau connections at Hobsonville Point Secondary School. The importance of whānau connections at HPSS is paramount to the success of our school vision in values and our ability to truly innovate, engage and inspire our learners. Herein lies the importance of defining learner. For us at HPSS a learner is not just the students that attend the school, we see ourselves all as learners…The Senior leadership team, the teaching staff, the support staff and potentially the whānau/ family and wider community. We have already kick started the development of these connections. Therefore it is important to take stock of where we are at and where to now?

I would like to use some basic reflective questions to show this…

What is our take on Whānau connections?

To ensure that we have whanaungatanga in action (as defined at the top of the post), it is important that we involve the whānau on many levels across our school community. To do this we also see the whānau as learners. In education a strong aspect of power relations at play and to be considered seriously is the “history that we are tied to”. We must recognise in all schools, but even more so at a school breaking silos, showing connections in learning and doing things in a very different way, that we all bring our own perceptions of what education is and should be. Not only do our learners bring their history, culture, influences and experiences with them. So too do teachers and whānau. It is therefore imperative that whānau are part of the dialogue that occurs around the learning of their children/dependants.

How have we tried to achieve this so far?

We have attempted to engage whānau on many levels and here is a few examples…

1. From the get go, the Senior Leadership team of Maurie, Lea, Claire and Di played an important part in introducing whānau to learning at HPSS. With individual meetings with the whānau and children on enrolment at HPSS. Also with community evenings/information evenings to keep the community in the loop along the way. Involving the what? How? Why? of learning here and keeping things open and transparent from the get go. The SLT also gathered learner and whānau voice on hopes and aspirations for their time at HPSS and beyond.

2. On-going whole school communication is continuing in newsletters, emails from school, keeping whānau up to date of up and coming events and points to note. Also, Maurie has ensured ongoing links to reading for whānau are a part of these newsletters, to provoke what it is to shift education and innovate.

3. We held an orientation day, where learners were introduced to their staff, communities, and different aspects of the HPSS curriculum. The learners prepared food in a mini project activity, for their whānau who came in that evening. Also meeting, coaches, communities and with visuals and displays of the HPSS curriculum in action.

4. Furthermore, we had an awesome school and community event on Waitangi Day, organised by the amazing Sarah Wakeford who is in charge of big projects and partnerships at the school, working alongside Sharon Afu (Deputy Principal at the Primary). The two schools worked closely alongside each other, involving learners and their whānau across the day. Read more here… https://sallyhart72.wordpress.com/2014/02/07/ma-pango-ma-whero-ka-oti-te-mahi-with-black-and-with-red-the-work-is-completed/

5. Acknowledgement of my communities in our school learning model is important to note. See more about these three aspects:
Whenua, on this post here… https://sallyhart72.wordpress.com/2013/12/04/ma-te-whakaaro-kotahi-ka-ora-ai-the-cohesion-of-perspectives-will-strengthen-the-kaupapa/


6. In addition, we have our hubs, influenced by the advisory model of big picture schools. One coach, guide on the side, who is the main point of contact with whānau. The coach has had regular contact with whānau in a variety of ways. Email contact home has occurred fortnightly, with information about learner pathways, goals, how they are going and more…See here for more details on our coach role…https://sallyhart72.wordpress.com/2013/12/04/ma-te-whakaaro-kotahi-ka-ora-ai-the-cohesion-of-perspectives-will-strengthen-the-kaupapa/

7. HPSS also had the opening of the school and the open day where whānau and community were invited and attended. Again opening the doors and strengthening the connections.

8. We have held a parent information evening that was a huge success. Taking parents through stations of learning and engaging them in the aspects of the HPSS curriculum. With hands on activities, information to support their learning around the school model and question and answer time. This was extremely beneficial in helping parents to also shift their understanding of and allowing them to engage in the way that we are doing things here.

9. IEMs (Individual Education Meetings)
These have been held at the end of the term. A type of student lead conferencing, allowing the learners to bring where they are at, what they have learnt and where to now, to the table. Evidencing the learning, but leading the way…informing parents/whānau rather than being reported on. See more details on IEMs in on-going work here that Megan has lead…http://mrsmeganpeterson.wordpress.com/2014/04/22/individual-education-meetings/

10. We have also looked to gather data from our whānau, further connections with the whānau to ensure we are engaging them in their child’s learning. Here is a copy of the information we collected. https://docs.google.com/a/hobsonvillepoint.school.nz/forms/d/1p9y0wKwjJNhFlp4-_jpyTnHXlHyt5BFVb3cqNFuRE0U/viewform

Why are whānau connections so important?

The importance of creating educationally powerful
connections with family, whànau, and
communities is an extremely important component of: School Leadership and Student Outcomes: Identifying What Works and Why Best Evidence Synthesis Developed by Viviane Robinson, Margie Hohepa, Claire Lloyd [The University of Auckland] in 2009.

Synthesising the data to look closely at answering…

• What kinds of connections make the biggest difference?
• How can school leaders build educationally powerful connections with families, whànau,
and communities?

Here is a summary of the data that answers this…

Screen Shot 2014-04-27 at 2.53.16 PM

Equally as important as the research, we hold strong to our school values of connectedness, collaboration, innovation, inquiry and excellence. In doing so connectedness and collaboration is not just with the learner in mind, also with the teachers as learners and the whānau as learners.
This is why we are engaging whānau and will continue to develop this with our values in mind. Always coming back to the why?

So what has been the outcome so far?

Anecdotal evidence and feedback suggests that the powerful partnerships we are forming with whānau at HPSS, have already had a positive impact on learning and the engagement in and with the school community has had an excellent start, in just one term at HPSS. Parents have really enjoyed the fortnightly contact home form the learning coach and also great feedback was received in relation to Orientation day, Waitangi Day, Parent information night and IEMs. This is a great start and I look forward how we develop these relationships further in the future. Ensuring that we are informing and engaging parents in their child’s education, rather than just reporting to. Learner voice has also given us valuable data of the connections we are making at a hub level, with their whole school learning and their feeling of community that we are developing and whanaungatanga at HPSS.

More in line with this shift…

(via EvaluationAssociates ‏@EvaluationAssoc on twitter)

Now what? Where do we go from here?

To ensure the best student outcomes at HPSS we are very aware of the importance of powerful partnerships. We will work towards inclusion of some of the proven ways to do so via research such as the BES.
We will also endeavour to look for innovative ways for furthering this as a community. Ensuring that the powerful partnerships are nurtured to their full potential. This involves whanaungatanga across the whole community. With the Senior Leadership Team in ongoing dialogue with the whānau and community. With Sarah, Pete and their team looking at powerful partnerships with the whānau and beyond with the wider community. With Ros and her focus on culturally responsive pedagogy, which must include whānau connections. With relevant authentic connections being made and action taken with our big projects. With learning coaches and their connections to the whānau.

We want to take a new line of connection with whānau this term, we would like to look to developing the on-going communication with whānau. This can be student lead, involving their own way of driving this… potentially use of social media, such as twitter with hub twitter accounts and blogging, with hub blogs, newsletters or interactive information on apps eg padlets, i-movie, etc.. the potential is endless, we will wait for the learner voice on how we could continue to evolve our whānau connections in a way that each hub sees fit. Allowing for ownership and autonomy. We have excellent role models on this at Hobsonville Point Primary School, The blog written by Amy about how they are using these ideas at the Primary already… http://amymmcc.blogspot.com.au/2014/03/a-peak-inside-hpps.html

Watch this space as we continue to ensure powerful partnerships with whānau at HPSS…

Mā ngā huruhuru ka rere te manu … It is the feathers that enable the bird to fly


Mā ngā huruhuru ka rere te manu … It is the feathers that enable the bird to fly…

I feel like this is on the nose for our ongoing use of distributed leadership and teaching and learning at Hobsonville Point Secondary School. I also feel like this relates well to the building the plane metaphor that our leader and mentor uses, to describe our ongoing development of our “place” through reflection and action… http://principalpossum.blogspot.co.nz/2014/02/building-airplane-out-of-21st-century.html

We have not got everything right, but we are trying dam hard!!

I feel like we are practicing what we preach, we are shifting education pedagogically as is explicitly intended in our vision and values. This is not always easy, but we are all here to make a difference for our learners and the bigger cause which is … “to create a stimulating, inclusive learning environment which empowers learners to contribute confidently and responsibly in our changing world.” http://www.hobsonvillepoint.school.nz/

I see the whakatauki above really aligning to our school in a two-fold manner. The school can be seen as a “bird” and the feathers are belonging to all of us in the school community. This involves, learners, teachers (also learners), whanau and the wider community. It is how the feathers all align and work together that will allow the bird to fly. This is of course reciprocal as if our learners can fly then so too will the school. If the staff and the whanau can fly, then so too can the learners fly. We can all exemplify the feathers at some level and we can also support and awhi the bird to fly.

Allowing our learners to fly should be what I believe is our evidence that we gather in terms of accountability. This does not mean just the usual achievement in “high stakes assessment”. For learners to fly they must thrive mentally, emotionally, physically, spiritually. This is why their hauora of our learners and our “Hobsonville Habits” are a strong focus in our learning model.

Hobsonville habits

We are currently working through processes of conferencing and assessment that may measure some of these aspects for accountability purposes. This is a difficult thing to get your head around and truly work out why, what and how to measure. The reason this is tricky is that we are doing education differently, we want these processes to align to our school vision and values. Not just to revert to “what we have always done” because it is easy.

We are personalising learning, allowing and empowering student voice throughout our curriculum in three integrated aspects of our curriculum…


Specialised learning Modules

Projects (Big and passion)

This is very different and therefore alignment of curriculum, assessment and pedagogy is always an ongoing concern and point of reflection. We are lucky to have on board Megan http://t.co/9hihlBDiJ7
who has expertise in assessment, assessment for learning and more… she has helped to exemplify and scaffold out processes for gathering evidence of learning, goal setting and feedback. This involves new processes for all and we as staff are constantly learning and shifting what we are doing. With the end goal in sight. Always reflecting on positive student outcomes for all learners. We need to ensure this analogy does not come to fruition for our learners…


We are only in our first term and we do not proclaim to have all the answers and all the models. We are constantly modifying, tweaking through reflection and action. However, we should be happy that we are developing the cohesion, use and lift of our feathers always looking for the learners to fly and hopefully this will also allow the plane that we are building to stay in the air. Sometimes we may need to stop to refuel and pick up new passengers along the way. I hope that the nature of our reflection and action will allow for longevity of our vision and values for future learners. It would be wrong not to try…


Deliberation on dispositions…pondering on “the point”…




Something I believe strongly, is that as educators we should be modelling the expectations we have in our learners…

If you have read any of my past posts, you will realise that we have a dispositional curriculum as an aspect of our teaching and learning, which has derived from our school vision and values. Currently our learners are reflecting on aspects of this as they gather evidence of their learning. This evidence of learning is arising from both naturally occurring evidence as well as carefully selected destinations of learning. I like to use the word destination as it denotes a ‘journey’. There are several aspects of their learning that they are reflecting on currently. I am one of the many strong proponents of our school vision and values and a highlight for me are the ‘Hobsonville Habits’. These are dispositions that we have selected and highlighted, that will allow learners to “flounder intelligently” (Guy Claxton) in the time of ever changing knowledge. Dispositions that can be developed and nurtured, applied and reflected on. Here is an infographic showing our Hobsonville Habits…

Hobsonville habits

Beyond the four walls…is an important part of my philosophy on learning, learning that is relevant, meaningful and lifelong. To develop my “point” further, I would like to take on board the importance of modelling. Just as I have asked my learners to reflect on the use of their “Hobsonville Habits”, I will do likewise as well…


I believe I have been adventurous predominantly outside the classroom. I am therefore going to take adventurous literally in an outdoor context. I would like to draw on examples from time with my whanau, times that also influence the physical aspect of my hauora. Here are few shots of our whanau being adventurous on our back doorstep. The amazing walks in this region are a relatively untapped gem that people should be aware of.





Where I would like to develop being adventurous, is to bring my love of the outdoors to our learners, in the next term with a focus on place and space, Lisa and I are looking at a module integrating novels with a focus on rising against adversity in sport/outdoors contexts. So this learning becomes real, I am keen for us to allow the learners to test their adventurous and resilience habits in the great outdoors. Goldie’s bush could be a great starting point, to then put into perspective feats greater than this…

Creative: I believe this is a disposition of mine that I need to develop. I believe this is down to my own perception of creativity. I have always felt that creativity is in the development of work such as art. This is definitely not a my forte…even though my mother is an accomplished artist! However, my understanding of creativity has shifted, so I believe there is aspects of creativity slipping into my learning and life. I am being allowed the opportunity, through my job here at Hobsonville Point to be creative with teaching and learning, shifting education in a way it should be. I am but one of an awesome team of colleagues working on this creativity with the curriculum and schooling and the evidence is here in my pasts reflections/blogs…

Curious: I am always curious about the big picture and how everything fits together. This is again being enabled in our jobs at HPSS. Allowing for the yellow quadrant (Hermann’s Brain) to come to the fore. I am curious to see how learning can be more cohesive, how all the silos and disconnections that can occur in Secondary Schooling can be framed less tightly allowing power to the learners rather than the teachers. This is a work in progress and we are still only at the end of the first term, watch this space for on-going curiosity in action…

Contributive: I think I have always been contributive, one to help out and support others beyond the four walls. I think being a physeder, this is something we all do…so far…I have organised athletics, helped take netball trials, have got basketball trials this week and will coach this. I have coached my older girl (Jaimee) and her netball team. I am also helping to enable this in my learners and have a large crew of Year 9’s getting ready to take action in the primary school in the sports they are passionate about. I see being contributive as an extremely important part of learning and life. I am really interested in helping develop student leadership further in the school as well.


Reflective: The Museum of Mihi will be my example of being reflective and will consider collaboration within this module. I have been a part of a big module this term with @GeoMouldey and @Mrsmeganpete, this has been great and my first real attempt at team teaching. I have thoroughly enjoyed this module as we have experimented and mixed up how we work together as a crew. The big concept has been “identity” for this term and we have had our Health and PE, Social Sciences and Drama hats on allowing learners to see real connections in learning. In terms of where to from here I look forward to working with @MissDtheTeacher and @PeteMcghie in a big module next term, integrating Mathematics, Science (my other subjects) and Food with the big concept of place and space. Also in a small module with Lisa, looking at the power of the mind in sport and the place and space that you go to when times are tuff. Collaborative teaching is great, however, it is important to recognise there is a loss of autonomy in the way you structure your teaching and learning, I am still learning here and look forward to further honing of these skills.


Compassionate: I would like to use an example of being compassionate, without delving into the details of the situation for the sake of the learners. We are a restorative school and I got to apply restorative practices through a hui I ran at school. I enjoyed taking part in this hui and believe the outcomes were good for all. All learners involved were heard and the outcome has mended relationships that had been damaged. I look forward to working further with these processes in the future. Ensuring we are doing education “with” and not “to” our learners.

Resourceful: On a very busy day this week I was extremely resourceful. I had running club in mytime, where learners opt into this and I take them running around the point. However, with a very hectic morning rushing my kids out the door I had forgotten my t-shirt, towel and toiletries. I managed to borrow resources at school, a towel from Lea, a shirt from Maliina and some underarm for after my shower from Maurie!!! Very resourceful and committed 🙂

Purposeful: I continue to be purposeful with my study and my thesis involving the integration of curriculum, assessment and pedagogy….However, in these busy times with a full time job in a super awesome, responsive school, involving collaborative planning, alongside a young family, I am not dedicating the time I would like to the completion of this..I am up to writing the findings of my comparative case study…watch this space.

Responsive: I believe at HPSS we are being more responsive than most Secondary schools in the country. I have written about this in the past. However, I would like to be even more responsive with my hub (who I coach). This term has been busy as we do education in such a different way and currently we are involved in learners evidencing their learning, conferencing getting ready for their IEM’s. This is adding real rigour to our hubs as an aspect of our curriculum and pathway support. However, I would like to be spending more time at the relationship level with my learners. I believe this will develop next term as the systems and structures we are setting up, will be more familiar allowing for more time on the relationship building.

Resilient: No matter how busy life gets….as it is for everyone with family, work, life and more…I believe I am resilient. I will not get into details of my past 😉 but I am a glass half full, work-life balance kind of girl, who makes sure that she works on balancing her hauora to the best of her ability. This includes family time (Taha Whanau) and also physical balance (Taha Tinana) to ensure the other dimensions are also ok. Running for me is a very important part of this and I make time for it as much as I can…




I have deliberated on my dispositions and pondered on “the point”. This is but a snapshot though and I need to blog more regularly and reflect on my practice more consistently. This is a goal I will set myself for next term. I have however, practiced what I preach by reflecting on my habits, just as I have asked my learner to….

In a school breaking silos, connecting and personalising learning, where is the PE?


In a school breaking silos, connecting and personalising learning, where is the Physical Education? This is probably a question my Physical Education and Health colleagues may be asking, as we implement the start of our new curriculum (based on and empowered by the New Zealand Curriculum document). I have written in past posts about aspects of the curriculum here at Hobsonville Point Secondary School. See here… https://sallyhart72.wordpress.com/2013/12/04/ma-te-whakaaro-kotahi-ka-ora-ai-the-cohesion-of-perspectives-will-strengthen-the-kaupapa/

Many opponents of shifts to personalise learning in schooling would argue that learning that is personalised, connected and integrated tends to favour aspects of the social sciences curriculum. Here at Hobsonville we have developed a curriculum that has none of this type of hierarchy, where all Key areas of learning hold value. One where the knowledge does not drive the curriculum, but the key concepts, skills, fluencies which are transferable across curriculum areas are the focus. These are not only transferable, but allow easily for a variety of contexts to situate and drive the learning. If one were to only see the specialised learning that is a part of our curriculum, you would not see the true coverage of learning here at Hobsonville Point Secondary School. The learning is integrated across three areas.

Hubs, projects SLM

Therefore if one was to place a Physical Education and Health lens on, you would be able to see learning derived from all three areas and beyond the four walls of the Modern Learning Environment. See here…





In hub time, across the whole school, we have one coach for a small group of learners. A coach that allows for cohesive pathways, the guide on the side, the warm and demanding mentor for learners. Coaching and supporting them to co-construct their learning, profiling, goal setting, conferencing and more. Building relationships and whanaungatanga along the way, with learners, staff and whānau along the way. Currently these coaches have been delivering aspects of the New Zealand Curriculum in a slightly different but more meaningful way.
Those who know the Health and Physical Education aspects of the curriculum document would recognise aspects such as (in bold)…

What is health and physical education about?

In health and physical education, the focus is on the well-being of the students themselves, of other people, and of society through learning in health-related and movement contexts.

Four underlying and interdependent concepts are at the heart of this learning area:

Hauora: – a Māori philosophy of well-being that includes the dimensions taha wairua, taha hinengaro, taha tinana, and taha whānau, each one influencing and supporting the others. (Explicit in our HPSS learner profile) see here… https://sallyhart72.wordpress.com/2013/11/11/hauora-habits-and-hobsonville/

Learning hub model

The “my being” aspect of the model includes Hauora and quadrants of preferences of thinking and metacognition.

Attitudes and values – a positive, responsible attitude on the part of students to their own well-being; respect, care, and concern for other people and the environment; and a sense of social justice. (Exemplified in our values and our Habits -our dispositional curriculum). These habits are not token, rather they are a strong part of our curriculum, our learners and our own, critical reflection. These habits draw on attitudes and values and have been developed to support the schools vision. They bring the “personal” to Personal and Academic Excellence.

Hobsonville habits

The socio-ecological perspective – a way of viewing and understanding the interrelationships that exist between the individual, others, and society.

Explicit in the “our communities” aspect of our model. This aspect will also be an on-going part of the learners critical reflection on their learning.


Health promotion – a process that helps to develop and maintain supportive physical and emotional environments and that involves students in personal and collective action.

Taking action and making a difference is also being embedded across the school and is none the more obvious as in our schools big projects, that occur in an ongoing manner and consider a model that aligns to the Action competence process applied in our curriculum area. The model has been personalised for our school and our learners.
The Health and Physical Education Curriculum asks “Why study in this learning area?”
Through learning and by accepting challenges in health-related and movement contexts, students reflect on the nature of well-being and how to promote it. As they develop resilience and a sense of personal and social responsibility, they are increasingly able to take responsibility for themselves and contribute to the well-being of those around them, of their communities, of their environments (including natural environments), and of the wider society.
This learning area makes a significant contribution to the well-being of students beyond the classroom, particularly when it is supported by school policies and procedures and by the actions of all people in the school community.
This aligns to all aspects of our school, vision and values and is being strongly enacted through the three components of the curriculum (Hubs, Big Projects and Specialised Learning Modules). In addition students can bring evidence beyond the four walls of the school, through learning in their own interests and passions.

How is the learning area structured?
The learning activities in health and physical education arise from the integration of the four concepts above, the following four strands and their achievement objectives, and seven key areas of learning.
The four strands are:

Personal health and physical development, in which students develop the knowledge, understandings, skills, and attitudes that they need in order to maintain and enhance their personal well-being and physical development.

Movement concepts and motor skills, in which students develop motor skills, knowledge and understandings about movement, and positive attitudes towards physical activity.

Relationships with other people, in which students develop understandings, skills, and attitudes that enhance their interactions and relationships with others.

Healthy communities and environments, in which students contribute to healthy communities and environments by taking responsible and critical action.

All four strands are being applied in a meaningful way across our school, see my last post on the sense of community that places (up front) all four strands of the Physical Education and Health Curriculum… https://sallyhart72.wordpress.com/2014/02/07/ma-pango-ma-whero-ka-oti-te-mahi-with-black-and-with-red-the-work-is-completed/ The strands are in action alongside many other Key Learning Areas on an awesome day at school. In addition to these aspects being built, with learning coaches, in projects there is also the SLM, (Specialised Learning Modules).
Steve does an in-depth breakdown of this learning here… http://stevemouldey.wordpress.com/2014/02/10/personalised-learning-at-hpss/
The Big Concept for term one is identity, from here I am teaching in the following Modules alongside deep involvement in hubs and big projects mentioned previously.

Museum of Mihi
In this module we will explore your identity through the artefacts and interests that represent you. We will look at how different people choose to represent themselves with different objects. You will then decide how to share your museum of yourself.
There will be multiple contexts and pathways in this module and an exploration of the physical will occur.

Physical Activity Sport and Society
You will take part in a variety of sports and physical activities. Through participating in these you will explore influences on identity for you, others and society.
Aspects included…



Games and Sports (AR)
Exploration of minor and major games and sports, where being active is explored in a fun way.
(AR stands for active recreation- AR’s are SPIN’s being run across the school and across the staff (see more details in Steve’s post above). In “My time another part of our learners week, students also opt into areas of interest or support, so far there has been a definite interest in the student cohort, for aspects of the “physical”.
There is also other modules with Physical Education type contexts, however the contexts all arise from perspectives on the Big Concept Each term, this term this is “identity”. Watch this space for where we go with “Space and Place” next term…..

This has not been written as a justification of where Physical Education is within our school curriculum, more as an example of carefully considered, cohesive, personalised learning, where learners are able to see the connections across the school, across contexts, learning areas and beyond… I believe as a school that we are enacting the NZC in all aspects (including Physical Education) as it should be… with the learner truly at the centre.