Tuesday, 21 June 2016

A visit to Albany Senior High School

31 May 2016 From Hamilton to Albany (in the traffic).

This was the first full outing of the senior executive of the Rototuna High Schools (Senior leadership teams from RJHS & RSHS). It was a chance for us all to look at what a senior school model looks like. There are only two current senior high school models in New Zealand, with us being the third one to be developed.

I had visited Albany Senior High School when it was in its beginning first few years, and I am astounded at how much the school has developed in 10 years. What was once a bare structure is now a vibrant and bright space which totally reflects it's students. The student art pieces around the place really have brought the school to life. Whilst we might look bare at the moment, I know that we too will have the opportunity to involve students in creating a vibrant environment of learning that they feel connected to.

The Principal, Barbara Cavanagh is an inspiring leader who believes in providing great opportunities for all young people to shine. Barbara made a statement "its not how bright you are but the way in which you are bright" and this has really stuck with me. It is very much our job as educators to make education work for our young people, not let the education system work them. The fact that they have developed over time, focus on the learning (not just assessment), cater for the development of the whole student and not just teaching students subjects and content, and can boast higher than national averages for Merit and Excellence Endorsements for NCEA is worthwhile sitting up and taking notice of what they are doing.

One aspect of the curriculum delivery that I took note of was the impact projects. The impact projects that the school offers allow for students to learn in an integrated and personalised way. Students drive their own impacts over the year and are expected to at least have one project that is a group collaboration. I think this is a model for us that could work for those students who really "know thy impact" and know what they want to achieve.

Students are challenged wth taking action, self managing, reflecting and reviewing whilst completing their impact of choice. This really seems like a great extension from  our RJHS flight time which responds to students passions, needs and opportunities.

Click here to see what I am meaning about the impact projects and how they look at the Albany Senior High School.

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