Raising education achievement levels
South Otago educators are working together to raise student achievement in literacy and numeracy.
Formed six months ago, the Big River Cluster Ka¯hui Ako Community of Learning met in Balclutha last week to identify and raise education achievement ‘‘challenges’’, in the areas of writing, mathematics, science and National Certificate of Educational Achievement - NCEA.
About 100 teachers, along with principals from the secondary, primary and early childhood sectors, were involved in the twoday workshop held at the South Otago Town and Country Club. They came from South Otago High School, Rosebank, Clutha Valley, Kaitangata, Clinton Romahapa, Warepa, St Joseph’s, Wairewa South, Stirling and Tahakopa primary schools, and all the district’s kindergartens and early childhood centres.
National Standards data findings show schools where they could be doing better, Big River Cluster Ka¯hui Ako executive leader and Balclutha Primary School principal Paddy Ford, said.
Specific areas for improvement included Maori pupils’ achievement, boys’ writing, year 6, 7 and 8 maths, science at all levels across the cluster, and getting more NCEA students achiev- ing merits in level two.
The cluster had employed two ‘‘across school’’ teachers to work two days a week, and more plans were afoot to raise student achievement.
‘‘This term we will appoint 10 ‘within school’ teachers who are released for two hours a week to work on the challenges,’’ Ford said.
‘‘The idea is to share expertise that we have within our own district.’’
Milton and the Clutha District area schools had formed their own learning clusters.
Auckland-based professional development company Vision Education has been contracted by the ministry to facilitate the Big River cluster’s aims and objectives.
Vision Education director Dr Alison Davis, who attended the Balclutha workshops, said clusters were all about teacher collaboration and identifying areas of need, for instance writing, which covered anything from hand-writing to computerwriting.
‘‘It doesn’t matter where that child is, so long as they’re being supported because of a collective knowledge of learning.’’