8. Towards Kāhui Ako: Building learning community

"Because there were also other schools in the Porirua area (joining into the DMIC PLD) it made it easier for us all to come together as a collective." Board Chair


"I see Sose and Michele and Kathleen (Principals of Russell, Maraeroa and Corinna Porirua East Schools) all working closely together. I think that's important as well." Deputy Principal

"We all have different strengths…and we all have different weaknesses, so the power of the three is much stronger than the power of the one…. You can carry on in your little single cell in your little classroom and you can talk to colleagues across the syndicate. But there's nothing better than to be able to get together with other professionals in the cluster, within our area all doing DMIC. Even Bronwyn – the mentor – trained within the basin. They're like schools so they're like kids." Principal

"...When I look back at the journey we've come through, part of the PD was to build us into a collaborative team." Teacher

"Last year we included the three new schools that came on board, so then it was six principals, six maths leaders sharing. We now have our own mentors here within the Porirua area. We need to do more. Two more schools have come on asking for DMIC as their professional learning, so as more schools come on we need to make available more teachers to train as mentors."  Principal

The Russell School Implementation Exemplar illustrates the leadership of productive collaboration for equity, excellence, belonging and wellbeing.

The Teacher Professional Learning and Development Best Evidence Synthesis found that productive collaboration is a significant part of effective professional development: 'Research typically reveals, however, only a weak relationship between participation in such communities and improved student outcomes'. (p.19) Timperley (2008).

Some overseas studies in the BES found significant policy investment in teacher collaboration was associated with no improvement or even a decline for 'minority' students.

In late 2014 and 2015 the principals of Russell, Maraeroa and Corinna Schools modelled their approach to building productive collaboration on the Te Kotahitanga 'Strategic Change Leadership' group model involving principal and teacher leadership. Find out more on the Strategic Change Leadership Meeting.

The schools collaborated to access expertise and build capability. A crucial issue for implementation was that other schools in Porirua were able to build capability because a Corinna school teacher developed early expertise to become a highly valued in-class mentor across the Porirua East schools.

Adaptive school leadership to enhance learning for all

In 2015, the New Zealand primary and early childhood teachers' union, NZEI Te Riu Roa, and the Alberta Teachers' Association focussed on the Porirua East implementation of DMIC. Their focus was on evidence about adaptive leadership for culturally responsive practice. Their goal was to demonstrate through collaborative partnerships with researchers how schools can and should evaluate their successes in fostering all students' abilities to grow, create and thrive in engaging social, academic and professional settings. This on-line feature acknowledges the importance of that partnership work and the valued contributions of NZEI Te Riu Roa to the best evidence in action endeavours.

See the video on the Russell School perspectives on the importance of the strategic cross-school collaboration to their learning journey in Towards Kāhui Ako: Building Learning Community