Achievements as Rere School Principal
In term four 1998 my wife Vanessa and I were appointed to the positions of Class room teacher and Teaching Principal of Rere School. Rere School is a full primary area school located 40 kilometres south-west of Gisborne within a farming community. The role has fluctuated between 32 and 56 pupils with a Maori role of 30%.
My role as Principal has been both exciting and challenging and during our time at Rere we have tested and proven our idealistic teaching pedagogy on a school wide scale.
Over the last two years Rere School students have made outstanding
When my wife and I first arrived at Rere School a serious reading comprehension problem was evident and generally excepted as acceptable. Within the Junior and Middle school students were reading material below their chronological age. While in the Senior area students were reading material at or above their age but when they were tested for comprehension, in most cases a frightening lack of understanding was evident. These students had good essential phonetical skills but lacked "reading for meaning".
Several projects and programmes were put into place involving; an increase in free choice and in-depth reading activities, changing Running Record methods, training of five parent helpers to assist within classroom programmes and finally parents education on Pause-Prompt-Praise methods.
The results have been exciting, within Reading Comprehension during 1999 Rere students averaged 2 to 3 years progress in one year. The individual success stories are everywhere, parents are excited and students themselves are aware of and have ownership for their success. Improved students attainment has also been reflected in this years P.A.T. results which are now inline with national norms rather than being negatively skewed.
2000 1999 1998
Students at Rere school have dramatically improved
in mathematics and many are this year being extended to exciting
levels of attainment. This success has been due to a focus on relational
understandings rather than rote learning. Within Number and Numeration
many middle and senior school students were missing vital links;
place value, relational understanding of operations and (in several
cases) even concrete number understandings. Students were also lacking
experience across curriculum areas.
The focus has been on:
Several students and parents have commented on maths anxiety
being overcome and the gaining of new confidence. Basic facts computations
speeds have doubled and even tripled enabling students to experience
success and extension.
Graph showing dramatic improvement in Mathematics
PAT National Norms, for the same sample of students.
Rere students have made outstanding progress in
Science. The emphasis has been switched from a research to an investigative
type approach. Rather than reading about science and copying down
facts students are now able to follow the investigative process,
working out their own investigative questions and even planning
and carry out their own investigations.
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