Hobsonville Point Secondary School principal Maurie Abraham says their approach to remote learning was developed in true collaboration with students.
Even before Hobsonville Point Secondary School went into lockdown, principal Maurie Abraham was considering how the school’s values, dispositions and learning design principles could continue to be the driving force for student learning. Being faced with the possibility of significant disruption to the normal way of operating the school, he wanted staff, students and parents to be as prepared as possible.
Processes, systems and guidelines were necessary, but more importantly was the continuation of the “key principles that guided our practice and what we thought made good learning,” says Maurie.
A group of key staff and student leaders were brought together and worked intensively to develop a school-wide approach to remote learning. Addressing the need to maintain their approach to whanaungatanga - relationships and manaakitanga - supporting and looking after each other, was a priority. The school’s commitment to cultivating quality connections between staff, students and parents had to be ongoing, irrespective of whether learning occurred on campus or in a digital environment.
An overview document was created that outlined the agreed approach to remote learning, key practices and how they relate to the school values and principles. This included what learning would look like for different groups of students, the expectations for face to face interaction, and ways to support and look after each other.
Clear and concise one-page documents were created, with one specifically tailored for students and another for staff.
When the school was operating in lockdown, Maurie met with students online at the end of the first week to review how the approach to remote learning was working. Some clarification was required to ensure there was consistency within the Google Classroom environment across learning areas. Maurie also recalls that students were keen to have work outlined at the beginning of the week, so that they could then decide how and when they would work through it. This feedback was conveyed to staff who were happy to modify their practice accordingly.
The continuation of Hubs (an advisory function with a small group of students connected to a staff member) remained the crucial way of maintaining connection and support for students while learning from home.
Overall, Maurie is very pleased on how their approach to remote learning has worked and especially as it was developed through a process of true collaboration.
When the school faced new challenges due to Omicron, Maurie adopted a similar approach and collaborated with staff on how they would respond. “We realised that it didn’t matter how many students had Covid, we could still operate as a school.”
A teacher only day was utilised by staff to create an easy-to-understand flow diagram that would guide their practice in situations such as:
- When students are at home sick and can still work,
- When students are afraid to come to school but can still work,
- When staff get sick or if they are a household contact and want to be able to carry on working remotely.
Specific processes and mechanisms were decided on that would assist staff and students in operating across the variety of learning and working circumstances. A staff buddy system was created to provide mutual support and to ensure continuous student learning should there be staff absences.
Maurie and his team are clear about the values and dispositions they want for their learners at Hobsonville Point Secondary School. Through a process of collaboration and a common shared experience, staff have been successful in keeping true to what the school stands for.
Moving forward, Maurie is keen to embed and build on the “benefits from the good practice that has occurred”.
“We say we are about developing self-regulated learners…what we have been pleased and surprised about, is some students have really flourished with their learning when they have had more opportunity to perform the work when they want to.” The question he then poses is, “Do we need students at school all the time?”
About the school
Hobsonville Point Secondary School
Y9-13 Co-educational State Secondary