Capacity Building for School Improvement: Revisited by Patricia Stringer

By Patricia Stringer

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School practices ensure staff get support in undertaking their teaching duties. Support staff are employed to specifically bridge the home-school gap. All endeavours are attempts to address challenges of location from a community, systemic perspective. Limited parental involvement, a perceived barrier to vision realisation, was mentioned by parent representatives. The school’s attempt to increase this is acknowledged as: Like most schools our parent involvement may not be as strong as other schools but it is being developed with ideas like morning jump jams and inviting parents along to parent chat meetings.

Feeling the need for change means people know that things need to get better and engaging in purpose-driven action. For staff, an improvement mindset means increased professionalism. Professionalism linked to improvement involves: Individualised learning: teachers set their own goals and those that trickle down to the children. Goal setting is a big thing and it’s really up to us; Collective learning: There’s a lot more ownership now of where we are going to meet the needs … a team thing and we can see the purpose to it; and because everyone is there at that same meeting we are all getting the same message.

As observed in meetings, teachers accept lead roles for knowledge acquisition, distribution, implementation and change of practice. Empowerment involves parents as partners in various school activities. A reciprocal relationship exists where staff and parents support each other in governance, decision-making, fund raising and networking roles. The school supports parent involvement through such means as employing bi-lingual support workers to help bridge the home-school divide for families so as to optimise student learning.

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