I recently wrote a post on a Principal association that I belong to - the Taranaki Secondary School Principals' Association (TSSPA). I recently attended two other regular Principal meetings in my diary. The first is a professional learning group (PLG) that is made up of a select few local Principals - Liz Malone (Eltham Primary), Richard Bradley (Toko School), Kelvin Squire (Stratford Primary), Rae Sullivan-Brown (St Joseph's School), and Leo (Rawhitiroa School).
Apart from Liz being a Manchester United fan they are an all right bunch. We meet roughly once a term at Eltham Primary (geographically about 10 minutes south from Stratford) in Liz's office (apart from having to look at pictures of Man U it's a good place to meet). Our agenda items are always pretty fluid because Kelvin's brain engages far faster than the rest of us and we've usually moved from an agenda topic to 25 other non-agenda topics in the space of seconds. I find the meetings really stimulating as far as my professional development goes. Trying to keep up with Kelvin's leaps definitely keeps us all on our toes. I usually take panadol with me!
This last meeting's discussions ranged around the New`Zealand Curriculum, oral hygiene in Stratford, wet weather procedures, literacy payments, Taranaki Electricity Trust grants, learning management systems, data that the primary schools collect and data that my High School would like to receive from the contributing schools. And when I say 'range' I mean range! These are never linear discussions. But that is why they are so stimulating.
The second regular meeting is the Central Taranaki Educational Leaders' Association. This is a group chaired by Richard Bradley, comprising all of the educational leaders in central Taranaki. This includes the two secondary schools - St Mary's and us, the big Primary schools to the smallest Primary schools. Our recent meeting included an address by Ernie Buutveld from the Principals' Federation. I always learn things from this group. Apparently NZ now has a minister for 'Special Education'. Who knew? This is the Hon Heather Roy from the Act party in case you were wondering. I also found out that UNESCO has four pillars of learning - Learning to know, learning to do, learning to live together, and learning to be. I quite like this.
Also in the professional development field - I've attached two new blogs to my watch list. One is from the aforementioned Kelvin Squire (something of an institution in Stratford), and the other from an American Principal - Michael Smith (something of a legend to me). Michael's not afraid to be funny. Actually he couldn't NOT be funny! And you should read his blog...and Kelvin's.