Background to this Paper
Aorakinet and Cantatech are currently working closely together. At a meeting of cluster Lead Principals on June 15 2010 at Ashburton College it was agreed to present to cluster school principals the proposal to formally merge Aorakinet and Cantatech in to a single larger cluster.
Summary of Anticipated Cluster Activity 2010 - 2015
“If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”
Clustering or networking of schools takes place because it is often very difficult for schools to entirely provide for the complete needs of their learners and staff from within their own institution. Up until 2010 the main way that cluster schools have collaborated is by the sharing of teaching using Video Conferencing (the eschool). The eschool has become essential for many of the smaller schools in the clusters and a useful extra in the larger cluster schools.
The proposed National Education Network, which will connect schools at currently unimaginable speeds has the potential to radically change the scope and type of collaborative activities that cluster schools can participate in. The current SCD ICTPD project is targetting classroom teachers and providing them with the skills and tools to collaborate with colleagues in other schools in their day-to-day teaching. The collaboration will range from simple sharing of resources, through to joint planning and to team-teaching (even though the teachers are in different schools). The possibilities of collaboration in forms other than traditional VC classes will over the next few years become as important, if not more important than the current eschool model. The types of teaching and learning outlined above are likely to challenge teachers. The African proverb at the top of this section reminds us that effective professional learning communities and a spirit of collaboration will be essential if we are to respond to the challenges ahead.
We are at a crossroads. Cluster activity in the future could comprise of both traditional eschool and enabling 'face-to-face' teachers and learners to collaborate regardless of which cluster school they attend. An alternative view is that cluster activity should be concerned only with the present model of eschool activity.
PMI table of Cluster Model
Brief PMI analysis that the group did in the meeting on the 15th June.
Possible financial gain with first model
Management of courses easier
Blended learning project alignment
Learner better catered for by wider pool of course being offered within the cluster
Bigger pool or participants
Richer collaboration in Moodle
Learning progression - subject streams
Certainty enhances sustainability
Greater sense of community
Cluster size - less flexibility / agility?
Meetings more difficult to co-ordinate with more principals
Threatened loss of identity for some individual schools
Depends on staff
Largest cluster in NZ
Blended learning project and westnet integration
subscription vs free
More political leverage - NEN
Financial and procedural integration
Funding and Leadership Models
Model One: 1.6 FTTE
- Comprised of 1.6 FTTE, $144,000 salaries & $16,000 operational costs.
- $16000 operational costs would include expenses such as: travel and accommodation, technical expenses (mobile phone, internet,etc.), car maintenance etc.
- One ePrincipal with one-two part-time roles
- Part time roles might include administrative tasks and on site support for teachers in geographic region
- two part time ePrincipals on .8 FTTE
- 1.6 x $100,000 = $160,000 per year.
- Assuming 21 schools, the cost per school is about $7,700 p.a.
- Cheapest model presented here
- Little capacity for 'growth in activity' or making the best of the opportunities that collaboration on a wider scale presents
- No capacity for ICTPD projects
- Maintenance of current online projects only
- Emphasis will be on management tasks only
- Some resilience to staffing change in the cluster leadership
- Leadership responsibilities will take less priority
Model Two: 2.0 FTTE
- 2 FTTE's, $180,000 salaries, $20,000 operational costs
- two full-time ePrincipals
- a more distributed model with one ePrincipal in a leadership role
- 2 x $100,000 = $200,000 per year
- Assuming 21 schools, the cost per school is about $9525 p.a.
- Maintain and grow current online programme
- Some capacity to increase the collaboration between schools
- Some resilience to staffing change in the cluster leadership
- Costs more than model one
- Less capacity for growth than model three
Model Three: 2.5 FTTE
- 2.5 FTTE's, $225,000 in salaries & $25,000 operational costs
- Two full time ePrincipals and one or two supporting part time roles. (In effect you have a team)
- Part time roles could be built around administrative tasks or hands on teaching and learning / PD
- 2.5 x 100,000 = $250,000 per year
- Assuming 21 schools, the cost per school is about $11,900 p.a.
- Maintain and grow the current online programme
- Increased capacity to provide PD in schools
- Cluster resilience to staffing change in the cluster leadership greater
SCD ICTPD Project
The staffing for the SCD ICTPD Project 2010 - 2012 has an impact on cluster staffing. This ICTPD cluster comprises Aorakinet, Cantatech and WestNet. The staffing (on paper) for the project is as follows: 2010: 1FTTE; 2011: 0.75 FTTE; 2012: 0.6 FTTE. The FTTE's are for the full project and shared across the 3 clusters. There is huge overlap between the SCD ICTPD Project and the work of the clusters, hence while extra work is associated with the SCD ICTPD project it does not amount to the FTTE's indicated above.
Cantatech funding model
The current funding model to run courses requires each school to contribute just over $11000 which is then divvied out amongst the schools who have delivering teachers. This allows flexibility in finding teachers, but has other disadvantages. As part of an amalgamated cluster these schools would most likely move to a model of one course (and one teacher) delivered from each school. A school that can't provide a teacher will transfer staffing to another school that will provide an extra teacher for that year. There would be no money being paid by each school into a common pool. Rather, each school would be expected to provide a course and teacher (.2 FTTE). If a school provides a course they were going to run with low numbers anyway, there would in essence, be no cost involved.
A needs analysis is not possible under this model, but courses could be decided much earlier in the year. This will be done in consultation with each school.
WestNet have indicated some interest in merging with the the Aorakinet and Cantatech clusters. We will need to keep WestNet Leadership informed of any developments in this area and remain open to a more formal SCD cluster.
Cluster Stability and Long Term Planning
To enable the cluster of schools to plan effectively and meet the needs of schools, the cluster needs to adopt an approach that looks beyond the immediate future. At least one other NZ cluster seeks cluster membership from schools for periods of at least 3 years. This successful cluster finds that this level of commitment enables the cluster to make and carry out long-term plans. It has also allowed the cluster to recruit and maintain consistency of leadership.