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Showing posts from September, 2012

ANA round the Mulberry Bush We go with Principals and schools

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Today was ANA Day - the day for the submission of scripts for moderation and for the submission of marksheets.  There was no other thought in our minds other than to give ANA her pound of flesh.  So we pulled up at Capricorn Primary School, packed out our laptops, spread out all our guiding notes, set up a whiteboard and then felt ready to start the ANA Rhapsody.  Colleen was fully armed with 20-page Flip file stacked with colour-coded sheets and every conceivable correspondence that ANA spawned since December 2011.

Yep, we were ready to roll...

Slowly the ANA-tourage arrived... and I would not have had a story to tell if ANA had behaved like a well-schooled kid....  You see, ANA is not quite your Sound of Music feel-good story.  ANA has been acting more like a hormone-fast-forward teenager and we were the ones to keep the balance. No one can accuse us of not trying.  We really did - just check our meeting minutes and our phone bills. We were completely infatuated with ANA at the office…

Up the garden path on a Sunday morning

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I woke up this morning to the endless chirping of birds. That was my signal. It was time to get up, and move my butt to the neglected front garden. I donned my skinny – by default – jeans and furry bed slippers and off I went to meet, greet and weed my forgotten plants.

First in the queue to get some slimming treatment is Sheena, a seriously overgrown lavender shrub. I lop off the protruding dry twigs and make her feel sexy again. Sheena is originally from Grabouw and belonged to her namesake, an artist, sculptor and horticulturalist. The REAL slim Sheena has since moved to a remote Karoo town because Grabouw was becoming too busy! Behind the lavender bush, stands Sanna, the copperleaf tree. It is squashed against the boundary wall. With a snip here and a snap there, it can stand tall behind her ADHD lavender friend.

 My copperleaf was given to me by my adorable helper and sanity-controller, Sanna. She bought the sapling from a resident who sold plants from his blue bakkie at Shoprite s…

Parent Seminar in our Circuit is a great success of starting the process of rebuilding our bonds with parents

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We hosted our parent seminar at Muizenberg High school today. The power of the session was the collective wisdom of the parents, the facilitators from Parent Centre and Lisa from Changing Hearts and Minds organisation. Another outstanding feature was that the entire event was managed by learners from Muizenberg High School under the leadership of Leoni and Melvine, two SMT members at the school.

I attended the session facilitated by Lisa Pedersen who took our teachers on a journey entitled "An emotionally literate approach working with  parents". Throughout the interactive session, the educators (which included a few of our school heads) were fully engaged. Lisa modelled the very approach she was advocating. Such synergy between theory and practice always resonates with me. She was relaxed, affirmed the participants and gently took them through their paces. This is what teachers are looking for; different effective ways to communicate with our parents. The group was given wor…

Eastern Cape Teachers visit Floreat, Square Hill and Cafda SOS

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Today was an exciting day.  Our Circuit in Metro South Education District (MSED), hosted 8 of the 51-strong teacher delegation from the Eastern Cape.  The teachers are all senior management team (SMT) members at their respective schools.  The schools that hosted the Eastern Cape group were Floreat Primary School, Square Hill Primary School and Cafda School of Skills. After their 3-hour visit at the host schools, Noel Isaacs and Lavinia Davis joined us at Cafda SOS for a reflection session. We were keen to hear what their experiences were like.


During the reflection session we learned these five lessons:

LESSON 1: Teachers know what they need and what they want.

In the absence of a pre-determined programme, Noel, Lavinia and Leonard and their visitors negotiated the terms of reference to maximise their time together.  What was powerful was that all three teams had central thrusts: how the SMTs worked at their host school, demonstrations on the financial management, the management of staff…

Milkwood Lodge is a fantastic launch pad to see Hermanus

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We were ready to have as much fun as we could have on our breakaway to Hermanus, the town where the whales are the magnet, amongst other things.  We wanted nothing but glorious abandon and boy, we got everything we wished for.

We had booked at Milkwood lodge for our 1,5 day stay in Hermanus.  We love to visit Hermanus  once in a while because this town has so much to offer the tired spirits and the overworked bodies. One of our exciting trips to Hermanus was when we went a trip organised by the Two Oceans Aquarium - a whole busload of us.. On that outing we even cancelled our walk along cliff paths because an amazing school of whales frolicked a couple of metres from the lookout point. Even the whale crier was jobless on the day.  Thus, armed with all these warm, fuzzy memories, we left Cape Town in high spirits.  The weather was fantastic, the music and chatter from the radio were laidback and we were all charged to pack in as much fun as we could.

Now, what a wonderful experience we h…

Lavender Hill High School and Sullivan Primary School caught treating our learners like the Einsteins of the future.

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The schools I serve inspire me beyond words.

Take the Lavender Hill High School Awards ceremony, a spectacular display of ‘vision-in-action’.  For this event 85 learners and their parents were transported via taxi service from their drab Lavender Hill area to a classy conference centre in Ottery, about 10 kilometres from their homes.  The timing, location and setting were calculated decisions by the Lavender Hill High staff.  The celebration of excellence is not time-bound and thus there is no reason to treat awards ceremonies as end of year events. Secondly, if learner excellence is going to be acknowledged, then it makes sense to mirror the excellence in both venue and setting.  Subliminally, this is what the school achieved by hosting the Awards ceremony at a conference centre kitted out with lavender-themed elegant d├ęcor and matched with seamless, professional proceedings. How powerful is this!
The second example is Sullivan Primary School.  While Sullivan’s Head, Ernest Moore and I…