As you all know we had our 5 year IB/CIS review in November, 2013. As the 6th school in the world to go through this it was a learning curve not only for the school but also for IB and CIS themselves.
We have received both reports and now that we have had time to share them with our staff, the School Council and the PTA we are now in a position to share the summary of the reports with the school community.
Overall we are delighted with the reports and both IB and CIS recognise we are working extremely hard and have made terrific progress in the past 5 years.
The CIS team focused on the past, the present and the future in terms of their report and their findings reflect this. As you can see from the CIS summary they were very impressed with a large number of areas and in terms of the commendations these are suggestions made by the team to improve on what they see as a high standard of education at Peak School.
The IB approached it slightly differently as they have a large number of standards that they expect us to meet. If we met the standard they don’t make mention of it in the report, if we exceed a standard they become a commendation and if they feel we can develop an area further they make recommendations. In terms of the IB we expected to have about 10-12 recommendations as we had identified areas, as part of the 18 month self study, where we felt we could make improvements. In terms of the IB we expected 2-3 commendations as it had been made clear to us that to receive a commendation you had to be ‘setting the standard’ across all IB schools.
All up we received 16 recommendations from IB with no surprises and all of them relate to the areas we had already identified. As you can see below most are either further develop or look to improve on. We also received 13 commendations which is a significant number and an absolute credit to all the staff, children and school community who obviously impressed the IB team.
The school council looked closely at both the IB and CIS reports and concluded that it is a case of ‘tweaking the last 5%’ rather than changing a lot of what we are doing. They were very conscious that we should commit to those recommendations that will have the greatest impact and that we shouldn’t spend too much time or energy on recommendations that won’t have a significant impact. As a school council we also discussed the need to ensure we continue doing the many good things that we are doing and that we do not want to take away from what we are already doing.
As a PTA we looked closely at the CIS report and selected, individually, what passage or passages where most important to us as parents/community reps. One to come up a lot was the fact that CIS commended us on the extent to which every student is seen as an individual and embraced in a caring and nurturing environment. This is obviously an important aspect of any school and the PTA highlighted this as being great to see. They also highlighted the fact that their is high staff morale and with this is the willingness for all staff (the school in general) to strive for self improvement. The comment that the school is not complacent and is seeking to always become better was well received by the PTA.
SUMMARY OF FINDINGS;
CIS SUMMARY – November 2013
CIS COMMENDATIONS (straight from the report)
The Visitors found many positive features at Peak School, of which some of the most significant are:
· The school’s on-going commitment to CIS accreditation.
· The school’s sincere commitment to continued improvement, with particular reference to improving learning outcomes for all students.
· The transparent and frank way in which the school shares both its achievements and its shortcomings with the school community as part of its desire to seek continual improvement. There is little evidence of complacency at Peak School.
· The strong and professional leadership of the school.
· The extent to which every student is seen as an individual and embraced in a caring and nurturing environment.
· The nurturing of a professional and skilled middle management group.
· The professional dedication, commitment and enthusiasm demonstrated by all teaching and support staff.
· The high level of professional cooperation and communication amongst and between staff members.
· The high levels of staff morale.
· The provision of high quality ICT Infrastructure, its creative use as a teaching and learning tool, the ICT education of parents and the development of a future vision for ICT within the school.
· The extensive provision of professional development to meet both institutional and individual targets.
· The introduction and consistent application of expected standards of respect and behaviour.
· The creation of a pleasant physical learning environment.
· The construction of additional facilities and refurbishment of existing facilities designed to provide additional learning opportunities and improve the learning environment.
The Visitors’ comments and suggestions for action in all parts of this report will help the school to prioritise its focus for future improvement. Above all, the school should address the following key areas:
· Continue to develop opportunities within the formal taught curriculum and other learning experiences for students and staff at Peak School to develop international and intercultural competencies and dispositions.
· Continue to develop a fully articulated curriculum that embraces trans-disciplinary learning strategies.
· Use to a greater extent the outcomes of students’ assessment to inform curricular modification and identify appropriate pedagogies.
· The development of detailed framework of policy and practice for English as an Additional Language (EAL) provision in the school.
Noting the above, the Visitors have no hesitation in recommending to the Council of International Schools that Peak School be granted continued Accreditation, subject to routine follow-up. It should be noted that the school will be following the 8th Edition as its Protocol for the Preparatory Visit in the first half of 2017.
In closing, the Visitors would like to thank the Principal, Bill Garnett, and Vice-Principals, Annette Ainsworth and Chiqui Colet, for organising the details of the Visit and for ensuring that the Visitors were extremely well looked after. We would also like to thank those staff members, School Council members, students, alumni and all who met with the Visitors, for the open and engaging manner in which they responded to questions, and for their strong support of Peak School.
Finally, the Visitors would like to extend their best wishes to the school as it develops into the future, and look forward to hearing of its continued success in the period between now and the Preparatory Visit.
IB EVALUATION REPORT – November 2013
COMMENDATIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS SUMMARY
A – Philosophy
3b. The school as a community of learners is committed to a collaborative approach to curriculum development.
The school is to be commended for fostering a collaborative culture where teacher initiatives for the development of curriculum is valued and supported.
6. The school promotes open communication based on understanding and respect.
The school is to be commended for the priority that is given to developing and maintaining strong and open communication channels on a variety of levels. The school has developed a culture of openness and exudes a welcoming atmosphere that is based on a common understanding of the value of community and respect.
7a. The school makes provision for students to learn a language, in addition to the language of instruction, at least from the age of seven. Schools with two languages of instruction are not required to offer an additional language.
The school has developed an additional language programme that is clearly aligned with the philosophy of the PYP. The school offers a comprehensive Chinese language programme on a daily basis.
B1 – Leadership and Structure
1. The school has developed systems to keep the governing body informed about the ongoing implementation and development of the programme(s).
The school council members demonstrate very good understanding of the programme. They show a high level of commitment to the school and articulated the well developed systems that the school has in place in order to ensure that they are informed about programme implementation and involved in the future planning for the school.
2. The school has developed a governance and leadership structure that supports the implementation of the programme(s).
The school is to be commended for the development of a governance and leadership structure that supports all aspects of the implementation of the programme. Despite the challenges of significant turnover of key leadership positions within the school in recent years, the continued implementation of the programme has been minimally impacted. There is evidence of significant support structures in place to ensure the school runs smoothly, even through times of change and transition.
2a. The responsibility for pedagogical leadership within the school is a shared responsibility, including at least the Primary Years Programme coordinator and the primary school principal.
The pedagogical leadership team have a shared vision for the implementation and development of the programme within the school. They share responsibilities with regard to the professional development of teachers, the education of parents and school council members and take a team oriented approach to pedagogical leadership.
B2 – Resources and Support
3. The school ensures that teachers and administrators receive IB-recognized professional development.
3a. The school complies with the IB professional development requirement for the Primary Years Programme at authorization and at evaluation.
The school has planned professional development beyond the requirements, implementing a professional development policy that strengthens teachers’ understanding of the programme, beyond the requirements at evaluation.
5. The physical and virtual learning environments, facilities, resources and specialized equipment support the implementation of the programme(s).
The school is to be commended for the continued allocation of funding to improve the school facilities and ensure that those facilities enhance the implementation of the programme at the school above what is required.
6. The library/multimedia/resources play a central role in the implementation of the programme(s).
The school is to be commended for the actions taken to ensure that the library is playing a more central role within the programme. The library is an active learning hub for students and teachers and the librarians are engaging with the programme in a variety of ways. The involvement of the librarians in some collaborative planning meetings has assisted in ensuring seamless resourcing and support for the units of inquiry.
8. The school provides support for its students with learning and/or special educational needs and support for their teachers.
The school is to be commended for making provision for the successful integration of students with educational needs into the mainstream setting. They are supported by well developed structures and highly committed staff.
C2- Written Curriculum
2. The written curriculum is available to the school community.
The school is commended for the accessibility to the written curriculum documents. Members of the school community can access elements of the school’s policies and written curriculum components through either the school’s public website or through the Planet Peak portal. (Pg 18 C2 Practice 2)
C3 – Teaching and Learning
1c. The school ensures that personal and social education is the responsibility of all teachers.
The school is to be commended for its proactive approach and development of practices that ensure that personal and social education is the responsibility of all teachers.
11. Teaching and learning incorporates a range of resources, including information technologies.
The school is to be commended for making optimal use of information technology in teaching and learning situations. The school places importance on the development of IT competencies and has structures in place that support ongoing development.
The IB Recommend that :
4. The school develops and promotes international-mindedness and all attributes of the IB learner profile across the school community.
the school further implements strategies to develop and promote international-mindedness and all attributes of the IB learner profile across the school community.
B2 – Resources and Support
10. The student schedule or timetable allows for the requirements of the programme(s) to be met.
10a. The schedule or timetable allows for in-depth inquiry into the transdisciplinary and disciplinary dimensions of the curriculum.
the school reviews the student timetable to enable students to better understand the connections between subjects within the units of inquiry.)
the school reviews the timetable to ensure balance between the disciplines within the units of inquiry
C1 – Collaborative Planning
3a. There is a systematic approach to integration of the subject-specific scope and sequences and the programme of inquiry.
the school further develops their systematic approach to integrate the subject-specific scope and sequence expectations with the programme of inquiry.
6. Collaborative planning and reflection incorporates differentiation for students’ learning needs and styles.
the school further incorporates differentiation with students’ learning needs and styles into collaborative planning and reflection.
7. Collaborative planning and reflection is informed by assessment of student work and learning.
the school develops further strategies to inform collaborative planning and reflection by assessment of student work
C3 – Teaching and Learning
2. Teaching and learning engages students as inquirers and thinkers
the school further develops transdisciplinary and disciplinary approaches to teaching and learning in order to engage students in meaningful inquiry.
3a. Teaching and learning addresses the competencies, experiences, learning needs and styles of students.
the school ensures that common approaches are established in addressing the competencies, experiences, learning needs and styles of students in a variety of learning situations.
7. Teaching and learning addresses the diversity of student language needs, including those for students learning in a language(s) other than mother tongue.
the school ensures that teachers further adapt learning experience to address the diversity of student language needs, including those students learning in a language(s) other than mother tongue.
9. Teaching and learning uses a range and variety of strategies.
the school further develops a more diverse range and variety of strategies to use in all areas of teaching and learning.
10. Teaching and learning differentiates instruction to meet students’ learning needs and styles.
the school further explores developmentally appropriate approaches to differentiating instruction to meet students’ learning needs.
13. Teaching and learning engages students in reflecting on how, what and why they are learning.
the school further adapts learning experiences to engage students in reflecting on how, what and why they are learning.
the school integrates in daily activities the use of a greater variety of tools and strategies for reflecting on their learning.
C4 – Assessment
1b. Assessment addresses all the essential elements of the programme.
the school reviews its assessment practices in order to ensure that assessment strategies and tools address all the essential elements of the programme.
3. The school uses a range of strategies and tools to assess student learning.
the school further develops a range of strategies and tools to assess student learning.
4. The school provides students with feedback to inform and improve their learning.
the school further develops procedures to provide students with feedback to inform and improve their learning
the school takes action to ensure a common understanding of formative assessment.
7. The school analyses assessment data to inform teaching and learning.
the school further develops procedures to analyse assessment data to inform teaching and learning, explicitly showing evidence of the impact of assessment (stage 3) on teaching and learning (stage 4) in the planners.
8. The school provides opportunities for students to participate in, and reflect on, the assessment of their work.
the school provides further opportunities for students to participate in, and reflect on, the assessment of their work
the school supports students in documenting peer/self-assessment activities to enable them to reflect on these over a period of time.