Joy Allcock reports that 'this has been a busy year for the 26 schools in the Shine Literacy Project. We have been very lucky to receive generous funding support from The Todd Foundation and the Wright Family Foundation and to have the support of the Porirua Foundation to manage these funds. This funding has been used to provide teachers and students with resources, to support professional learning and development for Lead Teachers and to engage Mary Jones to assist in managing the project.

'A key focus for this year has been developing and strengthening the Lead Teacher network. We have a team of highly motivated lead teachers working to support their Year 1 to 3 teams using the Sounds Like Fun approach. The collegial approach and willingness of our lead teachers to share their practice, innovations, problems, and solutions has been inspiring. It is this network of teachers that will ensure the changes in teacher practice are embedded in the Shine schools.

'Assessment and analysis of assessment data have also been a strong focus for this year. We are all using common assessments so that we can accurately track anonymised students’ progress and measure success. Schools are also using the beagle® Assessment App which helps teachers use their own assessment data to identify areas of need and to plan instruction to address needs. beagle® really helps teachers see how assessment data can drive instruction.

'We have also been working on innovations. Schools have been trialling and modifying two new assessments we have developed – a Writing App which analyses young children’s skills as they learn to write, and an Oral Language assessment that identifies specific language needs. Once again the power of sharing ideas and experience is leading to the development of resources that will help support teachers to raise student achievement.

'We have had interest in the Shine Literacy Project from teachers and schools around the country and are working on ways to support other schools take up this approach. We recently applied to the Spark Foundation for funding to help support schools beyond our current network. We were one of several finalists and three of us (Mary Jones, Jess Baddiley from Postgate School and Joy Allcock) travelled to Auckland in May to pitch for funding. We weren’t successful at this time but the Spark Foundation said they were impressed with what we are doing and want to keep in touch with us with a view to funding us in the future.

'So, the rest of the year is business as usual – hard work and fun! We will have more results to share at the end of the year'.

Busy year for twenty-six schools

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