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New role ... Eastern Southland Community of Learning Across School Teachers (from left) Kate Sinclair and Emma de Pass have been working with lead principal Annie Nelson to develop a strategy to liaise with teachers in schools to find ways of improving outcomes for young people in the area. PHOTO: SANDY EGGLESTON

The next step to improve outcomes for young people in Eastern Southland has been taken with the appointment of two Kahui Ako (Community of Learning, COL) across-school teachers (AST).

St Peter’s College teacher Kate Sinclair and West Gore School teacher Emma de Pass have been appointed to the AST roles and will liaise between the 13 schools who are part of the COL.

The teachers’ two days are being funded by the Ministry of Education.

COL lead principal and St Mary’s School principal Annie Nelson said the vision of the community was to raise the engagement, achievement and wellbeing of pupils across the schools.

“We now believe that any student belongs to all of us, so instead of all us reinventing wheels in our schools, we can share expertise and speed up our response to students’ needs,” Mrs Nelson said.

It was important teachers did not become disillusioned and kept trying to inspire children to achieve their best.

“Our job is, we are peddlers in hope – we sell hope, hope, hope all the time.”

It was good the two ASTs had been appointed because, as lead teacher, there was a limit to how much she could achieve.

“I’m so pleased.

“These two are foot soldiers on the ground.

“They’ve got a passion for the vision of the community.”

COL members would have a chance to meet the new ASTs on March 29.

“We’re having a whole staff-only day, all 13 schools,” Mrs Nelson said.

Mrs Sinclair said she was looking forward to the role.

“We are kind of the face of the COL because we are out there promoting the vision.

“We’re going to be out in schools working alongside other teachers, perhaps as a coach or mentor,” she said.

The AST was the third level of leadership under principals, who were stewarding the vision, and Mrs Nelson, who was the lead teacher.

The AST would work with the in school teachers, who were yet to be appointed.

“We’re a part of this amazing change and I think anything we can do collectively and collaboratively in our community that is going to help our students be the best versions of themselves, that is pretty awesome.”

In term 1, the pair would work to build relationships with staff in schools.

“There’s some people we don’t know yet within schools so we are at the point where we’re going to be doing school visits just to introduce ourselves,” Mrs Sinclair said.

Miss de Pass said there were many inspirational teachers in the COL.

“I want to work smarter by being able to share the strengths and the skills of all the educators in our community,” Miss de Pass said.

“We’ve got some talent – we can share that talent right through and [if] every school can take a bit of that, then we’re going to have some awesome children that grow up to be great citizens in our Gore community.”