Welcome to Excellere College. We are excited to be part of God’s purpose for Whangarei, and Northland. Our College vision, Excellence in learning; Christianity in living, provides the benchmark for our purpose. It clearly states the goal we have for our learning community.
Excellere College bases its learning journey around four major aspects. These four aspects provide a foundation for all our learning decisions and development:
- The Promise: To develop a sense of God’s purpose for our lives.
- Relationship: To develop a sense of God’s love for us.
- Guidance: To develop a sense of God’s plan through history.
- Wisdom: To develop a sense of God’s Grace.
We have an unrelenting focus on student learning, which sees us exploring 21st century learning, constantly improving our use of formative evidence to inform teaching practice, seeking to grow the positive partnership we already have with parents, and embedding student voice and agency into our learning culture. We have developed a Student Graduate Profile which provides purpose and direction amongst students, parents and staff.
We exist in a wonderful semi-rural setting, surrounded by God’s creation and invite you consider Excellere College as your school of choice.
Our vision for learning focuses on the creation of collaborative communities of learning. These communities would involve a partnership between school and community in providing the highest quality opportunities and outcomes for all. There would be an emphasis on igniting a desire for lifelong learning for all those involved. Students would receive the highest quality teaching in a supportive, enriched environment; staff would continue their own professional learning supported by the school; and parents would be partners in the learning journey, both within and beyond the school environment.
Underlying the community of learning must be a strong school culture and moral purpose. This includes the traditions, beliefs, values, and assumptions the school has been built on. This culture is the ‘way things are done’, and provides the security and energy for an ongoing growth process. The moral purpose is the commitment of all to the importance of learning, for its own sake. This must be built upon a deep community enrolment, and ongoing inclusion in the learning journey of their children and the school.
“Leadership is at the heart of any successful community of learning; leadership built on character, competence and connection” (Maxwell, 2010).
With the trust these three qualities build, a visionary leader can empower others to contribute to the shared vision, and enrol themselves in the journey. Relationships are at the centre of any organisation, and a leader must prioritise this aspect of their style. A successful leader will build capacity throughout their organisation so leadership is distributed and individual gifts are enhanced. They will participate in ongoing self-reflection and communication will be typified by a culture of honest, open conversations.
Education today is very different from that of the past. Traditional solutions often don’t address current issues. The amount of information available today means children must learn the skills of learning itself, not simply content knowledge. Research into learning means we are better informed in providing opportunities, and spaces, for children to learn successfully, while the pressures for greater effectiveness and efficiency mean schools must be proactive in their educational vision. The societal pressures apparent within communities require schools to look beyond the school gate for their field of dreams.
Maxwell, J. C. (2010). The Complete 101 Collection: What Every Leader Needs To Know. Nashville, USA: Thomas Nelson.
The Promise (Learning Culture: Kingdom )
Excellere College must provide excellent academic achievement within a supportive Christian environment. This requires a commitment towards a learning philosophy which is inclusive, authentic, and owned by all. The goal is to equip a young person to be able to follow their own passion and use their gifts, in a learning environment that illustrates God’s purpose in the world. Strong staff professionalism and a supportive community will provide a solid base for further development of the school as a major community of learning.
Relationship (Personnel: Jesus Christ)
People are the most important resource of any school. A strong collaborative team culture which empowers individuals in their gifts must be developed. This will be achieved through outstanding teaching practice and continuous professional improvement. Staff must also be provided with opportunities to grow personally in their own Faith, which is a witness to our students. If we want our students to be more like Jesus when they leave, then our staff must be more like Jesus in order to teach them.
Wisdom (Foundations: Scripture)
Excellence must be the standard at Excellere College. This will be based on a learning curriculum that has its foundations in Scripture and encourages curiosity, uses authentic experiences and is research-influenced. It must be engaging and challenging for the learner, and teacher. Within the structure of our Learning Heart we must continue to seek the integration of our special character, values, and future-oriented learning contexts. We must also continue to challenge the embedded reality of the ‘world’ from a Christian worldview.
Guidance (Systems: Holy Spirit)
Environment has an affect on learning, and we must continue to explore opportunities to improve the physical, social and virtual environments we provide at Excellere College. This would involve considering how to best develop flexible, collaborative learning spaces, connect with student voice, and engage with useful technology. We need to look at the ‘big picture’ of our current systems and continuously seek to provide an environment that is receptive to the learning needs of our students.
Our vision for a Community of Learning at Excellere College has, at its core, the pursuit of God’s Kingdom on Earth. This is supported by three aspects: the personnel we engage, the foundations we work from, and the systems we put in place. All these produce a learning culture of excellence for our students.
Using concepts from “The Fifth Discipline” (shared vision, mental models, team learning, personal mastery, systems thinking), we identify areas of focus within each aspect. These give us the basis for continually improving all aspects of our community within an ongoing strategy of growth.
Senge, P. (1990). The Fifth Discipline. Sydney, Australia: Random House.
An ongoing strategy to expand the capacity to learn at Excellere College
Although each phase may have an initial timeframe, this would be dependent on progress, and other influences. Phases may, in fact, be concurrent or overlap. As with any plan, it is all dependent on contact with reality.
Phase 1. Rediscovery
– Developing a Learning Community;
– Exploring and initiating change.
Phase 2. Realignment
– Developing a Community of Practice;
– Implementing and adopting change.
Phase 3. Refinement
– Developing a Community of Learners;
– Accepting and embedding change
“A Learning Community has change as its central purpose. Its aim is to build the disposition for growth, and the capability for ongoing change”;
“A Community of Practice focuses on developing and sustaining “best practice”. Its aim is to deepen and expand members’ collective knowledge of their shared endeavour, through ongoing interaction”;
A Community of Learners continues to “provide opportunities for its members to grow and develop, whilst building in processes to encourage and sustain innovation across the system”. (Bull, 2-12)
Once these initial phases are completed and a community of learners is functioning successfully there will be a need to continue the process. This will involve recommitting to the vision, re-igniting passion, replenishing resources, and reflecting on the journey.
Bull, A. & Gilbert, J. (2012). Swimming out of our depth? Leading learning in 21st century schools.
Wellington, NZ: NZCER Press.