Two wednesdays and two city tours!

We spend Wednesday in Auckland visiting some outstanding schools – then hopped on a place early in the evening to fly across the international dateline to arrive in San Franciso (you guessed it!) on Wednesday.

What a time we are having. A lovely tour of Auckland sights set the scene nicely for our visit to Summerlands Primary School. I have met and listened to the rather energetic Principal, Luke Sumich, early in 2007, when he came across to Australia to visit schools in the Parramatta Diocese. The entire school is painted in bright colours, and every corner or every classroom is inspiring and comfortable to be in. A busy Mac school, students are comfortable collaborating, creating, and engaging in every bit of their learning. This is achieved by a clear focus on teams and team building by this Principal. He creates a shared vision, and expects teachers to role up their sleeves and work with passion.

We talked together a lot about what we saw at Summerlands, and reflected on the similarities and differences. However one thing has been clear – inspirational Principals and leadership are fundamental to creating successful innovation in schools, even though Luke claims that it is team work that makes it so! We agree that it is hard to have one without the other 🙂

Luke’s take on teams!

Our next stop was Marina View School. Oh my! what a wonderful thing we discovered there with MVTV. A full TV studio run by kids, that produces a full show for the school community three times a week. The program includes news, weather, events, highlights of great things happening inside the school, motivation skits – in fact a wonderful program that is incredibly professional. Students manage the entire show in a room that is kitted out just like a ‘real’ studio.

We saw the students run through an entire show – and then they turned the tables on us, and asked us, the visiting teachers, to be the various news readers so we could see what it was really like. Our teacher readers had a bit of a struggle managing the prompt, catching their queue, and keeping a straight face. We got quite a few laughs out of that!

Rather amazingly, we headed off for the airport after this, for our 12 hour flight to San Francisco. We arrived on the same day, and before we knew it, we were off for another tour of city sites taking in the Golden Gate Bridge of SanFranciso and more. We were exhausted, but undeterred, we continued to Fisherman’s Wharf and Pier 49 to relax, and check out the views of Alcatraz (on a very smoke-filled evening), before struggling home for a rather well deserved night’s sleep.

Sleep? I was up at 4 am, ready for my next day in San Franciso – but that’s another whole report.

If you are interested in catching a global view of our tour, then jump on over to the Roland Gesthuizen’s Google Maps outline of our ACCE Study Tour. Thanks Roland!