KST working in partnership with the Free State Department of Education has been implementing the District Whole School Development (DWSD) programme in the Fezile Dabi and Motheo districts (Thaba Nchu and Botshabelo) for the past seven years, and DWSD programme has observed significant improvements in academic performance in both primary and secondary schools.
The DWSD programme leverages five platforms to deliver its aims: Empowerment and Transformation Workshops, Curriculum development, Infrastructure development and Leadership development and vision support.
These supporting platforms are linked by a golden thread known as, The Theory of Change. The concept presumes that if the educator receives the relevant training, support and learning materials and the school environment is improved through better infrastructure and improved safety methods, and leadership within the school and district offices are strengthened, the quality of learner results will inevitably improve.
Sustainability Road Map
As KST enters into the last phase of the DWSD programme for the next three years, the programme will have a streamlined focus on the Sustainability Road Map and Instructional Leadership. The Sustainability Roadmap aims to drive on-going systemic change, so that System Leaders are equipped and empowered to internalise and take ownership of the skills and tools provided beyond the programme interventions.
The Sustainability roadmap will cut across the system looking at capacity of District Directors, Circuit Managers, Subject Advisors and the extent to which they provide support to schools. Furthermore, it will ensure that this is not only confined to compliance but also addresses support and access to capacity, content knowledge and classroom practices.
In 2018, KST welcomed the FirstRand Empowerment Foundation as a strategic partner whose investment in the DWSD programme will go towards the implementation of Instructional Leadership.
The underlying principle of the Instructional Leadership programme lies with system leaders holding professional, supportive and constructive conversations with their colleagues and teachers; and each other about identified curriculum coverage challenges. With the view to embed systematic programme sustainability, Instructional Leadership targets System Leaders who are responsible for driving academic excellence and systemic changes in their districts and schools. In addition, the programme focuses on ensuring positive learning outcomes in the following areas: teacher development, management and leadership, district development and learner development. By focusing on strengthening multiple learning outcomes, the Instructional Leadership programme is holistic in its approach, thus demonstrating to System Leaders that Instructional Leadership is multi-faceted in its approach rather than one dimensional. KST has implemented Instructional Leadership, 323 schools to date, with targeted System Leaders, benefited directly from the programme. Interactions came in the form of joint planning, co-creation and coordination workshops, in addition to targeted leadership sessions and training workshops across the two district teams (Fezile Dabi and Motheo districts). Even though KST operates in two districts in the Free State province, the Instructional Leadership programme benefits schools that are outside its ambit. To this extent, some 500 more schools have benefited from the programme. This is done in the spirit of ensuring the enduring systematic improvement of learning outcomes across the province.
KST’s District Whole School Development programme as of 2013 to October 2019 has made the following impact in the Fezile Dabi and Motheo districts in the Free State Province:
264 Project schools
277 Schools attended the Empowerment and Transformation workshops
413 739 Learners indirectly impacted by the Empowerment and Transformation workshops
163 009 Learners underwent vision screening
6301 Spectacles donated
636 Leaners referred for further medical vision attention