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Staff Professional Learning Days – From the Deputy Principal – Teaching & Learning, Ms Elizabeth Watson

Deputy Principal - Teaching & Learning, Ms Elizabeth Watson

Deputy Principal - Teaching & Learning, Ms Elizabeth Watson

Staff Professional Learning 

There is clear evidence that purposeful professional learning for teachers is a key factor in improving student learning outcomes. A strategic priority for the school is to enhance teacher professional growth through quality professional learning and staff formation. Contemporary research suggests that effective professional learning needs to be ‘an ongoing process made up of epiphanic life moments that are professional and personal, formal and informal, in schools and out of schools, singular and collaborative.’ (Netolicky, 2016, p. 281).

As the academic year commences, we continue our commitment to providing quality professional learning for our staff, to ensure they are kept up-to-date with contemporary high-impact teaching strategies, emerging technologies and student wellbeing research. All professional learning is tailored to enhance teacher capacity and efficacy. Our teachers are encouraged to be reflective in their practice and each staff member has an annual Professional Learning Plan to set targets and goals. We dedicated time across our three Staff Days this week to address some strategic priority areas, with a particular focus on High Expectations, Lesson Routines, Data Analytics, Literacy, Deep Learning and Curriculum Reforms. 

Below is a snapshot of some of the Professional Learning sessions delivered this week. 

Data Analytics 

Cognisant that school-wide analysis and discussion of systematically collected data on student outcomes, including academic, attendance and behavioural outcomes, and student wellbeing are crucial to a school’s improvement agenda, throughout 2022 a team of teachers explored a number of Learning Analytics Platforms. Learning Analytics is the process of using educational data, statistical analysis, and modelling to gain insights into student and school performance.  

TrackOne is our analytics platform of choice, and we are excited to upskill our staff in data literacy throughout 2023. TrackOne allows us to collate and analyse our academic and pastoral data more efficiently and effectively, and in turn enables us to better monitor and track student progress, growth and performance across Years 5-12. Additionally, we have engaged with Robert Allwell’s Academic Assessment Services to look at forecasting and predictive data. This will be invaluable in subject selection and monitoring student expected performance relative to achieved outcomes.

Thank you to Ms Helen Barrie, Ms Kaitlyn Downey, Ms Lynsey Porter and Ms Jenna Turnbull for facilitating these sessions. 

Literacy and Inferential Reading 

Extensive analysis of our 2022 NAPLAN data, combined with insights from the 2022 Australian Council for Educational Research Conference, prompted our strategic design of an inferential reading focus across all faculties. The NAPLAN Reading test is designed with a knowledge gap between the question and answer, encouraging the student to connect prior knowledge with a strategic approach to reading text, in order to formulate an answer.

To prepare students for comprehension assessments such as NAPLAN, we have been examining the reading expectations for Stage 4 and 5 students across all subjects, and utilising current research to identify the cognitive and environmental elements that inform and strengthen the acquisition of higher-order reading skills. Staff will continue to curate a repertoire of cognitive, metacognitive and motivational strategies that seek to support our students to ultimately achieve self-regulated learning and high achievement in the reading domain. Thank you to Ms Helen Barrie and Ms Mary Ryan for facilitating this terrific session.

Deep Learning with the Six Global Competencies

Deep Learning sessions were facilitated by lead AIS educational consultant Jorga Marrum with Religious Education and PDHPE design teams. To date, Jorga has worked with Stage 3 teachers and senior staff in Science, English, Visual Arts and Drama to deepen units of work. Deep learning is the process of students acquiring the six Global Competencies: Character, Citizenship, Collaboration, Communication, Creativity, and Critical Thinking. These skills and attributes are essential for learners to flourish as citizens, and to engage and innovate successfully in our increasingly complex and connected world.

Deep Learning moves students beyond surface knowledge by creating learning experiences where students go deeper in knowledge, standards and assessment. Students are actively involved in the learning process as co-designers and co-learners. Deepening units of work enlivens our Teaching & Learning Framework. We look forward to continuing our work with Deep Learning and expanding this across all subject and year levels. 

Literacy and Writer’s Toolbox

After the success of our whole-school approach to improving boys’ Literacy through Writers’ Toolbox in 2022, we are pleased to expand this program in 2023. Mr Rob Tall, Writer’s Toolbox consultant and Ms Mary Ryan, Head of Literacy, will continue to facilitate staff and student sessions across faculties and year levels this year. This comprehensive writing program, developed by Dr Ian Hunter, is designed to improve syntax, punctuation and paragraphing.

A range of tangible strategies have been shared with staff to improve writing efficacy, and the interactive software component of the program has been well received by our students. We look forward to strengthening this program with expansion and precision in 2023.

Programming for NSW Curriculum Reforms

Of utmost importance is responding to and planning for the NSW curriculum reforms across each subject area. NESA has a staggered approach to implementation across a seven year time period (2021-2028) with a varied start and end point for respective subjects. This timeline includes syllabus consultation > syllabus release > syllabus planning and preparation > syllabus taught in schools > syllabus examined in HSC.

I commend our staff who are working assiduously to ensure that our curriculum programs accurately reflect these reforms, while continuing to embed high-impact teaching strategies, differentiated learning tasks, student adjustments and rich formative and summative assessments.

Below is an example of the K-12 Mathematics timeline.

Click here for further details

Professional Learning

I would like to thank all staff for their active engagement with our sessions, and their collaborative programming across the three days. I look forward to regularly communicating the Professional Learning of our staff, as well as the ongoing developments and achievements in our key strategic priority areas. Next week, my article will explore the importance of High Expectations and outline our updated Lesson Routine for Years 7-10.