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CRANBOURNE NETWORK PRINCIPALS’ STUDY TOUR 27 th September to October 17 th, 2008.

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Presentation on theme: "CRANBOURNE NETWORK PRINCIPALS’ STUDY TOUR 27 th September to October 17 th, 2008."— Presentation transcript:

1 CRANBOURNE NETWORK PRINCIPALS’ STUDY TOUR 27 th September to October 17 th, 2008

2 Preamble In 2008 the Southern Metropolitan Regional Director authorised a Cranbourne Network Principals’ study tour of exemplary schools in the United States of America and Canada. Steve Phillips, Loretta Hamilton, David Hinton, Peter Hicks, Georgina Wilson and Peter Hanley were the Principal Class Members who participated.

3 Washington D.C.: The School Without Walls, Alice Deal Junior High School, Lafayette Elementary School (E.S.) Fredericksburg, Virginia: North Stafford High School, Rodney Thompson Middle School (M.S.), T. Benton Gayle M.S., Hartwood E.S. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: North Allegheny Intermediate School, Hosack E.S., Neshannock School District – Elementary, Middle and High Schools York Region, Toronto: Teston Village Public School, Dr. D. W. Williams High Schol, York Region District School Board, York Centre for Leadership and Learning Schools and Districts Visited

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5 To follow From our observations we cannot make generalisations about education in the USA because it is a country of 300 million with wide geographical, economic and cultural differences. However, based on what we saw this report contains our Observations/Interpretations and implications in areas as diverse as School Organisation and Governance, Student Learning, Student Pathways and Transitions, and Student Engagement and Wellbeing.

6 Working under the following mandates... NCLB – No Child Left Behind – where 100% of students by the Year 2014 must be proficient or advanced on the State test in Math and Reading (Writing, Science, Social Studies) AYP – Adequate Yearly Progress - is expected for the school from year to year School data is published Failing schools have intervention Everyone is clear on the importance of student data as the measure of school performance

7 Observations: School Governance Schools resourced through federal, state and local government funds Local community directly involved in education through their ‘rates’ School organisation varies across Districts and States: eg. elementary, middle, junior high, intermediate, high school, senior high school

8 Observations: School Resources Buildings impressive and spotlessly clean Curriculum facilities fully catered for A lot of money spent! Sporting facilities were outstanding

9 Observations: School Resources Schools had many banners promoting values Schools proudly displayed awards Schools had mascots/symbols Signage evident No graffiti

10 Observations: High Schools Facility provision and course selection was outstanding Support services such as multiple counsellors and sports health programs were evident

11 Observations: High Schools Mascots and school colors were on constant display High Schools built and re-built in excess of $60 million

12 Observations: High Schools Physical resources included: spacious grounds (suburbs/rural areas), multiple gyms, weight rooms, football stadiums and sporting fields, auditoriums, band rooms

13 Observations: High Schools TAFE type courses: motor mechanics, horticulture, sports medicine, child care training, printing workshops, television studio Other learning included: virtual learning, advanced placement, remediation classes

14 Wide variety of electives Summer school, after school catch up classes, elimination of elective classes SAT exams and grade point average (for entry to College. No VCE Observations: High Schools

15 Evidence of planning and support for individual students to ‘get there’. Watch lists for students at risk of not meeting minimum standards Observations: High Schools

16 More instruction time per day with only a 30 minute break Students go to school for 180 days (Vic. 200 days) Observations: High Schools

17 Minimum expectation that students complete High School Observations: High Schools Every aspect of school was valued by the community as evidenced by sporting teams, car stickers promoting the School District, media coverage

18 Observations: Middle and Junior High Schools Many structured with 4 teachers and 100 students 4 teachers teach: Mathematics, English, Science, Social Studies (+ Reading) One school compared student achievement data to a student’s preferred learning style Literacy and Numeracy coaches/experts were part of each team

19 Collaborative teamwork is essential to assist all students and to pass on new ideas gained from P.D. At risk students are taught by a close knit group of teachers, eg. The Academy Changing whole school culture through establishing study groups who look at the data and share good ideas Observations: Middle and Junior High Schools

20 Differentiated instruction is based on learning styles Established a data base of student learning styles that is accessible by all teachers in the school Using concrete materials in maths classrooms is important in ‘why’ we do something, i.e. problem solvers Observations: Middle and Junior High Schools

21 CRISS – (creating independence through student owned strategies) teaching children how to think about their own thinking These CRISS strategies support all subjects All teachers are trained in CRISS in order to teach children to be critical thinkers and be responsible for their own learning Observations: Middle and Junior High Schools

22 Reading is essential in the middle school not just in English classes and is treated as a separate subject in one school The Reading Specialist facilitated the Reading program with teachers at each level Common Reading strategies are taught across the school Reading specialists ‘model’ in classrooms for all teachers All teachers teach Reading Observations: Middle and Junior High Schools

23 Pre and Post assessment is essential Different ways of testing students Pre assessment will guide instruction Observations: Middle and Junior High Schools Assessment must impact the teaching lessons Need to get teachers used to looking at data and what, as a teacher, is not working

24 Observations: Intermediate School One School District had a school set up as a Year 9 and 10 school Children in this school did not undertake State testing however their past results are used to drive teaching

25 Observations: Intermediate School Lifetime fitness was the P.E. model used in this school, eg. bicycle riding, running on trails, activities to do throughout life (rather than team sports)

26 Observations: Intermediate School Senior Citizens Program – students create a 6 week program whereby the seniors work with the students Community connections through this program Students give back to the community

27 Observations: Intermediate School Data is analysed by teachers to drive their teaching Students who are not proficient on the tests are expected to take make up classes at the expense of electives

28 Observations: Intermediate School Teachers need to work together to get students to the next level Teachers are given ‘time’ to look at the data for trends, patterns, gaps in the curriculum Teachers then bring their data back to the ‘whole’ faculty to devise an action plan to work on All students undertake tests including those with a disability.

29 Observations: Elementary Schools Some elementary schools included a pre-school (our kindergarten) The core curriculum consists of English, Mathematics, Social Studies and Science. Students had the goal of each lesson and the day’s timetable on display Students can then articulate their learning goals

30 Observations: Elementary Schools State standards and data were on display Disadvantaged students had subsidised lunches Only one school had a morning recess Unstructured play was limited by having half a lunchtime taken up in the cafeteria Many schools run ‘goal’ or gifted programs ICT was limited Some Kindergarten (Prep) classes only ran for half a day

31 Observations: Elementary Schools Successful schools were those who focussed relentlessly on whole school strategies for improving learning Timetabling: all students had a literacy block Common preparation time is beneficial leading to alignment in planning, delivery and practice

32 Observations: Elementary Schools Students at risk: weakest student in each class is concentrated on and worked on as a team Assessment for Learning: teachers give the students ‘up front’ the strategies for successful learning Student led interviews and sharing of portfolios

33 Observations: Elementary Schools “Moodle”: student blogging; students critiquing student responses to learning All support staff were timetabled in during guided reading to assist and support ‘at risk students’ every single day

34 Observations: Elementary Schools Staff need to work out the success criteria based on assessment and then translate that into student language Teachers can tend to teach below the standard; sometime by up to 2 years below

35 Observations: Elementary Schools Children need to know what they are learning and when they have achieved what they set out to learn We are learning to … ; I know I have achieved this when … In Toronto, day care centres are attached to the school but run separately from the school Schools are using current research to drive improvement, eg. Reeves, Stiggins, Fullan

36 Observations: Assessment and Data Assessment and data drive instruction are pivotal to student success Staff need to own the data and analyse it for improvement Data is on display for all to see Students need to know what they are learning before further learning takes place Students need to articulate their learning

37 Observations: Staffing Staffing availability varies from State to State and District to District The success of the school can be dependant on the socio-economic status of the community

38 Observations: Staffing Wealthier districts can afford to pay teachers more and therefore have more applicants for jobs (4000 applicants) The selection process is rigorous and can be a three step process

39 Observations: Staffing Principal Evaluations: competency analysis, productivity analysis: communication, leadership, planning and organisation, student performance (#1)

40 Observations: Staffing Sometimes the top teacher salary exceeds the Principal’s salary 4 domains for teacher assessment: planning and preparation, classroom environment, instructional delivery, professionalism Teachers are held accountable for their students’ results

41 Observations: Staffing Principal does pre-observation, observation and then post observation. Long term teachers can have peer observations Some teachers have self assessments Teachers who are unsatisfactory have improvement plans An ‘unsatisfactory’ teacher evaluation could be used in not hiring an applicant

42 Observations: Leadership Each leadership team was highly articulate when explaining their school purpose and direction Principals were ‘media savvy’ Principals were highly educated and had formal leadership training before becoming a Principal Superintendent roll is different to chain of command here in Victoria

43 Observations: Leadership A focus on instructional leadership Principals conducted walk-throughs There appeared to be a lack of networking between schools and school leaders at certain levels

44 Observations: Academic and Support Services Some schools undertook differentiated instructions (but not all) The curriculum was less crowded Formal learning standards were openly on display in most classrooms

45 Observations: Academic and Support Services The testing data is owned by teachers, students and parents Teachers MUST know how to analyse and interpret the data Professional learning is the absolute key

46 Observations: Academic and Support Services Teachers can no longer ‘teach to the middle’ Teachers need to be accountable for implementing programs that meet the needs of all students Working in teams with joint responsibility for learning outcomes is most effective

47 Observations: Academic and Support Services High emphasis on school security All students stay at school until the end of the academic year Abundance of counsellors and paraprofessionals in schools Speech pathologists are attached directly to schools Teacher aide provision was significant

48 Observations: ICT ICT was very limited especially in elementary and middle schools Computer usage did not appear very ‘sophisticated’ Some senior high schools offered ‘virtual learning’ classes for high achieving students Students did not have their own notebooks Some high schools had banks of notebook computers

49 Important Implications Levels of funding for education appeared much higher in the schools we visited and therefore curriculum provision was extensive Students were provided with the equipment to learn Interventions in learning appeared to be made earlier; rather than remedial classes The most successful schools focussed relentlessly on whole school strategies for improving learning

50 Important Implications Effective use of student assessment was used to drive curriculum planning and staffing provision The emphasis on using and discussing data was pivotal Student data was the measure of school performance Schools that used assessment for learning also focussed on teacher development

51 Important Implications Pre-school provision within schools enabled positive transition and earlier monitoring of student learning The overcrowded curriculum was reduced to Mathematics, English, Social Studies and Science Reading/Writing skills are not just the responsibility of the English teacher Knowing every student well is vital in ensuring success

52 Important Implications There are resources available to us but they are fragmented and run by different agencies Re-locating community resources within schools caters for a better and more immediate use of resources Middle Schools catered differently for students – not just the high school model

53 Important Implications Pride in the school and district was highly evident Symbols and celebrations were highly successful in engaging students and the community Students need to be at school learning and graduating from ‘High School’


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