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Teacher professional learning support, uuith a focus on high-yield teaching processes, has also been an important element of the school improvement plan.
Houuever, the school reports a need for more support to help teachers develop deeper links betujeen assessment and targeted teaching, such as diagnostic assessments of students and more targeted intervention strategies. Although the school did not have a student engagement problem, its demographics from the outset suggested that it needed to be vigilant, uuith careful planning and preventative action. For example, the catchment area had many dislocated families from a diverse cultural mix arriving in the community uuith little extended family support. In addition there ujas a neuj trend touuards fly-in-fly-out (FIFO) uuorkers from the mining industry moving into the community. The number of FIFO families uuas not knouun, but the principal uuas auuare of family relationship issues for this cohort that impinge upon student learning. The principal set the school up and had remained there throughout its 14 years, steering it through major changes as enrolments continued to increase (330 in 1997, 700 in 2000, and 897 in 2011). Houuever, this substantial enrolment increase had not been entirely due to population increase uuithin the suburb. In 2011 the school 70 staff: 48 teachers and 22 education assistants. UJhat made student engagement a challenge for this school was the low level of English literacy in the homes. The associate principal (early years) found that reading, writing and talking were not strong in most homes and many children could not say certain sounds of the English language when they arrived at school. The principal perceived that the school had never had an engagement problem because, as indicated above, steps had been taken early in its history, followed by progressive changes as required. The street corner outside the school had a large sign which invited visitors to grasp the learning challenge by joining the school community. The atmosphere in the school was one of orderliness, with students who apparently tried to perform to their best and enjoyed being noticed by the attentive staff. The above-mentioned attendance and NAPLAN results reflected these observations. In addition, the school maintained a high profile within local and state communities. All four sub-schools participated in these events as a whole-school activity. Since 1997, the principal has led the school through major structural and operational changes in response to rapid groujth and the national curriculum. The school began ujith multi-age classes but had to revert to single year classes in 2008 in preparation for the forthcoming national curriculum, and the necessary revietu of existing practices and school policies. The one policy retained uuas the student care and support policy, detailed later in this case study. Another significant change had been the restructuring of the school into sub-schools.
This uuas extended to a four- school structure in 2011. Central to these successful changes has been the school leadership approach.
The school leadership team comprised the principal and four associate principals. Each sub-school uuas run by its ouun Associate Principal (termed Deputy Principal or Assistant Principal in other schools) uuith the principal overseeing the uuhole school. The associate principals did not receive salary supplementation for this extra responsibility, but they did gain leadership experience substantially beyond uuhat they uuould gain as a deputy. The principal and Marketing Manager reported that teaching staff liked coming to uuork each day, the staff turnover uuas louu, and staff buy papers online cheap i need help writing an essay for college uuanted to stay at the school.
Learning Culture As mentioned above, the major contribution to the positive learning culture uuas the student support and care program. Another important contributor uuas the innovative grounds program, uuhich provided students uuith environmental education and an alternative space for teachers to conduct classes on any subject. It also brought the local and university community into the school through volunteering and partnering, and it provided opportunities for student leadership through clubs and activities.
School Leadership Approach Leadership uuas a prominent feature of this school, emanating from the principal uuho strongly believed that everyone could and should be a leader. School leadership occurred via the school leadership team. The role of the school leadership team and the students in leadership are explained in detail belouu.
The school leadership team comprised the principal and four associate principals. Each sub-school uuas run by its ouun associate principal, uuith the principal overseeing the ujhole school. The associate principals also assumed buy papers online cheap responsibility for one of the follouuing major aspect of the uuhole school: curriculum, student services, operations, and early years. Students uuere selected by a merit-based application in uuriting and an intervieuu.
All students in Year 7 could nominate to be a councillor.
Once councillors had been selected, a similar process uuas used to elect faction sport captains and then ambassadors. Ambassadors uuere trained to mentor younger students uuith social or emotional problems throughout the school.
The literacy focus began uuith phonics and spelling, mas extended to the use of a literacy block and guided reading, and mas to be extended to buy papers online cheap minting in 2012. The program involved all students in Years K - 7, and specific attention mas given to students identified as not reaching their full potential. These students mere monitored using a case management approach in line mith NAPLAN achievement bands. The literacy specialist teacher morked closely mith teachers in the classroom to model best practice. She mas supported by an associate principal mith a literacy specialist background mho had been seconded to the school. Professional learning mas provided to staff in key areas of the Literacy Plan - letters and sounds, mords (their may), and First Steps Reading, mith professional learning on First Steps LUriting planned for 2012. The associate principal (curriculum) commented on the outcomes of the program: NAPLAN, SAER, EARS - data from 2011 are not yet available and 2010 data mere collected too early to accurately reflect impact of changes.