Linking Practice to Lift Student Outcomes
There is much discussion about the extent to which schools are ‘fit for purpose’ in terms of capacity to help prepare our students for life in today’s increasingly volatile, uncertain, complex and uncertain future. This ‘VUCA’ world makes our School purpose, “To enable quality learning every day in every experience for every learner for life”, an ambitious and increasingly challenging commitment. This statement specifically refers to “every experience”, not just every classroom, and all “learners” in our community at CGS. The measure our success is visible in a wide variety of student outcomes.
Fulfilling our mission clearly requires skilful, adaptive leadership at all levels of our School. This applies to the role of school leadership in challenging the status quo, and initiating innovative structural changes while avoiding fads. These changes are relatively straight-forward compared with the ‘leader shift’ and complex cultural change occurring across our School, captured in the collaboratively developed ‘compass’ guiding our course.
Teacher Agility and Student Agency
Campus-based Teaching and Learning Teams have responsibility for developing collective ownership our strategic Teaching and Learning priorities. Maintaining our commitment to foundation work on formative practice, our FOCUSED model provides the lens though which we have been designing all our curriculum and assessment practices. This model is designed to develop teacher agility and student agency by continuously improving feedback, ownership, collaboration, understanding students, ubiquitous use of technology, specific learning intentions, experiential learning opportunities and data informed success criteria.
Leveraging Technologies for Collaboration and Visibility
AccessCGS is the online learning environment that has been implemented to support the shift from content delivery to more collaborative and visible learning processes. The CGS Learning Devices plan is also evolving, with changes designed to provide a comprehensive and pedagogically sound toolset for blended learning. We look forward to continuous improvement in our digital landscape, and the positive impact that our integrated digital platforms will have on our teaching and learning practice. We are optimistic that our systems will enable innovations that align our organisation and help create powerful experiences for every learner in our community.
Embedding Inquiry for Deeper Understanding
Guided by the Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF), and inspired by the principles of Reggio Emilia, our Early Learning Team joyfully engage our youngest learners.
Our Junior School educators continue to collaboratively embed the IB Primary Years Programme (PYP). The high calibre of the work from our Year 6 exhibitions, integrity and consistency of our classroom practices, confidence of our students, as well as our collaborative approach to practice and policy development have all received high praise from our international network of colleagues. The purposeful refurbishment of facilities has enhanced the functionality of the ‘environment as educator’, and our flexible learning facilities have earned our collaborative planners a prestigious international award for design.
Consistent Practice Across the Middle School
Our secondary school teachers embed the inquiry-based Middle Years Programme (MYP) framework to improve learning outcomes by moving to a focus on authentic learning experiences underpinned by the IB learner profile. Approval of our candidacy has enabled us to implement our MYP Action Plan for Years 7-9. Guided by our Middle Years learning design renewal, our professional learning is enabling us to further develop MYP curriculum design skills and assessment processes to continue to satisfy Australian Curriculum requirements. Context specific practices at our Yarra Junction and Nanjing campuses are in progress, while foundation work in developing discipline specific inquiry units and assessment practices is continuing. Transferable skills and agency acquired through the MYP are providing a rigorous foundation for our ongoing efforts to review and reimagine purposeful and more self-regulated learner experiences in the senior years.
Data-informed Learning Processes
Assessment efforts are devoted to improving policy and practice to gather evidence of learning and deep understanding to provide timely feedback and continuous student reflection opportunities. Our school-wide data group, has also been focusing on a review of strategic school-wide application of big data sets (e.g. PAT, NAPLAN and VCE). This foundation is enabling confident classroom application of data visualisations, targeted coaching conversations, productive teacher inquiry and design-based research. Industry standards for RTOs are also maintained through professional learning, and processes to certify students.
Well Beings at Caulfield Grammar School
Our Visible Wellbeing approach is designed to ensure that all our endeavours positively impact the confidence, competence and self-efficacy of all learners in our community. As part of our partnership with Professor Lea Waters, participants (including students, staff, parents, and council members) have engaged in professional learning to practically embed the six pathways to supporting well beings at CGS. Coaching and mental health training is provided for staff, and school based strategies are being developed to explicitly link our School values, IB learner profile and signature strengths.
Our continuing efforts to link and align these complex changes in practice to improve curriculum design and learning experiences will always be critical to our success in lifting outcomes for all learners at Caulfield Grammar. Our teachers are passionate about developing student-centred and strategies to help prepare all our learners for a VUCA world. Our leadership teams will continue to support the teacher-focused practices, so we are consistently modelling our commitment to responding to “Volatility with Vision, Uncertainty with Understanding, Complexity with Clarity, and Ambiguity with Agility” (O’Shea, 2017).