LOW SES SCHOOL COMMUNITIES NATIONAL PARTNERSHIP CASE STUDY Wyong Public School Innovations in school and executive structure Reform areas All six reforms are evident in the School Plan. This case study highlights: Reform 1
In preparation for the Low SES School Communities National Partnership, the school undertook a rigorous situational analysis. The 2007-9 data showed that attendance rates were below the state and regional levels. The majority of Kindergarten students enter school with emergent literacy and numeracy skills. Growth in these skills from K-3 and Years 3-5 has been consistently low for many students, including students in the top bands. However, a small number have made excellent progress.
Incentives to attract highperforming teachers and principals School operational arrangements that encourage innovation and flexibility Providing innovative and tailored learning opportunities
The school Wyong Public School is located on the Central Coast in the Hunter Central Coast region. The schoolâ€™s current student enrolment is 370, 13% of whom are Aboriginal. The school has two opportunity classes and one IM class. The school has a staff of 26 full and part-time teachers. More than 60% of teachers have taught in excess of 15 years and two staff members are new scheme teachers. The school has enhanced their focus on literacy over the last two years, implementing the Accelerated Literacy and Multilit programs under the Literacy and Numeracy National Partnership. In particular there has been a strong focus on early literacy and working closely with local preschools to develop studentsâ€™ literacy skills prior to entering school. Productive links with local health agencies have also been established to support student learning. The school is supported by Low SES School Communities National Partnership, Priority Schools Program and disability support funding.
In relation to NAPLAN Literacy and Numeracy, there was an underrepresentation of Year 5 mainstream students in the proficiency bands in all areas in both 2008 and 2009. Overall, there was an ongoing trend of overrepresentation in the middle bands in both Years 3 and 5. Growth data from Literacy and Numeracy National Partnership assessments showed consistent and significant negative differences between the school, the state and the Like Schools Group in reading and numeracy. However, there was positive growth in writing. Data showed that the total number of short suspensions from 2007-2009 was consistently around 10% of the student population. A Quality Teaching (QT) survey revealed a significant variance in teacher and student perception of the Intellectual Quality and Significance of lessons. This has led to targeted professional learning in embedding the Quality Teaching Framework into practice.
The initiative Following the identification of key strategies based on the Situational Analysis, the Low SES National Partnership funding, combined with other sources, has enabled the employment of additional staff, increased professional learning and the implementation of targeted programs. Details of some of these innovations follow. The creation of a non-teaching Deputy Principal (DP) position to ensure all curriculum is relevant and engaging. Classes are now structured according to student learning needs and the DP leads the teacher professional learning program. The employment of a Highly Accomplished Teacher (shared with Wyong Grove PS) to provide teacher professional learning in the area of QT, Accelerated Literacy (AL) and peer coaching. In addition, the HAT conducts a negotiated microteaching model where either the HAT presents a lesson to a teacher or vice versa, followed by reflective conversations. The establishment of the Wy Team led by a clinical case worker. This team is a sub group of the Learning Support Team (LST) and supports families with complex issues. This team facilitates pathways of support through the department and other agencies. As families and students become engaged in school, support is maintained by the LST. This case management approach has been an outstanding success with a longitudinal study showing increased engagement of both families and students and fewer student suspensions. The employment of an additional Assistant Principal to manage programs in the early years including speech pathology, transition, interagency support involving the local health agency, the Wy Team, and Leap into Learning. The adoption of a two team approach whereby teachers are in both a stage team and a target team. Each target team is linked to a school priority area and monitors achievement of the related actions. School Improvement team members take a leadership role in the teams. The teams drive the evaluation and writing of the school plan, allowing for distributed leadership. Team members consistently share new ideas gleaned from their own research and
a two day sharing conference is planned for mid-2012. In effect, school improvement is owned by the staff.
The creation of an additional Learning Support class that caters for students from Stages 2 and 3, supporting students who are identified as being at risk of not achieving benchmark levels. Following a successful trial of a Yearning for Learning class, the creation of Yearning for Learning (Y4L) classes in Stages 1, 2 and 3 to better cater for the needs of talented and some underachieving students. A Return to Class program, staffed by a full-time teacher who works with students returning from suspension to develop social skills and resilience to support their successful behaviour and learning. The students are then supported through a transition process to rejoin their normal class. The employment of two School Learning Support Officers, (including one specialising in Aboriginal Education), a paraprofessional, and a Community Engagement Officer, all of whom support the changed class structures. The implementation of AL in 2010. Teachers design their own integrated units that address the outcomes of a range of KLAs. A partnership with Area Health, to develop a comprehensive scope and sequence in personal development, health and physical education. The development of Personalised Learning Plans (PLP)in Term 1 for all students. The plans identify three learning goals with accompanying strategies.
Initial success Clear signs of improvement were evident from NAPLAN 2010 data. In Year 5, average growth in writing was above the region and the state levels. In reading, average growth approximated the State and the region and in numeracy there was strong growth at the upper levels. There was a decrease in the number of notifications of serious misbehaviour from 2009 to 2010 calculated on a pro rata basis. Short suspensions were halved in 2010 to approximately 5% of all students. All students in the initial Y4L class indicated in surveys that they felt challenged and in greater control of their learning. The students believed that the work was tailored to their individual level of ability and that the teacher responded quickly and on an individual basis to problems or questions. Student, teacher and parent/carer surveys indicated that the PLP process served to engage families and aimed at developing a partnership in learning. Of the parents/carers surveyed, 100% reported that the PLP provides a positive contribution to student learning and allowed them to be involved in the achievement of the student’s learning goals. Staff reported that the process was highly effective in the engagement of families and supported student learning, providing ownership and greater responsibility for learning. Student feedback reflected a very positive view of the effectiveness of PLPs. Based on the 2010 evaluation, the school is continuing with the following key strategies: the change in school structures which began in 2010, including the employment of a HAT and the restructuring of the school’s executive the two team approach targeted Professional Learning focussed on Quality Teaching, curriculum differentiation and literacy strategies employed under Literacy and Numeracy National Partnership the Return to Class program supporting challenging students the emphasis on significant data collection and analysis to inform teaching and learning, for example, the use of surveys and focus groups,
and the Data Analysis Skills Assessment (DASA) for all staff. Evaluation and monitoring The school will use quantitative data from NAPLAN and EMSAD Literacy and Numeracy National Partnership data to measure students’ improvement in literacy. Improvements in teacher satisfaction, the implementation of quality teaching and learning in classrooms and the value of ongoing professional learning will be measured by teacher surveys, focus groups and classroom observations. Parent, student and teacher feedback will be sought through surveys distributed at the end of each semester. Progress will be reported in the Evaluation Report and the Annual School Report. References Accelerated Literacy: http://www.curriculumsupport.education.nsw.gov.a u/national/assets/npln_det1.pdf Quality Teaching: https://www.det.nsw.edu.au/proflearn/areas/qt Multilit: http://www.multilit.com/