Scope of my work as Principal in 2017 and beyond..

 

As Holy Family positions itself to move into the next phase of our development. I have attached a “popplet” view of the extent of my work. Please click on the link eFolder-28mc5ej

Three Pillars:

  • Catholic Identity
  • Ecological Conversion
  • Evolving Pedagogy

Core Values:

  • Positive Relationships
  • Sharing (Trust)
  • Support

Drivers of Pedagogical Change:

  • Negotiating the curriculum with the learners
  • Teachers reflecting on their practice
  • Learners producing their own authentic knowledge
  • Leaders designing for change
  • Involving parents and carers in their children’s learning

Key Professional Learning:

  • Catholic Identity Project
  • Positive Education
  • Berry Street
  • Cognitive Coaching
  • Re-imagining Childhood (Reggio Emilia)
  • CLARA

Key Partnerships:

  • CESA
  • Salisbury Catholic Parish
  • Salisbury Pastoral Team
  • Salisbury Cluster schools: Thomas More College and St Augustine’s
  • Loreto Vietnam, St Vincent de Paul Society, Catherine House
  • Prof Paul Clarke and Naturally Smart
  • Tom Brunzell and Berry Street
  • Ruth Deakin-Crick (Bristol University and UTS)
  • Apple Distinguished Schools
  • Michael Fullan

Key School Committees

  • School Board
  • Parents and Friends Association
  • Health and Safety Committee
  • Finance Committee
  • Effective and Safe School Committee (ESSC)
  • Spring Fair Committee

Community Projects:

  • Holy Family Annual Spring Fair
  • Salisbury Multicultural Festival
  • Moon Lantern Festival
  • Diwali Indian Festival

Three R-7 Vertical Houses of Learning

  • St Vincent de Paul House
  • Mary MacKillop House
  • Pope John Paul ll House

Cognitive Coaching (States of Mind)

  • Interdependence
  • Craftmanship
  • Efficacy
  • Consciousness
  • Flexibilty

 

Completed Building Projects

  • Stage 1: Pope John Paul ll Hall, OHSC (2006)
  • Stage 2: Hall Stage and Uniform Shop (2007)
  • Stage 3: 14 General Purpose Learning Areas (2009)
  • Stage 4: 8 General Purpose Learning Areas (2010)
  • Internal Staff Car Park and External (2011)
  • Stage 5: Administration Building  (2014)
  • New Library and Decking (2015)
  • Stage 6: New Canteen (2016)

Building Projects in Planning:

  • Early Learning Centre
  • STEaM Centre
  • Expressive Arts and Languages Centre
  • Library and Parent Cafe

 

 

Getting down to the details of our PLCs

Professional Learning Communities

#1    100 Languages

This fascinating group is exploring at the outset what the children in their classes understand by the phrase “100 Languages”. What a great start, pedagogically, in going to the children first!

As a sidelight discussion, Ms Battifuoco was telling us how in their double class with Mr De Palma they had minimised their “mat time” in favour of brief instructions to the class, the use of “flipping” content upfront and also breaking the class into multiple groups to enhance the opportunities for hearing different student voices. Moreover, because the teachers cannot be present in each group, strategic placement of students is being made. That is, some children are empowered to be lead learners

Watch this space as I will keep you up to date on how their investigation unfolds.

#2     iBooks

This group is collaborating on the project of creating one Whole-School iBook.

In contributing to the production of this group, the participants are gaining skills which will enable them to author their own iBooks in the future

#3     Ecological Conversion/Recycling

This group is considering how we can re-start our efforts to recycle materials and to integrate this with our STEAM program as we design, construct and appraise our work

#4     Documentation and Learning Design

This group is building on our understanding of the significance of prior learning informing future learning Documentation is a reflective process, a pedagogical practice that provides multiple insights into children’s thinking and engagement, as well as the teachers’ thinking.

“The motivation to document children’s learning should be about wanting to know more and to engage in critical reflection and debate to comprehend and unravel the wonders of children’s thinking and the complexity and inter connectedness that is the fabric of early childhood and education.”

This is a very exciting group and we are hoping to follow through from our recent professional learning with Kirsty Liljegren and Fiona Zinn. We are anxious to share this learning across the school and as we look forward to the Conference in November we want to build our capabilities in these Potential roles of Documentation

  • Documentation as Professional Development • Documentation as Progettazione• Documentation as Communication

#5     Fitness and Well-being

One direction being taken by this group is adopting the notion of “Language of the Fortnight” currently used in our school and applying it to a concept of “Multi-Cultural Games of the Fortnight”. In this way we will diversify the play options available to children in the play area of the school:

  • The oval
  • The hard surface playground
  • The fixed play equipment
  • The Centre (The multi-purpose space housing a prayerful space, Spanish and a Reception Class
  • The Library
  • The Hall

#6    The STEAM Group

This group is getting down to the nitty gritty of how we pitch STEAM to the children R-7. Some classes use whole class activities and some like to offer a range of activities

Professional Learning Communities at Holy Family 2017

HOLY FAMILY CATHOLIC SCHOOL

PROFESSIONAL LEARNING COMMUNITIES

2017

Rationale: Commensurate with our image of ourselves as educators we are excited to undertake professional learning at Holy Family utilising the five drivers of educational change and embracing our image of child as intelligent citizens from birth and possessing 100 languages. These PLCs are one highly effective strategy which we deploy at our school.

No way. The Hundred is there

The child is made of one hundred. The child has
a hundred languages
a hundred hands

a hundred thoughts
a hundred ways of thinking of playing, of speaking.

A hundred. Always a hundred ways of listening
of marveling, of loving
a hundred joys

for singing and understanding a hundred worlds
to discover
a hundred worlds

to invent
a hundred worlds to dream.

The child has
a hundred languages
(and a hundred hundred hundred more) but they steal ninety-nine.
The school and the culture
separate the head from the body.

They tell the child:
to think without hands
to do without head
to listen and not to speak
to understand without joy
to love and to marvel
only at Easter and at Christmas.

They tell the child:
to discover the world already there and of the hundred
they steal ninety-nine.

They tell the child:
that work and play reality and fantasy science and imagination sky and earth

reason and dream
are things
that do not belong together.

And thus they tell the child that the hundred is not there. The child says:
No way. The hundred is there.

Loris Malaguzzi, (translated by Lella Gandini

Everything about education is special and adaptive…

This week our Special Education/Adaptive Education teacher, Ms. Quigley is away from school. As Principal I thought it would be an opportunity for me to visit the children usually supported by Miss Quigley in their classrooms and catch up with their learning. Consequently, I have programmed myself in with the children over the next ten days.

I am learning a great deal from this experience and enjoying it immensely. I’m marvelling at the professionalism of the teachers in the learning provocations they offer to the children and the absolute zest the children have for their learning.

Although some children are identified as requiring learning support, I am entering into the work with the children with a mind-set that each and every child is intelligent and bringing a unique view of the world with them to school.

I am witnessing first-hand how the children learn so much from each other and how they use technology skilfully to enhance and share their learning.

Catholic Schools in Northern Adelaide Embracing Positivity

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As a Catholic School, Holy Family embraces pastoral care as a key tenet in our philosophy. We believe everything in our school begins and ends with our personal relationships. Our other key values are sharing and support. We try to live out our philosophy to treat others as we would like to be treated ourselves.

Holy Family believes Positive Education helps to engender a growth mindset and an open-ness to “the other” which is also in keeping with our sense of Identity. We also like the sense of gratitude promoted by the program. We have also been influenced by the educational thinking from Reggio Emilia that reminds us that every child and indeed person is both competent and intelligent. So in our school it is a meeting place for many convergent theories conveying a message of hope and optimism. We have created an awareness among our learners of their character strengths with a particular focus on the Wisdom strand of Creativity, Curiosity, Love of Learning, Judgement and Perception and the Transcendent strengths of Appreciation of Beauty, Gratitude, Hope, Humour and Spirituality.

Initially I travelled to Geelong Grammar in December 2012 by invitation as part of a Northern Connections delegation to meet Justin Robinson and the Headmaster as a pre-cursor to a group of Northern Adelaide schools working together to establish a program across our schools.

Then in early 2014 five leaders from Holy Family attended the four-day Course “Discovering Positive Education” . On return to our school these leaders spoke enthusiastically about their learning. This created a groundswell of interest leading to our school hosting a further Four Day “Discovering Positive Education “ Conference for 112 teachers facilitated by the Geelong Grammar team. Of the 112 teachers at this event, 22 teachers were from our Staff.

The following year a further 21 teachers from our Staff attended the next available Four Day “Discovering Positive Education” session held in northern Adelaide in April 2015.

In April 2016 Holy Family will host a further Four Day Conference “Discovering Positive Education for up to 200 teachers. At this session we will send any teachers new to the school who have not undertake the training together with most of our Education Support Officers. We are pleased to be able to create such cohort of understanding to support this learning in our school.

The best part of the 2016 Conference is that we are being joined by colleagues from other northern Catholic Schools. St Augustines, one of the other two schools located in the Salisbury Catholic Parish is sending 35 staff to the four day event. Wow! thats inspiring!

Be open and creative and good ideas can flow

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I was chatting to LibrarianSarah M. in the Library recently about the Mass furniture in the Sanctuary in The Centre. I told her that I noticed she did not push the Altar Table or the Lectern into a corner when school resumes each Monday. She told me that she leaves it in place and the children do not go up to the top level. A few things arose from this conversation:

I thought it was very respectful of Sarah and her staff to adopt that attitude. Sometimes when spaces are shared, people can be a bit territorial.
It gave me the idea that more than just leaving the furniture in place, we could put it to good use.
I think the Sanctuary area could be used as Sacred Space or a Chapel until we build our Chapel onto the Pope John Paul 11 Hall in the future.
We can make a feature of the Word of God with the Bible opened on the Altar during the week.
We will add moveable vinyl cushions on the lower step to invite to kneel or sit comfortably in prayer or reflection
Class groups could visit the Sacred Space to listen to the word of God in word or music
We the staff, could use the space for staff Prayer
And many more possibilities

“Magic” Screens, new ways of presenting and sharing learning

Ten years ago when we were installing the latest form of presentation technology at the time, the so-called “interactive Whiteboards” we were removing the “old” fixed static White Boards. When the staff were lifting off the White Boards from the walls, in some places lo and behold they found their predecessors ..blackboards.

As it happened, we quickly found that the Interactive Whiteboards were not so interactive after all. Four years ago we moved to Screens which truly enabled learning interactivity among stakeholders adult and children alike.

The introduction of the screens was preceded by establishing an extensive wireless network which we saw as an essential element in launching the emerging technologies which we could forsee in the future. The trends were clear, miniturisation and portability of devices and a focus on the personal rather than shared devices.

It is interesting in education that there is often a gulf between the perceived purpose of an innovation and the actual outcome in schools. One of the traps for the unwary seems to be when technologies are developed and schools try to fit themselves around them.

In our case the screens fitted hand in glove with our pedagogical predispositions. We went looking for the screens not the reverse where someone sought to sell something to us. In one sense we wanted to wrest the chalk from the hands of the teacher and share it around a bit.

These days children and adults use the screens seamlessly to present and share their learning. The various learning areas have access to a range of screens of different sizes placed in various positions. We have an outside screen beaming information out to the community, a huge screen in the Hall suitable for sharing learning with large groups.

I was anxious that the screens should not be a simple electronic substitution for the previous static forms of presentations. We wanted to move from pedagogy which operates basically the same way it did before computers were developed to pedagogy which simply unattainable without computers. In this we way we are being truly transformational. As Ruben Puentedura describes the process it is about moving the use of technology from Substitution to Augmentation to Modification and finally to Redefinition (Known a the SAMR Model)

Interestingly, other schools who resisted our early promotion of using screens in the classroom are now taking them up. The real challenge, as I say, is allowing the students to use the technology to be resilient agents of their learning.

 

 

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Figure 1.  The screen in my office to which a five year old referred recently announcing he was going to bring in his device, connect to the screen and show me his learning

The latest iteration in the use of Screens is to use the new Samsung magic info which enables dynamic imaging of learning in a class controlled by a teacher loading and storing images on the network and using to post images celebrating learning achievements or providing provocations for new learning.

All learners at Holy Family use their devices (iPhones, iPads and Laptops) to connect wirelessly via Apple TV to share and celebrate their learning. The screens proliferate in our school with three in most learning areas, some in leaders rooms and large LED screens strategically placed for large audiences and lots of ambient light.

 

Speaking of feeling at home in Church….

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Recently there was a meeting of generations in my home Parish when my youngest son acted as Sponsor for my oldest grandson at his Confirmation.

It was lovely when our Parish Priest Fr Michael welcomed the whole family casually but warmly as we assembled in a pew near the front of the Church. “G’Day boys” he said to my teenage boys. (not many teenage boys go to Church I’ve noticed). We have always sat near the front, atypical for Catholics, since my youngest daughter Emilie complained that she couldn’t see when she was younger! (We were then in prime focus late on separate occasions when the same child fainted and another time threw up in her primary years.) She certainly got attention and care.

During Confirmation the Vicar General, Fr Philip told a story about the birth of his niece Kate who now teaches at Holy Family. Amid the huge religious significance of Leo’s Confirmation there was something special about Fr Philip’s approach to people. I think it was about being present in a human way to the people who had taken the trouble to be present in the Church.

Fr Philip was reaching out to all the people there, being inclusive of everyone, posing for photos afterwards as he did at the Confirmation in Salisbury, even staying around for the cutting of the Confirmation cake! I appreciated the outreach to people: it wasn’t about power over people but embracing them and their Vision and walking beside them. Very  homely and very reassuring that we are in safe hands .

 

 

Words from the Wise….

I enjoyed our time spent with Dominican Friar Fr Timothy who was visiting Adelaide at the invitation of the Archbishop.

His message was deceptively simple:

His Vision for local Church was for people to feel at home.

As DH Lawrence wrote that being at home is “to be like a grasshopper in the grass”

When you are at home you are at ease

Pope Francis has a vision for Church to be the house of the Father. We know how well Pope Francis lives out his vision. He is wonderfully caring, approachable and inclusive.

However, the reality is that not everyone feels at home in the Church. Part of the disconnect for people and church may be the way that Church makes them feel.

If people feel judged that does not make them feel at home.

Fr Timothy asserts that people should be accepted by the Church “where they are . He can see no purpose in telling people where they need to be”

As he said, “If they live in Chicago there is no point in telling them they should live in New York”

The same can be said for schools; it is of critical importance that people feel at home at Holy Family.

 

You can at least look the part…

IMG_2392 photo 1 IMG_2495When I was growing up, I can remember my mother saying to us “It is important to at least look the part!”

I think sometimes it related to the sporting field. She was saying that if you were playing a sport, it was important to present yourself well. If it was football, boots clean, socks up etc

If it was cricket, whites clean equipment in order …and so on

I think in life, most people would think presentation was important. Certainly, if you really want something, such as a job, you present yourself in the best possible way.

At Holy Family, we espouse a commitment to Ecology and Sustainability. It would then seem only appropriate that we would present the school in the best possible way. This means we would take care to establish and maintain gardens, to ensure that the buildings are well cared for, painting upkeep well programmed, repairs undertaken where necessary. Cleanliness and a litter-free playground is our heart’s desire