Taroona High is leading the way around building teacher capacity and developing systems and structures that will enhance student and teacher outcomes and prepare them for the 21st Century (A full outline of all covered in this article can be found at (http://youtu.be/gSkMfTPfO4A "Taroona High School's Building Capacity Overview Film").
Our goal is to build a community of learners that all work together and who trust and respect each other along the way. We want to have a group of people (teachers, students, parents) who all feel trusted, respected and have a variety of opportunities in which to build collaboration among each other and expand their horizons. We are looking to develop students and teachers who are comfortable, competent and confident in using 21st Century skills. We are innovative and determined. Over the next 3 to 5 years, we are aiming to build upon the ground breaking work that we, as a school, have commenced in the areas of PLCs, 21CLD teaching and learning, student-owned BYOD device program and mapping our Curriculum by combining the OneNote program with Sharepoint.
At Taroona High School, we are building teacher capacity through the successful implementation of the PLC model, the 21CLD rubrics, student-owned BYOD program and by combining the OneNote software with the Sharepoint platform. These models/initiatives have been implemented in our school in recent years and are allowing our staff to build collaboration, leadership, personal reflection, confidence and receive valuable support from others around them. Our school leadership team keeps finding ways to enhance our teachers' leadership capacity and these models/intiatives are having a great effect on the teachers and students in our school. Our school has embraced these 'teaching and learning' models and are using them to assist us in achieving our goals and vision (see above). Our staff and students are feeling valued and enpowered.
Whilst watching the film (mentioned at start of article), you will clearly see how our students and teachers have responded positively and have embraced the models/initatives. They have used them to successfully 'plan' their formative learning tasks and relect upon their own teaching practice. Teachers have enjoyed using the tools and frameworks and feel that their capacity ‘as teachers’ has been enhanced. They have felt more confident and have been able to take a 'fresh look' at their teaching practice.
Our staff and students have been exposed to these models/initiatives and are beginning to understand their value in enhancing teaching and learning practice and outcomes. Over the next two years, we are planning to consolidate the start we have made. We are looking to engage more of our staff and students and produce higher learning outcomes by utilising the tools/frameworks that these models provide. Our goal is to firmly establish these models in our school and continue to build teacher capacity and leadership. Our goal fits with the "Passionate and Highly Skilled Teachers" and "Innovative and Dynamic Curriculum" Drivers in our school's Strategic Plan.
Over the past few years, Taroona High has been viewed locally, nationally and internationally as a school that is happy to share its knowledge/structures and work collaboratively with other schools. At a local level (e.g Tasmania), Taroona High is highly regarded as the school that is leading the way with innovative approaches in using ICT and in building teacher capacity. Our school is constantly being approached by other Tasmanian schools to assist in developing, and implementing, their own BYOD program. These schools have always been welcomed to our school during this time (including school tours and the sharing of our school's ICT user agreement and other BYOD documentation). Nationally, our school is assisting with the writing of the Technologies Australian Curriculum. We have a representative who is on the panel that is working through that document. Internationally, our school has worked collaboratively with other schools.(please read 'attached documentation' for a full picture)
As a school leader, it is my responsibility to ensure that my staff feel supported, inspired and valued in their teaching practice. It is crucial that I am 'present' in the school when (and if) the staff require me to assist them and that I give them that time, trust and teamwork that they require to build their teaching capacity. It is important that I am viewed as an innovative, responsive and dedicated leader in my school. I must ensure that there are systems and structures in the school that will support my staff and students and that these are constantly reviewed and maintained. One of my main goals is to build teacher capacity in using ICT across all subject areas and Grade levels. I am looking to create a sense of 'normalisation' with teachers having a high level of efficacy and students achieving high learning outcomes as a result. I understand the importance of our school being viewed as an innovative ICT school that produces responsible and skilled 21st Century students.
THS staffing profile consists of a Principal, 3 Asst Principals, 8 ASTS and the equivalent of 39.5 Base Grade Teachers. Leadership is identified at all levels as a priority for improvement of personal skills and in a number of cases ICT is cited as the vehicle for leadership. Each staff member has completed a mandated Personal Development Plan(PDP) and where Leadership has been approved as a goal, Professional Learning, mentoring and access to training has been provided. Where ICT has been the specific leadership focus, staff have been given the opportunity to lead Grade Groups( approx. 10 staff), work “at the shoulder” of colleagues and develop ICT learning materials for use across the Learning Areas. Within our school, we have leadership roles that have been created to allow greater leadership opportunities for our staff to participate in. These roles include SRC, House Groups, Debating, Global Challenge, Union Representative, Arts Festivals, Music Groups and Outdoor Education.
In this application (and the Taroona High School application film that accompanies this application), 4 Models/initiatives have been identified (PLCs, 21CLD rubrics, student-owned BYOD and OneNote/Sharepoint) as 'building teacher capacity' at Taroona High School this year. All 3 of these models/initiatives have involved a large number of staff. Whilst the PLC and OneNote/Sharepoint initiatives have been mandated in our school, the "21CLD rubrics" initiative has not been mandated in the school. After returning from the Brisbane Alumni Conference, Scott Maccrum launched the 21CLD rubrics intiative with the staff at a whole staff PL session. All staff were then given the option to use the rubric with his support. At the 'teacher level', 6 teachers have used the rubrics this year with their classes. There have also been a further 10 teachers using the rubrics at the "Learning Area" level, as part of the Learning Area's goal to build collaboration within the cohort of staff). (as outlined in the attached film)
Our school actively identifies, and fosters, early leadership skills in our students. From the moment students come into our school (in Grade 7), they are given specific instructions on how to look after their BYOD device and what is expected in using this in the classroom. They can also apply to be a member of the Grade 7 SRC group (elected by their peers). There is a SRC group of students for each Grade in the school. We have 2 IT Leaders identified in each of our 30 Home Groups across all 4 Grades. These leaders assist their HG's students and staff with IT issues in the classroom throughout the year. We have a 'student run' IT Help Desk that is open each lunchtime and manned by the Grade 9/10 IT students. Our school has a Peer Support program that runs each year. The Grade 10 students introduce the Grade 7s to the school and support them through this program. There are staff who coordinate and support these 'student leadership' initiatives throughout the year (see attached document)