Smarter Schools case studies - St Patrick's School

Uploaded by DEEWRmedia on 09.12.2012

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St Patrick's School here in Mansfield Park is a
small primary school with about 205 children.
We have about 95% of our students come from a
non-English speaking background; predominantly of
Vietnamese background, about 60%, but we also have
about 16 or 17 different cultures, and
increasingly so, we're having cultures of different
nationalities coming through over the next few years.
We understood that National Partnerships was more
about us determining what our needs were.
We weren't really looking at data in a way that
would actually inform our teaching and learning.
So we would collect data like running records and
early years assessment, and we would send off that
data to where it needed to be sent off, but we
were not finding either the time, or maybe didn't
sort of really able to grasp how to sort of
analyse that data and how that data can help.
I think where we're heading is that we're actually
going to become increasingly a more data evidence
in our teaching and learning.
My role as the professional learning community
leader is to guide our teachers into setting a
goal, a specific goal for 2011, to design
deliberate teaching strategies to improve the
reading outcomes for our students.
So based on the data that we gathered, we
identified the gaps in our children's learning and
we designed learning centres which specifically
targeted the meaning of words and lots of visual
learning opportunities, and lots of oral language
opportunities where children work in small groups
and can discuss words and pictures.
We do reading activities and we learn about
different ways of reading, like inferencing and stuff.
We sometimes look at the cards and see what
they're doing, try and imagine.
I enjoy reading because I can imagine all the
things that happen in the novel.
The data's huge I think.
It's really, really important because it guides us
in where we need to go with our instructions.
So for example with the guide reading, when we
were looking at that we saw that inferencing was
the main concern of vocabulary, and I guess that's
because of the ESL needs.
So that was where we went with our teaching, and
then we continuously collect data during the term
and during the program so that we can see that
they're improving and if it has a shift to another
area that they need to go in then we go with that.
In here, we really create the program, the
educational program for each of our children.
It's fairly individualised and specialised,
depending on their needs.
I mean the main agenda, the sort of framework for
our whole curriculum is communication, language
development and socialisation.
So what the National Partnership funding has done
for us is give us time to work together as a team
- the two teachers, the two ESOs and the librarian
- and it's helped us really be able to think about the
curriculum we're providing and really observe the children.
I think they have shown a really big improvement, just
through their I guess enthusiasm as well and energy.
They really love reading, and I think that's
because they're more confident with it now and
they know - because we focus obviously more on
comprehension, so before they could read and
decode, but they didn't understand what they were
getting from it.
So now that they're getting that, they're really
enjoying it and they're using more vocabulary in their
writing as well, which they're getting from their reading.
National Partnerships has allowed us to actually
look at the way we're doing things, have the
opportunity to meet, and not necessarily go off
and do a professional development and then come
back, but actually have learning teams with the
support of the literacy consultants that can
actually support us, discuss our practices, look
at how we can do things better, actually sit down
and assess running records, assess early years
assessments, and actually discuss them.
I suppose one of the greatest gifts that I've been
able to receive through this program is that I'm
developing as a curriculum leader, and developing
in the understanding of how data can be quite powerful.
So if you wanted to know more about some of the work
that's happening here at St Patrick's School, we're more
than happy to receive any calls or speak to other schools.
I think it's important for us to develop that network.
We have a network not only here in South Australia
of the other schools, but it's important to share
with other states as well, so we're more than
happy to have a conversation with you.
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