#MLE Melbourne Tour 2015 - Dandenong High School

 Vision; Leadership; Agency

Our visit to Dandenong High School as part of Core Education's MLE Melbourne Tour, was both interesting and exciting. Personally, being able to compare and contrast my own experiences of a 'SWISS' - 'Schools within schools' model from my teaching days at Albany Junior High School, gave me much insight of furthering educational possibilities with a more integrated approach across all year levels. The key here seems to be visionary, strong leadership, and a shared vision.

Advice from principal, Susan Ogden

1. Need to know your community / students
2. Staff need to be part of the process - they own it, they do it
3. Vision - clear, invited into and OWN
4. Persistence and relentless, stray true, no matter what
5. Fun - sense of fun, passion - keep it alive,be inspired by what you do celebrate success (culture)
The biggest challenge identified by Sue, was the merging of spaces, practices and communities. We value cultural diversity, shared pedagogy, clear vision, personalisation, and collaboration. Janelle's blog post captures the background and history of the school, along with a collection of photos.

Leadership & Vision

Dandenong's golden circle - VISION
The SWISS - schools within schools model allows the school to be self sustainable, enact the vision, plus ensure there is ownership for all. Sue asked - how do we move from polite to generative dialogue? We value productive dialogue to improve teaching, leading and learning. We value succession planning for sustainability by providing an emerging leaders programme - groups of three - need to be adaptive, critical, and be able to face challenges confidently. We value relationships and partnerships between students, school and community (Ogden, 2015). Everything is checked/measured/barometer/in line against the vision - accordingly, the budgets are based on the priorities. 

Acoustic panel tiles
Shared ownership - colours of houses are represented

The hub / heart / centre where all houses converge
Kiwi boys excited to see fellow kiwis
Science equipment is central
Science in action - one teacher to many students
These steps provide the history - the first speech/assembly was delivered from here

Student Agency

The Dandenong students I spoke to commented on how connected they feel to their environment, and how well their teachers really know them. Relationships are a critical component, as is the invitational aspect of school and its various spaces. I need to further explore the integrated 'Create a Game' unit that Jen was leading. The students were excited, engaged, obviously had agency over the project, the stakeholders were younger students, authentic, rich and relevant curriculum coverage, from literacy, numeracy, PE/health strands, through to visual, oral, written communication, collaboration, design thinking, project based learning, and self directed learning.
Collaborative learning spaces
Working on their Game Design
Booths - independent learning spaces
Informal social learning setting

I feel very privileged to be part of Core Education, it is an amazing learning journey. If you are interested in learning more about our Professional Learning opportunities - visit the Core Education website here - from Modern Learning Practice; Curriculum to Environments; Technology and Emerging Leaders.