#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.

#MLE Melbourne Tour 2015 - Silverton Primary School

Activating Learning Settings 

It was a real privilege to visit Silverton Primary School. The vision is clearly articulated and is seen in all areas of the school. This is led by principal Tony Bryant, and his leadership team based around an instructional model of:  Silverton  e5plus - Principles of Pedagogy and Personalised Learning - "a sophisticated amalgam of parallel initiatives, which have been combined and integrated". This type of instructional model "is best seen as a guide to the essential elements of good teaching which need not be applied in a linear manner" (Bryant). Refer to Janelle's blog post for further information regarding the nuts and bolts.

Key Aspects of Silverton Primary

  • Shared pedagogy
  • Professional Learning Communities - strong teaching coaching programmes/building staff capacity.
  • Authentic Curriculum
  • ICT rich
  • Personalised Learning
  • Passion/Discovery Time
  • Self Managing, fully autonomous

Discovery Time - Student Agency

Discovery Time and Inquiry are both planned around e5+ to create and nurture a culture whereby everyone is a learner. Bryant believes in a consistent, clearly articulated vision; quality interpersonal relationships and building "trust that allows all stakeholders to work together as a learning community". 

As our tour group walked around, it was clearly evident that learning is loud, exciting, personalised, messy, fun, engaging, exploratory, art/play/music based learning, collaborative, independent, interdependent...The affordances are explicit, visible and invite specific types of learning within the various spaces.

Reflective Learning Space 

Step inside our Planetarium 
Accessing Google Earth
Students who are inside
Independent Learning Station

Eager & willing to share the learning
Every space is a learning opportunity
Group Learning - collaboration
Loved the way this group of students evolved their learning story
One to Many - Setting up the day
Scaffolding the learning Discovery Time Passport foster student agency
Look at the students now - new costumes & still actively engaged
We learn through actively playing, exploring, making, creating

Let's dance - we like to MOVE IT!
Independent Learning Space
Our Inspiration Island - clear affordance
Actively learning

Wet Area 

ART - Maker Space

You choose
Making Music collaboratively
Learning Languages
Outdoor Learning Settings
On the farm...taking our learning into the natural environment

Authentic Learning = Engaged Learners