Redcliffe State High School
- Number of Students: 1,369
- Percent eligible for Education Maintenance Allowance: 0%
- Percent of Limited English Proficient: 0%
- Percent of Special Education: 5%
In 2012 and 2013 our school focussed on collaboratively building teacher quality through the implementation of The Art and Science of Teaching (known in our school as TAST). Staff worked collaboratively in TASTBud groups of mixed faculty teachers to discuss pedagogy and focus on learning and implementing the pedagogical framework together. This focus reinforced and strengthened our belief that Redcliffe SHS has great teachers but many teachers were isolated in their classrooms when it came to implementing the curriculum.
Genuine collaboration around curriculum was not an essential part of the school culture at that time and presenting teachers with curriculum outlines did not guarantee that all students had access to a guaranteed and viable curriculum. Teachers were not provided with adequate dedicated time to analyse and discuss curriculum documents. When they did meet, conversations were more about the content of what was needed to be taught rather than how do to help students learn. Despite this, great outcomes were achieved by many students.
After attending a range of professional development opportunities our leadership team were motivated to move from a culture where teachers were working in isolation to a collaborative culture as we had with 'TASTBuds'. The challenge was how to create a truly collaborative culture that was focussed on student learning.
The following actions outline our path to achieving our professional learning community:
1. Implemented ‘The Art and Science of Teaching’ from 2012 - with intensive internal and external professional development until 2015. Maintained ongoing internal professional practices focussed on TAST with 2017/8 seeing teacher leadership in delivering professional development to colleagues on a regular basis.
2. Attended the High Reliability Schools Conference in 2014. Each year we send a team of school leaders and classroom teachers to the Annual High Reliability Schools Conference.
3. We identified the need to introduce and formalise a PLT process in 2014. A discussion paper was released to our school leaders in 2013, 'Transforming Our School Culture - Redcliffe SHS 2014'. The proposal was based on the DuFour PLCs at Work model. The School Leadership Team discussed the concept and proposals, we worked with Tonia Flanagan as our critical friend and teachers were given professional development both internal and with our critical friend. We introduced PLTs out of timetabled time (but within union guidelines) in 2014. Every teacher was participating in two PLTs: one TASTBud and one Faculty PLT per week.
2014 was not a structured enough and we learnt a lot about how to implement this change. In 2015 every teacher was provided with a school developed PLT workbook which contained worksheets, processes, templates and meeting guidelines and timelines. This ensured guided practice for all teachers in this evolving concept. All teachers were involved in professional development around PLTs - why, what and how. Professional Development continues on a semester basis.
4. The Heads of Department were sent as a team to the RTI (Intervention) Professional Development in 2015. When they returned, we workshopped their reflections - we ended up with 11 reflections and an Action Plan to address them. The school also undertook the High Reliability School surveys for Level 1 - 3 to determine what we needed to do in our strategic plan. These reflections and actions based on the survey formed a part of our 2015-2018 Strategic Plan.
5. As a result of the RTI reflections the school was determined to find a way to provide Level 3 intervention and tie this to the PLT process. School Executive formulated plans to introduce Academic Intervention and Response (AIR) time and incorporate timetabled PLT time in the organisation of the school timetable. This meant providing teachers with their normal Preparation and Correction time and an additional lesson time for every teacher to participate in PLTs. This is a highly resourced initiative and meant a significant cost for the school. AIR/PLT arrangements were promoted to staff, students and parents in 2015.
Because the majority of students would not need to attend AIR this meant that teachers were free to participate in mandatory PLT meetings within the normal school timetable - between 1.40 - 2.40pm every Friday afternoon.
6. Norms were developed collaboratively with all staff in 2015.
7. In 2016 we introduced AIR time for students on a Friday afternoon and PLT meetings for staff at the same time. There were still some faculties who were not using the PLT time according to the Du Four 4 questions. This resulted in more staff PD, especially with Heads of Department as some saw the time as a faculty meeting time. All faculties undertook a self-assessment based on the PLT Critical Issues and this helped guide PLT practice.
8. 2016 saw amendments to practices, policy and resourcing for both AIR and PLTs. We again provided every faculty with a full day PLT planning day at the end of the year - PLTs spent the day together, reviewing data for the current year, ensuring Learning Goals were embedded and making changes to the curriculum based on the data. PLT workbooks were abandoned at the end of 2016 in favour of a shared site with resources that all could access.
9. In 2016 a team of interested staff formed a committee to implement a project ' Embed and Enrich PLT Practices @ Redcliffe SHS’. The strategies and timelines provided a strong development focus. This group became the HRS Team and continues guiding our strategic direction today.
10. 2017 further embedded AIR and PLT practices and PLT norms were fully reviewed and revamped including what to do if....(for those not fully engaged teachers)
11. In 2017 we also introduced PLT Critical Friends, HOD PLT Observation Roster (which in 2018 became the SLT Observation Roster), PLT Virtual Classroom sessions with Colin Sloper, the first 'PLT Health Check' and we partnered with another 'Du Four' PLT school relatively close to us.
12. PLT planning days take place annually in November/December and they focus on certain expectations developed by the HRS Team (in 2017 - LG/Proficiency Scales/Cognitive Verbs) and these were supported by our teacher coaches/experts at each faculty PLT planning day.
13. In 2017 SLT decided the PLT Health Checks were valuable and decided they needed to occur twice a year. We started 2018 with a PLT Health Check during the Student Free Days at the start of the year and have timetabled another for July. The monitoring and support processes have been maintained and extended.
Our partner school visited and we have made plans to expand upon this partnership with our Heads of Department and through attending Professional Development together.
The professional learning team structure we have developed was hard work but it has built a powerful new way of working together. It has significantly changed the way we work and think about learning. We now work collaboratively on matters related to learning, and the PLTs take responsibility for student results and ways to bring about continuous improvement.
1. Monitoring student learning on a timely basis.
Our school forms a Professional Learning Community (PLC), it is made up of Faculty Professional Learning Teams (PLT). Our Faculty Professional Learning Teams (PLTs) see teachers committed to collaboratively working together in an ongoing process of collective inquiry and action research in order to achieve better results for all students.
The Logistics of How Our PLTs Work:
5 hours planning time at the end of each year to prepare for the following year
2.5 hour planning meeting once per term (Student Free Day Afternoons – Week 6)
60 mins per week (Friday afternoon 1.40 – 2.40pm) of timetabled time.
1. Faculty PLT Planning Meeting (Whole Day):
PLT members will develop the curriculum, by:
- front loading of summative assessment – developed at the start of the unit
- identification of the guaranteed and viable curriculum by identifying essential knowledge and skills (de-clutter the curriculum) needed by the student across the year/s.
- development of Learning Goals based upon the Essential Knowledge/Skills
- creating Proficiency Scales for each Learning Goal, including vocab / spelling list / and cognitive goals
- recording the Learning Goals and Proficiency Scales – including development of vocabulary and cognitive verbs.
- ensure the communicating of Learning Goals and Proficiency Scales to students, have Learning Goals on display in the classroom and Proficiency Scales provided to students in student workbooks.
- development a common language
2. Faculty PLT Planning Meeting (2.5hr):
In Week 6 of every term there is a 2.5hour SFD Afternoon planning meeting:
- January SFD – 2.5hrs allocated to Faculty PLTs for Term 1 planning.
- SFD Afternoons In Lieu use each term to plan for the following term/year. All subject staff participate as a whole group to determine planning for each year level.
- development of formative assessment
- tracking of student achievement through Proficiency Scales
- use of data to determine success of current strategies and focus on desired outcomes
- introduction of SMART goals for each PLT
3. Weekly PLT Meetings: Timetabled Time / Friday 1.40pm – 2.40pm
The weekly PLT groups are generally smaller year level groups (this is at the discretion of the HOD) to:
- fine tune and monitor implementation of PLT plans/Planning Matrix
- critically reflect on what is and is not working - curriculum / pedagogy
- review progress on proficiency scales
- amend/monitor intervention strategies
- Formatively Assess – use outcomes to benchmark, structure differentiation and determine the type of intervention required at classroom, faculty and school wide level.
- Analyse data – how do you know it is working using spreadsheets
- Intervene – deliberate interventions at Level 1, 2 and 3 / drill down to the individual / change practices and plan improvement pathways with explicit actions at all levels, including re-teach.
- Critically reflect on what worked and what didn’t work - change practice.
- Moderate summative assessment.
- Review the plan and program
- Review targets
After teachers have examined the results of the common formative assessment at the weekly PLT meetings, the team analyses how all students performed. Team members identify strengths and weaknesses in student learning and discuss how they can build on the strengths and address the weaknesses. The team discusses what is working and what is not, and members discuss new strategies that they can implement in their classrooms to raise student achievement.
Teachers use formative assessments to identify what the kids know and who needs additional support to acquire the essential knowledge/skills. Collaborative PLT conversations sees members share data, strategies, materials, questions, concerns, and results. These discussions adopt a problem-solving approach to any issues evident.
Our PLTs align to our intervention process which is designed to improve student results with designed disruption to the status quo. It is also an opportunity to share best practice (strategies that work) with colleagues, collaboratively plan, moderate and feedback. Through PLTs teachers know exactly what they will be teaching and work with a willingness to move things forward and identify strategies to improve outcomes for all students. Every teacher belongs to a PLT, they are focussed on student learning. Teams focus on learning outcomes and generate practices and resources that reflect that focus, such as lists of essential knowledge, different kinds of assessment, analysis of student achievement, and strategies for improving results.
2. Creating systems of intervention to provide students with additional time and support for learning.
Redcliffe State High School is using the High Reliability Schools (HRS) framework to shape our strategic vision for the school. A key component of HRS is to have an effective intervention strategy. The school is engaged with 3 levels of Intervention.
Tier 1: Classroom (Teacher developed / differentiation)
The introduction of Proficiency Scales in the Junior School shifted our focus to student learning and students developing goals and knowing specifically what they need to do to achieve them. We tied the levels of the Proficiency Scales to our school vision and SABER proficiency Scales were established.
Tier 2: Faculty (Cohort strategies, determined in each faculty according to needs)
Faculties have chosen different ways to address Tier 2 intervention. Currently much of this intervention occurs outside of class time eg. at lunch and after school.
Tier 3: Whole School
The Academic Intervention and Response (AIR) program has been implemented to maximise the outcomes of all students at Redcliffe State High School. We have a strong academic culture and we believe that all students are capable of succeeding at school if they are given the opportunity to do so. The school timetable has been adjusted on Friday to accommodate the AIR time. AIR time occurs on between Friday 1.30 pm – 2.40 pm. Students who do not need to attend AIR go home at 1.10pm. Students who stay are divided into two groups of students for AIR time – Compulsory and Voluntary.
Parents or students nominate to stay at school and participate in AIR. There are groups for study, IT and GO run groups on resilience.
Intervention is provided to a range of students.
1. Students requiring literacy and numeracy support are identified via NAPLAN data – this involves students in Years 7 – 9. Initially this group focussed on Reading, in 2017 the focus was writing and in 2018 the focus is Spelling. Students who are working on literacy and numeracy work with tutors to attain a literacy and numeracy level that is appropriate for their year level.
2. Faculty curriculum students of concern in are identified by classroom teachers and PLTs via a referral process. Students are identified in this group if they are at risk of not reaching ‘Baseline’ in a subject because gaps in learning have not been successful in Level 1 and 2 Intervention or they have missed important concepts in the class. Senior students are placed on the students of concern list or if they are at risk of not attaining their QCE.
3. Students who are absent for an exam. Teachers complete the referral form and provide the assessment piece for completion. This ensures that students do not miss class time to catch up on exams.
4. Students who truant a class. Teachers refer students who have truanted their class and provide work that they have missed.
5. Re-Teach is a relatively new aspect of AIR. PLTs identify key points in time in their unit to identify individual students who are not reaching ‘Baseline’ using formative assessment. A teacher/s then re teach essential knowledge or skills for students to have additional time to grasp the concepts.
Teachers follow the Student of Concern process, they complete the documents for referral to AIR. Completed forms have work attached and are submitted to the AIR Teacher Aide. Parents are contacted regarding the mandatory attendance of students at AIR.
3. Building teacher capacity to work as members of high performing collaborative teams that focus efforts on improved learning for all students.
Professionalism is … continually improving through deliberate practice and use of high probability strategies. The Grattan Institute 'Making Time for Great Teaching' report says that teachers need more time to work collaboratively. This has been our goal. Our strategies in building high performing, collaborative teams include:
- Internal Professional Development:
Initially PD was related to a school generated teacher workbook which provided guidance, resources, activities and templates for the implementation of PLTs. The PD has progressed over the years to be less of a general nature to more fine-tuned aspects identified through observations and feedback through HRS meetings and PLT Observations.
2. External Professional Development:
Initially we worked with Hawker Brownlow to provide general professional development when we were introducing PLTs. Tonia Flanagan worked with our school and was a Critical Friend during the introduction. We have sent all school leaders to PD initially through Hawker Brownlow and then with Solution Tree. The whole School Leadership Team have attended HRS conferences and almost all of the teachers in the HRS Committee have now attended.
3. Virtual Professional Development:
In 2017 we decided we needed fine tuning and also needed to provide guidance to staff new to the school since the initial training. Our school has a Virtual Classroom and we worked with Colin Sloper (Solution Tree) in 3 Virtual PD sessions – they were all voluntary but very well attended. One of the outcomes of this PD was the establishment of PLT Health Checks.
4. PLT Health Checks:
As a result of the Virtual PD we created a PLT Health Check process based on the 12 step PLT process Colin introduced us to. The 12 steps in the cycle covered all 4 DuFour questions but provided that practical implementation. Making up a health check and having PLT work through the check, then creating an action plan based on current status and future goals has been very effective. The School leadership Team has determined it is to be completed twice each year.
5. PLT Counter Topper Flip charts:
Counter toppers are used in PLT meetings, they sit on the table so that they are easily seen and can be referenced through the PLT meeting. They contain the norms, the what ifs…, the 12 step cycle and a breakdown of each step. If in doubt teachers refer to expectations for each cycle.
6. PLT Observations and Critical Friends:
The School Leadership team decided in 2016 that they wanted to see how other faculties run their PLTs to share ideas and support each other. We created a roster initially. In 2017 we linked HOD into partners and they became Critical Friends – a more structured support process. In 2018 executive leaders were invited to be part of the Observation Roster.
7. PLT Planning Days with Coaches:
We had annually provided faculty PLTs with a full day of planning at the end of each year in preparation for the next year. In 2017, we made the decision that two of our coaches would attend with the specific task of embedding LG, Proficiency Scales and Cognitive Verbs with the junior curriculum. This is very effective and highly valued by teachers.
8. Working with other schools who are implementing the Du Four model:
In 2017 we visited Helensvale SHS to see how they were implementing DuFour PLTs. We came away with some great ideas, not just about PLTs. At the start of 2018 Helensvale visited our school to see how we implemented the DuFour PLTs and what we did with our Intervention. We will now be sending Heads of Department to work with Helensvale Faculty PLTs and have reciprocal visits.We will also try to coordinate our schools when they attend PLT / RTI professional development so that they sit together and share ideas.
9. HRS Committee:
At the start of our journey a small group of people got together to create the PLT Action Plan. This group has grown and is now the High Reliability School (HRS) Committee. The committee consists of school leaders, HODs, coaches and classroom teachers. This team tracks our implementation of the HRS framework with particular attention to PLTs, Learning Goal, Proficiency Scales, Professional Development, Intervention and 3 Types of Assessment.
Additional Achievement Data
The following data is taken from the Redcliffe SHS School Profile sheets provided by the Queensland Department of Education and Training.
A to C results - English
Year 7: 92% in 2013 and 98.3% in 2017 (+ above state)
Year 8: 81.1% in 2013 and 96.8% in 2017 (+ above state)
Year 9: 72.9% in 2013 and 97.3% in 2017 (+ above state)
Year 10: 71.5% in 2013 and 91% in 2017 (+ above state)
A to C results - Maths
Year 7: declined slightly but we have implemented a program (Maths Pathway) to address gaps in learning.
Year 8: 88% in 2013 to 90% in 2017 (+ above state)
Year 9: 75.3% in 2013 to 85.9% (+ above state)
Year 10: 85.8% in 2013 to 90.5% (+ above state)
A to C results - Science
Year 7: 84% in 2013 to 91.1% in 2017 (+ above state)
Year 8: Showed positive trend and results above state.
Year 9: 80.8% in 2013 to 84.6%
Year 10: 76.9% in 2013 to 84.9% (+ above state)
National Testing (NAPLAN)
Year 9 (2008-2017) Writing, Numeracy, Reading, Grammar and Punctuation and Spelling are all in the Improvement same/greater than Nation quadrant. The Year 9 National Mean Score is greater than nation in all areas.
Year 7 (2008-2017) in the 3 months that we have them in our school the national mean score data shows that Writing, Numeracy and Spelling are all in the Improvement same/greater than Nation quadrant. Other aspects of national testing are developing.
We are similar to nation in the Upper 2 Bands in Year 7 Spelling and Year 9 Numeracy. We have had improvement over time in the Upper Two Bands in Year 9 Grammar and Punctuation and Numeracy.
Attendance data has improved which indicates higher levels of student engagement. In 2013 28% of students were in the 95-100% attendance rate where in 2017 we had 43.5% in the same range. This is above state average.
We have also seen a decrease in the number of student absences below 85% in 2013 28.3% of students were below 85% attendance where in 2017 we had 19.7% in the same range. This is better than state average.
In 2014 our Exit OP data was 76.3% receiving an OP 1-15. In 2017 it was 82%. (above state)
The rate of QCE attainment for the Yr 12 students has increased to 95% (similar to state) and the rate for indigenous students is 100% (above state).
Average Growth in Maths class is 60%. With Maths Pathway, average growth in Year 7 & 8 in 2017 was 132%.
100% Growth means mastering one year of curriculum content in one calendar year.
Our students achieved double the average.
The writing course was aimed at students who had an inconsistency in their NAPLAN and A - E data. The course has been running for two years with the following results:
Between Year 5 and 7 (2015 in Year 5 and 2017 in Year 7) NAPLAN writing (persuasive text) data showed a relative gain 56.7 points. Our mean for writing was 517. This is significantly higher than the State (private and public) mean (502.5) and slightly higher than the National mean (513.0). 19% were in the U2Bs compared with 14% of the State and 16.6% of the Nation. 93% were above NMS, again which is significantly higher than State and National percentages. This data was similar in 2016 when the stimulus was narrative. We have honed our teaching strategies further and are quietly confident of further improvement in 2018.
Between Year 7 and Year 9 (2015 in Year 7 and 2017 in Year 9) students at Redcliffe State High School showed a relative gain of 44.9 points in writing. Our mean was 559.4. Again this is significantly higher than the State mean in writing (538.6) and slightly higher than the National mean of 551.9. 15.3% of our students were in the U2Bs for writing compared with 12.7 % in the State and 15.4% in the Nation. 81.5% were above NMS, again significantly higher than State and National. Again we are quietly anticipating further improvement in 2018 as a result of changes to programs and teaching strategies.
Our writing data continues to buck the State and National decline in writing data.
No awards or formal recognition have been sought. We are quietly implementing our Professional Learning Teams and Academic Intervention and Response to ensure our students learn.
We get excited when we work with other schools and share what we are doing with them and hope this brings about a positive impact in all schools involved.
We have assisted another school in the area to introduce an intervention model. They approached us after witnessing the work that was being done at our school.