Shailer Park State School

  1. PLC Story
  2. PLC Practices
  3. Achievement Data
  4. Awards
  5. Resources

The motto at Shailer Park State School is “Creating Bright Futures”. In 2012 the school was characterised by:

  • significant numbers of students not meeting the National Minimum Standard as set by the National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN); and
  • a high number of short term and long term suspensions applied in reaction to student behaviour across the school.

The gap was evident for all to see.

Teachers were working in isolation to deliver the National Curriculum through lessons prepared at the state level which outlined the content to be delivered in English and maths across each lesson for 5 week units. These curriculum resources included assessment that was applied in each class to determine their level of success across the 5 weeks. In general, classes then moved on to the next unit.

The school’s collaborative improvement journey to PLC practice began in 2013 with staff working together to reinvigorate the Positive Behaviour for Learning Framework (PBL). As a staff, working in year level teams, we implemented PBL through a data driven practice that engaged students and families to create a safe learning environment that taught and reinforced successful learning routines.

The collaborative use of data to target development, allocate resources, and provide support for the development of learning routines led naturally into a consideration by staff of the schools achievement data.

Two key pieces of school improvement literature influenced us as a leadership team, along with staff: Learning by Doing - A Handbook for Professional Learning Communities at Work by Richard Dufour, Rebecca Dufour, Robert Eaker and Thomas Many; and the Grattan Institute Report, “Turning around schools: it can be done” by Ben Jensen.

Staff engaged in a process of revisiting the school vision, mission and collective commitments. Why were we here? What kind of school were we going to develop? What did it look like? What did it sound like? What were we going to commit to? The majority of staff could see the benefit of working collaboratively to ensure the successful learning of all students and were prepared to give it a go. The non-negotiables were agreed to and the boundaries of the collaborative work were set. We did lose a few staff at the end of the year who were seeking a different environment.

The school leadership created the structural conditions to support PLC practice, including: common planning time; parallel scheduling; and meeting time for Professional Learning Teams (PLTs) based on the teachers of a common year level. PLTs began to monitor the impact of their teaching on student learning through the application of common formative assessment. Teams established explicit team norms to be able to more effectively function as a team, to order the collaboration, assist in deprivatising practice and establish mutual accountability.

Teams have implemented a process for establishing a guaranteed and viable curriculum in English and Maths based on the model of Robert Marzano – they establish pacing guides, proficiency levels, assessment protocols to develop and administer common formative assessment – they monitor and respond to each student’s learning and engage in professional learning on the effectiveness of their teaching. Teams are supported with coaching to facilitate progress towards high level, student focused conversations.

In 2015 PLC practice has continued to evolve as the staff work together to resolve problems of practice. Access to the Solution-Tree Global PD resource and engagement with an online coach has provided a significant resource for the school to explore a broad range of solutions.

One significant problem of practice emerged after the introduction of the Response to Intervention (RTI) model was applied to support success in learning. PLTs were teaching the ‘essential’ curriculum for four lessons and then regrouping to allow reteaching, consolidation and extension. Teams found that too many students required reteaching and so embarked on a professional learning exploration to establish more effective teaching practices in the initial lessons.

Today, 10 September 2015, Shailer Park State School has achieved excellent NAPLAN results which are similar to or above the national means. Student’s positive behaviour now ensures an optimal learning environment and teachers are working together with an unrelenting focus on collaboration, learning and results. There have been significant cultural shifts and real change within the school which has been at times incredibly challenging for all, but we continue to do whatever it takes. Shailer Park State School is “Creating Bright Futures” and our work as a Professional Learning Community will continue long into the future.

1. Monitoring student learning on a timely basis.

Teams started with a focus on working collaboratively to adapt the curriculum, agree on unit objectives, develop common formative assessment and understand how the learning related to national curriculum standards. The collaborative practice was then extended to include the development of pre-assessment and the documentation of differentiated learning pathways.

Revisiting the staff collective commitments provided the impetus for us to design and implement a team cycle across 2 weeks. Two particular commitments were important:

  • “Develop and measure the effective learning of all students”; and
  • “Effective teaching with teachers learning from each other”.

The 2 week cycle includes (diagram available in Resources tab):

  • Identifying essential learnings for all students with a teacher understanding of required standards
  • Creation of a common pacing guide
  • Developing common pre-assessment and formative assessments
  • Establishing the proficiency level expected of students
  • Agreeing on assessment protocols
  • Gathering and analysing student learning data
  • Identifying the most effective teaching practices and learning from colleagues
  • Teaching the ‘essentials’ for 4 lessons (1 week) – followed by 4 lessons for intervention/enrichment-extension.

Teachers monitor the progress of students regularly during the lesson through formative assessment techniques that provide feedback to the student against clear and shared lesson intent and success criteria. Our ability to be effective in this practice is growing as staff work together in their team to develop best practice.

Common formative assessment used on a weekly basis to support targeted reteaching is at the short and sharp end of the assessment continuum, closely aligned to the classroom learning and relying on a shared understanding in the team of the expected level of proficiency.

This cycle has initially been applied within the mathematics curriculum. Students complete a summative assessment piece at the end of the 5 week curriculum unit and this is followed by team moderation.

In addition to the weekly common formative assessment and the summative 5 weekly assessment the Principal leads a snapshot of cohort progress every 10 weeks using assessment that mirrors the National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) test. The analysis of this data allows the PLTs and the leadership team to monitor the effectiveness of the overall PLC practice. It also allows the staff to monitor the progress of each cohort toward agreed smart goals.

The school also employs the use of standardised tests in reading comprehension and mathematics on a 12month basis to monitor the progress of students and the effectiveness of the curriculum teaching and learning program.

 

Initially the implementation of this cycle appeared overwhelming but as our skill and knowledge and ability to work collaboratively developed it has become a very manageable practice.

2. Creating systems of intervention to provide students with additional time and support for learning.

Staff analysis of the student learning data surfaced our next problem of practice. It showed that differentiation and the withdrawal of students for intervention was not ensuring the learning of all students. The principal completed an audit of available resources and explored best practice models to provide a picture of possibilities for staff to consider.

Staff saw the need to be able to answer effectively the questions:

  • How will we respond when some students don’t learn?
  • How will we extend and enrich the learning for students who are already proficient?

They recognised the power of the Response to Intervention (RTI) model through their work in implementing the Positive Behaviour for Learning Framework and this prior knowledge provided for an overwhelmingly positive response to it as a solution. Professional learning on intervention and enrichment strategies was provided for all staff and our Response to Intervention and Enrichment (RTI&E) model grew to be a reality. Tier 1 of the model – delivered through differentiation in the classroom, Tier 2 – reteaching, maintenance and extension/enrichment all managed by the PLTs in targeted and flexible student groupings with no new essential curriculum introduced during Tier 2.

To support Tier 2, the leadership team created a master schedule which aligned resources and provided for four 30 minute lessons every week (known as Great Learning Our Way – GLOW time) to each year level. The aligned resources included support staff with clearly defined roles, accountabilities and timelines. Team facilitators provide feedback to the support staff and teachers on teaching strategies and monitoring of student learning.

At the conclusion of each week PLTs analyse student learning data from common formative assessments. A range of assessment techniques are used including: exit slips; checklists against observations; demonstrated learning against proficiency scales; and pen and paper tests to name a few. In the week following the teaching of essential curriculum, students move to GLOW time learning groups, based on need. Teachers allocate themselves through PLT analysis of data so that the most effective teacher for a particular part of the curriculum is matched to the least proficient students for that section of work.

3. Building teacher capacity to work as members of high performing collaborative teams that focus efforts on improved learning for all students.

The transition to high performing Professional Learning Teams (PLTs) has been an evolutionary process through cycles of continuous improvement, founded on staff consensus to a shared vision, mission and collective commitments. Our shift from year level teams to PLTs began with the process of developing team norms.

The development of our collaborative team practice has been guided through regular evaluation and reflection using the rubrics available in Learning by Doing. Teams have then been supported by coaching to facilitate and guide team plans for ongoing development.

PLTs meet each week to review the progress of student learning and well-being as evidenced by the data as well as reflecting on the effectiveness of the teaching for each team member.

Teacher professional learning is built on the team running a systematic process (collaborative inquiry cycle) of reflective inquiry with teachers pursuing professional knowledge and skills to more effectively address the needs of students.

Professional learning is also built on the principle of teachers being able to ‘pull’ the learning towards them as needed.  They are supported at an individual level with Personalised Professional Learning (PPL). Teachers identify through the reflective inquiry cycle areas of professional knowledge and skill that they want to develop and is indicated in the data. They are released for one day each term and provided with access to resources of their choosing to pursue their learning.

Coaching capacity has been developed and supported within the staff, with access to resources, to assist teachers and support staff who are implementing new or refined practices.

As mentioned earlier some problems of practice have emerged through the data as being common to all teams. This has resulted in a project team exploring and offering solutions for consideration by staff. One example of this has been our shared professional learning of a consistent model of explicit teaching and our shared and collaboratively supported implementation of this practice to see more students successful in the initial teaching phase.

Student achievement data can be found under Resources

At Shailer Park State School we take advantage of opportunities to celebrate the academic ability of our students by competing with other schools in the region.  Involvement in such events:

¶  Inspires excitement towards academic challenges.

¶  Engages students in intellectual fun in an academic atmosphere.

¶  Opportunity to showcase the academic skills at SPSS

¶  An excellent opportunity to celebrate the academic potential of Logan schools.

In 2013 in the Logan Maths Team Challenge we placed 2nd and 5th out of 26 teams.  In 2014 in the same competition we came 5th out of 28 teams.  The Word Warriors competition in 2014 we placed 1st and 3rd out of 8 teams.  In 2015 we placed 6th out of 13 teams.

 

Shailer Park State School competes in five Eisteddfods throughout the year. These competitions are Regional with over 30 schools participating in a range of dance styles. All Eisteddfods are adjudicated by examiners and professionals within the industry and are held at some of Queensland’s leading performing arts facilities.

 

Performance Team

 

Junior Shailerettes

2013

-      1st place at Ormeau Fair

-      -1st place BPAC

1st place at Ormeau Fair

2014

- 1st place Beenleigh Eisteddfod

      - 2nd place  BPAC

      - 2nd place at Redlands Eisteddfod

 

2nd place at Ormeau Fair

2015

-      3rd place Gold Coast Eisteddfod

-      3rd place Redlands Eisteddfod

-      2nd place Beenleigh Eisteddfod

 

Showcased performance at Beenleigh Show

Music is a valuable program integral to the learning at SPSS. From drumming, choir to instrumental music all students have the opportunity to learn and develop their talents. Through ensemble playing the instrumental music program develops application, commitment, a sense of accomplishment and self-worth, responsibility, self-discipline and team spirit. Our students perform publically and participate in many competitions throughout the year including:

 

Qld Youth Music Awards

Advanced Camp in May

Logan Beaudesert Intermediate Music Camp in June

Quota Club of Beenleigh Eisteddfod

Gold Coast Eisteddfod

Logan Music Fest

Junior String Camp

Shailer Park High School Band Camp

Prestige Music Fest

Music Awards

SPSS students have been received many awards and commendations throughout 2013-2015.

In 2014, both Band & Strings received gold awards at Fanfare. The Band received Gold at Prestige Music Fest and strings received silver. Both groups received highly commended at the Quota Beenleigh Eisteddfod.

In 2013, band & strings received highly commended at Quota Beenleigh Eisteddfod. Band received gold at Prestige Music Fest and strings received silver.

Sport, being an important element for the well-being of all students, is a high priority both at an intra and inter school level, with students competing at various levels. The opportunities for students at an individual and team level aligns with our Positive Behaviour for Learning methodology. SPSS has experienced high levels of sporting prowess through many years including:

2014      -                 Beenleigh District Track and Field Carnival - Champion Overall School.

Shailer Park State School is also fortunate to have students who are elite sports people who compete and succeed at District, Regional, State and National competitions in Golf, Track and Field, Cross Country, Basketball, Swimming, Rugby League and Softball. 

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