Principal's Blog - 7 June 2018

05 Jun 2018

Dear members of the Marcellin College family,

I am constantly amazed at the increasing pace of change in educational theory and practice. At Marcellin we are acutely aware of the need to constantly reflect on our practice in providing a high quality, contemporary and engaging learning environment for our boys. We aim to assist them in reaching their full potential as learners and to grow into that which Saint Marcellin Champagnat would describe as good Christians and good citizens. To this end, our College engages in regular whole school review processes which provide us with an understanding of what we are doing well and areas for continued growth and improvement. In the past our College has used the School Improvement Framework review process, endorsed by Catholic Education Melbourne (CEM) and Marist Schools Australia (MSA) as a tool to assist us in this review process. This year our College will be under going a full review of our learning and teaching practices using a new tool developed by the Australian Council of Educational Research (ACER) and fully endorsed by CEM and MSA. 

The National School Improvement Tool brings together findings from international research into the practices of highly effective schools and school leaders. The Tool assists schools to review and reflect on their efforts to improve the quality of classroom teaching and learning. It supports school-wide conversations – including with parents and families, school governing bodies, local communities and students themselves – about aspects of current practice, areas for improvement and evidence that progress is being made.

The Tool does not describe everything that effective schools do, but focuses on those practices that are most directly related to school-wide improvements, and thus outcomes for students. In this sense, the Tool can be thought of as a core element of more comprehensive school improvement programs, frameworks and initiatives.

The ultimate goal of school improvement is to improve outcomes for students, including levels of achievement and wellbeing. For this reason, direct measures of student outcomes are essential to all school improvement efforts. However, ‘school improvement’ fundamentally means improving what a school does. The Tool provides evidence about a school’s day-to-day work to complement, and possibly shed light on, measures of student outcomes.

The Tool consists of nine inter-related ‘domains’.
1. An explicit improvement agenda
2. Analysis and discussion of data
3. A culture that promotes learning
4. Targeted use of school resources
5. An expert teaching team
6. Systematic curriculum delivery
7. Differentiated teaching and learning
8. Effective pedagogical practices
9. School-community partnerships

Later this term a group of reviewers from ACER will attend Marcellin over a four-day period to come to an understanding of how Marcellin College attempts to animate each of these domains and to assess our effectiveness in each area. The specific aim of his review is to attempt to answer the following question:

To what extent are the culture and practices that characterise highly performing schools engaged in ongoing, sustainable improvement embedded at Marcellin College?

During the four days of the review, our reviewers will meet with a broad range of members from the Marcellin College community including, parents students and staff. They will also attend classes and other school activities to gain first-hand experience of learning and teaching practices in our College. At the end of this process Marcellin will be provided with a comprehensive report which will guide continued improvement in learning at our College over the next three years.

I look forward to sharing the findings of the review with you early in term 3.

NCCD Update

Schools must now complete the Nationally Consistent Collection of Data on School Students with Disability (NCCD) every year. We will complete the collection in August and it allows the government to know accuratly the number of students who receive additional adjustments or ‘help’ at school. I encourage you to click here for further information.

Mark Murphy