‘Setting the sails for success’ Marsden High SDD July 2011

‘High Achievement always takes place in the framework of high expectation’ Charles Kettering

There is no boundary in learning

Welcome back for another fruitful and successful journey at Marsden High. 

In preparing for today, I always think, how do I align, enthuse and engage my teaching and support  staff for the journey ahead. It is always a challenge, to curtail all the things I want for my staff and my students in a digestible, manageable and practical set of compass points to get us across the rough waters and into the calm seas. It is not the direction of the wind that sets our course, but the way in which we place the sails…calm seas do not make good sailors…

Mollymook Beach
Looking forward looking back!

My very first point of call.. is what I know to work.. the books, experiences that have served me well… Quality teaching documents, been around since 2003…the books and authors who made sense to serve me 20 years in the classroom….”super teaching” Eric Jensen, John Hattie… teachers talk too much!’ Hugh Mackay social researcher.. ‘our desire to be taken seriously.. ‘

However the biggest fact… for me as Principal..  you are the ones …..teachers make the difference….I believe and ” KNOW you MAKE a Difference in the WORLD”.

Who you are makes a difference!
Teachers make the difference!

For the purpose of organising my thoughts succinctly I have created a number of dimensions;

  • 1. The admin, procedures and the framework for structuring the job we do!
  • 2. Vision and personalised learning.
  • 3. Quality teaching, explicit expectations and reflection. “CARE” factor….
Ok Lets start with the Boring ADMIN , PROCEDURES, and the FRAMEWORK for structuring the job we are to do!.
At Marsden High we need to Administer and communicate about our business..The STRUCTURES WE HAVE….IN PLACE.
1. EMAIL.. it is a serious communication tool for  you to  stay informed about our CORE BUSINESS teaching and learning… if you don’t check it regularly,  you will eventually be left on a raft boat… without a paddle.
2. Marsden HIGH STAFF wiki..
a place that has all relevant staff information and staff handbook online.
JOIN wikispaces… the search for the Marsden High wiki, it is set to PRIVATE.. so you need to join the wiki.
3. Sentral.. for coordinating our admin systems .. we are trialling.. Check email for code and how to enter. 
The Sentral Dashboard
4. Launched our NEW WEB Services Website through DEC.
The big advantage is that we can all edit as we need. I encourage faculties to have a representative that keeps their page …on the right PAGE.. so to speak.
Links through the portal or you log in straight from the website.
All staff have permissions to edit.. it will be a powerful tool.. for us to communicate to our school community.

Editing the Marsden Website

5. Lastly, not sure if you have had a chance to investigate the new DEC .. social networking tool.. MAANG.

It is linked through from the portal. It replaces Yammer…so no more yammering.. it has many opportunities to network with colleagues, pool resources, gather resources, talk anything, ask to know anything, it is an ocean of answers to your questions.

MAANG:Social text tool for DEC

2. Vision and personalised learning.

This is the profound section. I refer back to Hugh Mackay.. “everyone wants to be taken seriously”.

It is very important that we align the school vision with  teachers personalised learning journey. One cannot exist or progress without the other.

Targets from ASR

  • To improve student performance in writing.
  • Student Engagement in quality teaching  using technology in learning – Authentic Implementation of Netbooks in classrooms.

Further development of School Management Priorities will be established at the exec conference.

Personal Learning Networks, Leadership density, blended learning and streamlining of administration processes to support quality teaching, managing student diversity, engagement and curriculum differentiation, implementation of the national curriculum.

For this point I would like to time for thought and reflection.

I take some words from Paul Brook (“21ST Century School Education: Looking Forward Looking Back?”  Keynote address June 2011)

and Slim dusty..

Looking forward, looking back 

I‟ve come a long way down the track 

Got a long way left to go 

Making songs, from what I know 

Paul makes the point that teachers are for  having to make the educational up and up.. into a spiralling pinnacle of creativity, collaboration and embracing 21st century nuances, constantly teachers are urged to continuously set the highest expectations both for themselves and for their students,yet in the next breath politicians are heralding ‘the back to basics’ mantra. Paul goes onto say..In other words, our scope as educators must always be broader and deeper than limiting ourselves merely to the necessary “basics”.

1. If someone asked you today, what is your educational philosophy or your personal vision of learning, what would you say?

2. If you have a vision of education.. what steps have you taken to make that happen…. have you developed a path or a sense of journey.

3. Are you a specialist? have you developed yourself an area of expertise? How do you align with the whole school, region vision?

In mind’s eye you have answered some of those questions.. then you have the beginnings of a professional learning journey.

Jot them down, as they will serve for the conversations you have with your HT and myself.


3. Quality teaching, explicit expectations and reflection. “CARE” factor….

Learning for Life year 11 Crossroads 2011

The 3 dimensions of the Quality teaching Framework. 

Intellectual quality : active construction and higher order thinking.

Quality learning environment  : setting high and explicit expectations and develop positive relationships

Significance : learning meaningful, clear connections to students prior knowledge and identities, outside contexts, multiple ways of knowing and cultural perspectives. 

FITS so well into our CARE School focus…

  • C  Cooperate (Quality learning environment)
  • A  Achieve (Intellectual Quality)
  • R  Respect (Quality learning environment)
  •  E  Engaged learners (significance)

We need to be explicit on how our CARE Classroom should look like.

We need to have a unified idea how we want our Care Classroom to feel and then we need to explicitly teach the  CARE  classroom Values.

CARE values need to taught, we assume nothing. Quality teaching, is explicit teaching.

Students are provided with explicit criteria for the quality of work/behaviour they are to produce/display and those criteria are a regular reference point for the development and assessment of students progress. High expectations of all students are communicated, and is encouraged and rewarded.

Once, we have in-place explicit, high expectations of CARE behaviour, that has been explicitly and consistently taught.. we then reflect on how ….we balance this with a system that consistently reinforces explicit behaviour and as system that then endeavours to meet the needs of those who choose to not fulfil high expectations..

How, we begin is by building the picture of what explicit teaching of CARE values looks like… then how we consistently implement across the school, this is our group challenge today! Monday DAY 1.


Part one: Individual Reflection on my ‘ Classroom self assessment checklist’

Part two; Group challenge, from individual reflection to GROUP FEEDBACK…

Learning for life...

Principal of a fantastic secondary public school where our young people enliven their dreams through a growth mindset to fulfil their potential. Focussed on leadership that makes a difference in my school.

2 comments on “‘Setting the sails for success’ Marsden High SDD July 2011

  1. Ms Lofts’ leadership provides a compass for her school. She is a Principal who takes her learning community on a journey of dreams…using nautical imagery and reflective processes …inspirational. Remember that
    “Those who dream by day are aware of many things which escape those who dream only by night”- Edgar Allan Poe

  2. kerribrickley

    Great stuff Denise – it sets a nice tone for the Term ahead. Thank you for sharing.

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