Learning 2013 a springboard for 2014

Principals Learning Vision for School Community December 2013

Our school vision at our birriga gundji (Big Meeting Place).

To my students,

“This is your world, shape it, or someone else will”.

I acknowledge the traditional owners of this land, Murramarang people as this is and will always be aboriginal land.

Wow, Wow and wow. I am very honoured to be standing in front of this wonderful school community as Principal. On the screen will be snapshots, mostly from my iphone throughout the year of our fantastic learners no particular order.  I hope you enjoy their smiles as much as I have.

Anzac Captains

Before I begin, I want to take this opportunity to thank our dedicated, professional and very hardworking teachers, Executive staff, Deputy principals Mr. Christiansen and Ms Lissa  and our very hardworking support staff led very ably by the Senior Office manager Mrs Leanne Colley.  Everyday all my staff, give 110%, they believe so strongly in supporting our students to have the very best opportunities. I very much appreciate your efforts.

Thank you also to the wonderful support given to the school and myself from our dedicated P & C. I am grateful for all that you do for our school in many ways.

Ulladulla High School  is an outstanding school and 2013 has been a fantastic year, in particular we have set the sails for our school to be a place of excellence in critical ideas, collaborative learning and world class creative thinkers.

However, there is so much open water to bringing about real institutional change, to truly develop learners who are prepared for the 22nd Century.

“And smooth seas don’t make good sailors”

What does that all mean for us?
Our vision.
This year we have begun a huge journey to recreating the direction of education for our community to be a world class school with world class leading learners, for both students and staff. A big call? Why not? Noone told Mick Fenning he couldn’t be a world champion.

I see my position as Principal to be a major influence in leading the way in removing stereo typical views of what education should look like and what outcomes we should have. Rather we will be focused on the true educational engagement of students who will be highly proficient, motivated and creative thinkers with Future 21st Century skills.

Our 3 strategic directions:
• To equip students with future 21st Skills.

• Our teachers are world class leaders in learning

• Focus on relevant “real world” connections across all learning platforms.

only on the weekend…I was speaking to a former student.. of only 6 years ago, he said, wow… how do you and your teachers deal with all that exists online. It was never even around when we were at school. We had iPods, not mobile phones connected to the world.

What a good observation.  
Look at what our students do…everyday, without a second thought.  They you-tube how to “tie a tie”, they connect with students across NSW with studying tips for the HSC, they communicate arrangements with friends, teachers and mentors for literally everything through Facebook,  they document  and share their ideas, inventions and creative pursuits across the world. They socialize on a level that is unprecedented. They are as familiar with how to access free wifi as they about how to boil water.

Where do we as a community school fit in that picture?
Where does digital technologies come to a point where learning looks different and is different.  How do we dismantle an educational structure that has been held and used for 100’s of years.

There is little evidence to suggest that those responsible for steering Australian Schooling have yet grasped the scale and interconnectedness of policy needed to “exploit” rather than merely “adopt” the digital technologies to enhance our educational success as a nation.

On one end of the spectrum digital technologies is doing the same old thing trying to brand it as a new way: “projects” on powerpoint instead of cardboard, googling instead of reaching for an Encyclopaedia, using a keyboard instead of a pen, or an electronic whiteboard to do what could be done a century ago on a blackboard. Here the new technologies are not the least bit disruptive or different. They replace little and change less.

At Ulladulla High School  we see a different view. The idea of “next generation learning Platforms” where the teacher is less like a pilot, more like an air traffic controller. Where students are equipped by ‘personalised learning environments” to ” manage their own learning”, as teachers have long wanted them to do. The lines between teaching and learning, between teacher and taught will blur. To a degree not previously possible, students will be able to teach themselves, and each other. Learning will be crowd sourced. Teachers role as air traffic controller will ring through.

With that said, really, how will that look at Ulladulla High School?
·     Learning will be 24/7. Learning is not something that teachers switch on as a student walks in the front gate.
·     We will have Large classroom spaces for collaboration, round tables will replace rows of desks,
·     lounge spaces with wireless internet will replace rows of PCs where students can read, collaborate, create and discover,
·     the notion of the classroom with be broad and sophisticated,
·     there will be ‘gamfication’ for learning,
·     project based learning in which students build solutions to real world issues, learning labs complemented with full scale virtual courses,
·     student generated courses,
·     student to student learning,
·     “Bring your own technology” will be as normal as your wrist watch
·     ‘flipped classrooms’ in which gives students virtual material for homework so that class time is used for higher order review, discussion and extension,
·     cloud computing and the reorganisation, replacement and reallocated notion of school structure.  We will be exploring ways of combining space, effort and tools differently.

It is the one of the most exciting times in education for generations. In the words of Steve Jobs… why join the navy if you can be a pirate.

If that is our vision than this is our platform.

Tonight we honour our students across all arenas. Ulladulla High School continues to be an outstanding educational platform that gives students immense opportunity and will continue to be.

However it is a place that you will get,  as much as you put in. We encourage all our students throughout the year to take every opportunity,  I mean every opportunity, however small.

Tonight is our opportunity to highlight each students passions and their  achievement of excellence. We will honour Academic , sporting and citizenship excellence. We will honour students who excel in the creative arts, student leadership and excellent student participation in the life of the school.

Amongst our student body we have NSW premiers scholarship awardees, we will honour a student who has achieved 100% attendance in his 13 years of schooling, we have NSW and Australian Sport, Geography and Academic champions, we have elite scholarship awardees for excellence across all areas of school. We were the recipients of the Illawarra and south East Department of School education for Excellence in Aboriginal Education, MRs Janelle Collins was honoured on this day for an excellence in teaching beyond the classroom. Along with 15 of our dedicated staff received recognition for excellence in teaching from the Australian College of educators I congratulate all students and staff on your deserved awards tonight.

I thank all the sponsors for your faith and generosity to the youth of our community and particularly those who are able to be here tonight. The generosity is outstanding,  as tonight we will award over 33,000 dollars worth of awards and scholarships. Thank you very very much.

We are a school that is good as any in all of Australia. And if our vision holds strong … we will be world class.

We are an educational lighthouse.

If you look around today you will see we are a school of immense sophisticated amenities. We value the support of community to gain such wonderful facilities and grounds.  Our school is a lighthouse in our community.

Ulladulla High School in any measure, is a huge and complex organisation with highly personalised systems, from timetabling, curriculum development, financial accountability, resources and facility management. Everyday our school processes and tracks the whereabouts, educational outcomes, well being of 1135 students every day, 6 periods a day 40 weeks a year, we have a budget of over 14 million dollars, including salaries, work health safety, staff wellbeing of 120 staff, facility management, resource management.  We generate 1135 personalized  reports, each containing 10 pages, with 6 outcomes twice a year, we produce personalized learning plans, run over 200 excursions and 10 camps, undertake 50 hours of professional learning on average per staff member. We host 25 practice teachers every year from our partner universities across all faculty areas and the list goes on.

That is just the tip of the berg.  I congratulate all who are involved in this professional, highly motivated, and dedicated school community.

On closing… I would like thank our student leaders who have been instrumental in some of the most innovative and worthwhile “real world’ Projects across our student body this year.

The string movement… with Morrison Lee, has seen an outstanding focus on kindness over bullying and how our students have united to disarm the bullies,  ‘its not ok to be a bully’. They have created a number of excellent initiatives, including the creation of motivating films, cupcake stalls and support of the ‘shave for a cure day’.  This has been such an excellent project for the well being of all our students.
Our student body also have established an “Amnesty International’ group in Ulladulla.

The Student Environmental council have been working to ban plastic waterbottles, led Environment days in all our partner primary schools and a successful ‘back to basics’ across our school community.

Again I say I am honoured to stand here as the Principal of this excellent school. Wishing you the very best for the coming holidays I will be travelling on my Premiers Educational Leadership Scholarship in the holidays to visit and study in Java, Indonesia, Yongjakarta university, China and the US to view a number of high performing schools. I look forward to sharing the ideas on my return. I leave you with this 2 quotes.

As I say to my students,  “ this is your world “shape it” or someone else will.

And The final one closing remark..

“Education is the power to think clearly, the power to act well in the world’s work, and the power to appreciate life.” 
Thank you for you time tonight.

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.

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