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Shaping Our Learning Future

The holidays are time for rest and renewal, but they are also time for reflection. At times, I am guilty of being a ‘horizon’ person. My greatest strength is that I see what must be done. My greatest weakness is that I have my eyes ever on the horizon, and often don’t acknowledge what has been accomplished. As we get ready to mark a significant milestone in the College’s history – the operationalisation of a 4-12 school, I note much has been accomplished in a very short space of time.

Progress in the Area of Learning

- Implementation of a Learning Management System – SEQTA – to de-privitise the classroom space, ensuring greater accessibility to resources for stakeholders
- Development of a Learning Vision and draft Learning Framework, taking into account evidence informed practice and the research of Hattie, Marzano, Kendall, Williams, Bidulph, Fuller and Maloney
- Implementation of a Learning Analytics system to build a better profile of the learner for teachers
- Introduction of Academic Awards Assemblies which celebrate achievement, effort and improvement
- Introduction of a GPA for students and parents to benchmark their progress
- Implementation of a College-wide writing program to improve the consistency of teacher pedagogy and enhance transferability of language and success criteria across class-rooms and phases of learning
- Implementation of Academic Mentoring to engage students and parents in meaningful conversations about their learning, including the formation of Smart Goals and strategies
- Introduction of a case management system to support students with identified educational needs
- Implementation of a study skills learning formation program across the College
- Operationalisation of the Middle School
- Operationalisation of the Senior School – across two new systems, concurrently

Over the holidays, I was asked to present at a conference in New Zealand on maximising educational outcomes for boys. The invitation was gratifying, since it recognises the tremendous work happening across the College to raise outcomes. The challenge of leadership (both for Senior Leaders and Teacher Leaders) is to invest in the things that make the greatest impact. Put simply, if we try to achieve everything, at once, we’ll end up accomplishing very little.
While much has been done in the space of Learning and Teaching at Ambrose Treacy College, it has not been a scatter-gun approach.

Everything that has been done, has been the product of careful, intentional strategy.
The strategy is to maximise investment in the things that make the most difference and minimise investment in things which make the least difference. Anyone can improve results by lowering standards. To improve them while increasing standards, over the long term, in an authentic way, in a high change environment, is the key.
What I am most gratified about; however, is not the strategy. Strategy alone, is insufficient. In a war between strategy and culture, culture is King. As Peter Drucker observed, ‘Culture eats strategy for breakfast’. That’s why academic awards assemblies, such as those scheduled for the 23rd and 26th of July, are imperative. They create an aspirational culture which normalises academic achievement, effort and improvement.

The data tells me our investments are paying off. The culture confirms this. More and more, I have students coming into my office asking me for advise on how they can maximise their results. Just the other day, a Year 8 student asked me what he needed to do to get a Gold medal on academic awards assembly. The following day, a Year 11 student approached me about an idea for peer to peer academic mentoring. Just before the end of the holidays, a student complained to me that his teacher was ‘too demanding’. Another student weighed into the conversation, championing the teacher as being someone who pushed him to be his best.

Culture is king.

Thanks to all those who continue to contribute in such a positive way to the shaping of our learning future.

Kath Little
Dean of Learning