Plans, Dreams & Ambitions
3. Our Plans, Dreams and Ambitions
i. Teaching & Learning for a New Generation
"Learning without thought is labor lost; thought without learning is perilous." Confucius(551 BC -479 BC), The Confucian Analects
Continuous improvement towards excellence of teaching and learning is at the nucleus of the PEC Plan. At present we are negotiating a pilot program through membership of the Greater Western Sydney Alliance, featuring partnerships with DET Western Sydney and South Western Sydney Regions, the University of Western Sydney and business partnerships through Telstra and Cisco. The aim of the pilot is to develop and trial a range of state-of-the-art technologies in a progressive education setting and to access outside education expertise and teaching and learning programs. As a part of our PEC Middle Years focus, we are working towards the delivery of education programs to students across school sites in innovative ways. Flexible models of delivery are being researched and generated for the more strategic use and development of teacher expertise across curriculum areas throughout PEC. The ability to develop more flexible staffing structures are being developed to further enhance our ability to align teaching and learning around the English, Mathematics, Science & Technology curriculum areas, including scope and sequence, teaching programs, assessment & data entry for STARS (our common student tracking and recording system used by all PEC schools). To coincide and maximise the impact of the Digital Education Revolution, PHS is in negotiation with external providers to develop pilot projects with regards to the use of different technologies, pioneering concepts that will connect students to information, to each other, to their learning neighbourhoods and their teachers, as well as supporting students with the important "how to do school". This model is designed to embed the teaching of organising and synthesising information as well reconstructing it in a variety of presentation formats. Our well established Learning Centre supporting students with learning difficulties, the gifted & talented and Aboriginal students, will also be an asset for further innovation given a flexible resourcing approach.
ii. Building the Capacity of Students
Supporting students in the creation and achievement of their goals is fundamental to enhancing learning at PEC. A newly developing student leadership initiative is marrying well with PBL structures, processes and plans that travel across PEC schools. The potential in this key area of development is for rich opportunities for student leaders to authentically make an impact upon their learning communities by working with other PEC student leaders, connecting through our pre-existing ‘connected classrooms' facilities. The success of the PEC Citizenship Continuum has developed the enthusiasm and commitment from the staff and community. The success of these projects amongst PEC schools continue to depend on the already established capacity for PEC's innovative and sophisticated structures that provide effective foundations and scaffolds that maintain and augment learning.
iii. Sharing Professional Practice
"We learn by example and by direct experience because there are real limits to the adequacy of verbal instruction." Malcolm Gladwell, Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking, 2005
One of our highest leverage strategies for improving student learning outcomes is "putting education back into education leadership" (Robinson 2006). Teachers are committed to developing a K-12 vision of teaching & learning and are eager participants in sharing professional practices. We are currently planning our fourth 2-day PEC conference which have to date featured an array of outstanding national and international expert guest speakers. All PEC staff meet once a term for shared, sustained and substantial professional dialogue, highlighting staff capacity to work towards the big picture for our community and best practice with regards to teaching & learning for our students. Already we have created a range of PEC planning and implementation teams with a focus on learning support, middle years, curriculum numeracy, curriculum literacy, curriculum science & technology, leadership, professional learning, citizenship leadership and student success (CLASS). These teams are a wonderful collaboration of classroom teachers, executives and senior executives, providing professional learning experiences through an array of special initiatives and the aligning of scope & sequences to create common assessment tasks for data analysis and future planning with regards to pedagogy and programming (literacy/numeracy/science & technology). The clear intention to redesign the ways and frequency in which we connect to significantly enhance student learning K-12 is at the core of our work together. There is also an obvious commitment to developing leadership across PEC schools. It is encouraging to recognise so many aspiring leaders within the PEC community. Staff are clearly very open to working as an education community, highlighting staff readiness for delving into the ‘new', as our whole PEC vision can be considered educationally avant-garde. From our perspective, it is a natural progression that we could investigate in more ‘flexible' structures to further buoy our initiatives. The success of this framework has already been concreted with a genuine partnership that exists between schools, a culture of trust, commitment and enthusiasm based on strong relationships and the steadfast belief that PEC works as one rather than as a coalition of partners.
iv. Building the Plumpton Education Community Collegiate
"Sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast." Lewis Carroll(1832 - 1898), Alice in Wonderland
Within our PEC plan, it is very clear that we have developed a culture that wishes to explore, research and develop models, structures and systems to more effectively, creatively and efficiently meet the learning needs of students through a K-12 education provision. This evidences the willingness of the wider school community to embark upon a complex and rich learning journey. It is clear that we wish to ensure an inclusive culture of innovation, creativity and common purpose that is nurtured and valued through broad-based involvement in the college creation process. Opportunities for forums, discussions, research, visits to other innovative education sites are constantly pursued by key stakeholders. The futuristic vision is to develop a PEC Collegiate, obviously implying new and innovative operational systems that support teaching & learning for the ‘middle years' and beyond. The current PEC leadership group is committed to our ongoing development and meets each fortnight for this purpose. We plan to establish a Board of Management to ensure high level and objective governance, including representation from partners in TAFE, university, local council, local business and other personnel who could enhance the development of a PEC College. We believe that this ambitious vision is achievable when considering what has been achieved in terms of supporting student learning outcomes and the outstanding leadership provided by the PEC team who have pioneered an extensive range of successful strategies that have successfully developed a highly innovative education provision, K-12.