Recently, a professional learning team from Elsternwick Primary, visited a school, Courtenay Garden’s P.S. in Victoria that focused on non fiction writing implementing the research of Douglas Reeves.
Courtenay Gardens P.S. ,a school located in the growth corridior of the outer south eastern suburbs of Melbourne, has 850 students. The school has students from a cross section of the community and has some additional funding based on factors of disadvantage.
The schools has spent the last 3 years implementing, a student writing program that has a large non fiction genre focus. The program now has students perfoming well beyond students in similar communities.
In point form for me:
- There is a single focus of professional learning [noting that success in this work will spill over to other domains in learning – student writing].
- All adults in the school are allocated individuals [even the office staff] and small groups of under performing students to work on every day to improve their understandings [10.30 – 10.50 am – I think].
- There is a strict culture of students in classroom not wandering corridors [toilet breaks, student monitoring roles]
- The schools timetable negotiated through staff consultative processes specify expectations for the year [i.e. when to put certain displays up, when to have assessment data uploaded, when to finish reports] and by the look of the school the expectations are monitored. .
- There is a leadership team who have researched the learning improvements and insist on standards.
There were other things I noted i.e award winning internal TV studio but the thing I noticed most of all was the absolute generosity of spirit – i.e. all material were distributed free. Thanks for the inspiration!