On their first day at Bastow’s Leading Curriculum and Assessment course, Assistant Principal Brian Pender and teachers Elle Borgese and Sasha Kober from Princes Hill Secondary College, were unsure of what to expect. But over the five and a half workshop days they were surprised by the journey and how positive the experience was, especially the way the facilitators really listened and took on board what they wanted to achieve.
The Leading Curriculum and Assessment course is designed to achieve excellence through a shared aspiration for every student to experience deep and inspiring learning that enables them to progress. This reflects New Directions to Action: World class teaching and school leadership, which is part of the Victorian Government’s vision for excellence in school leadership.
Informed by contemporary research and quality principles, the program provides leaders with the opportunity to better understand what constitutes excellence in curriculum and assessment design. Participants analyse evidence from their own contexts to better understand their existing approach, and learn how to lead change to collaboratively strengthen curriculum and assessment across their schools.
Sasha Kober, Brian Pender and Elle Borgese
For the team from Princes Hill, the Leading Curriculum and Assessment course was perfectly ‘in tune with what we wanted to do in our school’.
‘We wanted something to assist us with curriculum design, in particular documentation,’ explains Brian. ‘We are designing units of work and documenting them so we can better support teachers across the school from years 7‒10 in all learning areas.’
As a way to take a systematic approach, the school developed a wikispace, where teachers can feed in their documentation such as unit designs and lesson plans, so that they make connections between topics and across faculties, which is now linked to the Victorian curriculum. Ultimately, there will also be a space where parents can access their child’s curriculum.
‘This consistent approach means we can look at big questions in each topic and ask “What else can we include that will enrich the students’ learning?”’ says Elle.
For all team members, collaborating with other teachers was a real highlight of the program, especially as a way to focus on their successes.
‘Finding what we do really well enables us to feel confident. We can look at the areas we know well and then see how we can enrich these even more.’
They also took the time at Bastow as an opportunity to do some ‘very high intensity work’ as a team, as well as learn strategies they can apply to successfully lead professional learning back at school.
‘From my perspective, it's about this team really driving what's happening in the school, and the program has really given us a lot more confidence and backing to do this,’ says Brian. ‘The approach and strategies the facilitators use for our learning is very transferable. We actually ran a couple of activities from the program with our own staff.’
For more information on the course, see Leading Curriculum and Assessment.