Student engagement and wellbeing


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Student engagement and wellbeing

  1. 1. Technical Leadership – Thinking and Planning Strategically Strategic Planning Project Louise Holley Acting Assistant Principal/Primary Welfare Officer Debney Meadows Primary School Victoria Street Flemington 3031 Mentor: Peter Cowell This project aims to develop a strategic and sustainable approach towards school improvement in the area of student engagement and wellbeing.
  2. 2. As a part of the School Accountability and Improvement Framework; enhanced student engagement and wellbeing, Debney Meadows four-year school strategic plan has as its focus: Student Engagement and Wellbeing “To continue to provide high levels of care and welfare in response to the students’ individual needs” “Developing strategic thinking as well as operational competence is an ability that we should develop in all staff in a school.” Brent Davies This project aims to develop a strategic and sustainable approach towards school improvement in the area of student engagement and wellbeing. INTRODUCTION Debney Meadows Primary School is a small, inner city school located on the edge of Debney Park and close to the Flemington Ministry of Housing Estate. Debney Meadows Primary School is a “like 9” school with 93% of families on a Health Care Card and 97% of students from Language Backgrounds Other Than English. Equally important to note is the degree of economic disadvantage experienced by our students and families. The majority of our families have one parent with often 4 to 6 children living in a 2 bedroom Office of Housing unit. The majority of families come from the Horn of Africa. Language groups in the school include Somali, Vietnamese, Arabic, Chinese (Cantonese, Hakka), Tigrinya, Turkish, Spanish and Amharic. There is high mobility in and out of the area. Debney Meadows Primary School has undergone considerable changes over the last two years with changes in leadership (three principals, an acting assistant principal, three primary welfare officers). Last year began with a $400,000 fire in January which resulted in three physical shifts for the school community. Temporary classes were held in neighbouring schools, then we moved into one floor of the school building and then into the whole building. In 2007 the school began a CASS Foundation project “Increasing Student Engagement through the Developmental Curriculum”. The project timetable is three years. Educational consultant Kathy Walker works with teams of teachers on a weekly basis. Play and project based learning; alongside explicit instructions are the major pedagogical tools for literacy development and learning in the Developmental Curriculum. In December 2007 Debney Meadows was selected as a Western Metropolitan Region Focus School. We were appointed a Teaching and Learning Coach, Olivea Chellew, who works with teachers on strategies and practices to improve literacy and numeracy outcomes for all students. In 2008 Debney Meadows Primary School commenced the year with a newly appointed substantive Principal Christine Nash. My acting Assistant Principal role was modified to incorporate a .6 Primary Welfare Officer role. The 2008 school year commenced with an enrolment of 30 students less than expected which resulted in an excess of teachers, a projected financial deficit of over $100,000 and classes averaging around 16 students. The school restructured at the end of term two 2008 changing from seven classes to six. An excess process to decrease the teaching staff by one EFT position in term four was achieved. OBJECTIVES
  3. 3. • Clarify Strategic intent – strategic plan, annual implementation plan • Establish student wellbeing team • Develop Primary Welfare Officer action plan • Identify needs – students, school, community • Identify student wellbeing practices at Debney Meadows Primary School • Engage community – staff, students, families, wider community • To provide high levels of care and welfare in response to the students’ individual needs WHO Leadership Christine Nash Principal Louise Holley Acting Assistant Principal/Primary Welfare Officer Olivea Chellew WMR Teaching and Learning Coach Student Wellbeing Team comprising of the Principal, Assistant Principal/Primary Welfare Officer, Integration teacher, SSO representative, After School Care Coordinator, Speech Pathologist, School Psychologist, School Nurse, RCH Paediatric fellow and RMIT Social Work Students. Staff – MEAs, SSOs Students Community STRATEGIC PROCESSES: CONCEPTUALISATION Reflecting: where are we? This project aims to develop a strategic and sustainable approach towards school improvement in the area of student engagement and wellbeing. To achieve this we need a whole school understanding of where we are now – what structures are in place at Debney Meadows, what our goals, needs and expectations are. Strategic thinking: where could we be?
  4. 4. As a school we need to discuss, imagine, articulate what should and could be; the Art of Possibility. We are in the process of looking at the ‘now” of school improvement at Debney Meadows while challenging and creating new ways of doing things for the future. Becoming a strategically focused school with school-wide ongoing improvement. Analysis: what do we know? We need to identify where the school is now, where it wants to be and how that journey can be led and managed. We looked at our strategic intent as outlined in our strategic plan and annual implementation plan (Appendix 1). From this I used The Framework for Student Support Services in Victorian Government Schools as a structure to identify what practices are in place at Debney Meadows (Appendix 2). A Student Wellbeing Team was established with the aim of supporting and improving student wellbeing initiatives. The Student Wellbeing Team developed a Primary Welfare Officer Action plan which was presented to staff (Appendix 3). Completing the Culture Profile Summary, as presented by Colin Pidd, highlighted the clan culture characteristics within staff evident at Debney Meadows. A core team of staff have taught at the school for a significant time. The challenging behaviours of students and their learning needs have contributed to this culture. A lot of energy and focus has been on welfare and behaviour issues at the expense of teaching and learning. Professional learning time of teachers has been expended on welfare and classroom management. Teachers thought it detrimental to leave the classroom to attend professional development due to classroom management issues. Debney Meadows is a disadvantaged school. Our families come from lower socio economic backgrounds with 97% from Language Backgrounds Other Than English. Staff were asked to record what that disadvantage looks like for students, the school and the community. The activity was repeated by the Student Wellbeing Team (Appendix 4). Next step was to reflect, think and plan. What are our expectations? What are our assumptions? What impact does poverty and disadvantage have on our community? What do we need to put in place to redress the disadvantage? Debney Meadows Primary School has been identified by the Western Metropolitan Region as an underperforming school and a teaching and learning coach was placed in the school for 2008. Debney Meadows has a high number of ESL students. We need to know what that means for teaching and learning. We need to know what that means for student engagement and wellbeing. A need for data/statistics was identified. Recently, through a Melbourne University Research Project our 13 preps were screened. From this, seven students have been referred for a full assessment. The number of students with high needs appears to be disproportionate to our school enrolment of 110 students. We need data to confirm this. We are currently investigating the use of the Students at Risk Mapping System and have visited two neighbouring schools to see how they are using this system. We need to collect and analyse this data and analyse how the data can inform our teaching and learning. We need to explore how the data may assist us to get support. The data may be able to ascertain school improvement. We need to be able to identify what value has been added to students attending Debney Meadows. STRATEGIC PROCESSES: ENGAGING THE PEOPLE
  5. 5. When building and developing a strategically focussed school, engaging the people within the school to be part of the process is vital. Debney Meadows has undergone considerable change over the last two years. A new principal and leadership team in 2008 has had a significant impact on the culture and direction of the school. There has been an intentional process of fostering and developing strategic conversations, developing relationships, enhancing participation and motivation. There is a new energy and enthusiasm. Professional learning communities with a focus on teaching and learning have replaced staff meetings that previously focused on administration and behaviour. Sharepoint is used for daily communication and morning briefings are held daily to ensure effective communication. The school has successfully achieved Performance and Development Culture accreditation. Values have been developed and we are building shared understandings of what these look like inside and outside of the classroom. Timetabling has allowed teams of teachers time to meet and plan together. A highly successful After School Care Program has been established. Restorative Justice Practices have been introduced across the school. Engaging the community – staff, students, families and wider community has occurred through briefings, Sharepoint, newsletters, professional learning communities, after school care, parent information sessions, parenting courses and participation in community events. Most of our community have limited English. Through extensive use of interpreters and the critical role of our two Multicultural Education Aides we are able to develop strong relationships and partnerships with our community. STRATEGIC PROCESSES: ARTICULATION What is in the best interests of the students? Leadership have begun engaging staff, students and the community in thinking and talking about current practice and the future. This has been through conversations, professional learning communities, presentations, sharing and analysis of data. We are developing school-wide expectations and agreed understandings. Student engagement and wellbeing is one of the three key student outcomes within the School Accountability and Improvement Framework. Effective Schools focus on the development of student social competencies, by embedding social competency learning opportunities into their pedagogy, curriculum, behaviour management systems and expectations. It is recognised that the intent is beyond this project, it is a work in progress. Processes are being put in place to ensure that everyone is on board. We are aiming to build capacity and capability, to move the school from its present position to its desired future state. Continuous reflection, strategic approaches and modification will lead to ongoing improvement. This project will inform our Annual Implementation Plan for 2009, a key improvement area. MAJOR LEARNING Strategic thinking is a process where we build understanding and meaning about where we are and where we are going. We need to build strategic capability within the school in order to ensure long term success and a culture of continuous improvement.
  6. 6. An outline of the way/s in which the project made use of the principles and techniques of strategic planning 1) Conceptualisation Clarify Strategic intent; to provide high levels of care and welfare in response to the students’ individual needs. Refer to strategic plan and annual 2) Engaging people implementation plan. What processes are needed to identify student wellbeing practices at Debney Establish student wellbeing team. Meadows Primary School.? What processes are Engage community – staff, students, needed to identify needs – students, school and families, wider community. community? Establish processes to gather data to identify needs. 3) Articulation 4) Implementation Develop school-wide expectations and agreed Structures and processes in place to understandings ensure sustained student wellbeing Vision practices. Values Conversations Evidence walks Annual Implementation Plan 2009
  7. 7. APPENDIX 1 DEBNEY MEADOWS PRIMARY SCHOOL STRATEGIC INTENT 2007 - 2010 Goals Targets One Year Targets Student Engagement and To continue to provide high levels of care and By the end of the strategic plan period: • Staff opinion survey variables will Wellbeing welfare in response to the students’ individual indicate an improvement by at least 5%. • Student behaviour – for the Staff Student motivation at or above 38.5, needs. Opinion Survey variables; Student Student decision making at or above motivation, Student decision making, 21.0, Student misbehaviour at or above student misbehaviour and classroom 66, Classroom misbehaviour at or misbehaviour to all be above the 25th above 36.5 percentile • The Attitudes to Schools Survey to • The percentage of children arriving late show a 10% improvement in student to school will reduce by 10% safety with a school mean of 4.04 or • The Parent Opinion Survey criteria of above. Approachability and General • The percentage of students arriving Satisfaction will fall in the “excellent” late to school will have decreased by range 5% Key Improvement What How Who When Achievement Milestones Strategies and Significant Projects the activities and the budget, equipment, the individuals or teams the date, week, month changes in practice or programs required to IT, learning time, responsible for or term for completion behaviours progress the key learning space implementation improvement strategies
  8. 8. Student Engagement Implementation of  PD staff not yet Carol Guthrie Term 1 By the end of semester 1 & 2, and Wellbeing Restorative Justice as the trained in Restorative progress indicated on SSRS approach to student Justice on the social behaviours of Review behaviour  PLC refresher students, such as cooperation, behaviour management management policy session empathy, assertion, self control  Purchase resources and responsibility Staff develop a framework  PLC meeting. Share Whole staff and PWO Ongoing By term 4 there is a 10% and shared language to examples decrease in all behaviour talk with students about  Review and revisit Term 2 incidents as evidenced by the strategies regularly behaviour record book their behaviour compared to 2006 data Visit schools which have  Expressions of Co-ordinated by AP Term 1 Staff opinion survey variables interest will indicate an improvement implemented Restorative  CRT budget by at least 5%. Student Justice. misbehaviour at or above 66,  Staff report back to PLC Classroom misbehaviour at or AP trained as Restorative  PL budget Carol Guthrie Term 1 above36.5  CRT budget By term 4, a new draft Justice Community Student Safety Policy Conference Facilitator document is completed. The Attitudes to Schools Survey to show a 10% Parent Information Session  Meeting time Carol Guthrie Term 2 improvement in student safety Restorative Justice  For consultant with a school mean of 4.04 or above. Develop draft policy Education Committee Term 4 documents Investigate Positive  PL budget Assistant Principal Term 1 Behaviour Intervention  CRT budget Support. Enhancing Relationships in Principal Term 1 School Communities expression of interest.
  9. 9. APPENDIX 2 DEBNEY MEADOWS PRIMARY SCHOOL STUDENT WELLBEING STUDENT ENGAGEMENT AND WELLBEING To continue to provide high levels of care and welfare in response to the students’ individual needs. By the end of the strategic plan period: • Student behaviour – for the Staff Opinion Survey variables; Student motivation, Student decision making, student misbehaviour and classroom misbehaviour to all be above the 25th percentile • The percentage of children arriving late to school will reduce by 10% • The Parent Opinion Survey criteria of Approachability and General Satisfaction will fall in the “excellent” range PRIMARY WELFARE OFFICER ROLE AND RESPONSIBILITIES The Primary Welfare Officer will: • contribute to the development of a whole school approach to encourage student engagement, learning and wellbeing; • promote a positive and secure environment through evidence based learning and wellbeing programs; • develop community partnerships to strengthen student wellbeing; • work within the whole school community to support students and their families; • promote greater student and family engagement with schools; and • develop and support the school’s approach to effective student case coordination.
  10. 10. The Framework for Student Support Services in Victorian DEBNEY MEADOWS PRIMARY SCHOOL Government Schools
  12. 12. Primary Welfare Officer • Establish Student Wellbeing Team ( meet once per term) Build belonging and promote • Primary Welfare Officer action wellbeing. plan • Draft Student Wellbeing policy Primary prevention refers to population-based strategies for whole Values • Publish school values groups, such as a school or a year • Review Student Code of Conduct level, that aim to strengthen Curriculum • Implement developmental protective factors and minimize the curriculum P-6 to engage all impact of risk factors in students. students Strategies: School Attendance • Student Attendance Forum Promoting resilience through: (PWO) • build mutual respect and • Student Attendance Network • a sense of belonging promote safety at school (Business Manager) • a one to one relationship with a • implement comprehensive • It’s Not OK To Be Away parent caring adult curriculum to engage all students session • positive social behaviours and • enhance school attendance ERIS Enhancing Relationships in • ERIS Core Team problem solving skills • practice inclusive teaching and Schools • Whole School PD • a sense of spiritual and learning • Implement cultural diversity communal belonging • encourage supportive curriculum years 3-6 • strong family relationships and relationships Restorative Justice • Restorative Justice practices minimal family stress • ease transitions implemented • peer connectedness • involve parents / families and • Whole School PD communities • Parent PD • Review Student Code of Conduct • Draft Student Code of Conduct Parents/Families/Community • Parent information sessions • Parenting course “Tuning Into Kids” • After School Care Program • Social work students • Transition Student Health • Referral to agencies, eg; State Schools Relief, MacKillop Family Services • Headlice management • Anaphylaxis management • Asthma Friendly Schools program • School nursing • Kids Go For Your Life
  13. 13. EARLY INTERVENTION EARLY INTERVENTION • Identification of “at risk” Program for Students with students Strengthen coping skills and reduce Disabilities (PSD) • Referral procedures risk factors • Integration teacher • Integrations Aides (SSOs) Early intervention strategies are • School Support Groups (SSG) targeted at students displaying • Individual Learning Plans general disorganisation in coping • WMR Integration Network skills and other personal and social • Professional Development vulnerabilities that place them at risk • Student Wellbeing Team of not reaching their educational • Implement Language Support potential. Language Support Program Program Emergency Management • DMPS Emergency Management Plan CASEA • Staff briefing Developing resilience through: • Team training Strategies • implementing appropriate support • Whole school PD • assess risks and identify needs • Student program programs • provide school based • Parent program • providing effective interventions counselling and support • Classroom program • reinforcing students’ positive • develop programs to improve achievements skills SSSOs • Student Wellbeing Team • promoting a sense of safety and • monitor and evaluate student security support programs INTERVENTION INTERVENTION • Referral procedures • Student welfare data base Provide access to support • Student Wellbeing Team information and treatment • Case management (social work student program) Intervention strategies are aimed at • School Support Group smaller numbers of students who meetings experience serious or persistent • Individual Learning Plans difficulties, and who may need either • Behaviour management plans short-term or ongoing access to • Risk management plans additional professional intervention services and support. Intervention
  14. 14. strategies are most effective when they are embedded in the school’s existing wellbeing programs. Improving resilience through: Strategies • activating effective partnerships • clarify referral procedures • coordinating services • link to counselling services • well judged responses, being • ensure continuity of care sensitive to students’ feelings • monitor and evaluate progress and needs • accurate identification RESTORING WELL-BEING RESTORING WELL-BEING • Student Wellbeing Team • DMPS Emergency Manage trauma and limit impact Management Plan Restoring wellbeing strategies are aimed at students affected by critical incidences or potentially traumatic situations. These strategies also focus on re-connecting students who are disengaged from the school system. Rebuilding resilience through: Strategies: • increase awareness of trauma impact • restoring a sense of normality • plan for emergency response • responding appropriately with • provide counselling and support recovery activities • monitor recovery and evaluate • having effective prevention and plans preparedness • supporting psychological safety
  15. 15. APPENDIX 3 Debney Meadows Primary School Primary Welfare Officer Action Plan Year Curriculum Prevention/Early Policy Parents & Intervention Community 2008 - 2009 • ERIS Core Team • Establish Student • Draft Student • Parent information • Whole School PD Wellbeing Team Wellbeing policy sessions • Implement cultural (meet once per • Draft Student Code • Social work students diversity curriculum term) of Conduct years 3-6 • Primary Welfare • Anaphylaxis Officer action plan management Policy • CASEA program • Asthma Policy • Restorative Justice • Sunsmart Policy practices implemented • Whole School PD • Parent PD • Review Student Code of Conduct Successful Targets (completed towards end of year): ERIS introduced, Student Wellbeing Team established, Restorative justice practices implemented across school, Student Code of Conduct reviewed, Parent information sessions regularly provided Forward Planning (completed towards end of year): CASEA program implemented, Draft Student Wellbeing policy published, Draft Student Code of Conduct published, Primary Welfare Officer Action plan implemented,
  16. 16. APPENDIX 4 DEBNEY MEADOWS PRIMARY SCHOOL What does our disadvantage look like? STUDENTS SCHOOL FAMILIES/COMMUNITY • ESL • Isolated from wider community • Poverty • High number of special needs – • Teachers have to cater for high needs • Single parent families/high number of children, social/behavioural, educational • Limited access to speech pathologists, • Sibling support • High number of PSD funded students psychologists, nurse, (SSSOs) • Welfare benefits • Challenging behaviours • Constant referrals • Refugee backgrounds – residual trauma in families, • Welfare needs – absenteeism, lateness, • Limited resources – integration aides stress food, clothing • Strong need for MEA’s • LBOTE • Social isolation • Teachers and school staff required to • Housing issues • Large families lead to lack of support and provide extra one on one attention to kids • Community outreach – first contact for assistance attention • Responsibility at first point of call often and referral • Not one of the preps fell into the normal for health and speech difficulties • Need strong support for lots of things range of the language assessment • No real connections to other primary • Lack of kindergarten or preschool experience • High number of borderline assessments schools and community of primary • Lack of communication/understanding between • Lack of kindergarten or preschool schools for children Muslim community and services e.g. child protection experience • Holistic welfare • Big drug problem in surrounding community – • Children concerned for safety at times on • Lack of understanding from surrounding people entering estate from other community surrounding estate middle class community • Welfare – poverty/welfare cycles • Limited access to SSSO’s • Funding • Cross cultural communication • Poverty • Facilities • Community isolation • Sibling stress • Resources • Public housing issues • Holistic welfare needs taken care of by • Cross cultural communication • Limited access to SSSO’s school • Social isolation – class isolation, • Strong support for families always needed • MEA needed on regular basis community isolation • Systemic disadvantage harder to use wider system • Lack of proper communication with for needs *ESL, below-age literacy skills, limited problem solving DEECD • Lack of family support skills, limited play opportunities outside of school, lack Allocation of SSSO time grossly below level school Low SES & corresponding lack of resources, difficulties interacting of resources at home to supplement learning (e.g. requires, sense that Region does not realise the high with broader community due to language barrier, struggle with educational games). needs of the DMPS cohort, language barriers to behaviour management in large families, language barriers to interventions at the parent/family level, high per- involvement in community-run parenting programs etc capita rate of learning diffs. • Cross cultural differences and tensions – e.g. homework issues, generational differences, influences from older siblings • Constant reliance on interpreters