Noelene Callaghan           

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The making of Yawarra Community School

Posted on October 14, 2019 at 10:10 PM


Yawarra Community School is $19.5 million school providing vital educational facilities for Dubbo and surrounding areas. It possesses four new state-of-the-art classrooms for up to 40 special needs students from Kindergarten to Year 12.


Under the leadership of Debbie McCreadie, 35 students with special needs currently attend the converted Dubbo West Infants School. Yawarra Community School assists students with disabilities, providing support via personalised learning, specialist services such as speech and occupational therapists and social benefits.


Yawarra Community School’s state-of-the-art facilities cater for up to 40 special needs students from K- 12, and include:

• four learning spaces

• a gym and outdoor areas

• special programs facility

• administration area

• external play facilities and landscaped grounds.


The new school also has areas to support students who require additional physical therapy and care including a gym and special programs facilities. Soon the construction of a new hydrotherapy pool, for school and community use, with adjoining accessible parking will be constructed.


Yawarra Community School is named after the Wiradjuri word for “care” or “to take care or watch”, a fitting name for the facility, which will meet the needs of a wide range of students from Dubbo and surrounding communities.


Technologically, Yawarra Community School is determined to provide individualised learning experiences by using assistive technologies that are designed to be used by students to perform tasks that might otherwise be difficult or impossible such as switches and aids. These technologies are available for students to access in and outside of the classroom.


Yawarra Community School has utilised the Foundations.T4L team to assist with the development of customisable switches and tools that will benefit their students. They have also worked with staff to develop their ICT skills and learning trajectories so that they can create unique learning experiences for their students. The Foundations.T4L’s Digital Classroom Officers have also worked within the classrooms at Yawarra Community School to co-teach and mentor staff in using the latest technologies.

The making of a Microsoft Showcase School

Posted on October 13, 2019 at 3:00 AM

5 brand new NSW Department of Education schools are selected and recognised for excellence in technological pedagogy transformation and named as Microsoft Showcase Schools.


Microsoft Education Australia and the Foundations.T4L team have partnered together to identify and work with five of the newest New South Wales’ newest Department of Education schools who deliver outstanding technological pedagogy in its schools.


We’re excited to announce Bardia Public School, Bella Vista Public School, Finigan School of Distance Education, North Kellyville Public School and Yandelora School as the newest schools to be added to the exclusive list of Australian Microsoft Showcase Schools.
 

In the short time that these schools have been operational, they have established strong digital curriculum ecosystems. They’ve adopted either a Microsoft tool such as SharePoint or Microsoft Teams as their digital platform and have built their administrative functions and teaching pedagogies using OneNote, Office 365 and more. Moreover, with the support of the Foundations.T4L team, they have succesfully implemented 1:1 device programs through the 21 steps of technology transformation model.


Each school began planning their ICT learning trajectory prior to the school opening. This continued well into 2019. The staff at each school have attended ongoing professional learning to enhance their digital literacy and ensure that consistency, understanding and implementation approaches meets the overall strategic vision of the school. Such professional learning sessions have been facilitated by the Foundations.T4L Digital Classroom Officers and Microsoft Education.


All five schools have employed 21st Century Learning Design into their whole-school teacher programming practice. This permits successful learning activity design that utilise the 21st CLD dimensions of Collaboration, Knowledge Construction, Real-World Problem Solving, Self-Regulation, Real-World Innovation and ICT for Learning.


Principals, Deputy and Assistant Principals participated a Design Deploy and Transform workshop by Microsoft Educations’ Travis Smith, that further supported the envisioning, planning, implementing, evaluation and expanding 1:1 learning in their school. This workshop reinforced that the most successful 1:1 initiatives are concerned with learning, not laptops. Such initiatives create infinitely better opportunities and experiences for students and a more efficient, effective and rewarding experience for teachers and staff. It also reinforced the need to future proof the school by creating sustainable practices so that innovative learning spaces, technologies, leadership and teaching practices as well as curriculum and assessment always remain relevant and applicable to the students’ individual needs.


Teaching staff actively participate in professional learning that covers a range of the technologies available to them through Windows 10 and the Office 365 platform. Led by Megan Townes and the Foundations.T4L Digital Classroom Officers, this PL provides opportunities for staff to showcase their teaching activities and how they have supported student learning and creativity, as well as how they have increased their own productivity. Specific Microsoft tools such as Immersive Reader and digital stylus devices to improve student learning outcome and accessibility tools (to improve reading comprehension and writing) are also examined.


Foundations.T4L’s Digital Classroom Officers work closely with the staff at each of these five schools. They have carefully produced a specialised professional learning plan for each school that aligns with their school vision, culture, technological capacity and overall goals. The Digital Classroom Officers also work side by side with teachers and their students to enrich a positive learning experience where students attain enhanced education outcomes by integrating Microsoft technology into their learning. Students at these schools use Teams and/or OneNote as their key learning platform. Students from K-12 have incorporated these tools to produce evidence of learning, collaboration activities and self-reflection tasks which are at the basis of 21st century learning.


As these new-build schools grow collectively from 1,800 to 4,050 enrolled students over the next few years, our newest schools will continue to create transformational change in authentic learning spaces by empowering students to develop their skills to navigate our emerging, digital, virtual, augmented and mixed-reality worlds.


The making of North Kellyville Public School

Posted on June 11, 2019 at 6:55 AM

North Kellyville Public School is located in Sydney’s North West. This school has the capacity to educate up to 1,000 students in both mainstream and support.


Under the leadership of Tom Moth, North Kellyville Public School relentlessly focuses on the formation and maintenance of positive interpersonal relationships. Resilience, persistence and personal responsibility are the key themes of wellbeing programs at this school.


This new school includes 

  • 40 new learning spaces, including three special education learning units, and core facilities
  • 3 special programs rooms
  • a hall
  • a library
  • a canteen
  • covered outdoor learning areas (COLA)
  • semi-enclosed courtyards
  • external play, gaming and sporting facilities.


The school will be delivered in two stages: 

  • Stage 1 - learning spaces and facilities opened on Day 1, Term 1, 2019 for K-6 students.
  • Stage 2 - facilities for up to 1,000 students, including additional play space to be completed by early 2020.


Technologically, North Kellyville is already utilising a plethora of technology such as iPads, 3D Printers, 75 inch interactive panels and more which is a testament to the skilful staff employed at that this school. These dedicated staff are using Microsoft’s 21st Century Learning Design as its pedagogical framework which will underpin not only how curriculum will be delivered, but how teaching staff will collaborate with one another in developing units of work in co-teaching environments.

 

North Kellyville Public School has utilised the Foundations.T4L team to assist them in determining what are the most purposeful devices for their students in a 1:1 learning environment, provide Teacher Professional Learning on various technological pedagogies and working with staff one-on-one in developing their teaching practice.


The making of Manly Vale Public School

Posted on May 11, 2019 at 6:55 AM

Manly Vale Public School is located in Sydney’s North. This school has the capacity to educate up to 1,000 mainstream students.


On Day 1, Term 1, 2019, Manly Vale Public School opened its doors to 527 students from Kindergarten to Year 6. Under the leadership of Mrs Tina Lee, Manly Vale Public School offers students access to 40 state of the art flexible learning spaces, a hall, modern library, canteen, a covered outdoor learning area (COLA) and several enhanced learning spaces.

 

This project is being delivered in several stages, with Stage 1 opening for Day 1 Term 1 2019. Stage 2, which includes refurbishment of the existing administration building and external works is currently underway. This stage is expected to be delivered by early 2020.

 

To maximise the teaching and learning opportunities for its teachers and students, Manly Vale PS are working the Foundations.T4L team to enrich the use of technology in flexible learning environments. This is being achieved by delivering Professional Learning opportunities to staff, creating alliances with 3rd party vendors, co-teaching with school teaching staff, embedding technological practice into current teaching programs and more.

 

Many Vale PS have installed fixed SMART Interactive Displays in all of its classrooms allowing students the opportunity to engage with their curriculum through enhanced technologies and stimulus materials. Opting to use a multi-technological platform, the curriculum offered to students comprises of Apple, Google and Microsoft. In help evaluate and determine the most appropriate technology for their students, staff will collaborate and share their teaching resources via various technological platforms. This approach will help determine the most effective and efficient way to provide the seamless implementation of co-teaching pedagogies.

 

As part of the school’s ICT strategic direction, Manly Vale PS aims to provide its students with a 1:1 student / device ratio. This program will allow students to personalise their learning by creating innovative work through collaboration and vertical learning opportunities.

The making of Finigan School of Distance Education

Posted on March 11, 2019 at 6:50 AM

Finigan School of Distance Education is located in Queanbeyan (20 minutes west of Canberra). This school has the current capacity to educate 1,000 students in distance education. These students are either travelling, living in remote NSW locations, attend a communal learning hub periodically, or have behavioural or medical conditions that prevent them from attending mainstream school.


Opening on Day 1, Term 2, 2019, Finigan School of Distance Education opened its doors to approximately 1,000 students from Kindergarten to Year 12. Under the leadership of Mr Daniel Rattigan, Finigan School of Distance Education offers a state of the art facility where teachers can provide personalised delivery of content to students individually and in small groups using collaborative technology such as Adobe Connect, Skype for Business and Microsoft Teams. This unique setting is most renowned for the innovative approach it has established to providing quality teaching and learning materials to its students.


To maximise the teaching and learning opportunities for its teachers and students, Finigan are working closely with the Foundations.T4L team to maximise the use of technology in flexible learning environments. This is being achieved through the delivery of Professional Learning opportunities and co-teaching with the schools teaching staff, creating alliances with 3rd party vendors and embedding technological practice into current teaching programs and more.


Finigan have a plethora of unique technologies that provide unique opportunities that are yet to be seen in distance education elsewhere. These permit students to engage and interact with their teachers in real time via video conferencing. Teachers use a range of tools, predominately Microsoft Teams to work with their students allowing continuous communication, immediate access to resources and feedback. Film studios with state of the art cameras, microphones, and green screens have been installed to allow students to create videos that explain content in a personalised context. All of these technologies are led by Microsoft’s 21st Century Learning Design Framework that underpins the pedagogy in both primary and secondary schools as well as in KLAs.


As part of its school strategic direction, Finigan School of Distance Education aims to provide each of its students with a device so that all students can be connected to a teacher and feel supported throughout the duration of their course. The school’s passion is to educate all students regardless of the obstacles they face in gaining an education.

The making of Bella Vista Public School

Posted on March 11, 2019 at 6:45 AM


Bella Vista Public School is located in Sydney’s North West. This school has the capacity to educate up to 1,000 students in both mainstream and support.


Opened on Day 1, Term 1, 2019, Bella Vista Public School opened its doors to 139 students from Kindergarten to Year 6. Under the leadership of Mr Derek Danby, Bella Vista Public School offers students 40 flexible learning spaces, a hall, library, canteen, a FIFA approved soccer field (where Australia’s Women’s Soccer Team, the Matildas train) and a basketball court where the XXXX train. The local community will also benefit from the school’s new synthetic sports pitch and double-court indoor sports hall, which has been built in partnership with Hills Shire Council and is available to the public for local community use.


To maximise the teaching and learning opportunities for its teachers and students, Bella Vista PS are working the Foundations.T4L team to maximise the use of technology in flexible learning environments. This is being achieved by delivering Professional Learning opportunities to staff, creating alliances with 3rd party vendors, co-teaching with teaching staff, embedding technological practice into current teaching programs, and more.


Bella Vista PS have installed fixed and mobile Promethean Interactive Displays in all of its classrooms so that students can engage with their curriculum in enhanced learning opportunities and stimulus materials. Opting to use a Microsoft platform, much of the curriculum offered to students in stages 1-3 is delivered using OneNote. Administratively, teachers collaborate and share their teaching resources via Microsoft’s Sharepoint. This provides the school with a seamless approach to implementing co-teaching pedagogies.


As part of its school strategic direction, Bella Vista PS aims to provide its students with a 1:1 device program which enables students to personalise their learning by creating innovative work through collaboration and vertical learning opportunities. This will be achieved via the school’s philosophy ‘to learn to unlearn, to be literate and numerate’.

The making of Hunter Sports High School

Posted on February 2, 2019 at 5:40 AM


Hunter Sports High School is located 20 minutes south of Newcastle in Macquarie Lakes’ Gateshead. This school currently has 750 students, enrolled in both mainstream and support classes.

Hunter Sports High School is a partially selective public high school that has personalised academic curriculums including:

  • Aboriginal Education
  • Big Picture Academy
  • Vocational Education
  • Talented Sports Program.


Under the leadership of Rachel Byrne, Hunter Sport High School offers a unique learning environment that caters for both academic and sporting excellence. It caters for students with special needs with a dedicated Support Unit for 38 students, as well as a world-class Big Picture Academy which has expanded this year to include students from Year 8 through to Year 12. Their senior class will be studying for their HSC via a compacted curriculum model which is delivered online with staff and students from the Cooks Hill Big Picture Campus. Further, their Talented Sports Program continues to provide elite coaching to talented athletes as well as an academic framework that enables them to reach both their academic and sporting goals.


This new school includes:

  • new state-of-the-art education facilities including a movement complex with space for assemblies and presentations
  • a canteen
  • a weights gym
  • various store rooms and amenities.
  • 26 general classrooms and 13 specialist classrooms (for food technology, wood and metal work, science, visual and performing arts)
  • front reception and administration building
  • staff offices
  • student and staff amenities
  • a library.


The school learning environments offer greater access to technology and gives students and teachers' flexibility where students can work independently and cooperatively in small or larger groups and where learning can be personalised, relationships built, and students inspired to learn.


Technologically, Hunter Sports High School are using a range of devices providing their students access to specialised sports software, eportfolios and STEM tools. Using Google as the whole-school learning platform allows students to collaborate, create and connect with each other to produce evidence of learning regardless of the learning program that they are enrolled in.


Hunter Sports High School has engaged the Foundations.T4L team to lead them in providing professional learning face to face and via Brekkie with a Tekkie sessions, ensuring staff are continuously upskilled and are supported in their technology journey. Foundations.T4L Digital Classroom Officers are also working closely with digitalising student work so that they can create interactive electronic portfolios that document their high school career.