I had a great meeting with a group of very passionate and excited teachers and their principal who are embarking on an exciting innovation to change the whole approach to learning at their secondary school. The school has been questioning what they are doing for the kids and can they do it differently to help improve student engagement. This has been done in a spirit of collaboration and professional dialogue.
They have been concerned that the boys are too often disengaging from learning particularly in year nine. They arrived at the conclusion that the problem lay not with structure of the school in year cohorts but with the nature of the curriculum construct and the approaches to learning an teaching that resulted from such constructs.
The staff from Parramatta Marist High School are going to focus their work in 2008 on Year 9 as a pilot and have taken a radically different curriculum model and teaching practice. Their aim is to improve the learning outcomes for all boys in the year. They believe these students are not learning as effectively as they could under the existing model.
Their principal is also a driver of innovation and doing things differently. This is a school to watch. Their approach reflects what we know makes makes a difference to kids learning; that is good teaching supported by leadership which works from a framework in partnership with those who can support them in their efforts.