This year we have embarked upon a new learning journey here at STC Panania. Like all schools, we are tasked with ensuring that we track the growth of our students and continually provide them with the learning opportunities to achieve a years growth in a year.
The development of a series of dialogic across the year (1 per term), known as Student Growth Meetings, became an answer to the question, 'how do we track student growth as a team?'.
The development of an opportunity each term for data informed dialogue followed by a collaborative plan in order to track student growth across the school, K-6.
To determine, through the use of timely and relevant data, the practice required of us as educators to allow students to achieve a years growth in a year. The primary focus of each grade group will be on the students who currently make up the “heavy middle” of the data graph across the school.
Detailed above, the rationale and purpose of the student growth meetings is to engage in dialogue as a team of educators in order to develop and design new series of learning experiences that cater for their needs, outlined through the analysis of data sets.
The initial meetings were to be held in Week 6 of Term 1. It became apparent across the wider staff that there was some trepidation and concern with regard to the Student Growth Meetings. This was to be expected, as any change process in any workplace often brings on feelings of stress or worry. Despite this, each and every grade prepared what they felt would assist them in engaging in dialogue with Jamie and I about their students and their learning.
Year 4 were the first cab of the rank. Their thorough preparation and knowledge of the students with whom they work scaffolded a rich a robust dialogue around learning. What an inspiring start. The whole process was driven by our school critique protocols and allowed each member of the team to share, with confidence, their professional opinions and thoughts.
The most distinctive hallmark of the Student Growth Meetings is the creation of a time and a space for thinking that is distinctly different to other dialogic and collaborative sessions that we experience in schools. The 2+ hours that are timetabled (and funded) for each grade affords each team the chance to transition from the "doing" of the teaching/learning process as teachers into the "thinking" about the teaching and learning process. It is time away from admin, timetabling, mass practice, student discipline, parent communication etc. This is incredibly important. This time to transition is deliberate and involves actions of "brain downloading" to ensure that the team is fully committed to engaging in the process of deep, intellectual dialogue around our core work. Without this opportunity, the rigour of the conversation and the eventual goal setting and longer term impactful planning would not be possible.
The deep commitment and passion of the educators of STC Panania is the cornerstone of the teaching and learning of the school and it is most obvious when engaging in the Student Growth Meetings. I am truly privileged to be a part of each one and look forward to them each term.