Campbelltown Performing Arts High School has implemented several initiatives to improve the quality of learning through a range of collaborative practices. In redesigning learning for students, the school focused on pedagogy, curriculum, assessment and reporting and has achieved this by providing high quality professional learning and support, enabling purposeful collaboration and building capacity for evaluative thinking amongst teachers.
Professional learning within the school is contextual and grounded in the work of teaching and learning. Underpinning the approach to professional learning across the school is a culture of trust, developing teacher ownership over their own professional learning, collaboration and supported risk taking to allow teachers to improve their practice.
In developing professional learning opportunities for staff there is a strong focus on providing conditions for teachers to work collaboratively, and professional learning is personalised to ensure that teacher needs are met and that their capacity is enhanced. Professional learning is codified, personalised and embedded through a range of models including action learning, disciplined innovation, collaborative programming, team teaching, feedback and critique, mentoring and coaching.
Every teacher in the school has a high-quality professional development plan where they have identified goals and are supported to work towards achieving them. Underpinning this is a strong culture of evaluative thinking as teachers are supported to identify methods of evaluating their progress towards goals and evaluating the impact of their practice.
Action learning is used extensively allowing teachers to work in teams to research, implement and evaluate the impact of new practices on student engagement and learning outcomes. Working collaboratively, teachers reflect on their own practice and engage in collaborative learning with colleagues and take control over their own learning to resolve workplace challenges and improve practice. This approach has resulted in future focused practices including project-based learning, integrated learning, self and peer assessment, development of future focused skills progressions and Learning Advisory becoming deeply embedded as part of regular teaching practices in the school.
Using action learning and design thinking, the school has also redesigned assessment practices developing future focused skills progressions that support teachers, students and parents to understand and reflect upon skills in collaboration, creativity, critical thinking and communication. The school has also implemented Learning Advisory, a program ensuring every student is known and supported as both a young person and as a learner. Students work in small groups with a learning advisor to set goals, engage in a wellbeing curriculum and prepare for student led conferences where they share their learning with their parents and their Learning Advisor. The purpose of this program is to improve transition to high school, focus on student wellbeing, develop students’ metacognitive skills and ownership of learning and deepen their engagement in learning.
Notably, students in Years 7 and 8 are engaged in an integrated curriculum in STEM (Science, Technology, Mathematics) and Humanities (English, HSIE, PDHPE) bringing together the most successful components of school-based professional learning, research and development. Students are team taught in by subject experts in villages, develop future focused skills and work collaboratively to engage in projects that are connected to the real world. At the conclusion of each project, students present at their Exhibition of Learning where over 700 parents, family and community members attend to celebrate student achievement.