Concurrent Workshop 4

Wednesday 13 April 11am–12pm

Session 1: Panel of Principalship

What is it really like to be a principal and how do you get there? Join this interactive session to hear from AHISA Principals as they share their personal and professional journeys as leaders of Australia's independent schools.

Session 2: Evidence-informed Decision Making for Wellbeing Programs: A School-University Partnership

Michelle Mckersey, Moreton Bay College, Qld

The benefit for schools in using evidence to inform how wellbeing science and positive psychology are integrated in classrooms and staff rooms is well-documented in wellbeing literature. However, most applications in schools do not meet this benchmark. Based on a partnership between The Moreton Bay Colleges and the University of Adelaide, this workshop will explore the benefits of developing a school-university partnership to adopt a research-informed approach to wellbeing.

Participants will explore why and how a school establishes a partnership with experts in the field, the ethics and risks associated with wellbeing measurement and the mitigation of these. The processes of implementing wellbeing measurement through a school-university partnership and using data from surveys completed by employees and students to future-proof the Colleges’ wellbeing strategy will also be explained. Additionally, participants will be invited to examine de-identified data from the Colleges and consider next steps for employee and student wellbeing. This workshop will provide participants with an understanding of the processes used to transform evidence into wellbeing strategy.

Session 3: A Whole School Approach to Wellbeing: A Framework of Principles and Practice

Angela Drysdale, Nikki Townsend & Annette Box, St Margaret's Anglican Girls School, Qld

A whole school wellbeing program at St Margaret’s AGS has been evolutionary in its development. Guided by the school mission and values the school committed to addressing the first iteration of the National Schools Framework with a particular focus on anti-bullying. Programs such as Kids Matter and Mind Matters provided the evidentiary foundation and guidance for the development of a school-based social and emotional health and wellbeing program. Key aspects of the whole school program were identified and included leadership, service learning, the camp program and faith-based learning. 

In 2018, a school-based working party identified the principles (five areas) and practice (six aspects of wellbeing) which was formalised in a Student Wellbeing Framework and launched in 2019. The development of the framework has ensured consistency of principles and practice from Prep to Year 12.   

The framework emphasises a distributed leadership approach with all staff and students responsible for developing an ethos of care. This is clearly articulated in a supporting document named, St Margaret’s Way. Data has been collected annually about the program throughout its development.  More recently a weekly survey has been introduced which provides regular and specific data to assist teachers in supporting their students.

This presentation will share the development of the framework, research and organisations that have influenced the school-based approach and detail the core principles of the program. The presentation will drill down and present the associated practices and resources used to implement the framework across both the Primary and Secondary Schools.

Session 4: Thinker Centred Learning

Ross Phillips, Strathcona Girls Grammar School, Vic

This workshop is about developing Visible Thinking in our schools. It will introduce participants to the Understanding Map (Harvard Project Zero) and a selection of Thinking Routines while explaining how Strathcona Girls Grammar is embedding Visible Thinking techniques in its classroom practice. This contrasts with traditional teaching which often attempts to transfer knowledge from the teacher to the student. Unfortunately, one person’s understanding cannot be transferred to another simply by passing on knowledge. It also fails to accommodate the different starting points of learners, and values being correct above students exploring possibilities. Visible Thinking helps students build understanding and importantly, Visible Thinking invites students to look behind the curtain and understand how thinking happens.

Participants will engage in the collaborative use of thinking strategies in this interactive session. They will:

1.  Form a basic understanding of Visible Thinking, including how it supports student learning
2.  Be introduced to a variety of Visible Thinking strategies
3.  Collaborate in groups to put these strategies into practice

This workshop will be of interest to those wanting to encourage their students to become lifelong learners whether new to Visible Thinking or familiar with a range of thinking routines.


Session 5: More Reasons to Change Than Not To: A Case Study in Taking the Leap

Nicole Timbrell, Laurent Julicher, Nicola Forrest & Jeanette Russell, Cornish College, Vic

Of the Covid-silver linings in 2020, two were the catalyst for one school’s journey of curriculum innovation: students leading their own learning in lockdown, and a leadership team determined to use this time to make a bold move. The convergence of these events provided the catalyst for curriculum innovation at Cornish College: the introduction of Design Futures.

This workshop is built around a case study in collaborative, courageous and creative leadership that propelled one school into a journey of educational change. By adopting a position of vulnerability and transparency, the presenters will share the story that drove this curriculum innovation: from ideation to landing, to influencing and engaging, and finally to implementation, scaling and evaluation.

Workshop participants will walk away with an understanding of the steps that were fundamental to bringing a school community along on the journey. These include:

- storytelling to anchor the innovation to an organisation’s values and purpose

- identifying circles of stakeholders, including activators, influencers, shapers and messengers, to engage in consultation

- collecting an anthology of evidence from students leading their own learning as proof of concept

- building a challenge network from both within and outside of the community

- making a safe and visible start to build acceptance and momentum

Session 6: The future is now: developing micro-credentials as an integral part of a unique schooling eco-system

Mathew Irving, Wesley College, WA

Micro-credentials are a hot topic in schools across the country. As schools and systems explore the opportunities that micro-credentials create, educators need to consider how this new approach to curriculum can exist and flourish as part of existing eco-systems.

Key to the success of micro-credentials in schools is the creation of a suite of experiences focused on life skills, jobs of today and jobs of tomorrow.

Wesley College in South Perth has embraced this new approach to curriculum and harnessed its history of innovation to launch WesleyNEXT, a comprehensive micro-credentialing program for Years 10-12.

WesleyNEXT aim is to give Year 10-12 students a depth and breadth of opportunities that goes beyond the traditional curriculum to nurture student passion and purpose for their next stage of life.

In this workshop, participants will hear how micro-credentials have transformed learning at Wesley College and explore the unique eco-system that is required to deliver credentials within a schooling context.

The workshop will provide key insights into success criteria for micro-credentials and participants will have an opportunity to create their own micro-credential using a purpose built framework.