Sunday, 15 July 2018

POPE Brings St Patrick's School Vision to Life

At St Patrick's School, POPE (Parents as Open Partners in Education) gatherings have evolved into authentic, needs based, staff and parent action work groups, that help to bring the vision of Engaged and motivated learners always faithful to our loving God to life.

At the end of Term 1, 2018 staff worked with the Schools That Deliver facilitators (you can read more at this link) and developed a detailed, practical vision narrative to further enhance our schoolwide vision. The narrative reflects the passion of our staff as they aim to ensure our "learners leave St Patrick’s self motivated and ready to make a positive impact on their world." You can read the full vision on the homepage of our Learning Community Site and at this link.

In particular, these key statements from the vision narrative apply to our POPE:
  • "St Patrick’s taps into the expertise and initiatives of our parents and the wider community and regularly invite them into our school."
  • "St Patrick’s provides a safe environment where everyone experiences a genuine sense of belonging." 
  • "Our Leadership model is strong and fair promoting a clear vision, building respectful, cohesive and positive relationships across our community. "
  • "We utilise technology to communicate learning and strengthen home school partnerships." 
 In 2016, the POPE gatherings began as meeting times, where interested parents met with the principal to provide feedback around learning processes at school. For example, the feedback in relation to reporting to parents, directly contributed to the recently redesigned school reports. Based on parent feedback, a group of staff spent several months researching different report models. They specifically designed a new model to best suit the needs of our St Patrick's community.

Parents contributed to the renewed visioning process at an early POPE meeting
A natural evolution of the POPE gatherings has also been the development of needs based parent action work groups. These groups utilise the professional expertise and experience of our parent community. The Child Safety team, the Out of School Hours (OSH) review team and the Masterplan team are examples of authentic working groups, where parents and staff contribute their expertise for the benefit of all learners.

The most recent example of this partnership model has been the OSH working group. In Term 1, 2018, parents were surveyed about the existing OSH provider. Feedback indicated the need for a review. Interested parents who utilised the facility were invited to join the principal to form an action work group. The exisiting OSH provider and four others were shortlisted to give a presentation to the work group. Based on parent feedback from the initial survey, key criteria specific to the needs of our school community were developed. The working group used a traffic light system to assess the presentations against the set criteria (a similar approach was used by architects K2LD with the Masterplan team). After a rigorous evaluative process, including opportunities to visit the other providers, the OSH working team were unanimous in the appointment of a new provider. Team Kids commence in Term 3 at St Patrick's.
The assessment criteria devised and used by the St Pat's OHS action work group
Some of the outcomes of our other work groups are the new Child Safety outdoor signage, new sign - in arrangements at school and the completed first phase of the Masterplan. We are grateful for the support of our parent community with these initiatives. 
The Masterplan was an outcome of several iterations based on student, staff, parent, parish & work group feedback.
At our last board meeting, we discussed the success of such parent action work groups and suggestions for further potential needs based groups from the board include :
  • Grants - to help with grant applications including those in relation to our masterplan
  • Safety - to help focus on the physical safety of the school environment 
  • Website - to help review, redesign and develop our school website 
  • Alumni - to help explore ideas to involve past students 
Along with the already valued contributions from our Parent Helpers, Class Reps, Parish Education Board and Parents & Friends, we are looking for parents interested in sharing their valuable skills and expertise in any of the above areas. There are no huge commitments required and meeting times are very flexible. 

Consider this as a way to share your expertise and model to your children how you as parents are "self- motivated and willing to make a positive impact on their world ". 

In doing this you are helping to partner with our community to bring the St Patrick's school vision of Engaged and motivated learners always faithful to our loving God  to life.

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