Thursday, 2 May 2019

Specific Focus Review Through a Core Values Lens

What is a school review ?
Every four years, a school is formally reviewed to compliment the school's ongoing self-review practices. A formal review is an opportunity to ensure the full flourishing of every student in the school's care and the school's commitment to achieving the highest possible standards.
Our school is due to be reviewed this year.
The following information is a summary of Catholic Education Melbourne (CEM) resources with regards to a school review.

These are the key questions a review should answer:
  • How do we ensure that review covers the multi-dimensional nature of learning?
  • How do we ensure that review has a clear focus on supporting teacher quality?
  • How do we ensure that review leads to specific and disciplined cycles of improvement?
  • How do we ensure that the religious dimension is deeply embedded within the review process? 

How do we make the review an authentic part of school life and not an extra ?
Schools can decide on the review style that best meets their needs. In order for the review to purposefully align with our shared vision and core value work, we have chosen to have a Specific Focus Review. For this style of review, we engage an independent expert to work with the school and plan the review in partnership with the CEM regional office. The independent expert is known as a critical friend. The critical friend supports the leadership team to carry out a rigorous review and concludes with a report. The report provides recommendations to ensure the school is committed to achieving the highest standards possible and contributing to the full flourishing of every student. Our Specific Focus review will take place in Week 7 for two days during Term 3.
The final review report is prepared by the critical friend.
A necessary component of all styles of review is the compliance audit. This is carried out over one full day by a VRQA (Victorian Registration & Qualifications Authority) compliance auditor. Our compliance audit will take place for one day during Week 8 in Term 3.
By the end of Term 3 our review will be complete and we will receive a personalised report to inform our school improvement planning for the next four years.

Religious Dimension for 2019
 All CEM schools engaging in school review will engage with the religious dimension during 2019 through a process of self reflection which incorporates a newly developed School Improvement Framework Religious Dimension Scaffold and Rubric.
The Religious Dimension Scaffold will suggest ways in which all of the dimensions of the review might be considered from a Catholic perspective. The scaffold will also support schools to evaluate those elements of school life which are explicitly religious: prayer, Religious Education, liturgy and pastoral care. The rubric will highlight the critical areas of school life which need to be evaluated to ensure that its Catholic identity is at the centre of the school’s ongoing improvement agenda.

Core values agreed on by staff
 How will we gather evidence for our review ?
We will use the core values as the lens through which we gather data for the review. The values were chosen by staff in 2018 as the five key ways to treat each other at our school. The values link to the CEM Horizons of Hope curriculum with a clear focus on honouring the sacred dignity of the human person. If we concentrate on the human element, we will build a sense of belonging and increase student wellbeing data whilst contributing to a natural lift in academic standards.

We will spend about eight weeks focusing on each of the core values beginning with We respect and value one another, followed by We are positive. We will develop shared meanings of the values and  be explicit about what they look like in action. This will help to strengthen them and bring them to life in our community. Staff and children will be able to be "core value detectives" and gather real life examples of children demonstrating the values happening in a positive way in the playground and in the classroom.
During Term 2 and the first half of Term 3 we will review the way the core values are maximising impact for the learner by gathering evidence of the values in action through:
  • Stories and feedback from conversations with parents
  • Academic data through NAPLAN and assessment reports
  • Insight SRC data
  • Resilience Survey Data
  • Stories from children at school
  • Newsletters, website, social media, staff meetings and board meetings 
  • Personnel around the school such as teachers, office staff, LSO's
  • OSH Team Kids (share the core values with them too)
  • Awards recognising the core values in context
  • Seesaw across the school
  • Explicit reference of the values during dialogue and meetings with each other, children and parents.
  • Linking the values to school wide displays
It will be important to share what we are doing with our community and encourage parents to let us know if they see something that doesn't align with our core values.

We aim to ensure we have authentic, real, caring, compassionate human beings in the classrooms, in our school and within our community.  The core values are our "soul stuff". Through using them as a lens for our review we will be able to enhance performance for the benefit of our whole community.

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