2017 Annual Report

For Lake Heights Public School, 2017 has been a year of consolidation, growth, improvement and reflection. This year, our collaborative evaluation process has indicated that in most areas, we have continued to achieve within the sustaining and growing phase of the School Excellence Framework.

This year, we welcomed an instructional leader to our leadership team. Over the course of the year, Mrs Kim McArdle has played an integral role in improving teacher skills in the analysis, interpretation and use of student performance data, through the ongoing provision of professional learning and classroom support. With reliable data now collected and reported on at five-week intervals in K-3 classes and ten-week intervals in 4-6 classes, we are better able to identify those students who have made progress, those whose progress is stagnant and those who have regressed. This information is then used by our leadership team to direct resources to students at the point of need, with plans to extend our ability to do this further by establishing a role of teacher-interventionist in the coming year.

During scheduled meetings throughout the year, our instructional leader worked collaboratively with teachers to design goals for targeted students, which allowed teachers to explicitly teach to achievable, personalised goals for individual students. This in turn enhanced teacher accountability for student progress and resulted in an average of 81% of all K-3 students reaching their expected clusters in reading, 81% of all K-3 students reaching the expected clusters in comprehension, 51% of all students achieving their expected clusters in writing and an average of 73% of K-3 students achieving at the expected level across all aspects of numeracy. Whilst it is encouraging to note that we have met our target of 80% in many areas, it is evident that writing remains an area where additional support and improvement is necessary and for this reason, writing will remain a key focus during the next phase of our school plan.

During the early stages of the year, our whole-school data wall was established and has undergone some modifications to ensure that it is purposeful and provides an accurate representation of trends in student progress, for both individuals and groups of students. Roles and systems for maintaining the data wall have been established, with all teachers contributing to gathering and analysing data. Whilst the data wall has provided significant insight into student learning, there is room to improve the ways in which we communicate and discuss the insights drawn from both internal and external data as a whole staff group. Increasing purposeful conversations and actions around data will continue to be a focus area during our next cycle of planning, to ensure that the data we collect has a positive impact upon student learning.

With the introduction of learning progressions in all Early Action for Success schools during 2018, we recognise that some adjustments will need to be made to how we assess, monitor and report on student progress. This change, however, also provides opportunities to further enhance the consistency of teacher judgements, as we develop a collective understanding of how student achievement can be measured against the learning progressions.

Throughout 2017, Lake Heights Public School has continued to promote professional development for teachers so that they become skilled at explicit teaching techniques. We have continued to support our teachers as they seek to implement the L3 pedagogy, with two teachers completing their training this year and several others attending ongoing professional learning sessions to remain up to date with all changes made to the program. Focus on Reading, Seven Steps to Writing Success and Words their Way continue to be implemented effectively in 3-6 classes. During 2018, we will endeavour to streamline how we teach numeracy through the development of a whole-school scope and sequence as a surety that all syllabus content is covered, and look towards providing additional professional learning for teachers in maths.

To support our move towards future-focused learning, we have purchased an additional class set of chromebooks, meaning we now have a ratio of one-to-one devices for students in years four to six. We have further reduced barriers to technology use by implementing a centrally managed system where apps can be added and updated by our technology coordinator, reducing pressures on classroom teachers to maintain their technology.

Over the past three years, we have successfully integrated the changes brought about in the new Australian Curriculum and the new syllabus documents underpin all of the core teaching in these areas. Staff have continued their professional development and learning in these areas to help in this implementation.

During 2017, Lake Heights Public School has continued to foster a strong culture of learning and wellbeing within our school. The welcoming nature of our school community, the care and compassion shown by staff and the strong partnerships beginning to form with many families, are all areas identified by both staff and parents as key strengths of our school.

Our attendance rates have continued to rise over 2017 and have remained consistently above the state average, with particularly low absenteeism rates recorded during the beginning of the year. This has impacted positively on the continuity of learning for students and has resulted in fewer referrals to the home-school liaison officer.

We have sustained the key systems put in place to monitor attendance in previous years and have built upon these by adopting personalised attendance approaches for some students and incorporating attendance goals into Personalised Learning Pathways plans for Aboriginal students. Whist the shift in attendance data over the past few years is to be celebrated, we recognise that more can be done to support specific families with chronic patterns of absenteeism, with a specific focus on partial absenteeism, and this will become a priority over the next cycle of our school plan.

This year, we have worked hard to extend our relationships with families and build a collective responsibility for student learning. As a part of this, we have established a transition to school playgroup program to support our current orientation days for new kindergarten students, and have provided opportunities to establish open communication channels with direct contact to 2018 teachers on Class Dojo, emailed newsletters and regular written communication. The feedback from parents and students was overwhelming positive, with parents reporting that they felt welcomed and valued the opportunity for students to create positive relationships with other students, their new teachers and their year five buddies.

Our KidsMatter action team completed their training and delivered their final professional learning session to staff during 2017. As a result of our KidsMatter training, teachers are more actively aware of the social and emotional wellbeing of their students, and this is beginning to translate into an increased number of students accessing our school counsellor through teacher referrals, as well as self-referrals in our older children.

Moving forward, we aim to continue our work with KidsMatter and provide increased opportunities for the KidsMatter framework to play a more central role in all that happens in our school, to promote the social and emotional wellbeing of all students and optimum conditions for student learning across the whole school.

As we near the end of our current school plan cycle, we recognise the many actions that have been taken to shape Lake Heights Public School into the successful and supportive learning environment that it is today, and those areas in which we can build upon as we plan for the years ahead and continue on our pursuit for excellence .

Our self-assessment process will assist the school to refine our school plan, leading to further improvements in the delivery of education to our students.