The Fogarty Foundation’s response to COVID-19

The Fogarty Foundation is aware that especially in these times of uncertainty, it is important that we stay connected and ensure that we keep all of the people with who we work, fully informed.  Due to disruption caused by COVID-19 and taking into account advice and precautionary measures we are putting the following initiatives in action:

Fogarty EDvance

Face-to-face workshops for the remainder of Term 1 have been cancelled (26th and 30th March). We will be providing a couple of shorter sessions via Webinar and recordings. Over the coming couple of weeks, we will monitor how the Term 2 workshops will be run.

UWA Fogarty Scholars

The Scholars will continue with their studies, but we all non-essential meetings and Fogarty Conversations have been postponed for the time being.  We will be sending out regular newsletters with updates, Scholars profiles and articles of interest including the importance of good leadership in times of crisis.

CoderDojo WA

It is up to individual dojos to decide whether they will hold regular dojos.  As we expect that most will decide not to, we will be putting out ideas for projects and games for ninjas to work on at home, how to keep connected and (potentially) how to run a virtual dojo.

EDfutures

All community events have been postponed for the time being.  We will be sending out an EDfutures newsletter soon and will be looking at ways for the community to keep connected and sharing ideas.

Challenging times always present opportunities.  We know there has been an increasing focus on the potential of online working and learning. The imperative is now here. There should be significant progress in bringing the best of technology to make this a reality and open a new world of learning that is more self-directed, engaging and forward looking.

At the Fogarty Foundation we are keen to make the most of these opportunities and expect this will inform our operations going forward.

Keep well and engaged.

Annie Fogarty has been announced as the 2020 WA Australian of the Year for her exceptional work in education advocacy.

Annie founded the Fogarty Foundation in 2000 to help advance education, support young people to reach their full potential and build stronger communities.

Under Annie’s leadership, the Foundation identifies areas of need, supports partner organisations with philanthropic funds, connections and knowledge, and develops initiatives that deliver educational opportunities, inspire community leadership and enrich lives.

Mrs Fogarty is also involved with several boards and committees to help foster innovation and creativity in young people, and is committed to ensuring excellent education and learning for all.

Each year, the Australian of the Year awards celebrate the achievements and contributions of eminent Australians by profiling leading citizens who are role models for us all.

Also receiving the prestigious award are fellow West Australians Professor John Newnham AM, a world-leading authority in modern obstetrics; Yarlalu Thomas, a medical student and Precision Public Health Fellow in genetic and rare diseases; and science educator (and Fogarty EDfutures Catalyst) Suzy Urbaniak.

Annie will join award recipients from all over Australia for the national awards ceremony at the National Arboretum in Canberra on 25 January 2020 – the 60th anniversary of the awards.

Congratulations Annie!!

During the January school holidays, 29 dedicated teachers and pre-service teachers, 28 eager students, three expert coaches and a magician met at Dawson Park Primary School. The Teach Well Intensive is a week-long, professional development program for experienced and pre-services teachers to develop high impact instructional practices.

Teachers from 11 schools observed English and math lessons by Dawson Park teachers Mr O and Mr B, with year 3 and 4 students. The teachers had several opportunities to practice the skills they were observing and learning, by teaching the students throughout the week. Many teachers were apprehensive as the style of lessons are fast paced, systematic and teacher led, but with the support of experienced teachers and Dr Lorraine Hammond, teachers finished the week confident to teach their own classes using the high impact, explicit instruction method. The student’s schooling during the holidays was rewarded with a range of activities each afternoon, including a magician, activities with Sports Challenge Australia and CoderDojo WA. The teachers were fortunate to have such engaged students to develop their teaching skills with.

The Fogarty Foundation initiated the program to provide teachers wanting to teach explicitly with the content, support and practice often difficult to access in traditional professional development. The initiative generated interest from the media and system leaders. The West reported the program, here, and Minister for Education and Training, Sue Ellery, MLC as well as the Member for Forrestfield, Stephen Price, MLA came and saw the program in action.  See the Minsiter’s selfie with the students here.

The Teach Well Intensive pilot program is being evaluated by Murdoch University professor Dr Tony Fetherston, including follow up reviews to investigate if and how these new skills are being used back in the schools.  We look forward to sharing the report with educators, advocates and the community in April.

Image – Minister for Education and Training Sue Ellery, MLC with Dawson Park Primary School students, Teacher Jared Bussell, Annie Fogarty and Dr Lorraine Hammond.

We talk to Peter Jakimowiez, Principal of Warriapendi Primary School,  a Cohort 3 school.

Name 3 valuable things you have gained from the EDvance program (so far)?

The EDvance program has introduced me to strategic, validated frameworks, processes, methodologies and tools that I use for whole school improvement.  All too often we look for programs and processes in isolation to solve our problems.  Fogarty EDvance enables you to orchestrate these and enable clear direction, leading to sustained school improvement.  It allows you to establish clear processes that are based on research, involving the whole school community, enabling you to make quality decisions linked to performance and common understanding.

 What is something you wish you had known earlier in your career?

The placemat documents and formulation of key performance indicators have been invaluable in developing a common professional language amongst my administration team, the staff and our community.  Reporting on the progress of our business plan to the School Board using clear, strategic direction has never been easier.

 What is the best piece of advice you’ve received about being a principal?

The position of Principal is certainly challenging, rewarding and an honour to hold.  The responsibilities are enormous.  I have been fortunate enough to have had the opportunity to work with some inspiring leaders.  One of those has been my former Principal and current Fogarty mentor, Ross Albones, inspired me as a young teacher.  He encouraged me in taking on leadership opportunities that enhanced my teaching and eventually led to my current leadership position.  I particularly liked the way he led cultural change through respect, empowerment and developing teachers’ talents.  My father always taught me to keep a work, life balance and respect other people’s point of view.  I am always mindful that my staff also have family/personal commitments and cultural change occurs when common values are shared.  As a leader I prefer to be a learner rather than a knower, guided by the principles of Adaptive Leadership.

 What is the latest topic on your mind?

Teacher quality and schoolwide pedagogical development are two areas I have focused on to enhance student achievement.  EDvance has enabled me to develop a strong, professional administration team that has the freedom to operate at their optimum through the distributed leadership model.   I want all my staff to develop and build on their professional persona by taking responsibility for self-improvement.  EDvance has introduced us to the concept of using Expert Engagement as a tool for improvement.  This coupled with the Research-Based Framework for Organisational Alignment that uses the Diagnostic Inventory for School Alignment data gathering tool, has been the foundation stone of our success.

Principal interview with Grant Kennedy as he reflects on key learnings from his time in the EDvance program as part of Cohort One. Read his insights and see how the EDvance program continues to support his work as a school leader.

What have been some of the most valuable elements for you from the EDvance program?

The Leading for Learning Framework (Dempster) was central to the work we undertook at North Balga Primary School. With our constant focus on using this Framework and with the ongoing support of EDvance, I believe it was a key strategy to understanding what was most important in our school context and ensuring that these key domains were the drivers of improving student learning. It made it clear that each of the domains has relevance and importance to student success, allowing the ability to identify and prioritise key strategies for improved student learning, linked back to our broader moral purpose.

Secondly, the opportunity to access an experienced and knowledgeable mentor was important, especially as within the EDvance program there is flexibility to use this support as the principal and school seem fit. Rose Moroz was key in challenging me and my leadership team to think of alternatives to problems. It was great to have a mentor that understood the context of the school and was just as invested in the success of the students as my staff and myself are.

Finally, the importance of distributed leadership and this is now the ‘norm’ at North Balga Primary School. This is an area, I truly believe is essential. My staff are willing, competent and have an enormous amount of initiative, and it is my role to activate and facilitate these characteristics to the benefit of improved student learning throughout the school and in preparing pre-school children within the North Balga community.

What are some key ideas from EDvance that you’ve applied in your school?

The importance and necessity of whole school approaches not only in curriculum and teaching but also the conditions for learning. Whole school approaches in curriculum are essential for improved learning which is evident in the school’s NAPLAN data, but whole school approaches to for example, behaviour, student health and classroom environment are just as important to positive progress.

The requirement for professional learning to be targeted and relevant to the school’s Business Plan. It is essential for all staff to be focused on the school’s targets as outlined in the Business Plan, to ensure that professional learning is targeted and well-resourced and leads to desired outcomes in student learning and wellbeing.

The importance of community in creating a culture in the school that is welcoming and vibrant (and the huge amount of energy that this requires in a low socio-economic school) but involving community in the classroom, in decision making and allowing them a voice develops the culture that supports improved student learning.

What is something you wish you had known earlier in your career?

That we should always make the time to keep learning, through professional learning, reading, networking and collegiality, no matter what stage of our career we are at. Education is constantly changing and we need to ensure that as teachers, educational leaders, facilitators or managers we maintain our instructional leadership knowledge and leadership knowledge in general to perform our role effectively.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve received about being a principal?

To look after myself! Having recently attended wellbeing professional learning facilitated by Kaya consulting on behalf of the Department of Education, I acknowledged that I had not been consciously looking after my own health and wellbeing. With one or two changes, such as setting an alarm to remind me to get up from my desk and walk around or spending recess and lunchtime in the Staff Room, with these minor changes, I am now making a more conscious effort to ensure I look after myself.

What is the focus of your school improvement journey, two years on from finishing the program?

The Admin team recently engaged with the Fogarty EDvance School Transformation Framework at a half-day workshop presented by Ingrid Sealey, as we had not had opportunity to engage with the Framework in Cohort One. During that workshop, we used the framework to pinpoint our stage of improvement and decided that we were at the top end of Stage 2. We recognised that we had worked through many of the Stage 1 strategies and incorportated them into our practice. We are now doing the same with Stage 2 strategies and many from Stage 3. We used the Dempster model to brainstorm our strategic position and will use this information to drive the development of our new Business Plan that we will be writing to guide us from 2018 to 2020.

What habit or saying from your Mentor has stuck with you?

Challenge yourself to think of an alternative solution. It may not be the solution but it will broaden your thinking and expectations.

The Trends in Internat­ional Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS), conducted every 4 years, measures student achievement in maths and science at Year 4 and Year 8 in Australia and many other countries. TIMSS assesses 630,000 students across 49 countries in Year 4 and in 39 countries in Year 8.

The recently released TIMSS results reveal little change in Australian students’ achievement since 1995.

These alarming results have sparked calls from education commentators for Australia to “wake up’’, reject short-term fixes, raise the effectiveness of teaching, and improve retention and training of qualified maths and science teachers. Further, Australia has had little success in closing equity gaps between students from indigenous and non-indigenous backgrounds and lower and higher socio-economic backgrounds.

During this same period (1995-2015), other high-performing countries such as Singapore, Korea, Hong Kong, Chinese Taipei and Japan have made steady improvements. Other countries including Canada, England, Ireland, Northern Ireland, the US and Kazakhstan have improved and now outperform Australia.

TIMSS shows that Australian Year 4 students are significantly outperformed by students in 21 countries in mathematics and 17 countries in science. Year 8 students are outperformed by those in 12 countries in mathematics and 14 in science.

Commentators say that this is a national challenge that requires a national response. We need Australia to take urgent action to access this decline in academic outcomes and the answer is not to just do more of the same.

EDvance program results show that educational inequality CAN be addressed at a whole school and a state wide level.

Fogarty EDvance is a 3 year whole school improvement program for school leaders in disadvantaged communities. The program works with school executive teams to help them transform student outcomes in their schools by providing them with best practice tools and research, rich data sets, ex-principal mentors and peer support. Over the 3 years schools turn theory into action by designing and implementing strategies that fit their unique school context.

We believe that by improving the quality of leadership in schools we can enable high quality teaching, enhance parent and community support for the school and achieve our fundamental aim: an Australia where all children, regardless of background, attain an excellent education.

Peter Mulcahy was Principal of Westminster Junior Primary School, a school from Cohort 1 of the EDvance Program.

Name 3 valuable things from the EDvance program?

1  Opportunity to network with colleagues around the learnings that we were undertaking in a true action learning model that would make a difference for our schools.

2  The provision of a quality coach/mentor meant that we could really be prepared to “make some bold decisions” in a supportive and non-judgemental environment.  Again, this led to improvements in our school as we reviewed the changes together.

3  The building of long term friendships with leadership teams from across the schools.  As a member of Cohort 1, this built as we progressed through our journey.  I know that it has been an even greater focus for the subsequent cohorts.

What is something from EDvance that you’ve applied in your school?

It is difficult to come up with one thing that I have applied to my new school.  It is really a whole methodology of operation.  I think the biggest impact has come from introducing the Leading for Learning Framework as the base for our Business Plan.  This has provided staff and School Board with that sharp evidence focus around domains.

What is something you wish you had known earlier in your career?

I think it is so important for the Principal to be actively engaged in any professional learning undertaken by staff. In the past, I often opened a session, flitted in and out and then thanked the presenter.  I now realise that if the learning is to be embedded, the Principal’s involvement is critical.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve received about being a principal?

As a Principal, we receive lots of advice from a variety of sources. Whilst the buildings/environments and children are similar across schools, the community will drive how you plan.  Get involved with the community, be visible and engage with them!  One of the most important concepts for me is that “you can’t please everyone all of the time”. We need to be true to our moral purpose and apply our beliefs in the context of our school.

What is the latest topic on your mind?

Leadership!!! One of the big changes I made was the creation of “real” leadership opportunities amongst the staff at all levels.  I am constantly looking for ways that I can build this capacity and at the same time provide sustainability to the school site.  Like so many of us in EDvance, as we build our leadership skills in our staff they are often looking to increase their opportunity to apply them.  The unfortunate reality of this for schools is that staff are moving school.  Of course the up side is the increased leadership quality at System level.

How does your current school differ from your previous school – have challenges changed?

My current school is a significantly higher ICSEA.  Staff are similar in that they have the same needs and concerns. Curriculum implementation and the digital world are ongoing issues. The profile of smaller numbers of EALD and Aboriginality is a real difference, reducing some of the communication complexities with the community. There is a greater confidence among parents to come into the school, but their business with work life tends to make them time poor.  These two create an interesting comparison with quality and opportunity of engagement with the school.

What habit or saying from your Mentor has stuck with you?

Perception can so quickly become reality.

Interview with Ros Kay, Principal of Rosalie Primary School  

Name 3 valuable things from the EDvance program?

1. The Edvance Program gave relevant access to current research and best practice. It was delivered by presenters who were already highly successful in the education field or their chosen field and who already had the proven high level leadership skills.

2. Provision of an exceptional mentor was extremely valuable as she was matched well to my needs and the needs of my school. An excellent relationship was formed which consolidated the climate of trust needed to work effectively as partners.

3. The collegiality that was established between the Principals in the cohort was valuable and the realisation that regardless of working in a private school or government school we all faced similar challenges.

What is something from EDvance that you’ve applied in your school?

I established a full understanding of the sound processes required to guide the whole staff through a sustainable cycle of reviewing, planning and implementation of key elements such as moral purpose, vision, policies, curriculum and school plans.

What is something you wish you had known earlier in your career?

The importance of extending your network to include Principal’s from your neighbouring schools. The feeling of isolation as a new Principal was not a healthy one to have. The expectation I had, that as a Principal, ‘you should know everything’ was unrealistic and created unnecessary self-pressures.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve received about being a principal?

Keep a constant check on your work and life balance and prioritise well. Accept that change reform is not a quick process but will happen over time. The urgency to get things done in the shortest amount of time at the expense of your family life needs to be constantly questioned.

What is the latest topic on your mind?

Like all schools, the implementation of the new Technologies curriculum presents both challenges and opportunities for Rosalie Primary School. As a community we are currently trying to work our way through the following three questions:

1. How do students learn, and under what conditions do you believe they learn best?

2. What does digital richness now make possible for modern learners, and what are the implications for contemporary teaching and learning?

3. What building blocks are necessary for a modern learning environment that allows our learners to leverage and amplify the opportunities now afforded to them in this digitally rich world?

How does your current school differ from your previous school – have challenges changed?

My current school is in a high socio economic area with exceptionally high academic and non-academic results. Expectations to continually improve are constant and articulated well by a very educated and supportive community. The challenge to meet these expectations is continually reviewed as we seek more innovative and creative ways to do so. The physical presence around the school and the long hours at many school events has increased enormously, resulting in physically being tired all the time. This is compared to the mental and emotional strain of the challenges that I had when in a low socio economic school.

What habit or saying from your Mentor has stuck with you?

As I reached each milestone, no matter how big or small, I received constant but subtle verbal encouragement. This reinforced that I was progressing and achieving the expected levels and ultimately resulted in a growth of personal confidence in my own leadership abilities and a willingness to become more of a risk taker in decision making.

Click here to read the recent article on Ros’ school in The Australian.