Gladstone Central State School is an explicit school which recognises the importance of developing a coherent whole site evidence-based approach to school improvement, which supports teachers to deliver a systematic, balance and integrated curriculum which is vital to ensuring that the learning outcomes for all students are maximised.
We created our ‘Anchored On Success – iSMART’ framework to allow us to live out our vision of being 'built on tradition, ready for the future' and in turn it reflected our four central strategic priorities of performance, pedagogy, professional practice and partnership or in simple terms iLEARN, iPRACTICE, iACHIEVE, and iBELONG.
As part of our commitment to Pedagogy and Professional Practice and the development of our Pedagogical Framework, we have:
- Teacher Accountable Learning: We have high expectations that our teachers and teacher aides are skilled and confident and that your child’s academic data will be collected and analysed regularly. This is our iSMARTs in action.
- High Expectations: We believe in the potential for ALL students to learn and achieve and we set specific and measurable targets for improvement
- Explicit Instruction: This means that we expect quality and explicit teaching which is aligned with Gladstone Centrals State School’s Pedagogy Framework. All teachers are supported in this endeavour through coaching and feedback.
- Effective relationships between teachers and students: the focus is on every student, everyday, in every classroom, learning and achieving.
This is evidence by:
Proven teaching strategies - Explicit Instruction (IE) underpins the structure of all lessons at Central, ensuring that all lessons follow a clear sequence based on the latest educational research on effective instruction.
Student engagement through digital content - GCSS does not present a ‘one-size-fits-all model of education. We feel that our students quickly disengage when teachers do not require active participation. Instead our teachers emphasise digital content making it easier to engage ‘digital natives’, or students who have grown up with Internet technology.
Student-centric classrooms - Since computers have made it easier for students to work independently, teachers can create small groups of students according to skill-level. We have laptops and desk-top PC’s to allow the teachers greater opportunities to create individualised learning, and to allow more teacher to student contact time.
Multimodal learning - Few of our students are purely auditory or visual learners. We encourage the incorporation of technology and kinaesthetic activities which enhance student engagement via multiple sensory modalities so that students have a greater chance of learning in the ways most suitable for them.
Innovative Curriculum – Our curriculum is developed around the Australian Curriculum and provides links between Education Queensland documents and school based documents including our Technical Primary School Initiative and Thinking Skills Program. Integrated Unit Plans outline classroom teaching and learning experiences and detail authentic assessment tasks. Gladstone Central State School’s Curriculum Plan is updated annually to reflect the current direction for curriculum, pedagogy, assessment and reporting within Australian Education.
English and Maths - We recognise that all students need to be provided with the opportunity to gain a solid foundation in English and Maths that allows for a range of career choices. All staff have an expectation that all students can succeed. They understand success in literacy and numeracy requires explicit and direct teaching and they believe early intervention for all ability levels is best.
Professional Practice (iPRACTICE)
The School leadership team have engaged with teachers in the classroom to strengthen and support teaching practice and directly contribute to improvement of student outcomes.
This was evidenced in:
Professional Practice Portfolios – iSMARTs for Teachers - We committed to developing and enhancing a culture of continuous professional improvement through a Continuum of teacher capabilities and practice. We developed a professional practice portfolio which involved setting expectations initially by the Leadership Team, but then through a gradual release of responsibility, in collaboration with the Teaching Team. The portfolio allowed teachers to Identifying capabilities and explicitly plan a response to those capabilities which then encapsulated a variety of strategies of learning, and embedded practise and rehearsal. Validation and Identifying next step learning processes within the portfolio allowed then continued collaboration of the leadership team and teaching team to improve the outcomes for students.
Student empowerment - ‘iSMART’ (individualised, Specific, Meaningful, Action-based, Realistic and Time-bound) learning goals are developed in collaboration with students. Apart from learning goals being specific and meaningful, students become aware that these goals need to be achieved through their own actions (action-based) and within a timeframe (time-bound).
Explicit Planning for Improvement at Central encompasses:
Purposeful and precise plans which included:
whole school focus on the core learning priorities and strategies
identified targets for school and student improvement
alignment and allocation of resources to identified strategies to meet student needs and the core learning priorities
Consistent curriculum, planning and implementation to improve learning via:
a coherent and sequenced plan for delivery of the Australian Curriculum within a Technical Primary School
adaption of resources to suit student learning needs
training, professional development and coaching
Evidence-based decision-making including:
analyses of data to inform whole-school and individual student improvement strategies
routine use of data to inform, monitor and review classroom teaching practices as well as contribution to whole-school strategies to assist in identifying and addressing student learning needs
tailored support and intervention based on student achievement and improvement data
improvement strategies and targets to monitor student and school improvement
This is evidence in:
Data-driven instruction combined with Motivation and Accountability. School created computerized databases and assessment tools give our teachers access to unprecedented amounts of student data. Our teachers and the leadership team use this data to tailor instruction to different skill levels. On a 5 weekly basis, student data, collectively known as iSMARTs are accessed, reviewed, and reported home to parents. Previous research into the motivation and efficiency of students has indicated that students who set their own working goals tend to achieve more than when working on goals set for them by the teacher. Students who set their own learning goals have more confidence to take on more challenging tasks, regardless of their ability. Their motivation to improve and master a task is improved and their self-esteem remains strong, even in the case of failure.
iKIDs: Literacy & Numeracy in the 21st century. Reading and Math are key improvement areas at Central. They are reinforced through our Reading@Central and Maths @Central programs. As mentioned above, iSMARTS give students the opportunity to focus on the improvement of their own individualised learning goals. In addition, online programs such as Reading Egg, Reading Express and Mathletics make it easy for students to further practice these skills at home with their parents.
‘Technical Primary School’ ….. connect, construct, contemplate, continue. In order to connect learning to the real world, a key strategy our teachers used to engage students was via problem-based learning. This is the basis of our ‘technical primary school’. With carefully established community links students solve real world problems within the technical fields of Science Technology, Engineering and Maths. At its heart a Technical Primary School is a model of creative learning (literacy, numeracy and the sciences) and personal improvement (Motivation and Engagement [ME]) for all primary students. This model develops the whole student, caters for diverse abilities and illuminates a brighter career future. High levels of engagement and attendance have been achieved via high interest topics including robotics, turtle conservation, horticulture, billy cart racing, and construction.
Learning is not limited to the classroom just as schools cannot work in isolation. The beliefs, expectations and experience of parents and surrounding community is a powerful determinant in student’s achievement. Understanding the school, home and community contribution to student learning helps cultivate a holistic learning environment.
Steering for Success - Underpinning all that we do a Central is The Steering for Success Program, which addresses matters related to school-wide behaviour, morale, and improvement. As the program title suggests, the Steering for Success Program promotes excellence among those who work at or attend Gladstone Central State School. The Steering for Success Program incorporates The Responsible Behaviour Plan, High Five Bully Prevention Strategy, The School Creed, school-wide rules, classroom management plans, Anchors Up incentives and awards. All the adults in our school are expected to model and teach exemplary school citizenship behaviours. Our students will be expected to learn outstanding behaviour as they progress through their educational experiences at our school. Through the Steering for Success Program, most all of a child’s educational and behavioural experiences can be taught, monitored, and evaluated.
A ‘Technical Primary School’ ….. connect, construct, contemplate, continue. - In order to connect learning to the real world, a key strategy our teachers used to engage students was via problem-based learning. This is the basis of our ‘technical primary school’. With carefully established community links with QUT, QGC, and QLD Muesum students solve real world problems within the technical fields of Science Technology Engineering and Maths.
iPLAY - A partnership with Playgroup Australia.
By sharing knowledge, coordinated service delivery and working collaboratively over the long-term we can achieve sustainable futures which continue to build strong connections and relationships between family and children’s services and their clients.
To that end we have:
Built relationships with local early years services to delivery playgroup and Pre-Prep within the school grounds
Regularly hosted a variety of community meetings
Connected with St Saviours Auxiliary to provide breakfast for all students.