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State Conference: Leading for Progress
This year’s program featured keynote speakers and a series of workshops addressing three interrelated themes: leading self, leading others and leading learning. Edtalks will once again showcase the work of teachers who are leading learning in their schools.
Have you ever heard the term ‘conference envy’? Well that is what I’m hearing as I attend Regional Group meetings this term, as those who attended the VASSP Conference use words like “best ever” and “I’m still working through all I got out of it” and those who weren’t able to attend are feeling like they missed out. Like choosing the wrong thing in a restaurant and then looking enviously at everyone else’s food!
I think all who were at the Conference at the Pullman Hotel felt the event added to their professional understanding of how to make progress happen in their schools, and that it was invaluable to quarantine that time for their own thinking. It is a big judgement call to take two days away from the busy decision making and meetings that happen on a daily basis. You have to think that it will be more than just worth it, that it will actually nourish your professional soul and reenergise you to keep going with the improvement work. The feedback attendees gave is it did that in bucket loads.
The Executive Officer’s Report below has more detail from each speaker. There were some clear lines of interest to follow up, which VASSP will do next year through professional learning activities.
I would like to offer sincere thanks to the ED Talks presenters. It is remarkable, and nerve wracking, for Leading Teachers and Assistant Principals to present in front of such an esteemed group! However, everyone in the audience found ideas and practices that were relevant to their school. To listen to how people had taken data, developed a program and put it into action was inspiring. Thank you to the presenters from Rubicon Outdoor Centre, Noble Park Secondary College, Maryborough Education Centre, Kurnai College and Doveton College. Thanks also to their Principals for providing leadership that responds so deliberately to the learning needs of their students and creates opportunities for all students to flourish.
Thank you also to the students and staff who provided our two musical interludes. The Choir from Wantirna College and the Jazz Ensemble from Belmont High School delivered highly professional performances that were greatly appreciated.
It is important that the professional development designed by VASSP meets your learning needs as well as building the collective efficacy of our profession. As educators we understand the continuum of learning in our classrooms and we know that the zone of proximal development will vary from student to student. It is hoped that the majority of this year’s conference was in your zone!
VASSP President Sue Bell opens the conference.
Following is a snapshot of the key takeaways from each presenter along with a link to further reading.
Professor Pasi Sahlberg: Leading with Small Data for Big Change
Dr Simon Breakspear: Agile Leadership - Leading for Progress
Tracey Ezard: Creating Collaborative Cultures for Progress
Laureate Professor Jenny Gore: Leading Powerful Professional Development
Rachel Robertson: Expedition Leader, Davis Station, Australian Antarctic Division
Dr Andrew Fuller: Neurodevelopmental Differentiation - Optimising brain systems to maximise learning
Sophie Murphy: Leadership Talk - The power of language to drive a culture of success
Dr Pete Stebbins: High Performance Teaching Teams - 10 Insights for School Leaders
The 10 insights for school leaders:
Conference Dinner: Professional Learning Awards
The recipients of the professional learning awards, sponsored by BankFirst, were announced at the conference dinner. Each award recipient receives a scholarship, valued at $5,000, to undertake a professional learning project. Damien Toussaint, Assistant Principal at Matthew Flinders Girls’ Secondary College, won the Professional Learning Award for members. Lisa McKiernan, Head of Middle School at Mount Waverley Secondary College, was the inaugural recipient of the Marion Heale Aspiring Leader Award. This award is named in honour of Marion Heale who was Executive Officer with VASSP from 2006 to 2016 and prior to that the Principal of Frankston High School. The award acknowledges Marion’s 10 years of service to VASSP and recognises her many years of commitment to mentoring and supporting aspiring leaders.
In a lovely instance of serendipity, the Principal of Mount Waverley Secondary College, Karen Wade, was mentored and supported by Marion over many years. Both awards were presented by Bernie Lloyd, Chair of the Bank First Board and Life Member of VASSP. The award recipient professional learning projects are described as follows.
VASSP Professional Learning Award – Damien Toussaint
Damien’s professional learning project will support the development of expertise in relation to classroom observations. Damien’s project will focus on developing practices and processes that will enable teachers to engage students as active lesson observers. Damien intends to undertake research that will build on Dylan William’s work on formative assessment and the notion of ‘making the teacher’s hearing better and making the students’ voices louder’.
Bernie Lloyd & Damien Toussaint
Marion Heale Aspiring Leader Award – Lisa McKiernan
Lisa plans to undertake research that will support her leadership of the Mentoring@Mount project. The aim of this project is to improve student wellbeing in Years 10-12 by establishing formal support networks at Year 10. It is anticipated that by working closely with the Year 10 students in the development of this project a supportive network including students, teachers, parents and community organisations will be well established prior to students entering VCE. Student voice and agency will be the driving force behind the development of the Mentoring@Mount program.
Lisa McKiernan, Marion Heale & Bernie Lloyd