Student engagement and wellbeing by pengxiang


									                        Technical Leadership – Thinking and Planning Strategically

                                        Strategic Planning Project

                                               Louise Holley
                            Acting Assistant Principal/Primary Welfare Officer
                                    Debney Meadows Primary School
                                     Victoria Street Flemington 3031

                                          Mentor: Peter Cowell

This project aims to develop a strategic and sustainable approach towards school improvement in the
area of student engagement and wellbeing.
As a part of the School Accountability and Improvement Framework; enhanced student engagement and wellbeing, Debney Meadows four-year
school strategic plan has as its focus:

Student Engagement and Wellbeing
“To continue to provide high levels of care and welfare in response to the students‟ individual needs”

“Developing strategic thinking as well as operational competence is an ability that we should develop in all staff in a school.” Brent Davies

This project aims to develop a strategic and sustainable approach towards school improvement in the area of student engagement and wellbeing.


Debney Meadows Primary School is a small, inner city school located on the edge of Debney Park and close to the Flemington Ministry of Housing
Estate. Debney Meadows Primary School is a “like 9” school with 93% of families on a Health Care Card and 97% of students from Language
Backgrounds Other Than English. Equally important to note is the degree of economic disadvantage experienced by our students and families. The
majority of our families have one parent with often 4 to 6 children living in a 2 bedroom Office of Housing unit. The majority of families come from the
Horn of Africa. Language groups in the school include Somali, Vietnamese, Arabic, Chinese (Cantonese, Hakka), Tigrinya, Turkish, Spanish and
Amharic. There is high mobility in and out of the area.

Debney Meadows Primary School has undergone considerable changes over the last two years with changes in leadership (three principals, an
acting assistant principal, three primary welfare officers). Last year began with a $400,000 fire in January which resulted in three physical shifts for the
school community. Temporary classes were held in neighbouring schools, then we moved into one floor of the school building and then into the whole
building. In 2007 the school began a CASS Foundation project “Increasing Student Engagement through the Developmental Curriculum”. The project
timetable is three years. Educational consultant Kathy Walker works with teams of teachers on a weekly basis. Play and project based learning;
alongside explicit instructions are the major pedagogical tools for literacy development and learning in the Developmental Curriculum.

In December 2007 Debney Meadows was selected as a Western Metropolitan Region Focus School. We were appointed a Teaching and Learning
Coach, Olivea Chellew, who works with teachers on strategies and practices to improve literacy and numeracy outcomes for all students.

In 2008 Debney Meadows Primary School commenced the year with a newly appointed substantive Principal Christine Nash. My acting Assistant
Principal role was modified to incorporate a .6 Primary Welfare Officer role. The 2008 school year commenced with an enrolment of 30 students less
than expected which resulted in an excess of teachers, a projected financial deficit of over $100,000 and classes averaging around 16 students. The
school restructured at the end of term two 2008 changing from seven classes to six. An excess process to decrease the teaching staff by one EFT
position in term four was achieved.

      Clarify Strategic intent – strategic plan, annual implementation plan
      Establish student wellbeing team
      Develop Primary Welfare Officer action plan
      Identify needs – students, school, community
      Identify student wellbeing practices at Debney Meadows Primary School
      Engage community – staff, students, families, wider community
      To provide high levels of care and welfare in response to the students‟ individual needs



Christine Nash       Principal
Louise Holley        Acting Assistant Principal/Primary Welfare Officer
Olivea Chellew       WMR Teaching and Learning Coach

Student Wellbeing Team comprising of the Principal, Assistant Principal/Primary Welfare Officer, Integration teacher, SSO representative, After
School Care Coordinator, Speech Pathologist, School Psychologist, School Nurse, RCH Paediatric fellow and RMIT Social Work Students.

Staff – MEAs, SSOs




Reflecting: where are we?

This project aims to develop a strategic and sustainable approach towards school improvement in the area of student engagement and wellbeing. To
achieve this we need a whole school understanding of where we are now – what structures are in place at Debney Meadows, what our goals, needs
and expectations are.
Strategic thinking: where could we be?

As a school we need to discuss, imagine, articulate what should and could be; the Art of Possibility. We are in the process of looking at the „now” of
school improvement at Debney Meadows while challenging and creating new ways of doing things for the future. Becoming a strategically focused
school with school-wide ongoing improvement.

Analysis: what do we know?

We need to identify where the school is now, where it wants to be and how that journey can be led and managed.

We looked at our strategic intent as outlined in our strategic plan and annual implementation plan (Appendix 1). From this I used The Framework for
Student Support Services in Victorian Government Schools as a structure to identify what practices are in place at Debney Meadows (Appendix 2). A
Student Wellbeing Team was established with the aim of supporting and improving student wellbeing initiatives. The Student Wellbeing Team
developed a Primary Welfare Officer Action plan which was presented to staff (Appendix 3).

Completing the Culture Profile Summary, as presented by Colin Pidd, highlighted the clan culture characteristics within staff evident at Debney
Meadows. A core team of staff have taught at the school for a significant time. The challenging behaviours of students and their learning needs have
contributed to this culture. A lot of energy and focus has been on welfare and behaviour issues at the expense of teaching and learning. Professional
learning time of teachers has been expended on welfare and classroom management. Teachers thought it detrimental to leave the classroom to
attend professional development due to classroom management issues.

Debney Meadows is a disadvantaged school. Our families come from lower socio economic backgrounds with 97% from Language Backgrounds
Other Than English. Staff were asked to record what that disadvantage looks like for students, the school and the community. The activity was
repeated by the Student Wellbeing Team (Appendix 4). Next step was to reflect, think and plan. What are our expectations? What are our
assumptions? What impact does poverty and disadvantage have on our community? What do we need to put in place to redress the disadvantage?

Debney Meadows Primary School has been identified by the Western Metropolitan Region as an underperforming school and a teaching and learning
coach was placed in the school for 2008. Debney Meadows has a high number of ESL students. We need to know what that means for teaching and
learning. We need to know what that means for student engagement and wellbeing.

A need for data/statistics was identified. Recently, through a Melbourne University Research Project our 13 preps were screened. From this, seven
students have been referred for a full assessment. The number of students with high needs appears to be disproportionate to our school enrolment
of 110 students. We need data to confirm this. We are currently investigating the use of the Students at Risk Mapping System and have visited two
neighbouring schools to see how they are using this system. We need to collect and analyse this data and analyse how the data can inform our
teaching and learning. We need to explore how the data may assist us to get support. The data may be able to ascertain school improvement. We
need to be able to identify what value has been added to students attending Debney Meadows.

When building and developing a strategically focussed school, engaging the people within the school to be part of the process is vital.

Debney Meadows has undergone considerable change over the last two years. A new principal and leadership team in 2008 has had a significant
impact on the culture and direction of the school. There has been an intentional process of fostering and developing strategic conversations,
developing relationships, enhancing participation and motivation. There is a new energy and enthusiasm.

Professional learning communities with a focus on teaching and learning have replaced staff meetings that previously focused on administration and
behaviour. Sharepoint is used for daily communication and morning briefings are held daily to ensure effective communication. The school has
successfully achieved Performance and Development Culture accreditation. Values have been developed and we are building shared understandings
of what these look like inside and outside of the classroom. Timetabling has allowed teams of teachers time to meet and plan together. A highly
successful After School Care Program has been established. Restorative Justice Practices have been introduced across the school.

Engaging the community – staff, students, families and wider community has occurred through briefings, Sharepoint, newsletters, professional
learning communities, after school care, parent information sessions, parenting courses and participation in community events. Most of our
community have limited English. Through extensive use of interpreters and the critical role of our two Multicultural Education Aides we are able to
develop strong relationships and partnerships with our community.


What is in the best interests of the students?
Leadership have begun engaging staff, students and the community in thinking and talking about current practice and the future. This has been
through conversations, professional learning communities, presentations, sharing and analysis of data. We are developing school-wide expectations
and agreed understandings.

Student engagement and wellbeing is one of the three key student outcomes within the School Accountability and Improvement Framework. Effective
Schools focus on the development of student social competencies, by embedding social competency learning opportunities into their pedagogy,
curriculum, behaviour management systems and expectations.

It is recognised that the intent is beyond this project, it is a work in progress. Processes are being put in place to ensure that everyone is on board.
We are aiming to build capacity and capability, to move the school from its present position to its desired future state. Continuous reflection, strategic
approaches and modification will lead to ongoing improvement. This project will inform our Annual Implementation Plan for 2009, a key improvement


Strategic thinking is a process where we build understanding and meaning about where we are and where we are going.

We need to build strategic capability within the school in order to ensure long term success and a culture of continuous improvement.
An outline of the way/s in which the project made use of the principles and techniques of strategic planning

          1) Conceptualisation

      Clarify Strategic intent; to provide high levels of care
      and welfare in response to the students‟ individual
      needs. Refer to strategic plan and annual                                                                2) Engaging people
      implementation plan. What processes are needed to
      identify student wellbeing practices at Debney                                                           Establish student wellbeing team.
      Meadows Primary School.? What processes are                                                              Engage community – staff, students,
      needed to identify needs – students, school and                                                          families, wider community.
      community?                                                                                               Establish processes to gather data to
                                                                                                               identify needs.

                                                                                              3) Articulation
4) Implementation
                                                                                              Develop school-wide expectations and agreed
Structures and processes in place to                                                          understandings
ensure sustained student wellbeing                                                            Vision
                                                                                              Evidence walks
                                                                                              Annual Implementation Plan 2009

DEBNEY MEADOWS PRIMARY SCHOOL                                      STRATEGIC INTENT                        2007 - 2010

                                                  Goals                                                 Targets                                      One Year Targets

Student Engagement and       To continue to provide high levels of care and       By the end of the strategic plan period:               Staff opinion survey variables will
Wellbeing                    welfare in response to the students’ individual                                                             indicate an improvement by at least 5%.
                                                                                        Student behaviour – for the Staff Opinion       Student motivation at or above 38.5,
                                                                                         Survey variables; Student motivation,           Student decision making at or above 21.0,
                                                                                         Student decision making, student                Student misbehaviour at or above 66,
                                                                                         misbehaviour and classroom                      Classroom misbehaviour at or above 36.5
                                                                                         misbehaviour to all be above the 25th           The Attitudes to Schools Survey to show
                                                                                         percentile                                       a 10% improvement in student safety with
                                                                                        The percentage of children arriving late to      a school mean of 4.04 or above.
                                                                                         school will reduce by 10%                       The percentage of students arriving late
                                                                                        The Parent Opinion Survey criteria of            to school will have decreased by 5%
                                                                                         Approachability and General Satisfaction
                                                                                         will fall in the “excellent” range

Key Improvement                    What                               How                              Who                             When             Achievement Milestones
Strategies and
Significant Projects     the activities and            the budget, equipment,              the individuals or teams        the date, week, month      changes in practice or
                         programs required to          IT, learning time,                  responsible for                 or term for completion     behaviours
                         progress the key              learning space                      implementation
                         improvement strategies

Student Engagement       Implementation of                 PD staff not yet trained       Carol Guthrie                   Term 1                      By the end of semester 1 &
and Wellbeing            Restorative Justice as the         in Restorative Justice                                                                      2, progress indicated on
                         approach to student               PLC refresher session                                                                       SSRS on the social
Review behaviour                                           Purchase resources                                                                          behaviours of students, such
                         behaviour management
management policy                                                                                                                                       as cooperation, empathy,
Staff develop a framework     PLC meeting. Share         Whole staff and PWO   Ongoing     assertion, self control and
and shared language to         examples                                                     responsibility
talk with students about      Review and revisit                               Term 2     By term 4 there is a 10%
                               strategies regularly                                         decrease in all behaviour
their behaviour
                                                                                            incidents as evidenced by
Visit schools which have      Expressions of interest    Co-ordinated by AP    Term 1      the behaviour record book
                              CRT budget                                                   compared to 2006 data
implemented Restorative                                                                    Staff opinion survey variables
Justice.                      Staff report back to PLC
                                                                                            will indicate an improvement
                                                                                            by at least 5%. Student
AP trained as Restorative     PL budget                  Carol Guthrie         Term 1      misbehaviour at or above 66,
Justice Community             CRT budget                                                   Classroom misbehaviour at
Conference Facilitator                                                                      or above36.5
                                                                                           By term 4, a new draft
                                                                                            Student Safety Policy
                                                                                            document is completed.
Parent Information Session    Meeting time               Carol Guthrie         Term 2    The Attitudes to Schools
Restorative Justice           For consultant
                                                                                          Survey to show a 10%
                                                                                          improvement in student safety
                                                                                          with a school mean of 4.04 or

Develop draft policy                                      Education Committee   Term 4

Investigate Positive          PL budget                  Assistant Principal   Term 1
Behaviour Intervention        CRT budget

Enhancing Relationships in                                Principal             Term 1
School Communities
expression of interest.




To continue to provide high levels of care and welfare in response to the students’ individual needs.

By the end of the strategic plan period:

     Student behaviour – for the Staff Opinion Survey variables; Student motivation, Student decision making, student misbehaviour and
      classroom misbehaviour to all be above the 25 th percentile
     The percentage of children arriving late to school will reduce by 10%
     The Parent Opinion Survey criteria of Approachability and General Satisfaction will fall in the “excellent” range


The Primary Welfare Officer will:

     contribute to the development of a whole school approach to encourage student engagement, learning and wellbeing;
     promote a positive and secure environment through evidence based learning and wellbeing programs;
     develop community partnerships to strengthen student wellbeing;
     work within the whole school community to support students and their families;
     promote greater student and family engagement with schools; and
     develop and support the school’s approach to effective student case coordination.
The Framework for Student Support Services in Victorian                        DEBNEY MEADOWS PRIMARY SCHOOL
Government Schools

PRIMARY PREVENTION                                                             PRIMARY PREVENTION
                                                                               Primary Welfare Officer              Establish Student Wellbeing
                                                                                                                     Team ( meet once per term)
Build belonging and promote                                                                                         Primary Welfare Officer action
wellbeing.                                                                                                           plan
                                                                                                                    Draft Student Wellbeing policy
Primary prevention refers to
population-based strategies for whole                                          Values                               Publish school values
groups, such as a school or a year                                                                                  Review Student Code of
level, that aim to strengthen                                                                                        Conduct
                                                                               Curriculum                           Implement developmental
protective factors and minimize the
                                                                                                                     curriculum P-6 to engage all
impact of risk factors in students.                                                                                  students
                                        Strategies:                            School Attendance                    Student Attendance Forum
Promoting resilience through:
                                         build mutual respect and promote                                          Student Attendance Network
 a sense of belonging                    safety at school                                                           (Business Manager)
 a one to one relationship with a       implement comprehensive                                                   It‟s Not OK To Be Away parent
  caring adult                            curriculum to engage all students                                          session
 positive social behaviours and         enhance school attendance            ERIS Enhancing Relationships in      ERIS Core Team
  problem solving skills                 practice inclusive teaching and      Schools                              Whole School PD
 a sense of spiritual and communal       learning                                                                  Implement cultural diversity
  belonging                              encourage supportive relationships                                         curriculum years 3-6
 strong family relationships and        ease transitions
  minimal family stress
                                                                               Restorative Justice                  Restorative Justice practices
                                         involve parents / families and                                             implemented
 peer connectedness                      communities                                                               Whole School PD
                                                                                                                    Parent PD
                                                                                                                    Review Student Code of
                                                                                                                    Draft Student Code of Conduct
                                                                               Parents/Families/Community           Parent information sessions
                                                                                                                    Parenting course “Tuning Into
                                                                                                                    After School Care Program
                                                                                                                    Social work students
                                                                                                                    Transition
                                                       Student Health                 Referral to agencies, eg; State
                                                                                       Schools Relief, MacKillop
                                                                                       Family Services
                                                                                      Headlice management
                                                                                      Anaphylaxis management
                                                                                      Asthma Friendly Schools
                                                                                      School nursing
                                                                                      Kids Go For Your Life
                                                                                      CASEA
                                                                                      Drug Education
                                                                                      Student welfare data base
                                                                                      Melbourne University Prep
                                                                                       assessment program
                                                       Student Safety                 Review Student Code of
                                                                                      Draft Student Code of Conduct
                                                                                      KAP room open recess and
                                                                                      Lunchtime clubs; ICT, Art Sport
EARLY INTERVENTION                                     EARLY INTERVENTION

                                                                                      Identification of “at risk”
                                                       Program for Students with       students
Strengthen coping skills and reduce                    Disabilities (PSD)             Referral procedures
risk factors                                                                          Integration teacher
                                                                                      Integrations Aides (SSOs)
Early intervention strategies are                                                     School Support Groups (SSG)
targeted at students displaying                                                       Individual Learning Plans
general disorganisation in coping                                                     WMR Integration Network
skills and other personal and social                                                  Professional Development
vulnerabilities that place them at risk                                               Student Wellbeing Team
of not reaching their educational                                                     Implement Language Support
potential.                                             Language Support Program        Program
                                                       Emergency Management
                                                                                      DMPS Emergency
                                                                                       Management Plan

Developing resilience through:                         CASEA                          Staff briefing
                                          Strategies                                  Team training
 implementing appropriate support                                                    Whole school PD
  programs                               assess risks and identify needs                                Student program
 providing effective interventions      provide school based counselling                               Parent program
 reinforcing students‟ positive          and support                                                    Classroom program
  achievements                           develop programs to improve skills
 promoting a sense of safety and        monitor and evaluate student         SSSOs                     Student Wellbeing Team
  security                                support programs
INTERVENTION                                                                   INTERVENTION

                                                                                                         Referral procedures
                                                                                                         Student welfare data base
Provide access to support                                                                                Student Wellbeing Team
information and treatment                                                                                Case management (social
                                                                                                          work student program)
Intervention strategies are aimed at                                                                     School Support Group
smaller numbers of students who                                                                           meetings
experience serious or persistent                                                                         Individual Learning Plans
difficulties, and who may need either                                                                    Behaviour management plans
short-term or ongoing access to                                                                          Risk management plans
additional professional intervention
services and support. Intervention
strategies are most effective when
they are embedded in the school‟s
existing wellbeing programs.

Improving resilience through:
                                         clarify referral procedures
 activating effective partnerships      link to counselling services
 coordinating services                  ensure continuity of care
 well judged responses, being           monitor and evaluate progress
  sensitive to students‟ feelings and
 accurate identification

RESTORING WELL-BEING                                                           RESTORING WELL-BEING
                                                                                                         Student Wellbeing Team
                                                                                                         DMPS Emergency
Manage trauma and limit impact                                                                            Management Plan

Restoring wellbeing strategies are
aimed at students affected by critical
incidences or potentially traumatic
situations. These strategies also
focus on re-connecting students who
are disengaged from the school

Rebuilding resilience through:
                                          increase awareness of trauma
 restoring a sense of normality             impact
 responding appropriately with           plan for emergency response
  recovery activities                     provide counselling and support
 having effective prevention and         monitor recovery and evaluate
  preparedness                               plans
 supporting psychological safety

Debney Meadows Primary School

Primary Welfare Officer Action Plan

Year                       Curriculum                   Prevention/Early         Policy                      Parents &

                                                        Intervention                                         Community

2008 - 2009                     ERIS Core Team             Establish Student       Draft Student            Parent information
                                Whole School PD             Wellbeing Team             Wellbeing policy          sessions
                                Implement cultural          (meet once per          Draft Student Code       Social work students
                                 diversity curriculum        term)                      of Conduct
                                 years 3-6                Primary Welfare           Anaphylaxis
                                                             Officer action plan        management Policy
                                                          CASEA program             Asthma Policy
                                                          Restorative Justice       Sunsmart Policy
                                                          Whole School PD
                                                          Parent PD
                                                          Review Student
                                                             Code of Conduct
Successful Targets (completed towards end of year): ERIS introduced, Student Wellbeing Team established, Restorative justice practices
implemented across school, Student Code of Conduct reviewed, Parent information sessions regularly provided

Forward Planning (completed towards end of year): CASEA program implemented, Draft Student Wellbeing policy published, Draft Student
Code of Conduct published, Primary Welfare Officer Action plan implemented,

DEBNEY MEADOWS PRIMARY SCHOOL                                                         What does our disadvantage look like?
STUDENTS                                                     SCHOOL                                                  FAMILIES/COMMUNITY
    ESL                                                         Isolated from wider community                          Poverty
    High number of special needs –                              Teachers have to cater for high needs                  Single parent families/high number of children,
      social/behavioural, educational                            Limited access to speech pathologists,                 Sibling support
    High number of PSD funded students                            psychologists, nurse, (SSSOs)                         Welfare benefits
    Challenging behaviours                                      Constant referrals                                     Refugee backgrounds – residual trauma in families,
    Welfare needs – absenteeism, lateness,                      Limited resources – integration aides                     stress
      food, clothing                                             Strong need for MEA’s                                  LBOTE
    Social isolation                                            Teachers and school staff required to                  Housing issues
    Large families lead to lack of support and                    provide extra one on one attention to kids            Community outreach – first contact for assistance
      attention                                                  Responsibility at first point of call often               and referral
    Not one of the preps fell into the normal                     for health and speech difficulties                    Need strong support for lots of things
      range of the language assessment                           No real connections to other primary                   Lack of kindergarten or preschool experience
    High number of borderline assessments                         schools and community of primary                      Lack of communication/understanding between
    Lack of kindergarten or preschool                             schools for children                                     Muslim community and services e.g. child protection
      experience                                                 Holistic welfare                                       Big drug problem in surrounding community –
    Children concerned for safety at times on                   Lack of understanding from surrounding                    people entering estate from other community
      surrounding estate                                           middle class community                                Welfare – poverty/welfare cycles
    Limited access to SSSO’s                                    Funding                                                Cross cultural communication
    Poverty                                                     Facilities                                             Community isolation
    Sibling stress                                              Resources                                              Public housing issues
    Holistic welfare needs taken care of by                     Cross cultural communication                           Limited access to SSSO’s
      school                                                     Social isolation – class isolation,                    Strong support for families always needed
    MEA needed on regular basis                                   community isolation                                   Systemic disadvantage harder to use wider system
                                                                 Lack of proper communication with                         for needs
*ESL, below-age literacy skills, limited problem solving           DEECD                                                 Lack of family support
skills, limited play opportunities outside of school, lack   Allocation of SSSO time grossly below level school      Low SES & corresponding lack of resources, difficulties interacting
of resources at home to supplement learning (e.g.            requires, sense that Region does not realise the high   with broader community due to language barrier, struggle with
educational games).                                          needs of the DMPS cohort, language barriers to          behaviour management in large families, language barriers to
                                                             interventions at the parent/family level, high per-     involvement in community-run parenting programs etc
                                                             capita rate of learning diffs.

        Cross cultural differences and tensions – e.g. homework issues, generational differences, influences from older siblings
        Constant reliance on interpreters

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