Teaching at YJPS
What do we teach?
At Yarra Junction Primary School, AusVels standards are the floor, not the ceiling. From this base, we work to build our rigorous ‘I Can Statements’ that break down all standards into Learning Intentions.
The YJPS family (teachers, principals, coaches and educational support staff) work together so teachers have a deep reserve of best practices, intervention, assistance and high-quality curriculum resources at their fingertips. Research shows that the effectiveness of the classroom teacher is the single most important factor supporting student achievement and all our teachers know that:
‘I can become a great teacher and will never truly get to the end of this path because there’s so much to learn and so much to do in the act of teaching and learning’.
How do we teach?
We realise that the outcomes our children deserve, necessitate continuously strong teaching from the time our children start school till they finish.
AusVels Standards-aligned assessments, data-driven analysis and planning are keys to success.
Our curriculum is divided into five cycles (encircled by our strong relationship focus), each of which culminates in a cumulative assessment where students demonstrate mastery of the AusVels they have learned throughout the semester. This school-wide, approach follows each cycle, giving teachers the data-rich information they need to edit their teaching and learning term plans, weekly plans and target their instruction and schedule interventions for struggling students. This data-driven lens on instruction gives teachers the unique flexibility to cater the curriculum for each individual student and anticipate challenges at their academic level not age level.
The YJPS Data Driven Instruction model:
Great teachers need to know their starting point when they are being effective and when they are not. At YJPS, we use regular assessments (Interims aligned to AusVels, teacher judgements and formal standardised assessments) to determine which standards have been mastered and which still need to be taught.
Teachers plan units of work and/or a series of lessons from end of Semester data analysis. Ongoing assessment of standards through checklists, exit tickets and anecdotal assessment is completed throughout the semester.
Predictors and data results analysed by leader, teacher and/or team collaboratively enable all teachers to reflect on their practice. Teaching and Learning reports are owned by teachers, and reflect a deep analysis of ‘how’ and ‘why’ children did or did not achieve a standard.
The Professional Learning Community at YJPS form effective teams who:
- implement individual and team goals,
- a teaching and learning theory of action,
- predict student performance,
- collaboratively analyse actual performance data,
- confirm and/or adjust theory of learning based on empirical evidence,
- share best practice to build capacity of all teachers,
- visit collegiately and provide feedback to inform each others teaching and learning.
Relationships are our key tool for increased engagement. To teach and learn in our school strong relationships is what matters most. This appears in a myriad of ways across the curriculum but is palpable in every excellent classroom. It is not simply something you do but the essential ingredient in every act of teaching and the learning of the students. Literally we know that the relationships in every classroom are great and that people should have their noses pressed up against the glass on the classroom door wanting to see this culture. Children learn in an environment where strong relationships are present to the point where they can’t imagine missing a day and attendance rules become unnecessary.
How do we know our students are learning?
At YJPS we have a belief that all students, regardless of demographics, will learn and achieve. We are committed to serving the students who need us most and refuse to accept anything less than an excellent education for our students.
We set high achievement standards and we challenge our students to be their best. Our teachers are caring and warm, yet hold students to high behavioural standards which are consistent throughout the school. We subscribe to the "broken windows" theory of school discipline, which holds that if schools sweat the "small" infractions and follow a warm/strict approach underpinned by strong relationships from the outset, the larger more serious behaviours will never occur. The result is a respectful and orderly environment in which students can focus on learning and teachers can focus on teaching.
In this environment student learning is at it optimum and we know when our students have learnt a skill by using
- Exit slips
- Interim data
- Student motivation
- Student engagement
- Teacher judgements
- Student / teacher conferences
- VCCA testing
- F & P assessments
- Writing Moderation
- Single Word Spelling test
- ‘I Can Do Maths’(P-2)
- Pat Maths (Gr. 3-6)
These assessments are used to make informed judgements on each child’s learning. We have frequent and frank conversations about which students are learning, which are not, and what can be done to ensure that students master the necessary skills and content across subject areas.
How do we provide feedback to our students and families on learning progress?
At YJPS we are exceptionally committed to our students! We live and breathe student achievement, and when we see that learning has occurred, it is our greatest pay-off.
"The children are always ours, every single one of them” - this statement is to acknowledge that YJPS teachers do a significant amount of work outside the classroom walls with parents, fellow teachers, and leaders to create strong purposeful relationships where constructive feedback can be delivered. Students are provided regular feedback through
- Exit tickets
- Social and Academic awards
- Teacher / student conferencing
- Data note books
YJPS has developed strong partnerships with parents, students, and teachers that puts learning first. This strong partnership enables us to provide adequate feedback to all about:
- Where am I going?
- How am I going?
- Where to next?
Active family involvement in school and learning is essential to meeting YJPS mission of all students achieving. Our staff fosters family engagement in our students' learning and success through abundant and on-going communication between the parents and school. We create dynamic partnerships in which we are partners with families in promoting their children's academic success. Specifically, we:
- Meet with each student's family at the middle and end of year conferences to discuss their child's progress
- Send home a monthly newsletter of classroom and school-wide news and information
- Celebrate success with parents
- Have a dedicated Wellbeing Leader who works to build strong relationships with families
- Create regular events in which families are invited into the school to celebrate student achievement
- Every week parents are called to celebrate the ‘GREATNESS’ their child has shown that week.
As John Hattie states our key to getting results is that;
“It's all about trusting relationships and 'oodles of feedback”.