PiL Program Spotlights – Horsham West / Haven Primary School
By Brendan Bush, Craig Amos & Ben Miatke, Horsham West-Haven Primary School
Our school is a dual campus P-6 Primary School located on the western fringe of Horsham and at Haven, which is 5 kilometres south of Horsham. Approximately 580 students attend the Horsham West campus and approximately a further 70 attend our Haven campus.
The school strives to meet the needs of our school community by:
- Extending each student’s individual potential by encouraging, recognising and rewarding achievement and effort.
- Recognising each student’s strengths and utilising them for continued learning.
- Providing an environment that is well maintained, safe and secure.
- Developing in students’ qualities such as responsibility, communication skills, independence, creativity and problem
Habits of the Minds
The school has adopted Professor Arthur Costa’s Habits of the Minds as a framework to educate our students to behave intelligently and perform well in school and everyday life.
Art Costa is Emeritus Professor of Education at California State University. He studied successful people from many walks of life and recognised and defined 16 qualities as being central to intelligent thought and reasoning.
The Habits of Mind are integrated within the school program, with awards presented to successful students each month.
Through Restorative Practices we seek to enhance relationships between students, teachers, and parents, so as to nurture our sense of community at the school. The Restorative Practices philosophy and behaviour management, provides HWHPS students with the opportunity to develop self-discipline and positive behaviours in a caring, supportive environment.
A positive school climate, in which young people feel connected, is the best environment for learning.
The Aims of restorative practices are:
- Educate students towards self-directed correct behaviour.
- Promote, nurture and protect healthy relationships among members of the community.
- Enable students to be accountable for the real consequences of any wrongdoing.
- Develop empathy for others within our students.
- Become more positive, supportive and contributing members of their community.
Information Communication Technology
The school believe it is essential to use information technology to enhance student learning. Competence with information technology will also be an essential skill for all children to be effective citizens in our information rich society.
In 2010 the school implemented a Netbook program where every child from Year 4 to 6 lease a small laptop. The cost for parents will be $150 per year in 2013, which includes warranty, technical support and shared insurance. We therefore have 270 netbooks used daily by our senior students.
Each classroom has an electronic whiteboard, facilitating a broader range of teaching strategies in the classroom. With the help of our Parents’ club this investment is adding a new dimension to our classrooms.
Students participate in a number of specialist classes each week. The specialist program includes Art, Music, Resource Based Learning (Library), Physical Education and German. Students from the Haven Campus travel to West to participate in specialist classes each week.
There are a range of support programs designed to assist students with learning difficulties. Reading Recovery, Multi-Lit, Speech assistance, and our language support program assist students with greater needs in literacy and language. Quicksmart Numeracy is a program that targets students in Year four to help with their understanding of numeracy.
The school has various programs that promote physical activity, participation and representation at State level competitions. The school has an Active After School program three nights a week which enables students to learn about a variety of recreational activities and sports. The school’s teams regularly make the State finals and compete at the highest levels.
Microsoft Partners In Learning Program
In 2011 we were invited to participate in the program by the e-Learning branch of the DEECD. This reflected the role the school had played in integrating ICT within classrooms and supporting regional schools to enhance their ICT capabilities.
The focus on 21st Century Capabilities in the PiL program dovetails with one of our goals in our new Strategic Plan. In our Strategic Plan we outline the goal of increasing the global awareness of our students, which links directly to the one of the 21st Century capabilities. Through professional learning workshops with our teachers we have promoted utilising ICT to increase connectivity and collaboration with people outside the four walls of the classroom.
The development of the Global Schools Blog by one of the staff members participating in the Microsoft PIL program has made the process of connecting our classes around the world far simpler and efficient. With approximately 60 worldwide partner schools already signed on to this blog our global network has certainly expanded. We recommend checking out the blog to see if it suits your school. Go to http://globalschoolsblog.wordpress.com/ for further information.
Work thus far through this program has focussed on up-skilling teachers to use a variety of ICT methods to take learning beyond the four walls of our classrooms. Email, blog posts, video conferencing, Skyping, participation in online collaboration events and sites (example:. DeforestACTION, Global Children’s Challenge, Prime Minister’s Olympic Challenge) have all enabled our students to gain a greater awareness of the world beyond our school and their classrooms.
In 2012 we were successful in gaining a grant through the CASS Foundation to implement an animation project for Years four to six across the school. The project involves the teachers learning about digital animation from Dave Jones a digital artist.
For the first three terms Dave worked at the Horsham West Campus. The students in Year 4 completed stop motion animations in term 1. In term 2 the Year 5 students completed Kahootz 3d animations and the Year 6 students used Pencil to create digital storybooks. In fourth term Dave will work with the Years 3-6 students at our Haven Campus.
The goal of the project is to enhance the digital repertoire of our teachers and students. To enable information, knowledge and understanding to be synthesised and communicated through animation.