Friday, 31 March 2017

Where's Queensland?

Cyclone Debbie caused lots of damage and flooding this week in Queensland and northern NSW. ( My wife is at her mothers place in Murrwillimbah helping to clean up after her house was flooded) and CNN put Queenfland where Tasmania is ! Just goes to show how insignificant we are to the US media. Day 1 of holidays! I'm going to work on a Howls Moving Castle unit this weekend and watch the Bombers tonight!

Last day of term

 Apparently my holidays start today. Not sure that's right, I have so far 6 days out of 10 doing work for school!
We had free dress and pizza for lunch and made some Easter craft to take home. I hope the kids have a great break!

Lovely morning
Eating a sneaky strawberry from the garden.

Thursday, 30 March 2017


Happy birthday Paul Verlaine,poet and radical communard, born 30 March 1844!
'On the turps' a few years before his death. Brilliant poet!
Francis Greenway's plan for a Parliament House for Australia. I miss him in the $2 note!
Ballarat then and now photos!

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Sinbad diorama

Finishing off our Sinbad diorama today. It looks good!

Finished product on display!

Starting work on a Sinbad diorama

We are working on Sinbad the Sailor as a grade 3 literature unit ( I'll post it on TPT tomorrow) 
The version of the book we are reading.( by Quentine Blake )

Lovely sunrise again this morning.

Prep working hard today.

Some interesting maps from Trove.

Monday, 27 March 2017

Boss Baby

We went to see Boss Baby today at the cinema. I enjoyed it even though I hate animated movies! It was funny! My prep girl however was less than impressed!
HOORAY: 102000 views!

Sunday, 26 March 2017

Gonski update

Gonski update- some new disturbing data to share:
Staff shortages effect struggling schools the most!
Make good on your party's Gonski promise Turnbull!
I'm assuming this piece of nonsense went home to private school kids?
I hope so!
Beautiful morning before the cool snap

Will be working on a  Howls Moving Castle lit unit on the holidays!
Still big savings on my TPT store!!!!
I'm extending my sale this week!!


This is odd???
Here in Lucas...
Why is the state government building Catholic schools? Is it a fee free school ( because state schools can't 'require fees' and they can't pick and choose enrolments & is it a secular Catholic school?

Saturday, 25 March 2017

The Principal's Journey

Our society is giving more and more attention to improving student learning.

This expectation has resulted in a growing expectation in some states and districts for principals to be effective instructional leaders. Consider these statistics: nearly 7,000 students drop out of U.S. high schools every day and, every year approximately 1.2 million teenagers leave the public school system without a diploma or an adequate education. There are 2,000 high schools in America in which less than 60% of students graduate within four years after entering ninth grade.

The situation is not much brighter for students who do earn a high school diploma, and enter a two –year or four-year institutions. In community colleges, approximately 40% of freshmen (and approximately 20% in public, four-year institutions) are in need of basic instruction in reading, writing, or mathematics before they can perform in college-level courses.

Principals must advocate for these students and provide leadership to reverse this appalling educational outcome. However, the odds are sometimes stacked against them. Let’s look at some issues principals face in trying to create change, and the solutions that will help them accomplish just that.

  1. Many public schools have unworkable school environments.

The failure of many public school districts to provide the working conditions that well-trained principals need to prosper is often a central reason for these ongoing graduation and future preparation issues. By having access to resources and being committed to school reform, principals are able to work with teachers to create school environments that facilitate excellence in learning.

The issues that principals need to work on with teachers include aligning instruction with a standards-based curriculum to provide a good measure of achievement, and improving both student learning and classroom instruction by effectively organizing resources. Principals must use sound hiring practices, ensure professional development is available at their schools, and keep abreast of issues that may influence the quality of teaching in schools.

  1. Some school districts don’t have a cohesive agenda for the principal to follow.

While having good leaders in place is crucial, it is not always enough. If principals don’t have supportive work environments for their improvement efforts, then even the most talented and best-trained individuals may be discouraged by the challenges they face on a daily basis. Districts where no major high school improvements have been made don’t have a cohesive agenda for improvement. Such an agenda would specify clear goals, research-based practices, improvement-focused accountability, and strategies to support implementation. In practice, schools without such an agenda can often be characterized by disjointed actions. Many of the principals in such schools report that they are not involved in defining existing instructional issues in their schools.

  1. District-level decisions can disempower principals.

The district (or state) makes these decisions, meaning that principals have little ownership of their problems or the proposed solutions to them. They also report having little support or motivation to find solutions, and that they do not feel there is a well-designed system of improvement. Rather, they feel that “improvements” are undertaken in a series of random acts.

When decision-making is shared, leadership roles are redefined at all levels. Principals are supported by district staff members, not blocked by them. District staff members make frequent visits to schools to provide coaching, technical assistance, and staff development. Teachers benefit from continuous professional development; principals have sufficient autonomy and resources to engage and develop staff. Professional development may target groups or individual teachers, and the teachers are given opportunities to work together on curriculum and instruction.

In contrast, many districts focus on educational management instead of educational leadership. The support provided to improve instruction in these districts is not grounded in research on effective teaching. In addition, these districts lack a systemic approach to improvement and fail to provide principals with the guidance and support they require to reform processes and put effective instructional practices into place.

Many principals spend much of their time finding ways to work around the district office, rather than with them. To obtain the support they need, they often decide to avoid hiring protocols and develop “underground” relationships with individual staff in the district office. Supportive district leaders understand the challenging work principals must do, as in many cases they have been successful principals themselves.

  1. The best district leaders understand a principal’s challenge and will do what they can to help principals be successful school leaders.

These district leaders support principals’ focus on instruction and acknowledge that priority by publicly focusing on curriculum and instruction in school board and superintendents’ meetings. Rather than micromanaging staff, they routinely involve school and teacher-leaders in developing and using tools such as walk-throughs, pacing guides, and research-based instructional practices.

The best districts have developed a collaborative “lattice” approach between the central office and the school. This entails districts providing good principals with the support they need to enable their schools to succeed. When given the space by the district to focus on improving their schools, principals can then support their teachers to do the same. The focus of districts must be on raising standards and achievement, and improving instruction by supporting and enabling principals to develop their ability as instructional leaders.

What do you think are some challenges principals might face when trying to improve their schools?

From the Edvocate

Cleaned up at work and got organised for the last week of term 2

I can watch the Bombers win ( recorded it last night) and start on a Howls Moving Castle unit for term 4.

Still not too late to buy some bargains on TPT!!

Bizarre and sad how some private schools are wrestling with having their students work on PhDs when some state high schools here are just struggling with supporting kids with their VCE. 

....and finally today

Friday, 24 March 2017


 Using the hashtag 'betterthsnchocolate#' you can find lots of great TPT products for only $1.00!
Including some recent units I've put up along with some old favourites.

 I also have quite a few items on sale until Easter so take a look! ....all proceeds go to new tyres for my car!!!

Art work for Black Beauty

Disaster on the bridge scene from Black Beauty.
Praying mantis at school today and a new Tintin book.

Thursday, 23 March 2017

Aparthied in Richmond?

Poor students living in public housing will be locked out of the prestigious Melbourne Girls College, according to a peak tenants group. In a move described as "education apartheid", large parts of north Richmond, including public housing estates, will not be included in the school's zone from 2020. An informal agreement previously meant that the school provided automatic entry to all Richmond girls.  Facing a fierce backlash from residents in the marginal seat of Richmond, Education Minister James Merlino hinted on Wednesday that he was reconsidering the controversial changes.
 The Victorian Public Tenants Association has written to Mr Merlino raising concerns about the changes, which were made in response to the opening of a new co-ed Richmond High School in 2018. It is demanding that the zone include public housing students. The association spokesman Raoul Wainwright said the single-sex school should reflect the diversity of the Richmond community. "We see this as an important issue of social justice," he said.Yarra councillor Stephen Jolly said the changes were "classist" and excluded the poorest students in Richmond. "Education apartheid has no place in the 21st century and that is what this is," he said.In an unusual intervention last year, Mr Merlino forced Melbourne Girls' College to enrol 12 students it had initially rejected, including residents of the nearby North Richmond public housing estate.
It is not just public housing tenants who are concerned about the zone changes. Many families who have moved into the area to access the school are concerned that they are no longer in the enrolment boundary. They are particularly upset that families living in some parts of Kew, Hawthorn and Toorak will still be included in the zone.
The AEU and DET have agreed to a new EBA
This was sent to Principal class members yesterday:

We are pleased to let you know that after extensive and very robust negotiations we have reached settlement with the government for a new Victorian Government Schools Agreement.
Earlier today, your Joint Primary and Secondary Sector Council voted overwhelmingly to endorse the proposed agreement and recommend it to members.
The in-principle agreement delivers workload relief, more secure employment and salaries above the government’s original offer.
The Joint Council also determined to withdraw from the protected industrial action ballot in light of reaching an in-principle agreement for members to consider.
The key improvements for principal class members we have achieved include:


Headline salary increases (not inclusive of increments)

1 April 2017       4.00%

1 April 2018       2.00%

1 October 2018  2.00%

1 April 2019       2.00%

1 October 2019  2.00%

1 April 2020       2.00%

1 October 2020  2.00%

Total increase of 17.1%

In addition, principals will only be employed at Range 2 and above effective from 1 May 2017. All principals in range 1 will be translated to Range 2 at this time. This is an important change which recognises from a salary perspective, particularly in smaller schools, the significant role the principal is required to do by the employer.
The remuneration thresholds which determine which range principals are employed at will be reduced, which enables approximately 328 principals to move into the next remuneration range on account of their work value, as determined by the size of their school’s budget.
The headline salary increases above include an additional 0.5% increase to account for the missing superannuation guarantee increase which was not passed on by the former government and also to provide additional recognition of workload. 


  • Recognition of workload through higher salary increases than teachers and ES.
  • Provision of a $10,000 per annum payment to Network Chairs to recognise their leadership and the sharing of excellent educational practice.
  • New principal consultation clause in the agreement, requiring DET to consult about significant changes to your work prior to the decision to implement the change.
  • The AEU will continue to work with the government in the lead up to this year’s state budget in May, regarding additional support for principals to provide them with more time to manage their work at their school and at the system level.
  • A working party to be established in 2017 (and a commitment to complete this work within 12 months of its establishment) to identify improvements in existing support and any areas where effective support is not provided, and to make recommendations for addressing those areas including identification of any budget implications to feed into DET's budget processes.
  • Fixed-term vacancies of up to one school term may be filled without advertisement in order to replace employees who are absent on long service leave – this change was made in direct response to our principal class members' concerns regarding the workload of selection processes particularly for short-term vacancies.

  • Changes to contract processes will see thousands of teachers and ES automatically translated to ongoing employment. This is a significant win and will provide many of our members with the secure employment they have been seeking for many years.
  • All ES staff employed in positions linked to Student Support Funding will be employed ongoing. If this funding reduces or ceases within the first seven years of an individual’s employment, the employment can be ended and the employee will be provided with 12 weeks’ notice and opportunity for redeployment. Anyone employed on an SSP contract who has been employed for more than seven years on the date the agreement comes into effect can only have their employment ended through the normal excess procedures applicable to all staff.
  • A new annual central translation process for all eligible contract teachers and ES (whose employment is not linked to SSP funding) will take effect from September 1 this year. All eligible contract employees will be identified and principals will be provided with an opportunity to advise DET if they consider that translation should not occur, which must be consistent with the reasons for fixed term in the agreement. If it is not consistent, DET will automatically translate individuals to ongoing employment.
Workload - teachers and ES

  • Each teacher will receive four days per year (one day per term) commencing in 2018, to focus on work directly related to their classroom (pro rata for part timers).
  • In addition, the 38 hour week will be restructured to ensure that a teacher’s time during the working week is focused on activities directly related to the teaching and learning program of their class(es).
  • DET have committed to review the ES ‘Dimensions of Work’ with recommendations to make changes to better reflect ES work, for inclusion in a subsequent agreement.


ES, teachers, paraprofessional and executive class

1 April 2017        3.25%

1 April 2018        1.50%

1 October 2018  1.75%

1 April 2019        1.50%

1 October 2019  1.75%

1 April 2020        1.51%

October 2020     1.75%

Total increase of 13.7%

Education Support

In addition to the salary increases outlined above, the classification structure for ES Range 1 and 2 will be altered. This involves the removal of the bottom subdivision in each of these ranges and an additional subdivision at the top of each range. It provides existing 1-5s and 2-5s with a further increment to deliver higher salary outcomes in the first twelve months of the agreement. For current 1-5s, the total increase in the first twelve months will be 6.71%. For current 2-5s, it will be 6.46%. In addition, on translation to the new scale, the current 1-1 and 2-1 employees will translate to the new 1-1 and 2-1 and receive an additional salary increase to the headline rate. 


Initial increase of $54.51 (18.59%) from 1 July 2017 to take the daily rate from $293.30 to $347.81.  By the end of the agreement, CRT members will receive $383.13 for each day worked.

Learning specialists

A new classification of ‘learning specialist’ will also be created. From 2018 funding will be provided for 3000 of these promotion positions which will be paid at the same level as leading teachers.  Teachers promoted to these classroom-based roles will be recognised for their outstanding classroom practice and the support that they provide to other teachers.


The agreement also provides for a range of other improvements including:

  • a ban on quotas on the number of staff who can progress up the salary scale
  • a ban on lump sum performance pay for all staff
  • paid family violence leave, in addition to personal leave
  • release for AEU rep on consultative committee (in default), to allow release for consultation with the sub-branch
  • trade union training leave for all members

Library photos

I took some photos of the kids in our library today.

Black Beauty art today.
Old King Cole