> Commitment


Stewart McGaffin
Ocean View College
Alberton Cluster


Finding 6.5: Adapt
Foster the openness and courage necessary for a school to adapt diverse models to your school’s unique model, based on common beliefs and values.

What Happened

At the end of 2010, I was asked to come along to a meeting at Alberton Primary School for a project (Make It Count) involving Aboriginal students’ engagement in Mathematics. At this stage I had spent the first half of the year as a Junior School counsellor and was in a year 6/7 class for term 3 and 4 so had very little involvement with Make It Count. When the meeting started it was quickly established that Ocean View College was not engaging in the project, due to a range of factors. As an Ocean View College staff member, it was somewhat embarrassing and disappointing that the school did not have a bigger investment in the project and we came away from it determined for this to change. At this point I decided to speak to the principal and fill her in on the situation. Concurrently the principal from Alberton Primary also wrote to the principal asking for a greater commitment from Ocean View College. As a result, this commitment was given by our principal and one of our senior leaders at the school became involved.

From that point on Ocean View College and Alberton (Key school) have worked together to create a model of practice which specifically looked at addressing the goals outlined in the cluster question. Ocean View College transformed its involvement from having one teacher knowing about the project early in 2010 with no apparent focus to the following:

  • Over 120 students involved in the Make It Count Project addressing greater engagement, resilience and learning outcomes in Mathematics.
  • Several leaders invested in the project with one leader going to Sydney to support the cluster group.
  • Eight teachers trained and involved significantly in the Make It Count project from Years 4-7 (see Unit of Learning Travel Maths for an example of teacher involvement from Ocean View).
  • Two of those teachers travelling to Alice Springs to present the work they have been doing in their class for Make It Count at the AAMT Conference.
  • Regular meetings and correspondence between Alberton and Ocean View College on improving the project’s strategies.
  • Students and parents giving positive feedback about the impact the project has had.

It has been exciting to see the journey of Make It Count at Ocean View College over the past few years. Witnessing the openness and courage of staff both at Ocean View College and Alberton in sharing models and ideas of practice has been professionally exhilarating andmost importantly has resulted in great learning outcomes for our students.


Some focus questions to prompt discussions with your colleagues:

  1. Why was it important for the principal at Ocean View to be committed to the initiative?
  2. Rather than do exactly the same as Alberton, Ocean View adapted the Alberton approach to the school context. Why was this important to do and what considerations might they have had to make?
  3. What other interesting or important aspects are in this Signficant Episode?


Download the PDF of this significant episode.

commitment_6.5.pdf 398.41 kB