> How

How we did it

Each of the three schools generated a school-based emphasis that reflected the cluster’s overall focus:

  • Hebersham PS–considered the ways in which culture, context and numeracy learning could be brought together in new ways for teachers, community and the Aboriginal students.
  • Doonside PS–focused upon a culturally responsive pedagogy incorporating metalanguage, the links between literacy-numeracy comprehension and the use of lesson sharing to enhance professional learning. 
  • Blackett PS–realised the importance of raising early career teachers’ knowledge and awareness of the cultural background of Aboriginal students and ways in which these influence students’ numeracy learning.

Each school brought their wisdom and capabilities to the school which then fed into the overall cluster focus and results.

Across the three years (2010-2012) a number of cluster based communities of shared knowledge that helped to shape and enhance practice have developed to oversee the planning, co-ordination, monitoring and evaluation of the project’s implementation.

Each community had relevant roles and responsibilities in the progressive shaping of the project around the focus and key questions:

  1. School Planning Community (SPC) comprising of School Principal, Assistant Principals, teachers, Aboriginal Education Officers (AEO), School Learning Support Officers (SLSO), Aboriginal Parents and students
  2. A Cluster Planning Community (CPC) comprising of a cluster leader and the selected members from each individual school group. Cluster days were held once a term to update progress of each school and provide professional development sessions in the areas of mathematics and Aboriginal culture and identity.
  3. A Professional Learners' Community (PLC) was formed. This was the building of a professional learning community comprising of Aboriginal staff and teachers working to together for a common goal. It allowed many forthright discussions regarding Aboriginal students and the learning of mathematics.

The inclusion of our Critical Friend, Professor Peter Howard, added an extra dimension to each community grouping. He helped each school shape their own individual project and guided the cluster in offering ideas and posing questions, to work towards achievement of the focus question.