Innovative Schools

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13 November 2019

Ave Maria College, Aberfeldie, and Genazzano FCJ College, Kew being recognized recognised in The Educator’s Innovative Schools 2019 listTwo of Melbourne’s Catholic schools have been recognised in The Educator’s Innovative Schools 2019 list.

Ave Maria College, Aberfeldie, and Genazzano FCJ College, Kew, were named as two of the schools at the cutting edge of change and innovation in Australia. The list, now in its fifth year, recognised these schools for their significant effort to break new ground in teaching and learning.

Ave Maria College introduced STEP (Supporting Teachers to Enhance their Practice) in 2019, an ongoing, cyclical process consisting of structured, yet flexible, stages and activities. The cycle and activities are adaptable to suit teachers of all levels of experience and reflective of their teaching load. Staff engage in professional growth through a process of goal setting, student and peer feedback, professional learning conversations and self-reflection.

The student feedback component of STEP involves ‘student Experience Surveys’ which are distributed at the midpoint of each semester. The surveys consist of statements that reflect the language and principles of the Learning Charter. Students are asked to indicate how frequently they experience these in each class on a scale of never to always. They are later presented with an overview of the data to ensure they know that their voice is being heard. The college acknowledges Jo Hammer and Jess Hall for their outstanding work in developing the Learning Charter, along with the expertise of Danielle Zarafa and Leah Atkins.

At Genazzano FCJ College, the launch of the Genazzano Institute of Learning and Brain Sciences in 2017 has provided opportunities for learning, research and the development of significant industry and educational partnerships. Students investigate the science behind memory and attention to learn about effective study practices. Seminars exploring topics such as neuroplasticity, brain function and mindset help students understand the benefits of adequate sleep, persistence in learning, maintaining brain health, helpful thinking and exercise. Teachers at Genazzano are engaged in a world-class professional development program focused on translating neuroscientific principles into practical strategies for improved teaching and student learning.

A key aspect of the Institute’s work is to share knowledge with the wider community. Opportunities for community learning through free competitions, a professional conference and seminars on topics such as memory and performance are offered throughout the year. Exciting plans for 2020 include a research project to acknowledge and celebrate strengths of diverse learners, and the opening of a new brain and technology hub at the college.