I have just been thumbing through the book by Jim Collins called “Good to Great, and the Social Sectors.” In addressing the idea of defining great, Collins draws a distinction between inputs and outputs in judging an organisation. He gave the measure of judging a police force. Are they good because of their inputs: fines given, reports written? Or their outputs: reduction of crime and greater sense of safety in the
Community? The answer is quite clear.
Last week was a good week for encouraging outputs. Wednesday, the students from Year 3/4, with Mr Chan and Mrs Cornish, along with a pack of parents (flock, herd, bunch?), went back to 1914. You can read about their day later in the newsletter. I saw them all excited and anticipating the day’s events. At lunchtime when I joined them in Mundaring, they were excitedly being involved in what Mrs Gostelow described as “exhilaration learning”. One parent who was there commented that the last week had been a difficult and discouraging week for the family, but to see her children so happy and engaged was a wonderful reviver. This wonderful event came about through the hard work of teachers and staff, positive support from parents and the willing cooperation from students. Great.
Friday night we had our disco. This was organised completely by parents. Mr Farr worked hard as the DJ. I’ll admit I was reluctant about a senior school disco at first, having been to some teenage discos that were very disappointing … you can imagine.
To see the evident joy and good relationships displayed throughout the night from the youngest to oldest group was vitalising. There was not a stage throughout the evening where any of the children were troublesome and the atmosphere at all times was friendly, youthfully exuberant, cooperative and wholesome. Even the parents were very well behaved! Great.
Earlier this week I was talking to a Mathematics teacher, who was excited at some analysis she had done of our Year 9 numeracy results, “82% of our students achieved higher than the national average.” The great element of this is that students can often arrive at Year 7 quite weak in maths but that by Year 9, this had been overcome. I like NAPLAN as a part of an arsenal of information that is able to help understand where students are and how we are helping them progress. I don’t think we should ever be afraid of information. Often, NAPLAN results incorrectly understood can be confusing. They stand much better as a measure of how students are progressing than a measure of comparison. This output is great. While it does reveal that the Mathematics teacher might be a little nerdy with statistics, it also reflects good results from the hard work of both teachers and students. It is outputs that win the day. What is coming from our parents, students, teachers and staff is … Great.