CASE STUDY: Agnes Water State School

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About Agnes Water State School

School: Agnes Water State School
Location: Regional Queensland, Australia
Type: Prep-Year 6 Primary School
Teaching staff: 16
Students: 209
Indigenous students: 8%
Non-English Speaking Background: 6%

Challenge

  • In the two year lead up to implementing Sprints, Agnes Water State School had invested in building trust and improving communication between teachers
  • The school leadership team also  invested significant time in developing a curriculum program, articulating the schools’ mission, and defining a clear improvement agenda
  • Once these building blocks were in place, the school needed a process through which their teacher teams could embed changes in practice and build greater independence in collaborative inquiry
When we began the journey just over two years ago there was no commonality around programs and curriculum, no collaboration and shallow curriculum knowledge
By mid 2016 we had a curriculum program, clear improvement agenda, mission statement and buy in of the school community ..Learning Sprints was the logical next step in embedding change

Approach

  • The school’s Master Teacher, Nyree Buchanan, attended Agile School’s 3-Day Learning Sprints Workshop program and brought back her knowledge to the school
  • The school began by running one ‘proto-type’ Sprint which provided a proof point for the value of the process and an advocate among the teaching staff
  • Under the guidance of the school Leadership team, Learning Sprints were then rolled out across all grades and teacher teams on topics in Reading, Writing and Numeracy
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Impact

  • In a teacher survey administered by Agnes Water State School to gauge teachers’ attitudes towards Learning Sprints
    - 100% of teachers stated that implementing Learning Sprints has enhanced their teaching
    - 58% of those stated that Learning Sprints had improved student learning in their classrooms a lot
    - 82% indicated they were supportive or extremely supportive of Learning Sprints
  • Interviews with the school leadership team also indicated that there was
    - transference of pedagogical strategies across different learning topics and between teachers
    - increased teacher engagement and confidence in the use of research
    - growing capability of teachers to run their own Sprints independently, without explicit direction from the school leadership team
    - higher level of student engagement and self esteem amongst those cohorts targeted for extra support during Sprints
The level of collaboration is what blew us away. It still boggles my mind, I never thought it would be possible in this school
Teachers are saying ‘I liked what they did in that Sprint, I’m really impressed with the results, I want to try that with my particular cohort of kids
Teachers became quite knowledgable and proud to share research, so rather than being led by someone, they were able to give input on what they’d read and went on to find more
I was really amazed and surprised to see that the teachers had taken it upon themselves to do Sprints - they didn’t really need me to sit and have the discussion with them about the ‘sand’ (level outcome), they had done it themselves!
We’re finding the kids who have been disengaged are really tapping into Sprints because they are starting to see the success themselves.The teachers are finding positives in those kids and feeding that back to them ‘look how far you’re coming’