CASE STUDY: Emmanuel College

About Emmanuel College

School: Emmanuel College
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Type: Secondary School
Teaching staff: 135
Students: 1755
Indigenous students: 0%
Non-English Speaking Background: 50%

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Challenge

  • Emmanuel College, Melbourne have been on a journey over the past decade to introduce new approaches to teaching and learning, including Project Based Learning, to  drive improvement in student learning outcomes
  • In spite of having a clearly articulated strategy and an implementation plan for the school’s chosen improvement strategies, Principal Chris Stock was concerned that teachers did not yet have a model that would embed change in an adaptive and sustainable way
  • The school’s prevailing approach improvement cycles were too long to see tangible results, and sustain the momentum for change - a new approach was needed that would embed improvement through short cycles of disciplined inquiry, steered by evidence.

It’s not enough to have a strategy in place, you also need a process for continuous improvement

Approach

  • In early 2017, the leadership team at Emmanuel College began its work with Agile Schools to implement Learning Sprints, with a primary focus on English and Mathematics
  • Teachers run Sprints as a 15-20 minute targeted session within an 80 minute school period, either as a whole-of-class exercise within which a target cohort is provided additional support, or else by working separately with the target cohort.
  • Sprint review and reset meetings occur every two weeks, with an extended 90 minute session each month that includes 45 mins of targeted professional development time

Impact

Principal Chris Stock has observed two key impacts of Learning Sprints;

  1. Improvement in the quality of teacher collaboration time
  2. Improvement in teachers skills in differentiating teaching
We weren’t having any more meetings than before, but the meetings we were having as part of our Sprints was requiring teachers to be more accountable for the progress in their
classroom
Learning Sprints helped teachers who were mainly ‘teaching to the middle’, to start targeting the needs of specific student cohorts