Staines Memorial College
Students provide feedback to teachers and parents are invited to coffee once a fortnight with staff at Staines Memorial College where a transformation in school culture has taken place.
Nick Makin, who has been nominated for a Queensland College of Teachers Excellent Leadership in Teaching and Learning Award, has spearheaded a strengthening of school culture at the co-education Christian college in Redbank Plains.
The Deputy Principal’s multi-layered approach to teacher professional development, data tracking and greater parent engagement have helped drive up student improvement in reading and writing, and fostered increased collaboration among staff.
“I like seeing my students and teachers succeed,” Nick says.
I want to have excellent teaching and learning within our college, I want out students to be culture-changers, I want to see lives transformed and this is a great opportunity to do that.
Nick “reimagined” the concept of the “Performance Review”.
A coaching and mentoring model was introduced so that all early career teachers, and teachers new to the college, were assigned mentors, and specific coaching relationships have been established in Literacy and Numeracy.
“We talk about what effective teaching and learning is—what it looks like. Teachers regularly reflect on their practice: they set goals, they reflect on their feedback, they share with the rest of the school what they are doing, and we have one-on-one conversations where we identify what their strengths are in what they are doing, and then also help identify future goals to enhance their professional development,” Nick says.
“They get feedback from students while developing their teaching and get better each year as a teacher.”
Great efforts are also being poured into parent engagement. In addition to the usual parent-teacher interviews and email communication, parents are invited to forums once a term to hear about “the heartbeat of what we do and why”, and parenting information sessions, including how to help children with their schoolwork and internet safety are held. This year coffee sessions are also on offer.
“Every fortnight we run ‘Coffee and Chat’ and either I or the other deputy, we just go out and have a cuppa with parents,” Nick says.
“We are just trying to be approachable and develop that culture with parents so that they know that they can approach us and also ask us questions if they have any.”
Nick is also teaching Senior History this year, is mentoring numerous staff and the school’s official staff mentors, and is a member of the Christian Community Ministries (CCM) Senior Curriculum Taskforce and the CCM Information Technology reference committee.
Congratulations Nick on your nomination.