Recently Mount Ousley Public School was recognised by the NSW Department of Education and named as the state’s Digital Lighthouse School at the inaugural Technology 4 Learning (T4L) Awards for its K-6 comprehensive, cross-curriculum implementation of digital learning. It’s a great acknowledgment that reflects many years of carefully planned and implement strategies by the entire staff, but especially Principal Peter Holmes and the leadership team of which I have been fortunate to have been a part of.
This amazing three-minute video showcases a futures focussed school and what can be achieved when leaders, staff, parents, and students join together to engage in contemporary education.
It is also so much more, Mt Ousley PS is what I would consider a futures focussed school, of which digital technologies are just one essential component of the teaching and learning.
So what are the key components reflected in the corridors, classrooms, mindsets, and actions of Mt Ousley;
Trust – a trusting culture; staff are trusted to deliver quality teaching and learning programs, students are trusted and supported by their teacher to make learning choices, the parent community is supportive of school plans and directions. Doors are open, visitors are frequent and accountability is transparent.
Learning Spaces – the school utilises a range of indoor and outdoor learning spaces such as corridors, makerspace rooms, studios, flexible classroom arrangements and dedicated outdoor learning areas and gardens.
Devices – Mt Ousley has a longstanding 1:1 K-6 program which sees all students able to access an Apple device when it benefits their learning. Students create content, share content and capture their learning in creative ways. They can rewind to those ‘aha’ learning moments and celebrate their success.
Staffing – the staff is collaborative, collegial, committed and recruited on the basis of being the best fit for the school and its culture. The staff act as leaders in learning and regularly share back and take ownership of professional learning both in and out of the school.
Forward-looking – Education is at a crossroads of delivery, the need to move away from solely broad standardised testing, predominantly whole class one size fits all instruction and text book driven learning, for example, is evident. Mt Ousley values academic success (as reflected in outstanding maths growth 2017 NAPLAN results), and it values as much, the development of the child through student voice and the explicit development of soft skills such as collaboration, reflection, empathy, resilience and critical thinking. Small group differentiated instruction, flexible choices in learning skills and content, inquiry learning, project-based learning and real-world connections are just some of the ways MOPS embraces the challenge.
These are just some of key enablers of change.
MOPS is a small school where big things happen and the eye of all is on the future.