Dear families, carers and friends of Yarrabah School,
This term staff will be engaged in the evaluation of programs, student learning, goals and preparing reports to be sent home at the end of the year. We have a number of graduations coming up, students have participated in or are getting ready to have a day out with their sections and we are all looking forward to the school Christmas Picnic.
Students and staff remain engaged in learning programs. Programs will continue until the end of the year, regardless of reporting against goals. Students will maintain a timetable of programs, working hard to achieve their personal best.
Teachers are evaluating outcomes. As part of this evaluation, the school undertakes a review of its annual targets and improvement strategies.
In this newsletter I’d like to share my reflections on the work in two areas:
English / Communication
Over the past year the whole school has engaged in an aligned communication focus. During this period, all students have been plotted on data walls, identifying progress in communication. Each student in each section is located on a data wall. The goals for each student correspond to the category that students are in.
These categories include:
- The communication discoverers
- The communication emerges
- The communication learners
- The communication encourages
- The communication socialisers
These have been referred to regularly during teacher and therapist Professional Learning Community (PLC) meetings. The conversations typically relate to strategies and supports required to achieve individual communication needs.
This year all staff undertook communication training. Training was compulsory and was held during the school’s curriculum days and during staff meetings. Some staff also elected to undertake additional training in Auslan Lv 2.
Training was also conducted in sections and PLC meetings. The training was specific to individual students and the programs being offered. Classroom staff were also supported to learn about each device and system. All students at Yarrabah now have a preferred and recommended communication system. Every teacher knows the system being used to work towards specific goals.
Each classroom, specialist area and common room have core boards on display. These are in constant use, with staff modelling how to use the systems. Yesterday, I sat down with a student to make a floor puzzle of Australia and he was using his communication device to tell me all the animals pictured in the puzzle. It was fantastic to watch this child competently and autonomously using his communication device.
The school will develop personal communication pages for each 'learner' in the school. This communication page will be added to the students profile and on display in each of the students homerooms and staff areas.
The school will invest in a subscription to ROCC (Roadmap of Communication Competence) for assessment and training purposes. This will progress understanding in the 10 domains of communication. It will also support teachers to understand the communication competencies required to move from level to level.
Speech Therapists will continue to provide ongoing training that is compulsory for all staff during the year.
Large playground and courtyard core boards will be designed and then printed. These will be located in the following areas: primary playground, primary courtyard, EEP playground and front courtyard.
Staff will be provided slap bands, t-shirts, hats or hoodies that include different slogans related to a "wear your words" campaign.
Yarrabah has also developed a clear focus for delivering improved outcomes for all children across the curriculum in personal and Social Capabilities. The teaching of life skills throughout each day at times relevant and in context for each child is adopted at Yarrabah. The program is purposeful and timetabled on a daily basis over multiple times in the day.
OTs have provided ongoing training to staff in sections and during PLC meetings. These have been scheduled throughout the year.
Each classroom, common area and bathroom have visual timetables and supports that scaffold the teaching of life skills which relate specifically to Personal and Social Capabilities, Health and Physical Education, Science and English curriculum.
There is evidence in each room of:
- life skill visual scripts and scaffolds
- a range of environmental set ups e.g.: mirror in bathrooms, dressing areas, food preparation spaces
- Personalised grooming bags
- Classroom life skills chart "I am working on....'
- specialised equipment as required for individual students e.g. manoy plates, spreading boards etc.
Every student in the school has a GANTT chart, representing the task analysis of student skill levels.
A prompting hierarchy was further refined and updated this year (see Explicitness). This was presented during a staff meeting and each step of prompting was highlighted using cases from each section. All staff have an updated copy and have been requested to put it up in the classrooms.
The result has been a generalised improvement of life skills across the school.
Staff will be provided more time and training for students to practice life skills.
OTs will create 2020 groupings based on GANTT.
Prompting hierarchy will be visible in each room with all staff referring to it when supporting students.
Alert program implementation. We will set up programs for individual sections, ensure all sections have relevant Alert visuals. Ensure all sections have equipment. A staff survey will be conducted.
Learn to Play implementation. Set up weekly learn to play sessions across all sections. Use the SIP-DC data collection.
Implement and maintain Social Safety and Social Thinking programs. We will pilot the program based on the principles of Michelle Garcia Winner. Yarrabah staff will create resources and activities to support implementation. Yarrabah staff will ensure Social Safety program is maintained across the secondary sections.
We need to maintain the excellent 'support services' opinion survey results shown in the last newsletter by offering regular parent and friend sessions, email, newsletter, Seesaw and Facebook posts about Life Skills.