Author: Beveridge, Sue, Wasson, Diane, Groundwater-Smith, Susan, Kemmis, Stephen
Type of paper: Abstract refereed
This paper presents the learning from the Priority Action Schools Program (PASP) as expressed through the meta-evaluation Knowledge Makes the Difference. The PASP, a $16 million program jointly supported by the NSW Department of Education and Training the the NSW Teachers' Federation was designed to provide intensive support to 74 primary, central and high schools with concentrations of students from low socio-economic backgrounds over the 2003 school year. All schools participating in the program face issues in relation to low student achievement, behaviour management and attendance as well as serving communities facing significant hardship. The key tenets of the program were founded upon principles of building individual and school capacity and evolving local and appropriate solutions that recognised specific contexts. The program was designed to enhance professional learning of both the individual teachers and the schools themselves by engagement in mentoring, reflection and professional dialogue that was documented through school learning portfolios. Support was offered through a designated PASP team, academic partnerships and critical friends. The most significant feature of the program was the insistence that it be a knowledge based program that would make learning explicit and develop learnings about what happens in classrooms and schools as well as what occurs in systems as complex and diverse as the NSW DET.