Greenway Park Public School NSW
Greenway Park Public School has a current enrolment of 780 students, with more than 60 percent from non-English speaking backgrounds. Located in the south-western suburbs of Sydney, the school has a Learning for Life vision and is focused on educating students in a challenging 21st century. In working towards Asia capability, the school's purpose is to develop a sense of cultural intelligence within its student body, build a multicultural, highly skilled and competitive student population, and enrich the cultural understanding of both students and staff so that they can better interact in a more globalised world.
The school has developed a set of strategies that will progress this purpose over time. The first strategy has been to engage the staff in an awareness-building programme. The school principal and his team of school leaders have taken every opportunity to communicate their moral purpose to all key stakeholder groups over the past 12 months. Staff members are regularly involved in professional dialogue that aims to deepen their understanding of the importance of Asia capability and have responded to these opportunities in a positive and enthusiastic manner. Having a small but consistent set of key messages that are articulated by all project team members is having a powerful influence.
Staff have been exposed to various professional learning opportunities. The school has involved external agencies, while the deputy principal has been engaged in the Leading 21st Century Schools: Engage with Asia Programme's online learning modules and has brought this learning and the relevant planning and learning tools back to staff.
In 2014, Greenway Park Public School joined the Australia–Indonesia BRIDGE School Partnerships Programme. The school is working to nurture its partnership.
Members of the school's steering committee have undertaken additional professional learning as they have developed the school's framework for improvement in this area. The number of teachers volunteering for this committee far exceeded the expectations of the school's leaders. The 15 or so members have continued to meet two or three times each term. Their focus has been on establishing and maintaining Asia capability amongst the teachers at Greenway Park.
The development of a particular curriculum approach has gone hand-in-hand with staff awareness building. While the school has not yet been able to offer instruction in a particular language, the students at Greenway Park are exposed to various Asian languages through an integrated learning programme called Seven Countries in Seven Years. This initiative includes a whole-school approach, whereby each class undertakes an in-depth study of a particular country in Asia for each year of their primary education. The teachers are making use of their enhanced knowledge to integrate this learning naturally and seamlessly into their units of work.
Steering Committee members ensure that adequate resources are on hand to support and enhance this learning with a series of resource boxes being compiled along with suitable information and communications technology applications, links, websites and resources. In addition, students are provided with 'passports' and 'travel backpacks' as a means of engaging them in their learning about a particular country in Asia. Year 6 students are provided with greater choice in selecting the country that they wish to focus on in their final primary school year.
Because of the wide variety of parents' backgrounds, the school has taken a cautious approach to actively engaging them in this initiative at this stage. The communications strategy uses students' enthusiasm as they take their learning home in the form of their learning backpack or the language that they have picked up in class.
Image: Greenway Park Public School logo – Greenway Park Public School