Big Picture Distinguishers
Croydon Community School is committed to educate our students under the Big Picture Education design. We base our curriculum on the premise that each student has unique interests, needs and abilities. The key to achievement lies in fostering students’ individual interests, encouraging their active participation in the learning process and developing the ability to apply knowledge and skills to real life experiences and challenges.
Academic rigour: ‘Head, heart and hand’
- Quantitative Reasoning
- Empirical Reasoning
- Social Reasoning
- Communication Skills
- Improving Personal Qualities
Learning in the community
We ‘build-in’ adult world immersion learning. Ideally, each student over 15 years of age, works two days a week in an interest based internship with a mentor from the community on an intellectually rigorous project connected to their learning goals. This is known as Learning Through Internship (LTI).
One student at a time
Students all have an Individual learning Plan that is based upon their specific interests. It is developed with input from the students, their advisor and parents. It always includes a range of individual projects.
Each term the students exhibit their work to peers, families, mentors and teachers, providing evidence of achievements of their learning goals and reflecting on the process of their learning.
Collaboration for learning
Students work in one-on-one or small group learning environments around their interests both inside and outside the school. Through internships, the community plays an integral role in the education of the students.
Learning in Advisory
Students are in an Advisory with up to 17 other students with one teacher advisor for the whole of their secondary education. The teacher advisor manages students’ learning plans and ensures that all learning goals are covered in these plans.
Trust, respect and care
One of the striking things about Big Picture schools is the ease with which students interact with adults. There is a culture of trust, respect and care between students and adults, as well as among students themselves.
Everyone’s a leader
In Big Picture schools, leadership is shared between the principal, staff, students and family and relevant community partners. Opportunities for leadership are provided and created for everyone.
Families are enrolled too…
Big Picture schools aim for real family engagement. Parents and families are regarded as essential members of the learning team, starting with the application process, through to learning plan development, exhibitions and graduation.
All students are expected to graduate from school to further learning. They are prepared for and connected to opportunities for learning at university and/or TAFE.
Teachers and leaders are learners too…
New ideas are constantly required as the learning cycle is constantly being reviewed. Teachers and leaders need to deal with new ideas and learn new ways of working. They need to develop reflective practice and find ways of sharing this learning with others.
Diverse and enduring partnerships
A Big Picture school has a strong focus on building and creating external partnerships. These include partnerships with the family, mentors, local councils, businesses, corporations, universities, TAFEs and other training providers. These partnerships enable students to pursue their learning and achieve their goals.
Big Picture Education
Advisory is a key feature of our learning design. Advisories at Croydon Community School cater for approx. 17 students through Years 7 to 12, with a diversity of student interests and passions.
An Advisor is more than a classroom teacher; they are an integral part of an environment that allows students the freedom to find themselves with the support and motivation of inspiring adults. Advisors create a safe, trusting, and collaborative learning environment that enables students to learn through school and community experiences. The Advisor supports students to develop as unique, mature, able, knowledgeable, and responsible individuals.
Advisors key responsibilities are to be responsible for the two-to-five-year educational journey of approximately 17 students and their successful graduation and/or transition to becoming higher learners.
Lucas has been passionate about trains before he could walk! His father, grandfather, and family, have been involved in both model railways, Puffing Billy, and generally immersed themselves in the culture of “rail fanning”. It has been a privilege and a joy to watch Lucas grow his skills with his reading, writing, and numeracy through his love of trains, and the Big Picture Education design framework, which enables him to realise his dreams of pursuing a career in any aspect of railway engineering, with relevance, rigour and reward.
Big Picture Education
One of the most important aspects of the Big Picture Education (BPE) design is the exhibition.
These exhibitions form the culmination of the work produced by a student over the term in an authentic and powerful assessment of learning. A detailed exhibition is completed by students at the end of every term, demonstrating their growth as a learner throughout their time at Croydon Community School.
Each exhibition represents the learning the student has undertaken over the term and provides them with an opportunity to publicly show their achievements, discuss their journey as a learner, understand their learning, identify the roadblocks and celebrate the successes.
Students can invite a number of people to their exhibitions and present evidence and artefacts of their learning through their learning plan and portfolio collection of their work. Here they show how they have pursued a deep and rigorous project, contributed to their LTI (Learning Through Internship) placement, where applicable, and highlight their growth over time.
Exhibitions develop over time and are expected to be around 40 minutes in length. Everyone has a contribution to make to the exhibition either by way of questions, or feedback to the student. Students are given warm and cool feedback providing opportunities to further develop and grow.
Exhibitions have in many cases, exceeded our expectations of student achievement!
Students seeking the Graduation Portfolio entry into university, need to complete detailed exhibitions as this is one of the key components of gaining university entry in a personally selected field.
Big Picture Education
At Croydon Community School, we believe that learning can happen anywhere, not just inside classroom walls. Learning Through Internship (LTI) involves students spending a day a week within a community organisation or business of their choosing to become an active member of their team.
Internships can include interviewing an expert, spending a shadow day with an organisation or the internship can run over the school term or longer. Learning Through Internships’ allow students to experience real world aspects of their passion/interest area and workplace, make their own networks and make strong connections with an adult with similar interests, called a mentor.
Under the direction of a mentor, students produce meaningful work at their placements in the form of a project. Students and their mentor within the organisation design a project around their passion, one which will give the student skills and also contribute something helpful back to the organisation or business. They present their LTI project at school as evidence of their learning within their exhibition.
Project work is designed to foster broad learning as well as their vocational and employability skills. The internship is integrated with the student’s learning goals and school-based study. Students include LTI’s as part of their term learning plan.
The Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL) curriculum aims to build on the student’s interests, abilities and strengths. The curriculum content focuses on practical ‘hands-on’ opportunities for learning and encourages personal development and growth. These guiding principles fit nicely into the Big Picture Education learning goals which encourage students to explore passion areas and link them to real world experiences.