School Name: Frankston Special Developmental School
School Number: 5143
About Our School
Frankston Special Developmental School (FSDS) is located in Karingal in the outer southern suburbs of Melbourne. The school has well equipped facilities for the students including: nineteen classrooms, a gymnasium, two multi purpose areas, a homecrafts room, art and craft room and extensive play equipment.
FSDS provides a specialised and challenging curriculum for 120 school aged students with moderate and severe intellectual disablilities. The school challenges students to do their best in a supportive and engaging environment.
The following values are seen as being central to the life of the school and how all members in the school community should conduct themselves: Sharing, Caring, Respect and Individuality. The school vision statement Learning for life is the focus of all programs conducted at Frankston SDS.
The school’s Individualised Learning Programs (ILP) aim to develop social competencies, communication and personal independence. They are implemented and monitored by a team of dedicated staff which includes teachers, teacher assistants, four speech therapists, a social worker, an occupational therapist, a chaplain and a physiotherapist.
Measurable goals are devised and progress is monitored throughout the year in all areas to ensure improved outcomes for students.
The school also provides an Early Education Program for students aged between 3.8 and 4.8 years who exhibit significant global developmental delay. The Early Education Program operates out of the East Karingal Kindergarten. It is an inclusive program; our staff and students working together with their mainstream colleagues and peers.
The Blackwood Special Schools’ Outdoor Education Centre (BSSOEC) is a registered campus of FSDS. Blackwood OEC provides outdoor education programs to students with disabilities across the state. Two qualified outdoor education teachers are employed at the school. Blackwood is located 80 kms north west of Melbourne.
Framework for Improving Student Outcomes (FISO)
FSDS chose Excellence in teaching and learning; Curriculum planning and assessment as its FISO objective. In 2017 professional learning sessions focussed on refining assessment practices and developing comprehensive planning documents. This important work utilised the new FSDS curriculum, complete with checklist assessment tools at the end of each level. The FSDS curriculum, rolled out to staff in 2016, is a document we have adapted from the Victorian Curriculum to cater for the educational needs of our students.
Curriculum days and Professional Learning Community (PLC) meetings aimed to teach staff how to use the curriculum document to improve and differentiate teaching and refine assessment.
Teachers at FSDS are using the curriculum to construct detailed unit planners for each subject. The next step moving forward will be to develop a pedagogy to support our specialised curriculum and assessment framework.
We understand for this objective to be successful our teaching staff must be proficient users of ABLES and the assessment checklists located in the FSDS curriculum. They must also be able to competently develop unit planners from the FSDS curriculum and use them effectively in their practice.
Once our teachers have confidence to use the curriculum to effectively plan and assess our students we will move on to developing a whole school model of instructional practice. In 2017 we plan to trial the use of the Jolly Phonics program as a whole school approach to teaching reading and writing. We are aware we must invest heavily in human resources to support our teachers to develop their skills in this area.
Considerable professional learning has been undertaken to extend each teacher’s knowledge of learning and teaching. A priority at FSDS is to increase the capacity of our staff members to become better classroom practitioners. A focus in 2017 was to supprt teachers to deliver customised, targeted and engaging learning programs to our students using the FSDS curriculum document.
The FSDS curriculum has been adapted from the Victorian Curriculum. It has been devised to assist FSDS staff members to plan what they are to teach. The curriculum is sequential and incremental. When it is implemented and assessed correctly it will provide a continuum of learning for our students.
In 2017 the FSDS curriculum was extended to include goal banks for Independence and Social Competencies ILPs. These goals also adapted from the Victorian Curriculum now offer our teachers a framework to plan lessons in these important subject areas.
FSDS has employed two teaching and learning coaches, both members of the school leadership team, to support teachers to effectively use the assessment checklists included in the curriculum and to develop comprehensive unit planners. Once teachers have completed assessments and their unit planners, the teaching and learning coaches are working with them to implement the planners into their classroom practice.
In 2017 Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) were allocated four additional student free days to plan for teaching and learning. The purpose of these days, chaired by the teaching and learning coaches, was to collaboratively review assessment data and construct unit planners. PLCs generally consisted of three to five teachers who taught students of similar age and abilitty. It was in these planning days that selected students across PLCs were grouped together for certain subjects to further differentiate teaching and learning.
Support has been provided to teachers from coaches in various forms including coordinating planning days, modelling instruction, monitoring assessment practices, observation and feedback. Teachers have been surveyed and have reported that the unit planners have improved their practice. They are better organised, the role clarity of support staff is more explicit, resources are more accessible and there is greater collaboration in planning.
All students at FSDS have a prescribed Individual Learning Plan (ILP). Each ILP contains three goals, which address improving outcomes in communication, independence and social competencies, the three priorities for learning outlined in our school strategic plan. The ILP is devised by the class teacher in consultation with families, specialist teachers and the school therapy team. ILPs are clearly visible in each classroom and all staff are expected to be familiar with the ILPs of students in their class.
In 2017 all communication goals in student ILPs were written in conjunction with one of the school’s four speech pathologists. The school has invested heavily in Alternative Augmentative Communication (AAC) devices. Speech Pathologists supported teachers to incorporate the use of AAC into their communication goals where appropriate to maximize learning for the students.
In 2016, the timeline for writing ILPs changed. Goals were written mid-year with a life span of twelve months. In 2017 we observed the success of this change. Students began the school year with carefully devised plans and learning targets. At mid-year when teachers began to devise new goals for their students they had already established effective working relationships with their students and families. The process was more streamlined and the goals were more accurate. Each student’s ILP is regularly assessed and feedback on their progress is formally reported to parents twice yearly.
Student achievement is also assessed twice yearly using the Abilities Based Learning Education System (ABLES). Results from ABLES are plotted against the the FSDS curriculum, and used to draft Individual Learning Plans prior to consultation. There is a continual focus on developing the capabilities of our students.
ABLES has been used as an assessment tool at Frankston for six years. The school is continuing to work towards strengthening its capacity to more accurately and specifically measure student progress and to provide better measures of student performance. Included in the FSDS curriculum document are checklists designed to assess learning against each level of the curriculum.
In 2017 our senior teaching team , led by the senior coordinator, have worked hard to implement the Pathways curriculum into their teaching programs. After consultation with families, the Pathways curriculum has been used to construct Managing Individual Pathway (MIPs) plans for all of our senior students. The MIPs plan outlines the skills required by our students to successfully transition to their preferred post school option. Learning programs are then designed to assist the students to achieve these goals. Similar to the FSDS curriculum, checklists at the completion of each level are used to assess the capabilities of each student.
The success of the Pathways program can be measured by the number of exiting students able to successfully access appropriate post-school placements. In 2017 all graduating students were placed in post-school settings. The exiting students are registered on the 'On Track' data collection. On Track investigates the movements of students with disabilities once they have left school.
In 2017 principals and leadership teams from up to fifteen specialist schools visited FSDS for a presentation on our journey of curriculum development. In the presentation examples were given of teachers using the FSDS curriculum and unit planners to implement sequential and differentiated learning programs in their classrooms. The feedback from this presentation was very positive. Our leadership team was requested by five schools, who attended this day, to present to their whole teaching staff. We have been very proud to do this, we feel we have worked hard to develop programs that optimise learning for our students. Sharing our experiences and knowledge will improve outcomes for other students in the wider community.
Students at Frankston SDS continue to enjoy learning in highly resourced, well maintained learning facilities. Highlights of 2017 included the completion of four new state of the art middle school classrooms, a new gymnasium and the refurbishment of the East Karingal Kindergarten.
In 2017 we continued to successfully run two middle school classes from Karingal Heights Primary School (KHPS). The relocation to KHPS has been a huge success. The positive feedback from families, teachers and the students themselves has been quite overwhelming. The KHPS community have been been incredibly welcoming, hospitable and generous with their resources. Our students at KHPS have access whenever they choose to a fully equipped computer lab, indoor gynasium and commercial kitchen.
The result for students back at FSDS is continued smaller class sizes across the school and the flexibility to provide a more personalised learning program for our students. Since the completion of our building project we now have spare classrooms on our FSDS site for individual and small group learning. A fully equipped school library and therapy room have also now been made available to our students.
All staff members at Frankston SDS have completed the online professional learning program Preventing and Responding to Extreme Behaviour developed by the Principals’ Association of Specialist Schools (PASS) and Monash University. This program which has been adapted from School-Wide Positive Behaviour Support (S-WPBS) is a whole school program for managing challenging behaviours. It aims to build a positive culture where all members of the school community feel supported, safe and ready to learn.
Expectations of desired behaviours are explicit and there is a clear framework to follow when managing behaviour that does not meet the standards required. This includes the composition of Positive Behaviour Plans developed in consultation with parents/carers and other professionals using the S-WPBS model.
In 2017 S-WPBS has further continued to be enbedded in practice at FSDS. Professional Learning was provided to all staff members on how to write incident reports. The STAR (Setting, Trigger, Action, Response) reporting format was selected as our preferred method for reporting student behaviour. STAR was chosen because we felt it generated data that when analysed supported teachers to determine the function of the behaviour and common triggers, This data has then been used to assist the welfare team to construct Positive Behaviour Plans (PBPs). Students exhibiting tier three behavious are now mandated to have their own individual Positive Behaviour Plan.
School rules and expectations of behaviour are explicitly taught to all students across the school. They have been grouped into three categories: Respect Yourself, Respect Others and Respect the Environment. These expectations are included in the curriculum and are clearly visible across the school. Reward systems such as Dojo points and Dolphin Dollars have been used effectively to promote desired behaviours.
As stated earlier FSDS Speech Therapists presented a range of professional learning opportunities to staff to increase their capacity to use Alternative Augmentative Communication (AAC) devices. The use of AAC devices has provided nonverbal students with a greater capacity to communicate their needs. This has allowed greater opportunity for these students to access the curriculum and participate in learning programs.
Work experience continues to be a major component of the Pathways curriculum. All of our senior students are now participating in some form of work experience. Volunteers and student placements have been utilised to enable this labour intensive program to operate.
Wellbeing continues to be a focus for the FSDS school community. One of our student free curriculum days in 2017 was dedicated to working with students affected by trauma. This presentation included recognising the symptoms of trauma affected students and strategies to enable them to effectively access the curriculum. Laughter Yoga is one such strategy that is now being used successfully with our students.
The I Can be Safe program, a comprehensive program that teaches protective behaviours and social safety to young people with intellectual disabilities, written and devised by staff members at FSDS, has been rolled out across the school. The I Can be Safe program has been designed to teach students to function safely and more effectively both at school and in the wider community.
In 2017, The Independence goal bank was developed incorporating I Can be Safe and the Victorian curriculum. It is now compatible with the FSDS curriculum document including checklists and assessment tools. Teachers will be able to effectively assess the learning of their students in this important subject area and plan differentiated programs for future learning.
AAC devices have empowered students with limited communication to have a voice. The appointment of an additional speech pathologist working exclusively in the senior department has broadened opportunities for students to access AAC devices and the appropriate training required.
FSDS is committed to providing quality outdoor education programs for students with disabilities. In 2017, the Blackwood Special Schools Outdoor Education Centre, a registered campus of FSDS, implemented programs for 2,500 students across Victoria. FSDS has invested heavily in resources to ensure the programs offered at Blackwood are of the highest quality and comply with the Department of Education’s strict safety guidelines for operating a residential outdoor education facility.
Participation in Interschool sporting programs is another means of building happy, healthy and resilient children. All senior school students at FSDS in 2017 were offered the opportunity to participate in sporting competitions against other specialist schools. A range of sports were offered to the students with the focus being on participation not winning. A highlight for many FSDS middle school students was the opportunity to participate in the Friday morning basketball league. This offered another opportunity for students to mix socially and actively with students from other specialist schools.
The school welfare team, which includes principal class officers, speech therapists, occupational therapists and welfare officers meet weekly to discuss and review student behavior, in particular their positive behavior plans. The welfare team offer support in the form of recommending new strategies and modifying plans after consultation with the classroom team.
The continued production of Me-TV, a television show written, directed and starring FSDS students has been used to teach and reinforce important aspects of the I Can be Safe program. Me-TV is broadcasted across the school weekly on a Friday morning. Staff members report that students eagerly watch each show and are retaining information on important issues.