I am very interested in the conference on gender difference because this year I have been involved in a self review process in my new school which has shown that over time our boys are doing less well than our girls in the areas of numeracy and reading (but not in writing surprisingly!)
We are a school of 1000 students, 44 classes, over 80 staff members. We are the first Australian school accredited in the Du Four PLC model and we are visited by international schools and schools within Australia to view these practices.
We put a lot of energy into constant review of student learning outcomes, checking our progress against our curriculum standards, and supporting students through three tiers of intervention. We have weekly professional development meetings and keep our administrative tasks to a minimum during these times.
Imagine our surprise when we looked at our “national data” trends over the past six years and discovered we were still below the state mean (not a great surprise as our demographic includes high levels of poverty) but on further analysis we noticed an even greater differential between boys and girls.
While our academic data is low for boys here, the second surprise was discovering that our boys actually feel more connected to school than the girls (this again came from a state survey delivered to students in years five and six)
While I'd love to suggest that I know an original or proven method to assist our boys and keep engaging our girls, I do not, which led me to your conference in the hope that someone else might spark an idea or solution for me!
I have a lot of data sets here for us to measure our future progress, and to share if anyone is interested. We aspire to the professional learning community’s philosophy. If anyone would like to collaborate with us in exploring solutions or trialing ideas with a professional focus on collaboration and learning from each other, I'd be very keen to hear from them.
Principal at Pakenham Springs Primary School in Melbourne, Australia
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