Park Ridge State High School – A Maths Pathway case study

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Every teacher wants to give their students the best possible chance to succeed in every class they attend and at every stage of their learning. But this can be difficult when time and resources are holding both students and teachers back. 

“Students were coming to us with huge, huge gaps in their learning. I had teachers coming to me ripping their hair out, saying I can’t physically differentiate for the different levels in my classroom.” shared Bridget Mallory, Acting HOD Junior Mathematics at Park Ridge State High School (PRSHS).

“Maths in terms of our demographic has been a challenging subject” explained Deputy Principal Craig McBrien, but “at Park Ridge State High School the moral imperative is that a student should learn at a full-year level every year and our teachers work hard in that space.” 

Bridget, Craig and the team at PRSHS were determined to overcome these challenges and find a solution that met all of their students’ needs. 

So PRSHS started their journey with Maths Pathway creating an environment where their students felt empowered to learn and were given the opportunities they needed to fill the gaps that exist in their learning.

Bridget explained “In a traditional classroom, if you’re just teaching to the middle you’re really losing those students at the top end and at the lower end who need that further support. Even though it may seem like you’re teaching, not every student is always learning.” 

Maths Pathway’s Learning and Teaching Model supports teachers to deliver personalised learning to every student, increasing growth and engagement in the classroom. The model encompasses small group and whole class lessons, along with one-on-one feedback sessions creating a holistic learning environment. 

According to Craig it’s the holistic approach that’s key.

“That holistic approach to education that’s not just about learning content or building the skills of a unit, but those peripheral things that come through the environment that you set up in the classroom.” 

In the implementation stage, the team at PRSHS worked hard to create an environment that supported their students and developed their classroom routines.

“Once you get to that point where students are in the routine, and they understand the expectations and they know how to get help, then you can facilitate the learning in a really meaningful way and make sure that every student is experiencing that success,” said Bridget. 

Maths teacher Eli David agreed that students understand the expectations set “everyone actually comes into the classroom with an expectation, a high expectation, this entire time, the whole 70 minutes is all going to be about learning and engaging mathematically with strategies, and with learning that’s fun.“

Another aspect of the Maths Pathway model that really pleased the team at PRSHS was the ongoing professional development and the support from their School Consultant, Bec. 

“We were able to say, hey, this is some of the stuff we need, in terms of the way our schools works, the way that the state school system works, are you able to help us to meet those requirements?

Bridget continued, “we were all provided with extensive professional development opportunities throughout the whole implementation process. Bec (our School Consultant) has really helped us to pinpoint the data that’s most relevant to us at our various stages of implementation. In terms of the data side of things, the School Improvement Consultant is just invaluable.”

A final note from Bridget was “Nelson Mandela said education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world. So If by the end of the term, the semester, or the year they (students) can say, “I actually had lessons that I enjoyed” or “I like maths now” then it’s those moments that are really powerful.” 

Park Ridge State High School’s vision: “Excellence in all we do.”

“What stood out to me about Maths Pathway was that it was a full teaching and learning model. It wasn’t just a bolt-on resource that we could hand to teachers” – Bridget Mallory, Acting HOD of Junior Mathematics.

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