Progressive but not reckless. Prestigious but not elitist. Tenacious but not rigid. Empowering but not boundless. Genuine but not naive.
For the past few months, I’ve reflected often on what these statements mean as Orbis has evolved from an idea to a fully-formed academy. This list was developed to capture the way we want you to feel when you experience Orbis. I’ve connected personally to what they represent, and the potential that they bring.
Here, we have a big ambition. We talk about it often. We’ve committed to South Australia becoming a world-class public education system within 10 years. It’s no small feat. We’re only going to get there if we whole-heartedly embrace this challenge.
For me, these statements will shape our approach: they are a mindset, maybe even the values that will help us set the bar for professional learning for our leaders and teachers. Just as we encourage young people to be life-long learners, this is critical for our educators. In their teaching lifetime the profession has shifted dramatically. This means, we must continually be learning ourselves as professionals.
Previously, it would be fair to say that our approach to professional learning was ad-hoc at best. At worst, it’s been used as catch-all in an attempt to solve issues within our education system.
Orbis is a deliberate shift in a new direction.
The pilot offerings are focussed. We want to get them right so that you have confidence in Orbis, and its sustainability. Our programs are co-designed with our expert partners and our people. They balance the need to be world-class with being anchored in the South Australian context. And, the model is flexible to evolve with the changing needs of all our learners.
Attending Orbis will be challenging.
Effective professional learning can make us uncomfortable, as we confront long-held beliefs and truly reflect on our individual practice. At the same time, we want you to grow and be energised in your everyday work.
What’s important is that these learnings are put into action. This is where the real achievement lies, and where I know you will achieve personal reward. Our success will be measured in how responsive Orbis is to the needs of learners, and by the improvement we see in our schools and preschools.
World class is our end goal – at a personal, local and state-wide level. Staying true to our values is how we get there.
It’s also how Orbis becomes synonymous with exemplary learning.