Whole School Fluency

Youngtown Primary School

Youngtown Primary School in Australia seeks to inspire their students to be the very best they can be, and to provide them with the skills and mindsets needed to thrive in an ever-changing future.

Here’s the story of how they allowed us to be part of their journey.

Youngtown PS aims to inspire students with a drive for learning and wants every one of them to have a personal sense of direction and the tenacity to be lifelong learners who contribute to the global community in which they live. An unrelenting focus on learning promotes powerful and purposeful relationships between home, school and the wider community.

In 2013 a team attended Lee’s workshop in Melbourne, and we were further inspired by the work surrounding Solution Fluency … the alignment between Solution Fluency and our work with inquiry learning provided the springboard for whole-school implementation.

Mario Bergamin

Youngtown PS

Each term teams have to teach through an inquiry- based process using the concepts described in the Australian curriculum. Using the scenario concept and the 6Ds of Solution Fluency, the learning for both teachers and students has been more authentic, and based on plausible and meaningful scenarios.

Mario Bergamin

Youngtown PS

Lee provided Youngtown Primary School with our own personalized blueprint that was contextual to our school. He also provided guidance regarding the most important first step to a successful whole-school implementation.

Mario Bergamin

Gems Dubai AA

What does it take to inspire

meaningful change?

Every enterprising school strives to offer its students exceptional educational experiences. That’s what Youngtown Primary School is all about. So when Youngtown decided to supercharge their mission of engaging children to be learners of tomorrow, they called on the experience of the Global Digital Citizen Foundation’s dedicated team to guide them.

Youngtown-1-1

Through integrated coaching with inquiry- and project based learning processes and specialized workshops and resources, the GDCF team helped Youngtown realize their goals. And now there’s no stopping them in their continuing journey of great teaching for great students.

Where do we

begin to transform?

Youngtown’s leadership team was eager to respond to various challenges, beginning with the realization that teaching practices needed refining to meet the needs of 21st-century students. Classrooms were now facing a different learner and needed to respond.

Additionally, they saw a need to promote critical thinking skills and problem-solving outcomes, and place a focus on the importance of the kind of inquiry-based learning that engaged students in a meaningful and real-life context.

Ultimately it was the aim of Youngtown and other Tasmanian public schools to develop innovative and skilled 21st-century learners. As such, Youngtown began its relationship with the GDCF after seeing president Lee Crockett explain the Essential Fluencies.

Mario recalls, “Some of our colleagues at the district level had listened to Lee present at the ACEL conference in 2012. This sparked some interest in the terminology of the Fluencies. The work presented in Lee’s book Literacy is Not Enough provided the structure surrounding how to begin their implementation.”

How do we plot a

path to success?

A whole-school strategic initiative was soon launched with the 21st Century Fluencies as an integral part of Youngtown’s vision for change. Lee provided an introductory workshop to help the staff understand 21st-century learning and how to address it in teaching practices.

The staff was then introduced to scenario writing and the 6Ds process of Solution Fluency, which is the framework. It involves crafting interesting and challenging project-based learning scenarios designed to connect learning to real-world meanings and applications.

Youngtown-1-2

Participants also engaged in practical problem-solving exercises like “Paper Tower” which were also explored later by the students. This fun collaborative team-building exercise develops aspects of Solution, Creativity, and Collaboration Fluency. Each group constructs a free-standing tower out of newspaper and tape.

Communication, critical thinking, and teamwork are vital to achieving  success. From there, staff are able to achieve the transfer of these skills to their students as they let them take ownership of various projects.

How do we measure

growth and progress?

learners-icon
  • Students are sharing more about what they are learning with parents.
  • The learning is more collaborative.
  • Students connect Solution Fluency to other subjects and everyday life.
  • They understand the need for structured problem-solving.
  • Students now see higher levels of relevance in their learning.
teachers-icon
  • Teachers are now working from the same ideas and towards the same outcomes using consistent metalanguage.
  • Team planning fosters more clearly-stated outcomes.
  • There is a greater focus on understanding of key concepts/skills.
  • The Fluencies give teachers a pedagogical approach that puts children at the center of the learning.
school-icon
  • There is an enhanced partnership between home and school.
  • Scenario learning provides greater student engagement and allows for more effective assessments.
  • Parents are more actively involved in the learning processes.
  • Planning engaging and authentic learning scenarios for Fluency development has become highly valued at Youngtown.
  • Students and teachers are happy, engaged, and enjoy learning together.

How do we continue to

improve and excel?

What’s next for Youngtown Primary School? Continuing excitement, engagement, and prosperity with the Essential Fluencies. They have committed to a further exploration of the most effective pedagogies for developing the Fluencies, including their appropriate assessment.

They will also be engaging in professional development practices focusing on the other Fluencies, and plan to further embed the skills of the other Fluencies into the work they do in their classrooms.

With the help of Lee Crockett and the GDCF, Youngtown is now collaborating virtually with the Wilderness Girl’s School in Adelaide. Their partnership with Lee has also aligned with the Tasmanian Department of Education Learners First Strategy and has supported Youngtown’s commitment to global learning.