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Principals as STEM Leaders (PASL):
Building the Evidence Base for Improved STEM Learning

Principals as STEM Leaders – Building the Evidence Base for Improved STEM Learning (PASL) is funded by the Australian Government Department of Education and Training, and responds to the need for a science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) skilled workforce to ensure Australia remains globally competitive. PASL will support principals to effectively drive whole-of-school collaborative effort in STEM engagement and STEM teaching and learning for STEM capability.

PASL Project Information Booklet [PDF 1.2 MB]

The project is led by the University of Tasmania in partnership with the Australian Catholic University and with the support of five additional universities (University of Queensland, University of Notre Dame Australia (Fremantle), Macquarie University, Flinders University, The University of Sydney) and two peak principals' associations (Australian Primary Principal’s Association (APPA), Australian Secondary Principals Association (ASPA)). The research is funded for three years 2018 – 2020.

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Objectives

The objectives of the PASL project are to:

  • Determine best-practice and expand evidence-based approaches that enhance student STEM engagement and outcomes through the professional development of principals as successful STEM leaders.
  • Develop high quality and accessible resources (e.g. for principals to build their understanding of the concepts, skills and practices related to STEM disciplines; to lead initiatives promoting STEM teaching and learning; to foster a STEM positive school culture) and a supporting mentoring model to be made available beyond the life of the project.
  • Evaluate both the impact of the resources and the project processes and share lessons learned to inform future policy and practice.

Outcomes

PASL will deliver a set of three high quality and accessible programs of professional learning (PL) for developing the capabilities of principals for leading school-wide ongoing enhancement of STEM teaching and learning. The programs will draw from case studies of effective practice and will expand evidence-based approaches to STEM leadership and improving STEM capability of students.

Overview of the Project

The PASL project responds to the need for a science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) skilled workforce to ensure Australia remains globally competitive. The Australian Government is committed to increasing the STEM capability of schools and for increased enrolments in STEM related subjects in schools to ensure young Australian have the skills they need to live and work in a globalised world.

Within our schools, principals are key to creating environments in which teachers can succeed or fail in improving STEM learning outcomes in our schools. There is an increasing array of resources that focus on developing STEM skills for both students and teachers, but little that focus on principals. To complement and ensure these resources are effectively harnessed, the PASL project will develop a robust approach to support principals to effectively drive whole-of-school collaborative effort in STEM engagement and learning outcomes. This will involve building on their leadership skills and supporting them to acquire an appropriate level of STEM capability, to enable them to provide effective leadership in STEM education.

The PASL research project will consist of three work streams:

Work stream 1: March 2018 – Jan 2019

Research (including identifying best practice STEM leadership approaches) to inform the development of professional learning modules/resources and a supporting mentoring approach to principals as STEM leaders

Work stream 2: May 2018– June 2020

Develop and pilot the professional learning modules and mentoring resources in the PASL research project with an estimated 210 primary and secondary school principals or assistant principals across sectors across Australia.

Work stream 3: Whole of project

Over the life of PASL, monitor and evaluate two aspects of the research project: the effectiveness of professional learning programs, modules, resources and supporting mentoring approaches for principals; and the conduct of the PASL research project. Monitoring and evaluation of the project will focus, therefore, on the extent to which the project:

  1. Develops and trials best practice approaches to increasing principals’ capabilities to lead STEM in their schools;
  2. Makes available high quality and accessible resources for the development of STEM capability; and
  3. Undertakes a process of national collaboration with partnering institutions, school clusters and principals which enables the development, trial and dissemination of project objectives.

Project Directors

Kim BeswickProfessor Kim Beswick
University of Tasmania, TAS
Sharon FraserAssociate Professor Sharon Fraser
University of Tasmania, TAS
Vince GeigerProfessor Vince Geiger
Australian Catholic University, QLD

Project Team Members:

Professor Chris Branson
Australian Catholic University, QLD
Julie ClarkAssociate Professor Julie Clark
Flinders University, SA/NT
Ms Lorraine Day
Notre Dame, WA
Garry FalloonProfessor Garry Falloon
Macquarie University, NSW
Dr Derek Hurrell
Notre Dame, WA
Jenny MartinDr Jenny Martin
Australian Catholic University, VIC
Dr Jodie Miller
University of Queensland, QLD
Andrew PierpointAndrew Pierpoint
President, Australian Secondary Principals’ Association
Stephen VillerAssociate Professor Stephen Viller
University of Queensland, QLD
Helen WattProfessor Helen Watt
The University of Sydney, NSW/ACT
Dennis YarringtonDennis Yarrington
President, Australian Primary Principals Association
Vesife HatisaruDr Vesife Hatisaru
University of Tasmania, TAS
What: Principals as STEM Leaders - Building the Evidence Base for Improved STEM Learning (PASL) project workshop
When: Tuesday 4 September – Wednesday 5 September
Where: Sir Raymond Ferrall Centre (SRFC)
Trust Bank and Michael Courtney Rooms (Flex Space)
University of Tasmania, Newnham Campus, Launceston


Principals from across Australia will meet face-to-face with the Project Team and CSIRO Education for a two-day workshop event held at the University of Tasmania’s Newnham Campus in Launceston.

The workshops will:

  • Discuss the big ideas in STEM Educational leadership
  • Provide input into the development of the Principal professional learning programs
  • Draw together the expertise and experiences of Principals with the project team
  • Participate in inquiry-based learning in STEM leadership

Agenda

DAY 1: TUESDAY SEPTEMBER 4

TIME

AGENDA

SPEAKERS

8.30am

Arrival Tea and Coffee:

Freshly Brewed Coffee and a selection of Teas

NA

9.30am

Acknowledgement of Country

Project Brief: What is STEM and what is leadership?

What does this mean for STEM leadership?

A/Prof Sharon Fraser
Prof Chris Branson
Project Directors

10.30am

Welcome and opening remarks:

Vice Chancellor, Professor Rufus Black

Morning Tea

Vice Chancellor, Professor Rufus Black

11.00am

Professional Learning Module development: Project team members to facilitate discussion about the project’s eight professional learning modules in small groups

Project Team members

12.00

Group Discussion on learning modules

Prof Kim Beswick

12.30pm

Lunch

1.00pm

CSIRO STEM workshop

  • Introduction   - Global Megatrends and Future Scenarios
  • Activities   relating to open inquiry
Vicki Stavropoulos
Mary Mulcahy, CSIRO

3.00pm

Afternoon tea

3.20pm

CSIRO STEM workshop

  • Participants’ presentations of STEM   solutions
  • Presentation of CSIRO Education and   Outreach
Vicki Stavropoulos
Mary Mulcahy, CSIRO

5.00pm

Recapping the day’s activities

Prof Vince Geiger
Prof Kim Beswick
A/Prof Sharon Fraser

5.30pm

Evening refreshments

7.30pm

Dinner at Launceston restaurant to follow



DAY 2: WEDNESDAY SEPTEMBER 5

TIME

AGENDA

SPEAKERS

8.30am

Arrival Tea and Coffee:

Freshly Brewed Coffee and a selection of Teas

NA

9.00am

Module Recap: furthering the discussion on professional learning in light of practical CSIRO resources

Prof Vince Geiger

10.00am

Big issues in STEM: open discussion and implications for the PASL Project

Prof Kim Beswick

10.30am

Morning Tea

11.00am

Project participation: advancing the project, research demands and expectations, how do I get involved?

A/Prof Sharon Fraser

12.00pm

Workshop close

Thank you for your interest in becoming a PASL Critical Friend. The PASL critical friends document outlines the requirements and expectations of the role.

In order to participate in the project, you will need to download and complete the volunteer work checklist, and return it via email to the PASL project manager for our records: PASL.Project@utas.edu.au

The Becoming a Critical Friend in PASL document provides you with some guidelines about participating as a critical friends with principals undertaking the professional learning component of the project. Any queries about this information should be directed to Dr Gail Dennett through her email address: gaildennett@gmail.com

Linda PageLinda Page
Project Manager, PASL

EmailPASL.Project@utas.edu.au
Postal
Address
PASL Project
School of Education
University of Tasmania
Locked Bag 1307
Newnham Campus
TAS 7249

 

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