New academy to support our teachers with world class professional learning

South Australia’s new professional learning academy for teachers, known as Orbis, has been officially launched at its new state of the art Hindmarsh centre.

Orbis, named for the collective nature of the education system, will provide a comprehensive program of professional learning for the state’s public school and preschool educators to develop teaching expertise and educational leadership.

Following an international tender process, the University of Melbourne has been awarded the contract to deliver three pilot courses on literacy and numeracy.

180 teachers will take part in the initial three courses this year, which are literacy for reception to year 3s, numeracy for reception to year 3s and literacy for year 8s and 9s.

The three subject areas have been specifically chosen to address the vital early years of schooling and ensure students have the necessary grounding in literacy and numeracy to confidently tackle the final years of high school. The number of course participants will increase in 2020.

Orbis’ initial leadership offerings include a partnership with the University of Melbourne that supports leaders to engage in learning related to leading school improvement. The program is currently being designed, and leaders will have the opportunity to shape the delivery.

Orbis will also be engaging with Harvard’s Leadership for School Excellence, which is a program designed specifically for principals in Australia and New Zealand.

30 leaders will have the chance to connect with Harvard faculty and fellow practitioners to exchange ideas and best practices, when that program launches in Sydney next year.

Orbis’ full program will be further developed in the coming months and will be designed to align with Education Department’s school improvement model.

Education Minister John Gardner said Orbis will be the cornerstone of the Government’s investment in supporting South Australia’s educators to deliver better outcomes for students in every class, in every school.

“We are going out and getting the best available professional learning to empower our teachers to deliver world class education,” said Minister Gardner.

“Orbis will deliver a prestigious program that invests in our people and the teaching profession.

“The courses are being designed by the best in the world, based on contemporary research and contextualised for South Australian schools and preschools.

“The engagement of Harvard and the University of Melbourne is just the beginning, and I am confident that as Orbis expands it will become a national leader in professional development for teachers and leaders.

“As Orbis expands, there will be opportunities for more universities and providers to partner with the academy to deliver world-class learning for our educators.”

Dr Jim Watterston, Dean of the Melbourne Graduate School of Education at the University of Melbourne welcomed the partnership announcement.

“The Melbourne Graduate School of Education is delighted to partner with Orbis to deliver crucial professional development for leaders in schools to increase their expertise and develop the capacity of their teams,” said Dr Watterston.

“We look forward to bringing our knowledge of contemporary teaching and leadership practices, focus on evidence-based strategies and strong connections to schools to Orbis.”

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