Saturday 29th April, 2017
This year John Carmody was appointed Director of Studies (DOS) for OneSchool in Western Australia and South Australia. It is an exciting role and one where he has to be organised because the campuses are spread over a huge area. What are the key aspects of the role?
“I am responsible for the academic care of the students and to assist the Principal with the leadership and management of all aspects of teaching and learning,” says John. “The role involves working closely with all Heads of Department (HOD) to ensure that we continue to improve the level of education that we provide for our students. This year I will be working closely with the DOS from all states to enhance the performance of all departments and improve the collaboration that exists between each school.”
A key to the success of working across different campuses is to network with other OneSchool leadership team members when the opportunity arises.
“Recently, OneSchool hosted a national two-day conference that all HOD attended,” says John. “It was a groundbreaking conference where our curriculum leaders from around the country were given the opportunity to collaborate and network. We hope that this will allow for greater collaboration to now continue and for a close working relationship to be developed between all campuses nationally.”
This ability to join together makes sense when it comes to making sure everybody is on the same page – not just in terms of head of departments working towards the same scholastics goals, but also in terms of resourcing.
“This should allow for departments to share resources, assignments and programs and ultimately allow for an improvement in the level of education we provide for all students,” says John. “It will also reduce the administrative workload of all staff members which can have many benefits and allow our teachers to focus on improving their performance in the classroom.”
With a country as vast as Australia, distance is an issue, but is being addressed with a couple of new platforms that have been introduced recently.
“The distance factor would most definitely be a major hurdle that our schools face,” says John. “To allow for staff to come together is a challenge and comes with a significant cost. We have begun to use conference call platforms like Go to Meeting and Zoom and this will begin to overcome this challenge that exists between our schools.”
And national strategies amongst the various schools are beginning to be implemented.
“Last year, I was lucky to be part of a national Heads of Campus conference that involved all HOC from across Australia to come together on two occasions,” he says. “We were split into groups and tasked with working on a specific project. I was working with a group that was involved in promoting a positive atmosphere amongst all staff and students. Our group created several different initiatives that were implemented in all campuses. This was responsible for improving the atmosphere that has been created amongst staff and students alike.
“We also worked very closely on developing what we believe to be a self-directed learner. We discussed what we believe are the key criteria that each student should meet and strategies that can be used to get our students to this point.
“Recently all HOD have been enrolled into a shared Canvas page,” says John. “This is a new initiative that was introduced at our recent HOD conference. The long-term vision is that this page will allow for collaboration to grow and develop amongst our faculty departments.”