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One of the earliest commitments the North Shore 5 schools made to collaboration was to hold an a combined professional development day each year. The rationale behind this was to provide exceptional quality professional learning for all NS5 teachers through the pooling of resources - human and financial.

Commencing in 2012, the venue would rotate amongst the different schools to provide a space for approximately 500 teachers to select professional learning experiences that met their specific needs and goals.

NS5 Teachers Collaborate in the Introduction to Visible Thinking Masterclass
 (July, 2016)

Initially, the structure of the day consisted of a morning keynote session followed by two 1-hour workshop sessions. In response to teacher feedback, the Combined Schools Professional Development Day took on a different structure in 2015.

Rather than attending two or three shorter workshops, teachers selected one 'Masterclass' which they stayed with for the whole day. These classes were selected prior to the day via myPL. enabling better control of class sizes and also enabling teachers to spend some time preparing for their Masterclass of choice.

Some of the Masterclasses offered in 2015/2016 include

  • "Project Based Learning in Little Pieces"
  • "Developing a STEM Elective"
  • "Designing Innovative Learning Spaces"
  • "Making the Most of Class Time with Flipped Learning"
  • "Creating a Culture of Thinking in your Classroom"
  • "Designing Assessment for Learning"
  • "Mindfulness for Student and Teacher Wellbeing"
  • "Introduction to Google Classroom (G Suite)

The feedback from the NS5 Combined Professional Development Days is always so positive. Teachers really love the opportunity to network informally with teachers from a similar context and share ideas. But time and again we were hearing that teachers felt such pressures on their time that it was often difficult to experiment with their new learning. So, we decided to shift the structure to offer whole-day 'Masterclasses,' which were hands-on and provided teachers with time to create new resources based on  the day's learning. The response was overwhelmingly positive! Our teachers really loved being able to sit with one idea for the day and have the time and support to develop some new resources they could use from Day 1. 

Natasha Mercer, NS5 Professional Learning and Innovation Coordinator

One of the priorities of the NS5 Combined School Professional Development Days is to ensure that there is an opportunity for student voice at each of these events.

In 2015, a group of students selected from each of the five schools worked together to create and present a 1-hour keynote address.

From 2016 individual students from the NS5 Student Symposium have presented their views on the future of learning as the NS5 Combined Schools Keynote Address.


NS5 Student Facilitating Discussion amongst 500 teachers at an NS5 Combined Schools Staff Development Day  (July, 2015)

I really enjoyed the idea of a student-led keynote! It was really interesting to hear from a student perspective. I was very impressed with the delivery and it was highly engaging. I have already implemented some of their ideas on my classroom and it reminded me of the partnership we have with our students. Very refreshing!

Teacher feedback received from the 2015 Combined Schools Professional Development Day