DE News 2017 T1 W03

Published on: Author: Greg Alchin

“Magic is something you make.” – Anonomous

DE School News

Southern Cross School: HOW2Learn: Higher Order Ways

HOW2Learn will continue to be the focus for Teaching and Learning at SCSDE. HOW2Learn is a strategy focused on building students’ capacity to learn.

At SCSDE they aim to develop a learning culture that enables everyone to re-think their teaching to:

  • Be self-aware in their learning
  • Use the language and dispositions of successful learners
  • Share a belief that intelligence is learnable and expandable

This is all about building students’ capacity to learn.

In addition it fits nicely with project based learning which is a feature of the innovative pedagogy at SCSDE.

For more information please contact Greg Armstrong, relieving Principal, at Southern Cross School.

Open High School is now NSW School of Languages

NSW School of Languages has officially changed to its new name for 2017.

However, their planned move to Petersham this year has been postponed until July 2018 – Treasury budget permitting!

HSC Successses at Open HS/School of Languages

Meanwhile, as Open HS, nine HSC students came first in the state and 35 students were placedin the top five in the state in their language courses. The school executive and teachers are very pleased that students studying via Distance Education are able to achieve so well in such a communicative subject.

Staff changes at Open HS/School of Languages

Frances Selby will be on higher duties as a second Deputy Principal with Catte Chapple.

The school’s new SAM is Jason Sellick. As Hilary Hughes, Principal said, “He will have fun as we roll over to LMBR in the next few months.”

Angela Lam has been seconded to NESA to coordinate the rewriting of 13 languages syllabuses. “She is already sorely missed here”, commiserated Hilary.

Gainna Pagni has moved to act in the role of Head Teacher, Teaching and Learning (Curriculum) and Cesare Popol will be acting Head Teacher for Italian and Greek.

Anna Peers-Hooper is acting HT Japanese and ESL while Alison Cave is on leave.

DESU Executive staffing for term 1

During term 1 Sian Watkins will be relieving as Principal of Sir Eric Woodward School and Louise Sonta will take on the position of relieving Deputy Principal.

We wish Sian and Louise all the best.


DE Network News

Nicole Sykes

Geography DE Collegial Network welcomes new coordinator

Nicole Sykes has taken on the role of Geography DE Collegial Network coordinator for 2017. Nicole has been teaching for nine years both face to face and in distance education. Nicole is based in Ballina and works at the Southern Cross School of Distance Education. She is passionate about teaching Geography and strives to instil a love of learning about the world we live in into her students.

Nicole would like to thank Sally Egan for all of the time and effort she has put into developing the Geography Network and for agreeing to mentor her in her role as the new network coordinator.

The network is a collaboration of schools and teachers developing materials for the new Australian Geography Syllabus. The network members and coordinator invite teachers to join the Geography Network. If you would like to work with innovative and passionate teachers in a forward thinking team or would like to be added to the network mailing list, Nicole would love to hear from you.

There is also a Facebook page that you are welcome to like and follow to contribute your thoughts and ideas. Link:

Nicole commented that, “The vision and purpose of the Geography Network is to work as a team to develop and share materials and resources of the highest quality to teachers throughout the state. Our focus is on supporting teachers in varied teaching environments to be able to access units of work that are inclusive and engaging for all students.

The team has completed units of work for Years 7 and 9 and these have been distributed to our schools and are printed off ready to go. I must say they look amazing, the hard work and dedication of our team shines through on every page. If you would like a copy of these units and are a member of our network, feel free to contact me and I will send you a copy.

This year we are working on the development of units of work for the Year 8 and 10 Geography courses. We will be getting together to produce more fantastic resources that students and teachers alike will benefit from.

I would like to once again welcome back all of our Geography Network members and encourage all Geography teachers to join the team as it will be an exciting year for all involved in the development of our New Australian Syllabus resources.”

Nicole’s contact details are: E-mail: Phone: 02  66187 645.

Thank you, Sally – Outgoing Geography DE Collegial Network Coordinator

We would like to extend our thanks and appreciation to Sally Egan, teacher at Dubbo SODE, who has been the Geography DE Collegial Network Coordinator since the networks’ inception. Sally’s ability to bring together a network focussed on a common set of goals has been outstanding. Her exceptional people skills and vision have been instrumental in leading the network to work together to create learning materials that are now shared by the DE schools.

Sally’s commitment to working with the network is strong and she will continue to contribute ideas and undertake writing of course materials with the network members.

Richard Mills

PDHPE DE Collegial Network Coordinator changes

We welcome Richard Mills, teacher at Southern Cross DE, to the role of PDHPE Collegial Network Coordinator. Richard has taken over the role of coordinator from Matt Lott who has been coordinator of the network for the last few years. Matt will work alongside Richard to  facilitate transition and provide support.

Richard Mills is Head Teacher PDHPE at Southern Cross School Distance Education. He commenced teaching at Southern Cross way back in 1996 delivering both face to face classes and Distance Education. When Distance Education moved towards autonomy at the beginning of 2012 Richard remained in the face to face section of the school. In 2014 attained the Head Teacher position in Distance education. He has enjoyed the challenges Distance Education brings to educating our youth and has been working on ensuring students have access to high quality learning materials.

Richard said, “I look forward to establishing networks with other Distance Education centres across NSW and potentially Australia as this will foster professional development and ensure our students receive quality learning through quality programs.”

Richard can be contacted at Southern Cross DE on 66810300.

Thank you, Matt – Outgoing PDHPE DE Collegial Network Coordinator

Our thanks and appreciation to Matt Lott, teacher at Sydney DEHS, for the work he has done to lead and support the PDHPE DE Collegial Network network to share and write resources and provide networking opportunities for the members. The network has benefitted from Matt’s brilliant interpersonal skills and natural ability to include others in shared decision making, especially in the areas of establishing network goals, shared writing and contributions in network meetings. Matt led the network through a collaborative process to create a network vision and goals resulting in materials being shared.

We are really pleased that Matt will continue as a network member and provide his experience to support Richard Mills, the new network coordinator.

Twitter iconTwitterspheric professional learning

Twitter is a quick and easy tool for participating in and/ or building a Professional Learning Network. To learn more about using twitter for professional learning, download the The Global Digital Citizen Foundation’s Twitter-Tastic Teacher’s Guide.  Below are some of Twitter feeds we hope you find worthwhile!  Why not tweet us about what other networks you would like us to highlight!

International Association for K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL)

Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership

International Society for Technology in Education


Universal design for Learning

Common Sense Education


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