Director’s Message

Chris Smyth

Chris Smyth – Director of Schools


Welcome to the Catholic Schools Office (Diocese of Armidale).

The schools in the Diocese of Armidale are building a professional learning community in a Catholic context as a vehicle for school improvement.

In our Catholic context school improvement must be based on a common moral purpose influenced by the values and beliefs modelled by the person of Jesus Christ. Our moral purpose is to ensure that all students learn to their full potential so they can graduate to a world where they can make a difference based on the values and beliefs of their Catholic education. Our commitment to an understanding that all students can learn if provided with enough time and support influences our behaviours in schools. Our schools are inclusive schools which embrace equity, justice and compassion and where teachers are the face of Christ to our students. Our teachers work hard to bring a sense of joy and mercy to all of their work.

The four big ideas of a professional learning community in a Catholic context are:

  1. Catholic principles and values articulated by all
  2. A focus on learning for students and teachers
  3. Collaboration in student learning and teacher professional learning
  4. A results focus based on data.

We know that the quality of the teacher in the classroom is key to improving student faith and learning outcomes. We also know that the principal’s leadership underpins the improvement in teacher instruction through the instructional and strategic leadership they provide. The school leaders and teachers are supported by the system of schools in this professional learning.

Teachers are trialing new instructional methods and benefitting greatly from the collaborative process in their professional learning teams. Teachers in our schools are using data walls to monitor student learning growth and achievement in response to the teachers new instructional practice.

The use of action learning, data walls and instructional rounds is the beginning of a world wide movement towards a teacher professional learning model that is site based and strongly related to the importance of the principal as an instructional leader.

The system of schools provides the strategic direction, coaching and resources to support this professional learning in schools. It is also important we build systemness so that schools can collaborate together on similar initiatives and share insights into school improvement.

We want our students to be literate, numerate and curious and therefore we all need teachers who can apply the research around key research findings for improving student instruction.

Thank you for visiting our website and exploring what Catholic education in the Diocese of Armidale has to offer its students, teachers, parents and the wider community of our Diocese.

Below are publications that compile the journey of our system of schools.

Supporting and Challenging Our System of Schools in 2020 and Beyond

Further Developing the Catholic Professional Learning Community Vision 2018- 2019

Faith Formation, Learning and Teaching in a Catholic Professional Learning Community 2015-2017

Best wishes,
Chris Smyth
Director of Schools 

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