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Marco DiCesarePrincipal Caroline Chisholm Catholic College, Braybrook.Marco was one of the first 25 Catholic school leaders to take up the CEOM Executive MBA that began last year.
I am passionate about education and about improving culture and systems in order to raise the bar and close the gap for each student.
As a leader I am consultative and inclusive with an ongoing commitment to faith and professionalism so, when I was offered the opportunity to take up the Executive MBA, I knew that taking time out from an already busy schedule was going to be an ask, but it has certainly proven to be time well spent.
The experience has already broadened my perspective and I have gained greater insight into strategy, organisational behaviour and leadership. Importantly, it has offered me an alternative view as a principal.
The fact that it has been undertaken with a group of fellow principals enhances the learning experience by allowing a tight focus on what is relevant to education and allows it to be tailored to our needs. It gives me an opportunity I wouldn’t otherwise have – to meet with other principals on a regular and ongoing basis to share our unique experiences across all of the areas covered.
I benefit not only from what I am learning on the journey but also from the journey of others in Catholic education. This is especially important given the functional and increasingly strategic understanding we must demonstrate in our management and leadership of Catholic schools.
In a constantly evolving environment, it is important that we – Catholic educational leaders – continue to push the boundaries of our learning and support each other in striving for innovation and best practice for our sector.
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The Leadership and Professional Learning Unit at the Catholic Education
Office Melbourne (CEOM) is committed to working in partnership with schools to
build the capacity and capability for high-quality leadership for school
improvement across Catholic school communities.
The team’s strategic focus, development work and services are structured
around three broad overlapping strands:
Strategic partnerships with schools, state, national and international
bodies, and experts support innovation and evidence-based practice across the
A number of key CEOM frameworks and strategies underpin the team’s
services, which include resource development, the design and delivery of
differentiated professional learning programs, and the coordination and
promotion of system-wide professional learning provision.
CEOM Leadership Learning Plan
During 2014 a CEOM Leadership Reference Group – with key stakeholders
from schools, the CEOM and its University partners – was established to
identify the key leadership learning directions for the next five years, which will
build on current strategies of the CEOM and align with the vision of the
Catholic Leadership Centre. As identified in
the diagram below, the outcome of the Reference Group deliberations was the affirmation
of the quality and continuing relevance of the existing leadership initiatives
and the articulation of seven priority areas to drive the next level of success
in leadership for school improvement.
2014 Leadership Conference
The fourth biennial Leadership Conference, Connected leaders, collective action: transforming schools, attracted
Catholic primary and secondary school principals, members of their school
leadership teams and key CEOM leaders, filling the Catholic Leadership Centre
to capacity. It provided an opportunity for the participants to reflect on the
leadership and school-improvement journey our system has engaged in over the
past decade, building strategic leadership capacity, developing a shared
responsibility for improvement within schools and strengthening teacher
professionalism to drive performance and development.
The stage was intentionally set to extend the
notion of ‘sharing the responsibility’, to inspire and channel the collective
experience, expertise and energy of the conference participants and the system
itself – where schools are connected to the centre and to each other – to
achieve the best possible outcomes for students in Catholic schools.
The two days explored what it means to be a
system leader, that is, to engage in leadership with colleagues across the
system for the shared purposes of transforming all schools into great schools
and supporting every student to be the best they can be. Informing these
deliberations were three outstanding international presenters – Professor David
Hopkins, Dame Pat Collarbone and Ms Valerie Hannon – who provided a series of
keynote sessions and workshops. In
Practice sessions brought further life to these theoretical perspectives on
system leadership, depicting the collective focus and action-learning of school
leader clusters in Melbourne and Sydney. A thread of Connected
Conversations driven by three big questions was also an important feature
of the conference, giving voice to the views of the conference participants
The School Improvement Framework of the CEOM has
In 2014, a total of 63 schools were reviewed: 46
primary schools and 17 secondary schools.
Four primary schools successfully trialled a model
of differentiated negotiated review, which is now offered as an option for
schools that have completed two previous review cycles and are able to demonstrate
sustained high performance.
Performance and Development
and Development in Catholic Schools is a comprehensive school-improvement
strategy that is aligned with the School Improvement Framework. During 2014 a
guide for Performance and Development in Catholic Schools was developed and an
implementation strategy was commenced.
System-wide Professional Learning Provision
The inaugural Administration
Assistants’ Forum attracted staff from James Goold House and all regions. It
provided an opportunity to inform staff about IPLS features including new
reporting options, and recent updates. Staff were encouraged to provide feedback
and offer suggestions for future enhancements.
Manager and Convenor Planning briefings focused on best practice adult
learning. Consideration was given to how the existing technologies at the
Catholic Leadership Centre (CLC) could enhance delivery of professional
learning. Event planning at the CLC was also explored as was the reporting
capacity of the IPLS system.
Professional Learning Programs
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