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    Personal Story


    Marco DiCesare
    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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    General Overview

    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:

    • Leadership Learning
    • School Improvement
    • System-wide professional learning provision.

    Strategic partnerships with schools, state, national and international bodies, and experts support innovation and evidence-based practice across the three strands.

    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.


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    Main Activities

    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 themselves.


    School Improvement

    The School Improvement Framework of the CEOM has two purposes:

    • to satisfy legitimate expectations of government and sector authorities about accountability for the outcomes of schooling
    • to assist schools and teachers to improve student learning outcomes.

    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.


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    Performance and Development

    Performance 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.

    The eight 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.


    Other Initiatives

    • Emerging Leaders Program
    • Working Party on Negotiated Reviews
    • consultations on the implementation of the Australian Performance and Development Framework
    • administration support for Change2 
    • the implementation of the online School Improvement Planning System (SIPS)
    • Leadership Reference Group
    • identifying and acknowledging high performing teachers in the Catholic sector
    • School Improvement
    • Creating and Supporting a Performance and Development Culture in Schools
    • Leadership Learning support grants
    • Enhancing Leadership Team capability
    • principal coaching
    • Primary Principal Professional Learning Program
    • primary principal appraisal
    • re:th!nk Aspiring to Principalship
    • principal selection and appointment processes
    • Middle Leaders
    • Women In Leadership
    • administration associated with National Partnerships.

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    Professional Learning Programs

    P–12 Principal Induction program: 2014–15 cohort (Year 1) 14
    P–12 Principal Induction program: 2013–14 cohort (Year 2) 12
    re:th!nk Aspiring to Principalship: 2014–15 cohort (Year 1) 46
    re:th!nk Aspiring to Principalship: 2013–14 cohort (Year 2) 32
    Emerging Leaders program: 2014–15 cohort (Year 1) 28
    Emerging Leaders program: 2013–14 cohort (Year 2) 19
    QELi Middle Leadership program 6
    First Phase Middle Leaders program 23
    Women Leaders Connect two-day program 37
    Leadership Conference 241
    Enhancing Leadership Team Capability 21
    Coaching is a Conversation 42
    Reflective Evaluation for Active Leadership 34
    Building a Coaching Culture – Coaching Skills for Leaders: two workshops 58
    Primary Principal Professional Learning Program information session 20
    Graduate Teacher Welcome Function 205
    Performance and Development workshop series 59
    Performance and Development seminar series – seven workshops 215
    Performance and Development Grants program information evening 48
    Evidence-based Reflection: Using Trend Data for School Review – two workshops 77
    Realising School Effectiveness: New perspectives on school improvement surveys – two workshops 34
    Creating Staff, Student and Community Engagement at Your School 34
    Building a Quality Teaching Climate 20
    NAPLAN Analysis 2014 Primary Review Schools – three workshops 116
    NAPLAN Analysis 2014 Secondary Review Schools 2

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