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A forthcoming ACER Press book and documentary show how one school is supporting the engagement of every learner.
When ACER Press General Manager Annemarie Rolls began work on a book about Melbourne’s Port Phillip Specialist School (PPSS), she knew she was onto a winner; what she didn’t know was that the book would lead to a film.
An Extraordinary School, edited by Sara James, is scheduled for release in June, with the documentary film, Dare to be Different, following in 2013. It’s the first time ACER Press has been involved in producing and distributing a documentary. What inspired this?
‘The story An Extraordinary School tells is incredibly visual,’ says Annemarie. ‘I spoke with Bella Irlicht, the school’s principal until 2008, and filmmaker Maggie Miles and we all agreed the documentary was a great idea. Bella obtained seed funding from the Victorian Department of Education and Early Childhood Development. ACER, the Pratt Foundation and The Ian Potter Foundation have also given incredible support.’
As well as crucial initial funding, ACER is providing in-kind support from ACER Press, Marketing and Communications. ‘ACER wants the world to see the best examples of schools that are improving learning,’ says Annemarie.
‘The film and the book show how learning professionals meet the very diverse needs of their learners, and they show what a school that’s passionately committed to improving outcomes for all learners looks like. PPSS has also been a pioneer of fully serviced schooling and it’s important to show what can be done when everyone involved in the education of a child is talking to each other and considering the physical, emotional and intellectual needs of the individual. What is unique at PPSS is that the teachers are working closely with the occupational therapist, art therapist, physiotherapist, psychologists, and parents and carers. When you visit the school you really do see an inspiring learning society.
‘An Extraordinary School gives you a detailed account of the art-based curriculum at Port Phillip and fully serviced schooling. Dare to be Different shows what that looks like in action, so they really complement each other.’
Annemarie hopes both will have a big impact. ‘We’d like to change how the world approaches education for children with special needs and show the value of the arts in the education of all children,’ she says.
Learners and their needs
every learner engaged in challenging learning opportunities appropriate to their readiness and needs
The Learning Profession
every learning professional highly skilled, knowledgeable and engaged in excellent practice
Places of learning
every learning community well resourced and passionately committed to improving outcomes for all learners
A Learning Society
a society in which every learner experiences success and has an opportunity to achieve their potential
Pursuing Quality and Equity through Evidence
The work of Australian Council for Educational Research