Embarking on the journey toward becoming a ‘Highly Accomplished Lead Teacher’ (HALT) is a testament to one’s commitment to excellence in education. The accreditation not only acknowledges exceptional expertise but also celebrates leadership and innovation in the classroom. Catherine Whitmore’s recent achievement in attaining HALT accreditation reflects her dedication to the growth and success of students and fellow educators.
How has the HALT (Highly Accomplished Lead Teacher) accreditation process supported your development as a teacher and leader?
During the HALT process, I have learned much about the standards (specifically and intricately) and really reflected on how my pedagogies, curriculum knowledge and practices could be developed to a higher standard to ensure all students are learning effectively and efficiently at their points of need. The process also allowed me to support new and proficient teachers to reflect on their practices/knowledge of curriculum and behaviour management/policies/procedures/reporting and assessment to ensure their students are learning but also, that they themselves are growing in their knowledge and skills.
Now that you have been accredited at Highly Accomplished Teacher what would you say to others considering HALT accreditation?
The process has been refined and broken down into smaller module sets, making it more achievable and manageable. I would suggest giving yourself time to think about the process and how you can fit the workload into their schedules before starting the process because it is a large task. You do need to dedicate a substantial amount of time to do the evidence sets. If you are thinking about it, start by looking at the standards and work out how do you show this in your practice and the impact. Impact became a very important word to remember. In our CSBB environment we are very well supported and there are many people around who are willing to support and help, so don’t be worried or overwhelmed, reach out, and talk to them. The site visit isn’t as scary as it seems and the person coming out to watch is a supporter of yours and wants to see you succeed.
Briefly describe your HALT journey and what was the biggest help completing this process?
I started the HALT journey about 4 years ago. It was a large project and there was only a small amount of support to assist teachers. I stopped and started for the first few years, trying to understand how the cycle of evidence could be captured to show the standards in my teaching and leadership. The HALT process changing to 3 modules and Site visit, made it seem manageable and achievable. In 2022 I completed module 1 whilst also completing some units of a Master course. In 2023 I was determined to complete my HALT, so I pulled back a bit on the other studies and focused completely on this process, submitting the last module at the start of Term 3. It was a lot of dedication during nights, weekends and holidays to get the paperwork completed but the support from Brenton Gurney from the beginning all those many years ago has been unwavering and Natalie Cooper put things into perspective last year to keep me on track with the evidence and how to show impact in our practices. I believe working alongside another colleague- Chris Shilling assisted my ability to get the Halt application finished and we helped drive each other over the line when it became overwhelming to continue. The leadership team at school – Frank Cohen (Principal) and Sherylyn Kenney (AP), gave me leadership opportunities so I could attain the leadership standards and they supported my development, mentoring me by modelling and providing me with professional learning opportunities to build my capacities. Gaining HALT accreditation is only able to be accomplished if you have the support of your employer, time to complete evidence sets (which was given by CSBB) and a Principal and AP who understand the need for individual growth and opportunities to show leadership and mentoring to other teachers, so students are learning at their point of need or beyond, learning effectively and efficiently.
Catherine Whitmore’s HALT journey is a compelling testament to the qualities that define educational excellence—resilience, unwavering dedication, and a collaborative spirit. Her experience serves not only as a personal achievement but also as an inspiration for fellow educators contemplating the HALT pathway. Join us in congratulating Catherine.