Archive | October, 2013

Stategic Planning

28 Oct

It has been a busy week looking at end year events and planning for next year. Strategic planning of this kind can be emotional because people are involved. I include in my reading this week is a recent sabbatical report that outline culture in school. I highly recommend you take time to read it.

I have learned this week the following about planning and leadership.

Trust People buy into the leader before they buy into the vision.

Passion Team members will not be excited about a vision that the leader doesn’t care about. They need to see and feel your passion before they embrace it. Still there must be detail or something behind it.

Relationship Connectivity is important. People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.

Timing Is there ever a good time? For a vision to connect, its timing needs to be right. The right decision at the wrong time is still the wrong decision. Sometimes staff need time to think. This can be difficult and frustrating as a leader.


Professional Reading

Chris Callaghan Sabbatical Report 2013


NAPP Reflections: Part 2

20 Oct

In my leadership project at school this year, reflecting on my NAPP project and working having been fortunate enough to spend time with some experienced principals I have been thinking about improving my own skills as a leader.

The following are some of those things we can all do better and are good ideas from those that know.

Leading by walking around the school is not a current craze. It is as important today as ever. If your team doesn’t see you taking an interest in them and their work they can become disenfranchised. The staff needs to know you are interested. These impromptu conversations are also key to uncovering issues.

We all need to listen more and talk less.

Keep your humility in check. We all think we’re the hero in our own story. The question is whose story are you really playing a part in? If you’re not humble, chances are you’re a lead character in the wrong novel.

Never forget why you got into teaching. Try and teach a class. Remember your passion is the kids not building meetings.

Go outside your comfort zone and introduce yourself to someone unexpected. This could be someone in a completely different industry or it could be from a new function in your own organization. I suppose this has been my why I have enjoyed NAPP so much. I have become connected with so many different people and readings.

Reflect on your week and ask what did I learn. Well I have done it in the form of this blog, Doing this can be a form of accountability. Am I really being an authentic leader displaying gospel values?

Professional Reading

Leadership and Sustainability by Fullan

My NAPP Enquiry

13 Oct


This week it is the beginning of the end for my inquiry.  The process is complete.

The focus of your inquiry

What was the inquiry question? “To examine the nature and effectiveness of a Mentor on the achievement and attendance of Maori/PI students at SHGC”

What were the learning needs? I wanted Deans from just gathering data to connecting with these students. It is important for staff to understand both narrative and data of these priority learners. In turn the greater body of staff would be workshop through Ministry initiatives such as Tu Rangatira, Ka Hikitia and Tataiako. I acknowledged this change and development to take place over a period of time so that real changes could be embedded.

The methods you used to lead others in a cycle of change

What learning experiences did you and your team design and engage in to address your inquiry question? We followed the steps of Ka Hikitia

Hei Whakaaro: Thinking

SLT, Deans and Staff examine “Maori achieving education success as Maori.”

Tutukia: Explore & investigate the evidence. Deans begin to track students

Examine data to guide Deans and Staff how Mari students are progressing. Deans identify Maori students in there cohort. Identify potential issues. Dean’s meetings used to discuss evidence. This may lead to further PD.

Mōhiotanga: Understanding and connecting

Richer relationships are developed. Increase knowledge of the cultural background of the learners. Making sure engagement is meaningful and authentic. E.g. relationships between Classroom teachers, Vertical Form teachers and Deans.

Whakamahi: Putting it into practice

The aim of culturally responsive teaching and learning is to improve Maori education outcomes where the child, parents and family, iwi are integral to determining the education journey: responding to “the child’s cultural experiences” e.g. Incubator, Kapa Haka, Powhiri

STEP THREE: Reflection, sharing the process school wide

Can we use this model to develop other target areas such goal setting?

Our school staff is well underway understanding ‘teaching as inquiry.’ This currently forms the basis of our appraisal process and PLGs. As part of leading PLGs in 2013 HOFs and Deans are working thorough Leading inquiry at a teacher level: It’s all about mentorship by Fowler. Develop extension and enrichment activities that have a positive effect on achievement for Maori and Pasifika learners e.g. whanau hui

The outcomes achieved so far

How has practice changed as a result of the inquiry? What is the impact of the changed practice for the Professional Learning Network? My focus was to on a small number of priority learning students which data suggested were not doing well in our environment. It became evident from an early stage that some of many of the systems put in place Deans and the greater staff were already doing.

1. Connectivity

This made a significant impact on student learning and engagement and resulted in much

improvement for those learners.

2. Becoming more aware of issues: Two teachers concentrated on a small group of students and used evidence to establish shared goals with their learners and their caregivers.

3. Greater focus in Deans Meetings.

Rather than spending a great amount of grappling with nuts and bolts issues a shared project or communion inquiry goal was established. The changed the culture of the meeting. It became more about professional development.

4. Deans evaluations are still to come.

The intended outcomes for student learning

What is the impact of the changed practice for students? There has been a positive impact for student learning. Our Deans previously had a great understanding of their students and this just highlighted this fact.

Thoughts on Leading learning

• Meaningful: Change must respond to complexity and collective “disquiet”

• Backed by research

• Critical reflection (individual and collective)

• Must allow other to add to (develop change)

• Leading change is one facet of education leads to change in other areas of practice (complexity)

• Leading change has to consider taking care of the welfare of others (staff and students)

• Understanding of the Kiwi Leadership Model and Tu Rangatira

Thought of the Week and Professional Reading

13 Oct
Professional Reading
Tu Rangatira 
Thought Of the Week

This is a very topical and thoughtful piece.


6 Oct

I have been tweeting since June 2009. I have many followers and am following many more. It was sold to me as a way of connecting and sharing with teachers from around the globe who shared my passions in education. It is an important part of my Professional Learning Network (PLN).

Where possible, I include a link within the tweet. This is so that others can be directed to the foundation of your comment, idea or reply. I found these tips this week. My apologies as the source I have somehow lost but these are fabulous:

• Add a hash tag to the tweet. This just means the tweet can be more easily identified. The tags I use most frequently use are: #mathchat for mathematics related conversations; #edtech for applications of technology to the learning and learning environment; #edchat for general education conversations.

• Acknowledge the source for a retweet. If the original author is not mentioned then you are stealing the credit.

• Consider the value that the tweet will add. Ask yourself whether the contribution will help develop the conversation for most or if the conversation should be taken to a different medium.

My next step is to make twitter a significant part of Professional Learning at my school. I will update progress here on that.


Professional Reading

It is holiday time so no reading this week. I recommend you read Mr Pip by Lloyd Jones before seeing the movie.


Thought Of the Week

I loved this idea on twitter this week.

@gcouros Any time you walk by a student in a hallway and don’t acknowledge them, it is a missed opportunity to build a connection.




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