National Aspiring Principals Inquiry 2013

17 Nov
The focus of your inquiry:

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

What were the learning needs? What did you do with the deans? I wanted move Deans from just gathering data to connecting with these students. It was important for staff to understand both narrative and data of these priority learners. In turn the greater body of staff would be work shopped through Ministry initiatives such as Tu Rangatira, Ka Hikitia and Tataiako. This change and development was to take place over a period of time so that real changes could be embedded. The learning needs was for both staff and students alike across the body.

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 used a variety of leadership techniques. Primarily it became a data driven project. It was about addressing myths that is things we thought we knew about our cohorts. I reminded myself often it was about process not result.

We followed the steps of Ka Hikitia which by coincidence linked to my inquiry. It is important to note these step did not follow one after another and often were revisited.

Hei Whakaaro: Thinking

We had robust conversations about what we thought the issues were. This was a stage that was revisited.

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

We examined data together to guide us. This cleared thinking and identified probable issues. Dean’s meetings used to discuss evidence. This lead to further PD. Some staff were proactive in searching out their own 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.

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”

How practice changed as a result of the inquiry? What is the impact of the changed practice for the Professional Learning Network?

My leadership practice changed to a more innovative model. I became more reflective each week consciously contemplating where I had been and how I could innovate and improve. Resulting from this there was a direct impact on the PLN. I saw the following change:


This made a significant impact on student learning and engagement and resulted in improvement for those learners. This created a connection between the team and the staff.

Becoming more aware of issues:

As a result of this connectivity Deans became more aware of the issues.

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. These workshops did take some time to become part of the PLN culture.

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.

The intended plan for further development for sustainability.

In 2014 Goal Setting will see further mentoring of these and all students in the College. This project has made staff more aware of Maori students and their needs. This project highlights a move from gathering data on students to using the data. This process will feed forward into Goal Setting.

What have you learned about leading others? Leadership Styles?

After PLG one I based my leadership model on the Kiwi Leadership Model as it spoke to me as an educational leader. I came to appreciate that a leader has to use a variety of leadership styles when appropriate. Being authoritative sometimes is required to get projects moving. Over this inquiry I implemented a great deal of experimental leadership. This required self-belief as there were accompanying mistakes. Throughout the course it would be accurate to suggest I touched on each of these leadership styles.

What acts of leadership did you show here?

Change Leadership that is a change of thinking and the way things are done.

In conclusion a big thank you to those College Principals who have guided me this year. Finally thank you Jain Gaudain. Your guidance in this process was inspirational.

View my final NAPP presentation here



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