Tag Archives: NAPP

Flatline…

7 Jun

What would you want a doctor to do if this is what was showing on your monitor at the hospital?

Would you want the doctor to keep continuing what they were doing despite the results?

Would you want the doctors to change their current method because of the data on the monitor?

Would you want the doctors to hold themselves personally accountable for changing the results on the monitor?

These questions may sound absurd considering that we are talking about a life or death situation.  You would never want the doctor to behave according to the first set of questions.

The most effective principals would not exhibit these behaviours either.  Replace doctor(s) with principal(s) in each of the questions above.   The data would be around the goals of the organization that the principal is in charge of.  How many principals have you seen behaving according to the first set of questions?  Many organizations are exhibiting flat lines and yet the principal continues to act in the same manner that brought on the failure.

Principals must lead differently to spike a flat line in data.  How can you as a principal begin to bring your school back to life?

Perhaps a question for a NAPP korero?

Mentoring Students / GEMS

26 Oct

“As Māori [means] being able to have access to te ao Māori, the Māori world – access to language, culture, marae… tikanga… and resources… If after twelve or so years of formal education, a Māori youth were totally unprepared to interact within te ao Māori, then, no matter what else had been learned, education would have been incomplete.”

Professor Mason Durie, (2003). Ngā Kahui Pou: Launching Māori Futures. Huia Publication

As you may remember my NAPP inquiry was based around mentoring Maori students. Last week I read over these notes as a review and I got to thinking about the above quote. While was in Sydney I used to work with some challenging Year 9 and 10 Māori and Pasifika students. These kids fell through the cracks. No teacher, school wanted them. To be honest they were pretty hard work. I also coached the Year 9 and 10 rugby league team. We never won a game. I eventually found from that experience, I needed to make connection with their background. The biggest learning curve for me was to throw the curriculum out and connect with their families. I went beyond the classroom walls and visited their families, made connections and create a safe environment for their children. I walked the fields and I sat in their community halls. I went to their Churches and prayed with them. This has always been central to my teaching philosophy. For me, it was building that relationship. Parents and their kids will be honest with you, no matter, with all their stories.  It is here where you find it.

http://www.vln.school.nz/discussion/view/860818

My Goals in 2014

1 Jul

My NAPP experience in 2013 has taught me that a great leaders set goals and I find those easy as I have always been a prolific list maker. This list of five goals will be on my desk as a daily reminder of what I am pointing to achieve. It sits alongside my daily ten which I try to stick to every day.

1) – I will have high expectations for students, staff and myself. I will help to empower others to take control of their own learning and development by establishing an environment built on accountability and I will support and encourage those with whom I work. I will work to embrace a sharing and collaborative school culture that takes risks in an effort to do great things.

2) – I will listen more than I talk. I will use my two ears more than I use my one mouth, and I will try to learn as much as I can from others. I will make it a priority to get into classrooms to observe on a daily basis, and I will learn by listening and observing.

3) – I will communicate with and involve parents and community stakeholders as often as possible. I will work with teachers and staff to keep parents informed and up-to-date with what is going on in our school through the use of weekly newsletters, our school website and social media outlets.

4) – I will base every decision I make on what is best for students. It is difficult to not get caught up in everything that is going on, but I will make every effort to put students and their needs first.

5) – I will have a healthy balance between my professional and personal life. Though I anticipate the high level of time commitment required for this job, I do not want my job to consume my entire life. My family, friends and colleagues will all benefit from this healthy balance.
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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:

Connectivity

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

 

Going Back

10 Nov

My NAPP experience is drawing to a close and next week my presentation will be the subject of my blog. At the same time I am reflecting on the end of my third year as Deputy Principal and a year of our ERO review. The following some notes in the best traditions of Marty McFly advice I would give myself if I could go back to the future.

Have a plan to drive the overall strategy for your team and its role achieving the school’s vision. Set annual goals within this plan. Focus on the process not necessarily the final result. Focus on what you know you need to solve the problem. You can’t get help if you can’t define what you’re looking for. Frame the situation: What is it you either don’t know or need to know more of? Start by defining the challenge you’re facing and what you need in order to solve it. Great leaders don’t have all the answers, but they usually have the ability to ask better questions. Staff will enjoy be included in solving the problems and setting goals.

Do Something. Sometimes a response requires doing something, even if you know it isn’t the perfect solution. By leaving the problem it can often grow.

Every year make room for new approaches. Assess the school, like a warrant of fitness, for what it needs to do, and making changes. We should not do it just because we are being reviewed by ERO.

Always try improving communication and relationships inside and outside the school. Internally everybody should feel included in making key decisions. I read somewhere this year tuning into everyone ensures that there is alignment of all.

Creating systems and frameworks to execute, track, and measuring the work so that you feel comfortable with. Review these systems. These will never be perfect. Be open, but remember you can’t possibly take every suggestion on board.

Inquire more deeply to truly unearth important ideas. When you improve the quality and quantity of questions you ask, you increase the potentially valuable information you receive.

Support staff members in becoming better leaders themselves by promoting continuous learning. I am a great believer in the philosophy of growing other leaders. A school is a place of learning and therefore we should all be learners.

NAPP Reflections: Part 2

20 Oct

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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

NAPP

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

Being a Learner

11 Aug

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An educator can never cease to learn – but what makes learning meaningful to us?

My daughter’s preschool teachers have told me about (free) play for children and how much it contributes to their learning – I think the dynamic nature of play is the main contributor there, (I don’t have any definitive data about this, but to me it seems like common sense: being able to control the play and make sense of the sensory feed related to it).

I find being involved in education as a learner exhilarating. I find the role as student a valuable insight into what my own students go through. Having to access course readings, contribute to message boards, doing homework and getting valuable feedback help me in my own practice.

My NAPP experience this year is a constant challenge which I note is sharpening my skills as a practitioner. I am fortunate enough to have Colleen Douglas (Massey University) working with the SLT and Middle Managers in the appraisal process. This again has made me think about the way I am doing things. I will reflect on this in a later edition.

This leads me to a great post about learners and student by David Warlick. http://davidwarlick.com/2cents/?p=2762 Thank you to JENNIFER BROKOFSKY who led me to this article which will lead to powerful PD discussion.

Every day I gain more information about how learning happens: with imaging techniques researchers are able to track what areas in our brain are active during learning. We know how each brain is different, and how learning is individual, and how different people manage and manipulate the knowledge in unique ways. As a student I wanted feedback not grades. I sought out opportunities for collaboration not competition. I like to be in control of my learning.

How about teaching? Are we still using the same teaching methods that were common hundreds of years ago? Teaching and learning are like the two opposite sides of a coin – inseparable but opposite. We educators must learn to match our teaching styles with the dynamic view of knowledge, and find new ways to facilitate our students’ learning.

We teachers don’t like to have someone tell us what to do. Very few students like that either. To have an effective educational system, we must understand that effective teachers are simply facilitators of students’ individual learning processes – and the ones who incite the spark of lifelong learning.

What do you need to do to find the old flame, and fall in love with learning again? How about some collaboration, flipping the classroom or blended online teaching? These are questions of reflective practice we should always be asking ourselves.

Professional Reading:

John Hattie: Visible Learning for Teachers: Maximizing Impact on Learning| Chapter 9: The Contributions from Teaching Approaches

Notes from this chapter of John Hattie’s ‘Visible Learning‘

Exemplary schools who serve well students who have been struggling at school emphasise:

  • The engagement of students in the learning process,
  • teacher articulating strategies of instruction and paying attention to learning theories,
  • school buildings act as an infrastructure to support such instruction,
  • teachers provide constant scaffolding and modeling,
  • teachers attended to the day-to-day monitoring of students,
  • teachers seeking feedback about their teaching while also being concerned with,
  • making decisions about optimal challenging tasks to assign, and
  • seeking insights from other professionals.

It takes a village…

5 Jul

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I’ve learned over the years to be wary of people who have all the answers to whatever the challenge is, that’s placed before them. There are, of course, things that I know to be true from past experience, both professional and personal. In my inquiry for NAPP I have been developing a collaborative environment, and real collaboration requires the willingness to ask questions of each other and admit to gaps in our individual knowledge base.

I reflect that it is important to ensure your team knows your vision but you need to get them together.  It is important questions are asked and debate is had.  It is more than relationships. It is relational trust that I am working on. I will reflect on this further in a later edition I am sure. With significant relational trust deeper thinking can take place.

Our team collective knowledge is enhanced when we ask good questions about things we don’t know and share the information we do hold, in a way that supports wise decision making and effective action steps. Through collaboration and the exchange of ideas with other teachers and school communities we are able to benefit from the ‘wisdom of the crowd’ and share our own wisdom to benefit our students’ learning. The old adage says ‘it takes a village to raise a child.’  In the 21st Century it takes a global, connected, learning community.

 

Professional Reading:

I have just read All Systems Go (2010) is by Michael Fullan and it is a must for all interested in sustainable systemic change to improve schooling. Yes as you follow this blog you will find I am on a Fullan kick at present

In the foreword, Peter Senge writes:

“No institution has a more crucial role to play in the historic changes coming than school because no institution has greater potential to impact on how a society changes over the long term.”

Fullan debunks many existing stand-alone strategies in favour of building ‘collective capacity’ across the system: nurturing schools to want to change and then supporting them on the journey.

One thing that stood out for me was that empowering teachers is a great motivator for change; as Fullan demonstrates; effective strategies are the ones that build on the collective talents of schools, systems and communities to improve schooling.

 

Thought for the week after my Taranaki NAPP Hui…

What separates good from great principals? The latter demonstrate high levels of resilience, optimism & problem solving capacity’. This is important for me to think about as I progress this year.

Building the Perfect Leader

7 Jun

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From my readings (including The Art of War!) and my NAPP inquiry this week the following is a list, by no means finite, of leadership qualities that teachers most desire in a principal. These are things as I need to keep in the forefront of my mind as the year progresses.

Build a sense of community

Perhaps the single most important quality a principal can have is the ability to create a sense of community. Effective principals understand that the adults and children in their schools need a healthy, safe and supportive environment in order to thrive. It is not only about being on the side-line of the footy field or at the gala it is walking beside staff and being seen in classrooms.  A community-building principal works to avoid teacher isolation, negativity and resistance; instead, he or she encourages an upbeat, respectful and supportive professional environment. Positive solutions and growth are the norm, not the exception.

Knows how to hire good teachers

One of the best things a principal can do for his or her school is to hire the right teachers. In addition to making sure a candidate has a strong educational background and excellent references, principals can use behavior-based interviewing techniques to get a realistic idea of how well a candidate will perform in the classroom. Behavior-based interviewing operates on the premise that past behavior best predicts future performance. Typical questions begin with, “Tell me about a time when …” or “Describe your experience with …” and can be highly effective in determining how a candidate will handle real-life situations.

Nurtures and growths professional development

Creating a Professional Learning Network (PLN) is a reoccurring theme. When teachers are presented with a clear path to advancement they are more apt to stay at their current school. By providing in-school leadership opportunities – as well as by making professional development accessible, affordable and rewarding – principals demonstrate their commitment to helping staff members grow professionally and excel in the classroom.

Advocates for the school to stakeholders

The stakeholders in any school community are families, staff, iwi, business partners and the public. Each of these categories requires different styles and approaches to engagement. For example, families may have language and cultural differences or an earlier negative experience with school officials. In order to encourage continued involvement and support, principals need to make a concerted effort to understand the priorities and preferences of the various categories of stakeholders.

Communicates Successfully

Good communication is one of the most crucial components of teacher satisfaction; the best principals will routinely examine their communication skills then apply a variety of styles through the school day. There are a few things principals can ask themselves in an on-going effort to progress in this area:

  • Who did I communicate with today, even if it was for just a brief moment?
  • Are my reasons for communicating helping lead my school through positive changes and improvements?
  • Do I communicate in a way that contributes to meaningful problem solving?
  • Does my communication style help to strengthen working relationships among my staff?
  • What areas of communication are the most difficult for me? How can I work to improve in these areas?

Great organizations require great leadership and this is especially true in education. Some of my best ideas are used by wife who is in the cooperate world. In today’s evolving educational landscape, it is more critical than ever for principals to demonstrate to their staff, students and community that they have what it takes to guide their schools to success.

 

Professional Reading:

This week Chapter 5 is a good focus. It is a synthesis so it’s a difficult read.

School Leadership and Student Outcomes: Identifying What Works and Why

 

 

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