Sunday, May 6, 2018

Strategic Leadership for Principals Programme 2018

I am a self confessed 'learning junkie'.  I love learning - I constantly seek out new opportunities and challenges that will push me and help me to grow.  I won't lie, there have been MANY times when I get pushed so hard that I swear I will just chill and take things easy for awhile but it is never long before I start getting the urge to dive into something new.
At the end of 2017, a principal colleague told me about a possible opportunity coming to Canterbury in 2018 - The 'Strategic Leadership for Principals Programme - SLPP' .  I had heard lot's of great feedback about the Strategic Leadership for Principals’ Programme but had thought it was only available in Auckland.  SLPP is a 10-month, free programme that leverages cross-sector expertise to provide strategic leadership development and support for New Zealand principals. Needless to say - this immediately interested me and so I submitted an application to be considered in the first group of principals selected for Canterbury.
Last term, I was selected for the Canterbury intake for 2018, alongside 5 other fantastic Canterbury principals: Blair Dravitski - Linwood Avenue School, Anthony Faitaua - Rowley Primary School, Denise Torrey - Somerfield School, Andrew Leverton - Geraldine Primary School and Shane Buckner - Wairakei Primary School.  

So what is SLPP all about?  
International research shows the pivotal importance of good strategic leadership for both improved school performance and student outcomes. 
The Strategic Leadership for Principals’ Programme is an action-orientated curriculum which helps principals build robust strategic plans for their school. 
Facilitated by senior business leaders and supported by skilled capacity partners, the programme is also designed to support each principal in their leadership development. Programme content is frequently updated by subject matter experts and tailored to meet the needs of individual participants by skilled facilitators.
In the Strategic Leadership for Principals’ Programme, we work intensively with cohorts of six principals over 10 months to develop strategic plans for their schools.
Senior business leaders facilitate a series of workshops in which principals learn about strategic planning in an education setting.
Peer collaboration encourages the development of problem-solving capabilities and the acquisition of new skills in an environment in which principals can speak frankly and openly.

98% of principals on the Strategic Leadership for Principals' Programme have indicated that they learnt a lot by sharing with other principals in their cohort.

2017 Programme Impact Report
A capacity partner is assigned to each individual principal through a careful matching process to further support them in the process of developing useful strategic planning skills. The capacity partner coaches the principal outside of the workshops to help them produce their own strategic vision, plan and goals that will address the unique issues they face in their school.
Capacity partners are drawn from a pool of knowledgeable skills volunteers with successful business or public sector leadership experience.
At the end of the programme, each principal has developed a three-year strategic plan for his or her school, a one-year action plan, and has gained an enhanced support network of peers and business people.
For more information, check out their website: 

Capacity Partner 
I am thrilled that my mentor on this journey is Sarina Finucane, the CVP Manager (customer values proposition) for IAG.  We have lots in common but lots to learn from each other too. I am excited about participating in this awesome programme so early on in my principal career and all the learning and opportunties that may come from it! 

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

My latest EdTalks: Developing cultural responsiveness in schools

Developing cultural responsiveness at Cobham Intermediate from EDtalks on Vimeo.

Last year when I was the Deputy Principal at Cobham Intermediate, I was asked to be filmed for an EdTalks special on cultural responsive practice and what this can look like in action in a school setting and how we were going about developing a culturally responsive environment. 

I focused my discussion on the way this happens from a relational position and how the staff at Cobham Intermediate began this journey together working on their practice, and then spread that learning to their classrooms. I tried to outline how important it has been for staff to consider the tikanga in the school and that the values they are developing around this practice will be beneficial for all, while reminding us all that the kaupapa of a school is developed as part of a school’s obligations under the Treaty of Waitangi and being part of a bicultural nation, and that this is an important position for all schools.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Digital apps to support teaching and learning

Even though I have moved back into school life and am no longer a digital technologies advisor, I still have the absolute pleasure of being asked to co-facilitate the Ako Panuku 'Technology for teachers' hui each year with my good friend and co-facilitator Dee Reid.

Naturally at these types of hui, we get asked about what the 'best' apps/websites are for the classroom.  And Dee and I always respond with the same answer - the technology is just a waka/vehicle or tool, you need to firstly understand what you trying to achieve, what is the learning task?

Ako Panuku created this very cool resource for teachers showcasing some possible apps that can be used as the waka/vehicle for different learning tasks e.g. researching, summarising, presenting etc.  This was created in Thinglink - a powerful tool in itself!

If you hover over the app, a description will pop up.  You can also hover over the different strategies and get a pop up description and if you click on the down arrow you can even download a word doc copy of the description and step by step how it can be used, including a link to a template.

Ngā mihi nui ki a Ako Panuku!!!

And if those apps don't satisfy your thirst for new and engaging ways to integrate tech tools into your classroom, then I am sure these will...

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Coaching Leadership

Beginning Principals Regional Hui #1

Coaching Leadership - Jan Robertson

Group coaching can be self-sustaining.  Follow the G.R.O.W model...

G - What do you want? What are you aiming to achieve? What would the ideal look like? Why is it important? What would happen if you did not focus on this?

R - What is happening now? What are you doing now? What obstacles have you encountered? What works?

0 - What alternatives are there? Which options interest you? Have you thought of...?

W - What are the next steps? What might get in the way? What support/planning is required? Is the goal still important? What are the barriers, enablers, time frame?

What does Stephen Covey have to say about active listening?

"Seek first to understand, then be understood"

If communication is the most important skill in life, how much training have you had in effective communication?

Most people seek first to be understood, wanting to put their opinion across, share their story. Most people listen with the intent of replying, not to listen and understand the other person.  You are filtering their story through your own paradigm.  We decide prematurely what the other person means, often before they have even finished speaking.

Empathetic listening - invest in their story, listen for their details, not applying it to your own experiences.  What happens when you truly listen to another person? The whole relationship changes.  You don't agree or disagree - you try to see it through their eyes/perspective.  You make that person feel valued.

The root cause of almost all human problems is poor communication. People do not listen with empathy. What does this look like...

Give the person your full attention
Don't ask questions or give advice
Don't share your own 'war stories'
Focus on what is said
Listen for what is not said and for what is important to the speaker

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Reflecting on who I am

Manukura Hui - workshop 1, day 2


Part of our learning today has been about looking at what we value and what our values are.  As a group we had a deck of cards with different values on them and we had to collective get the deck down to just 10 cards of what we value the most - a very challenging task!  Hearing the discussions between our group about what we value and why was great for opening my eyes to the different perspectives and beliefs of others while at the same time identifying and clarifying what is important to me and why.

After this task, we had to draw a 'Tree of ME' ( I chose to do mine digitally so you can already see what I value shining through in that decision!).

In the leaves of the tree we were asked to write a few things that describe us and our roles.  Across the trunk, we had to write 3 things that describe the type of leader we are or want to be and in the roots we had to identify approximately 6 or so things we value.

You can see on the left side I have also bullet pointed some of my perceived strengths and on the right side, some of the things I have identified that are needs, next steps or skills I would like to strengthen.

So what?

Reflecting on who I am, what is important to me and why and how this influences the strengths I bring to the table is important in developing and growing my leadership as an effective leader. It is critical for leaders to know who they are so they can understand why others should be led by them.  

If I don't believe in myself as a leader, then why should anyone else?

We need to see and accept the differences we all bring to the table - different skills, knowledge, values and experiences.  

"We hire people for their skills but the whole person turns up".    Denise R Green

What now?

Some actions for me to achieve...
I will re-visit my appraisal/leadership goals and determine where I can add some actions to start to address the areas of myself I have identified in the Tree of Me that I would like to strengthen.  I would also like to seek some feedback from staff, whānau, BoT and students around what they perceive to be my strengths and areas to strengthen so I can see if they align or something else bubbles to the surface.  Finally I would like to model that I am too a learner and have goals that I am working towards, so I will share my appraisal goals with my staff and community.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Principalship - the next evolution in my leadership journey

Ako Panuku - First Time Tumuaki workshop - 'Manukura'

At the end of last year, I was successful in being appointed Principal of a fantastic rural primary school in Canterbury, starting in Term 1, 2017.  With my first term now under my belt, I have finally returned to my blog in order to be true to my desire to be open, honest and transparent with my personal learning journey and to share the ride with others, in the hope that it might help others out while also helping me make sense of my own growth and development.

Ako Panuku - First Time Tumuaki workshop - 'Manukura'

Day 1 of workshop 1 - Fierce Focus
Ko te kaupapa o tēnei rā tuatahi - Fierce Focus

Facilitators - Lynette Bradham and Keriana Tāwhiwhirangi

Leadership journey - sharing who we are and how we arrived here today, as first time principals

Care...collaboration...clarity - all working harmoniously together

Authentic leadership - don't compromise who you are.  Promote the type of leader you want to be, own it.

Share and declare: it keeps you accountable, once you share it you are opening the door for people to judge whether you are succeeding or not in being true to your leadership style.

To much compliance and not enough performance is tragic!

Appreciative inquiry works through 3 steps = A.A.A - Acknowledge, Apologise, Assurance

Q. What would people who meet you in your role as the school principal say about you?
Q. How do you know?

Know the effect and impact your leadership has on others.  Be the best that you can be!

Appraisal goals - its vital that we include a goal around developing/growing/strengthening your leadership knowledge and skills.  Many goals are focused on achieving a task e.g. show effective leadership to ensure we meet our annual targets.  If it's not in your goals - work it into the action in your plan, HOW are you going to lead it e.g. I will mentor the teachers who have the target groups of students by meeting with them fortnightly to listen, learn and challenge.

Silence = tolerance - if you see, hear or know that there is an issue e.g. poor leadership, governance, practice, relationships etc you must address it.  If no-one pulls it up, then you are giving permission for it to continue and grow.  M.Fullan - move towards the danger.  Courageous leadership means to identify and address the issues.

End of the day reflection...

Having the opportunity to come together with other first time Māori tumuaki/principals has been invaluable.  When some of us were asked to give 1 word that sums up our day I heard - safe, synergy and support.  Being with other principals with Māori connections, beliefs and experiences made this a safe environment to talk about our unique experiences as Māori leaders in our first principal role. Synergy came through in the ways we all talked about similar ways of working, how we were feeling, successes and challenges we have been faced with and how we are experiencing our new positions.  Support was given and received by all - we all empathised with each others stories and shared ideas and tips for helping us solve challenges we face, or being able to work smarter, not harder.

Click here if you want to know more about Manukura and Ako Panuku

Wednesday, December 7, 2016