last week I attended the Waikato Principals’ Catch up day. Always a must on my calendar. The principal speaking this time round was from Christchurch- speaking about the rebuild and MLE classrooms.
A few things stood out for me;
1. What is the purpose of the rebuild? For example, we will soon embark on a new refurbishment here at school, however the principal spoke about questioning. Question what do we want to see in our new classrooms. What is the purpose of a reading area- what would be stand out for us. I think his message was to unpack the WHY- right down to the new furniture that will be placed in the room. He suggested we slow down and stop. What is it we really value in our school- not just because others have done it that way! He also suggested we make a list of settings in the class- e.g. a cooking area, a reading area….then make sure they are put in the design. (He had used Carol Dweck ideas and pedagogy.)
2. Make sure when rebuilding that we talk to the architect- try and give an overview and let them work their magic. For example- Rather saying I want a breakfast bar- say I want a place in the room where the family can meet for chats and get togethers for breakfast. That way the scope is broader and you may be surprised with what they design!
3. Pipe line- this was great- it was from a research group….the pipeline of leadership.
let people in the pipeline do their work!!! Team leaders to do their leaders things….DP to carry out their responsibilities. If as a leader you are always reaching down and checking on the pipes…..then leadership isn’t happening. Let each pipeline do what they were built for. Leave the leaders in charge to do their thing!
4. This is a favourite of mine- the managing of complex change! If a component is missing- change really doesn’t happen!!! A very good graphic to have up in the office!!
At the moment we have PLD in Formative assessment…we have noted a few things over the years if one part of this component is missing; for example- the skills were missing to put A4L in place….we thought we were teaching/ coaching them….but we noted we had anxiety in delivering A4L in our classes.
Again another time…the teachers could not quite see how formative assessment sat in our school let alone their class- we needed to sell them a vision- that what was lacking. So therefore we had confusion! A great graphic to use to help support PLD or changes in the school.
5. Appraisal- more of a walk through with a colleague and chat….coaching style. This I feel is in place here at NVS. I have tried to use David Rock work on Quiet leadership to carry out this part of the appraisal. It Involves more deeper thinking on the part of the person I have observed! Its about pulling out the ideas from within them!
6. Teachers need to believe in the philosophy of the school. Why is our school different from the one down the road? Focus on the staff believing in the philosophy and then the magic will trickle down to the children.
I too believe in the same motto that Mike Anderson, (the speaker) has;
To make a difference- our children must leave the gate better than when they walked in!
(in my books- each day, each week, each month, each term, each year and when they graduate! We have helped grow them in every way!- mind, heart and spirit!)