If there is one thing I know for certain, it is that I have been a very busy man over the last 2 months and unfortunately/fortunately for a myriad of reasons.
In saying this, it is good to be back finally writing this as contributing to my blog a great release. It allows me to reflect, redirect and reaffirm the work that I have been doing.
I have more post ideas currently than you can poke a stick at and over the coming week/s I’ll be entering a blog posting frenzy. I hope.
The first cab off the rank is to share the recent happenings, and in essence, the finalization of my recently completed ‘Bastow Institute of Educational Leadership’ Course ‘Leading School Improvement’.
I will start by saying that prior to this year I had never attended anything at Bastow due to not having the time and it not overly aligning with my goals and work at that time. This year however has seen a complete flip and it has almost been my second home. I’ve been gobsmacked with the quality of courses and facilitators who drive the programs and workshops and all have been outstanding. Due to my recent Bastow attendance(s) my thinking towards education and educational leadership has shifted towards a more purposeful and driven approach regarding the work I do and how that impacts others.
Now regarding this course, I was brought in a tad late due to the others involved at my College having signed up last year and me only coming on board this year. This only resulted me missing the first day of the 5 day course so the impact was not overly worrying.
Now rather than give an account of the course itself (because you can read about what it entails here: http://www.bastow.vic.edu.au/courses/leading-school-improvement) I am wanting to share the project that stemmed from it and the impact that it has had on teachers and students at my setting Northern Bay College.
To ‘lead school improvement’ we were wanting to break away from the norm and attempt to tackle more than one issue at a time, which in hindsight was overly ambitious, but, I am confident in saying that I feel we pulled it off.
Our plan was to increase student learning outcomes, increase engagement, and through the use of a flipped classroom model / approach. We run a BYOD iPad Framework from years 3-8 and the take up is not as high as we would like it to be. Teachers also, as outstanding as they are, need/ed further support in how to better and more purposefully integrate the devices that students have access to. Our P-2 students have access via shared college owned devices.
And from the above, SWITCH was born!
The SWITCH Program involved four communities of learners within our P-8 campuses. Their amazing teachers were then charged with creating flipped videos to support and enhance their learning. We were wanting to extend the learning of the students just beyond the daily grind of 9:00 – 3:30. At the beginning there was meetings with teachers, pitches given to principals and information sessions ran for parents.
The nuts and bolts of the program resulted in a YouTube channel being created and all created videos being uploaded to that space. Currently, 6 months on, we have over 80 videos that have been viewed over 5,300+ times. A massive credit to those teachers who have crafted and shaped what they do to better engage learning to enhance learning. The YouTube channel is linked here.
Now I could go on about the intricacies of the program and what was achieved. That however is best suited to and read in the final report.
Throughout the 6 month journey that was embarked upon I certainly learnt a few core lessons about leading school improvement. Things that I am confident in that will help me to be a more focused leader in facilitating and leading change. I have listed below my “Top 10 Tips for Leading School Improvement” and would love a comment or two on your thoughts!
- To drive change and improvement in a school a clear vision needs to be established, articulated, and referred back to constantly.
- If you are not part of the ‘leadership’, you need to have the backing of the ‘leadership’.
- Align the change and improvement you’re wanting to make to the current school/college plans and goals.
- Research, research, research. Evidence to support and back what you’re doing goes a long way to assisting improvement to occur.
- Pulling people into the change process, because they want to be part it, works a hell of a lot better than pushing them into it.
- Recognise and celebrate the positives. And the people.
- Note that people involved in the process of leading improvement, i.e. Teachers, are at different points in their learning also. Play to this and look to build capacity where you can.
- Reflection during the change process, not just after it, is imperative.
- Data is your friend. It reaffirms that the work that is being done is making a difference. And remember, focus on the growth that is made, not on the achievement.
- Lead school improvement and change towards this because you want to, not because you have to or are told to. Passion and drive towards improvement trumps everything.
If you would like to read our final report/book that we developed, click to access a PDF Version of the iBook that was created. I’d share the iBook however it’s over 1GB in size… 🙂