Friday, 24 June 2022

Schools That Deliver 4 years on; a day to share and celebrate progress & successes

In a 'school that delivers', the principal carries the vision, sensitivities, and skill sets of cultural change and creates the conditions in which teachers become the leaders of instruction and students become the leaders of the future (Edwards, J. and Martin, B., 2016, p.xiii). You can read more about a school that delivers where students become the leaders of the future in a blogpost from 2017 at this link.

On a Monday in May, our staff came together for a professional learning day with the Schools That Deliver facilitators Mary and Lab Wilson. The day was about learning, sharing and celebrating our achievements. 

As I prepare to finish at St Patrick's and take up a new role supporting and growing the leadership capability at several schools, I feel a genuine sense of pride in the self motivated actions of the staff at St Patrick's. The staff are all leaders in their own right and with the support of their colleagues in the three faith teams: Faith and Community; Faith and Curriculum; Faith, Wellbeing and Diversity; teachers are engaging and motivating their students to become the leaders of the future.

Here is a reflection from the facilitators...

The team at St Patricks have been on a journey since 2018 to realise a shared vision that was created with listening respectfully to every voice. Through the last four years the team has stayed focused and developed aligned actions to deliver on their vision ensuring they stop regularly, review actions and their impact. From this point new actions have been developed and the journey continued. This has required strong focused leadership and time to deepen community trust and involvement. Alongside these actions has been the building of leadership capacity and capability school wide focusing on how to use their faith in all they do. This was achieved by all staff belonging to one of three teams ( Faith & Community, Faith & Curriculum, Faith, Diversity & Wellbeing). Last week the three teams presented their achievements to date, the data that has informed these actions and suggested next steps. We were blown away with the passion, depth and enthusiasm. The excitement, ownership and pride of what they have achieved was clearly evident. This showed how much each of them was invested in the process. Their ability to articulate what they had done, why they are doing it and the impact it had was outstanding. There was clear evidence of growth in them all.

 Mary & Lab Wilson May 2022

Here is some feedback from the staff...
  • As I was a staff member when the Schools That Deliver initiative was started at St Patrick’s it was so great to see all our progress over the years and celebrate our achievements. Notably how the core values which we came up with as a staff are so ingrained with all members of our school community. It was a really valuable day that allowed us to look back at how much we have done to move our school forward in a positive manner. The development of our school vision was such a wonderful process and I feel like all our voices were heard.“The knowledge is in the room” is a quote that I have taken away from the professional learning days as we all have so much to offer and a certain expertise that we can delve into it.“Less is more” We need to take our time and do things well. 
  • The day gave us an opportunity to share all of our hard work, and celebrate all the teams’ efforts. It's interesting to see where we started from and all the positive things we have achieved. I like the development of our vision and how we using our vision as our guide. Our vision is a working document that can be changed to suit our school.
  • Presenting to the staff helped me reflect on what we have achieved. Sometimes I feel like we haven’t achieved much as a team because it’s not always visible, but the process of collating everything and sharing it with the staff, as well as the feedback received, helped to reinforce what we have done this semester and where we are headed.
  • It was good to be able to present our team’s work. It was a great opportunity to reflect on all the hard work put in by every team... It was positive to come together as a staff and own the shared vision.
Below is a synopsis of the work of our 3 teams and their presentations to colleagues. 
The Faith and Community Team share their presentation


The Faith and Curriculum Team share their presentation

The Faith, Wellbeing and Diversity Team share their presentation

Here is a reflection from an impartial observer who visited St Patrick's on the day.

Dear Jenny,

It was an honour and privilege to be an observer at St. Patrick's, as you and the staff participated in a day of Professional Learning on Schools That Deliver - an internationally renowned initiative that St.Patrick's commenced four years ago.

From the moment I arrived I felt very welcome at St. Patrick's. Sincere thanks to all staff of St. Patrick's.
 
Listening and seeing the presentations of the three teams, Faith and Community, Faith and Curriculum, Faith, Diversity and Wellbeing, sent such powerful messages. The passion and commitment of each team was clearly evident as they shared what they have done and are doing; their goals, achievements, actions, community involvement, the ongoing growth of the pedagogical expertise of staff, building relationships, developing a safe and positive learning environment and so much more. 

The whole time I was at St. Patrick's I also saw and felt what I had read on the school's website, that "Catholic identity underpins all we do."

Throughout the day I was so aware of the active engagement and participation of each person in the room. The enthusiasm, the trust shown in sharing their experiences and ideas and the alignment evident in what they are doing; their goals and openness in moving forward and building on their learning as they continue to transform the research and practice based ideas and strategies of Schools That Deliver into action so constructively as they move closer to their shared vision.

Congratulations on all that St. Patrick's is doing.

Sincerely,
Karin Morrison May 2022


In a 'school that delivers', the principal carries the vision, sensitivities, and skill sets of cultural change and creates the conditions in which teachers become the leaders of instruction and students become the leaders of the future (Edwards, J. and Martin, B., 2016, p.xiii). 
I leave St Patrick's assured that the teachers are the leaders of instruction. The staff are self motivated and they are creating the conditions for the students to become the leaders of the future.

The new principal of St Patrick's will receive the vision as a gift from the staff and together with the staff will ensure that all learners will continue to be engaged and motivated learners always faithful to a loving God and ....Learners will leave St Patrick's ready to make a positive impact on their world.

Acknowledgements:
Mary & Lab Wilson from BATS Your vision your future
Karen Morrison Observer & colleague of John Edwards
The passionate and enthusiastic leaders and staff of St Patrick's for permission to share their photos, presentations and stories and be part of their incredible journey for the last 6 years


Saturday, 18 June 2022

...Learners leave St Patrick’s self motivated and ready to make a positive impact on their world

When I commenced as principal of St Patrick's school in 2016, I worked with the staff, students and the parent community to create a succinct vision statement. The outcome of that work is our "why" ...We are engaged and motivated learners always faithful to our loving God. How did we get to this statement? You can read the back story at this link. 

Ongoing professional learning enabled our staff to develop a detailed, shared vision narrative and core values that encapsulate "how" to bring the vision to life. As I prepare to leave St Pat's, I feel assured that the shared vision and the accompanying core values are truly embedded throughout the actions of the community. 

In particular, the last sentence of the shared vision is is especially significant. It states "what" we want for our Year 6 graduates.....Learners leave St Patrick’s self motivated and ready to make a positive impact on their world..... 

Our St Pat's students start to demonstrate self motivation in Year 5. I recently went to talk to one of our Year 5 classes about the school's shared vision. They asked me if the vision narrative is a piece of persuasive writing from the staff. This is indeed an impressive observation from Year 5 students who certainly know the power of persuasive writing.

The following story clearly links the vision, the core values, the impact of purposeful teaching, the learning that followed and the outcome of the heartfelt, self motivated actions of one Year 5 learner. 

This is the story of how Elisha and her classmates show that they are already self motivated to make a positive impact on their world.....

Below is a letter from Elisha
A few weeks earlier, I received some letters from Elisha and her Year 5 classmates.. 


Elisha set the scene expressing the far-reaching effects of the pandemic.....



Darby supports her case by making reference to relevant research...








And Lily... her pom poms!
Eliza strengthens her case by referring to the school's core values....
And Tate also emphasises our core values....


Persuasive letters from the whole class proved too much for me ! How could I resist these requests written with such passion and purpose ? The Year 5C class definitely succeeded in persuading me that they should go to the swimming carnival. 
All of the efforts to support their peers at the swimming carnival planted a seed in the mind of one reflective Year 5 learner and the actions that followed definitely made an impact on her world.

With the support of Elisha's classmates and the whole school community, Elisha's persuasive letter about raising funds to Fight Parkinson's through a school bake sale became a reality. 


Elisha later told me that her Poppa cried with joy at the outcome of her actions.

Below is the response from Fight Parkinson's 

Hi Elisha and classmates of 5C,

I am writing to you today to thank you for raising funds for Fight Parkinson’s at your school bake sale. I heard that your baked goods were delicious and sold out very quickly!

We appreciate the phenomenal effort you have made in helping to raise awareness and funds of $1,065.00 to help people who have Parkinson’s disease. Well done!

We would also like to thank all of your supporters and the St. Patrick’s Primary School community who helped you to achieve your goal.

Please see the attached Certificate of Appreciation; we thank you once again for your generosity and support of our organisation.

Kind regards,


Melanie Worthington

Donor and Supporter Services



When we can share heartfelt stories that demonstrate the authentic and purposeful actions of our young learners, then we are gifted with the evidence of ... learners being self motivated and ready to make a positive impact on their world.....

I received a number of beautiful messages of congratulations when I announced my new position to the community early this term.

The message below from one family reiterates the difference that we can make when we listen with our hearts and believe in the immense capability of our young learners.. to make a positive impact on their world.....

.".....I just want to say thank you for everything you have done, in particular the way you have empowered little people to feel they can approach you with suggestions and ideas. I still remember my three girls wanting to do something to help Michelle Barclay when she was diagnosed. Their little idea of getting our beautiful school involved in Daffodil Day was received so well by both you and the staff. You then continued to empower the girls to speak about it and to help run the day. This day is now a day the school and our entire community acknowledges yearly. What a beautiful Legacy to be a part of....."

We are all learners no matter who we are; be it students, staff, parents or community members. We continually learn and grow, we change 2 flourish in our professional and personal lives.

Like our St Pat's graduates, I too feel self motivated and ready to make a positive impact  in my new role as Leadership Consultant for the Melbourne Archdiocese Catholic Schools (MACS). Many rich and rewarding learning experiences at St Pat's have contributed to who I am and have prepared me to be able to support, advise and and grow the leadership capability across several MACS schools.

I am truly blessed to have led the St Patrick's school community for 6 years with the support of such inspiring leaders and staff. 

Each and every staff member is open to learning to be the best that they can be and will continue to remain committed to the school's vision and values. Our staff will ensure that the young learners that they teach will have the very best opportunity to grow and flourish so that when our learners graduate in Year 6, they too will...

....leave St Patrick’s self motivated and ready to make a positive impact on their world.....



Acknowledgements:
Miss Currenti and the Year 5C students for sharing their persuasive letters and giving me permission to publish extracts from some of the letters
Elisha for wanting to make a difference for her Poppa
All of the inspiring students, staff and families at St Patrick's school
William Martin, John Edwards, Mary & Lab Wilson for the Schools That Deliver professional learning