Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Students become the leaders of the future through internally driven change

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).

When I began in my leadership role at St Patrick's, I became immersed in the vibrant school community by carrying out a visioning process. You can read about the outcomes of the process at this link. The staff have since spent the 2017 year carrying out action research using the Spiral of Inquiry action research model as a guide. You can read about the process at this link. As an outcome of this process, staff have worked on self chosen projects linked to our School Improvement Plan that have immediately impacted processes of positive change across the school. These have included: 
  • an e-learning team who have agreed the St Pat's way forward for skill development and devices aligned with the rationale of the Victorian Digital Curriculum.
  • a school reporting team who are reviewing current reporting practices to better meet the needs of the community.
  • a specialist PE & art team exploring ways to address fine and gross motor skill development.
  • a social skills team forging a pathway for developing resilience in students and addressing ways to support parents to do this. 
The next stage is to embed this new learning and further develop it through deep consultation with the community. To enable this stage to embed and flourish, St Patrick's staff will join the Schools That Deliver Network.

The professional learning from this network provides a process for taking ownership of our own growth. The following extracts are taken from the Schools that Deliver book and I acknowledge the authors for permission to publish their material in this blog. Details of the process can be found in Chapter One of the book: Edwards, J. and Martin, B. (2016) Schools That Deliver. Thousand Oaks, California: Corwin Press. 

'Schools that deliver' are dedicated to enhancing others (teacher & leadership expertise) who in turn, ultimately produce maximum growth in students' acquisition of desired outcomes (Hattie, 2003; Hargreaves & Fullan, 2012; Edwards & Martin, 2016). This is done through these key concepts:
  • The knowledge is in the room - people feel liberated, committed and collaborative
  • Creating a culture of trust and thoughtful collaboration - relational trust needs to flourish
  • Liberating leadership in others - developing others' capacity to solve their own problems
Dr John Edwards, is an Australian international researcher, using research to drive an award-winning practice in education, in business and industry, and in high-performance sport. John is Managing Director of Edwards Explorations, an Australian based company concerned with developing human potential and internally driven transformation of schools. He has a long and distinguished international career in research on how people think, and has been one of the major research grant recipients in cognitive science in Australia. John has worked in over twenty countries on teaching thinking, on tapping human potential, on organisational learning, and on leadership. 

Bill Martin has forty-nine years of experience as an educator and has won numerous awards for his successful leadership of schools in America. Bill has also presented invited addressees at International Conferences on Thinking in United States, United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Sweden, Spain and Malaysia. Bill has facilitated long term professional development programmes to grow leadership capacity in Norway and Sweden.

Clarifying what is in the hearts and souls of each school community are at the core of John and Bill's work. Having the understanding and processes to make this a reality on each school site is the 'deliver' part of the solution.

We are ready to join an international community of educators who share faith in internally-driven change. We are looking forward to embarking on a three year whole school staff development and leadership programme. We are ready to take ownership of our own growth based on a deep faith in the staff and families to design their own ways forward for the enhancement of student learning so that students at St Patrick's can indeed become the leaders of the future.

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