Monday, April 6, 2015

Out of my comfort zone (again!)

With the conclusion of term one it is an opportune moment to reflect on what I have learnt as a leader.  The decision to move from a highly effective learning environment at Stanley Avenue School was always going to be a difficult one, but it was definitely time for a new challenge and context.

In preparing for the term ahead I carefully considered what I had learnt from experience and study.  This is partially reflected in a diagram that I created that reflects the thinking of Fullan and Vivianne Robinson amongst others.

It was then a matter of considering what was urgent and what was important to act on.  To keep things as simple as possible I broke down my actions to some simple catch phrases that I shared with all stakeholders.  

LISTEN-  Enviro Scan


Firstly I knew that it was essential to be highly visible.  Taking on roles such as road patrol in the mornings, coaching at lunchtimes, visiting classes, attending kapa haka and simple ideas such as removing blinds from my office helped achieve this.  

Obviously forming and maintaining effective relationships was crucial.  This began with students and staff and then involved parents, members of the community and Waikato University (being a normal school).  Holding several parent evenings and hui was an excellent start.  During this time I concentrated on listening..... what was going well at the school, what needed changing?  These ideas formed the beginning of an environmental scan which considered many areas such as property, finance, relationships, learning and creating a future focussed learning environment.  

So what does success look like?  In one word TRUST.  It was always going to take time for people to see that my words were reflected in my actions.  During the term there were many opportunities to reinforce some key messages such as keeping our learners at the centre of everything we do.  

This new blog will differ from the principal blog I maintained at Stanley Avenue in that it will highlight the fun and learning at Silverdale Normal but will also show my progress as a leader.  I look forward to some feedback!  My next post will consider some of the exciting developments that have taken place in term one.  

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