Sunday, November 24, 2013

Restorative Practice

Three days of workshops with Marg Thorsborne on Restorative Practice ended the week which started with Julia Atkin challenging the thinking of our new staff. We have a great opportunity to work together as foundation staff and students to create a truly restorative school. I believe that without the restorative practice component we will not be able to claim to be student-centred. That's the wero that has been presented to us.

All of our brains were exploding with the insights Marg Thorsborne shared with us along with the challenges she laid before us

Shandy and perfect fish and chips is a great date with an Aussie sheila

Working the circles with HPSS staff and Marg Thorsborne

Processing it all on Saturday with a solo paddle. The mind was alive with the biology of restorative practice and the window, boxy thing.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Sunday, November 17, 2013

We Will Rock You

We were greeted by this mural across the wall when the staff of HPSS walked into the

Our job was to discover the power of flexible spaces in supporting future-focused learning and to participate in collaborative problem-solving activities to broaden our understanding of what powerful learning can look like.

Our challenge was to programme a robot. Not one like this (unfortunately)

but more like the ground hugging cockroach type.

Staff responded with awe

a strong competitive focus

all-out collaboration

and approached the start line in a co-operative and collaborative manner!

But the week wasn't just rocking with fun activities. Lea has forged some strong connections with local businesses and Pete and I did the same when mountain biking at Woodhill on the weekend. I am continually surprised by the willingness of people to engage with what we are putting in plaace for our learners. They seem as excited as we are!

On Thursday night it was great to participate in Danielle's EdchatNZ on twitter as the wider on-line teaching community is grappling with the concept of student-centred learning. Danielle's leadership of this community is truly stunning and is contributing to the growth of all of us at work.

On Thursday and Friday Claire was with her Professional Learning Team at the National Library undergoing their own PL so that they can lead the promotion of digital citizenship across our school. I'm looking forward to their feedback but you don't have to wait as Georgi the Search Engine has already posted a blog on her thoughts.

Friday was spent with me burying myself too deep in budgets, a local principals' association and then dealing with urgent property and equipment issues too late into a Friday evening. I think my focus is going to have to be quite different over the next few weeks as real deadlines are stacking up like landing planes at our airfield. These things have to be done but I am going to have to search for ways to keep up with the thinking and planning of my colleagues as they bring life to our thinking about curriculum. One way to do that is to keep reading the blogposts from the team as they live out our desire to be open and share all of our thinking and ideas.

Liz has posted a great series of thoughts on the work around projects which she has been immersed in and Steve's latest post is not only valuable in the sense of the content but also in the model of presentation he followed to allow him to be in two places at once.

This week begins with a day with Julia Atkin (mainly with our new staff) and on Wednesday we will be treated to 3 days from the wonderful Margaret Thorsborne as we explore how restorative practice will be central in our school.

Our world is going to be rocked all week! Can't wait to tell you about it.

Monday, November 11, 2013

"In The Light"

Outstanding feedback from ERO today about our readiness for opening in 2014 had me, initially, wanting to share their thoughts widely, but then, on reflection, decided it would be better to share with our team tomorrow first. So, I've decided to post a few pictures that captured events throughout the day.

 The railway station-type clock in our soon-to-be-completed building had stopped 2 seconds before midnight so reminded me we still had plenty of time left.
It also reminded me that even a stopped clock is exactly right twice a day!

Claire and Lex with the ERO team inspecting the physical spaces in which we will deliver our innovative teaching and learning models.

Steve proudly displaying the serial robotics kit he convinced me to buy for a couple of hundred dollars which comprises a toothbrush and a bit of paper!

Staff meeting with ERO framed with a highly appropriate caption that summarises how ERO felt after meeting with them.
These staff talked of the truly collaborative nature of their working environment and leadership which allows all to shine; a climate we must be determined to maintain and grow.

Traditional Ninja ERO photo!

Even I am allowed my time to shine and share the big picture before the real experts take over.
Di sharing the rigour her team has constructed to track curriculum coverage and learning progress.

The strongest feedback from ERO was about leadership. My personal reflections on their feedback has steeled my resolve that, despite the challenges and setbacks from time-to-time, one of my key roles is to challenge the full group of leaders (in our case all staff) to contribute strongly to a climate of mutual respect and high trust and to allow others the opportunity to shine "in the light" (Led Zep). 

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Darkness on the Edge (of Town)

The best way to keep up with the actual work we have been doing and what reflections we make on that work is to visit the blogs on the right sidebar as many staff are blogging regularly on their involvement in this great journey.

The LOls were off site on Thursday: Di and the SLLs in a room at the Catalina where they have been looking closely at QA for the modular elements of our curriculum and Lea and the SLLs were at Sally's whare in Muriwai finalising their planning for the Professional Learning and Planning we are about to embark on.

It was cool to hang out for the day with the rest of the staff though I must admit I concentrated on preparing for BOT meeting and other admin type stuff.

Sarah spent a lot of the day working with her Project Planning Team and it was while coming out to take a break that Martin paused to make a comment to me about the nature of the team work he was experiencing. He commented that he had done a lot of study about teams and collaboration and that he had worked in many teams but had come to the realisation that he had, in fact, never worked in truly collaborative teams but was now doing so. When I explored with him what he was experiencing he shared that, like in all of the teams he was part of at HPSS, there was a team 'leader' but that everyone contributed equally, everyone was challenged equally and all points of view contributed to whatever the outcome was.

Later on at morning tea Danielle, who was about to leave for NEAL commitments walked in and announced she was excited. When quizzed about that she explained that for years she had been involved in project learning that was just mush, but that the work Sarah and her team was doing was applying real rigour to this important element of our curriculum.

Later in the day I shared these comments with Sarah who responded by saying that the clear and rigorously justified vision and values created by the Senior Leadership Team was acting as a trampoline from which everyone else was able to launch from.

That evening I presented the curriculum elements and timetable plan to the BOT who were impressed with our thinking and planning. After the hui our Governance Facilitator told me that he expected us to deliver something quite different but not as different as what we did present. e was impressed.

Now to impress ERO with it all on Monday.

Friday was just as busy and as exciting but the highlight for me was running into Georgi The Search Engine who had returned from a day visiting libraries throughout Auckland on a SLANZA tour with Leigh. She was alive with enthusiasm and possibilities, not because of what she saw but because of what she didn't see. Her parting comment was something like, "We're going to shake a few cages (and be a truly future focused library)".

Friday night's highlight was ColinMathura Jeffrey favouriting my tweet made at the museum talk on beauty!

closely followed by another wonderful performance by the Moderm Maori Quartet (musical director: Tama Waipara).
See them if you get the chance!

Apart from a paddle on the harbour (once again in choppy seas) with Lea, a whanau swim afternoon at Muriwai and a great MTB in Woodhill with Pete, the other weekend highlight was Art in the Dark where people were struggling to escape the clutches of a pohutukawa and its roots:

A horse being brought to life by being towed by a bike:
And my favourite was the two dudes on bikes creating enough power to power 2 laptops, a chandelier and, best of all, a turntable which was playing Bowie's Ziggy Stardust!
Catch you later in the week!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Fish Finding Feet

On Monday morning Annette reminded us of 8 key aspects of effective teams that she had gleaned from her coaching network:
Common Goals
Rules of the game
Action Plans
Risk taking
100% inclusion
Celebrating success
Creating ... (something I can't read from my handwritten notes!)

The first session of the week was the SLT working with the LOLs to plan both the first four weeks of the new year when we would be based in the primary school inducting our students into our ay of learning and the orientation day we are holding later this term.

After morning tea Sally worked with staff on further planning around orientation day while we in the SLT gave and took through a process of planning the professional learning programme through to the end of the term.

The final session of the day was me introducing the new Ka Hikitia and Pacific Education Plans to the staff which resulted in some great discussion about our obligations as leader educators to the Treaty of Waitangi. The neat outcome was 8 staff volunteering to be part of the team to bring ideas for enhancing education outcomes for Maori and Pacifika to reality.

This morning we were introduced to Georgi the Search Engine our wonderful Library Leader who inspired us with her description of her vision of what being a librarian at our school meant.

Georgi talked about her role as being one to help lay the foundations for our learning programmes and encouraged us simply to .....

Simple, really!

Megan then ran two sessions on effective goal setting and feedback, the subject of her recently completed thesis.

It was during this session that Danielle introduced the metaphor of fish finding their feet. She talked of big fish in small ponds, then moving to a pond with lots of big fish and then trying to find your feet in that environment.

Later on over lunch Georgi and I explored the metaphor further agreeing we preferred the idea of fish within a lagoon rather than a pond of fishbowl as, rather than being self-contained, a lagoon is refreshed with nutrients on a regular basis from the ever-washing tide and fresh water streams flowing into it!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

It's all Hunky Dory (Bowie)

I've been thinking about leadership a lot recently and there is no doubt that, like any major change, this new model of secondary education that we are planning to introduce requires different leadership at all levels.

One of the big concentrations of our work has been in the area of I of GPLISEO (Institutions) as we have been working on creating new institutions of schooling in our minds and then constructing them in reality. As my previous post mentioned, along with the many posts from our staff (access them in my sidebar for the various perspectives), one of the highlights of this week was the revealing of the institutions that will support the Specialised Learning Modules element of our curriculum.

The L of GPILSEO (Leadership) has been vital in getting to this point. A new way of schooling definitely requires a new way of leadership.

I have been a principal for 11 years. All of those years have been tough and challenging, but also very rewarding. Despite the absence of students and all the teaching interactions and relationships that go with that this year has been no less challenging. Every aspect of leadership has been open to scrutiny, which is how it should be, while trying to assist and guide others as they develop their leadership.

I would definitely call all of our staff leaders though all have come from environments with traditional leadership structures. As well, very few have been involved in leadership of major change across  a whole school. But leadership is blossoming at our school!

Di's team of SLLs certainly has shown what happens when people assume the elements of autonomy and accountability in areas that they aspire to lead. Lea's team of LTL's have also exhibited the same in running hands-on workshops on how to know our learners. Claire's team of Professional Learning Leaders has begun to hit its straps with awesome plans emerging for teaching inquiry, library development and staff appraisal. And Sarah's work in developing the Big Project aspect of our curriculum is benefiting from her leadership and passion.

But leadership is at all levels and I'm convinced more and more that leadership is a diposition and not a position and true accountability comes with the sense of our collective responsibility to get this right for the learners of Hobsonville or as Maliina so beautifully put it ....

The strong sense of whanaungatanga that is driving our teams is truly impressive; whether that be in planning innovative curriculum structures or compiling budget requests. Everywhere there are leaders:

But just as importantly all of these leaders are happy to allow themselves to be led by their colleagues:

We're working hard, but we're also having fun!

Well done to Team Tahi for winning last Friday's Masterchef!

What does the coming week hold? There will be some stunning leadership and whanaungatanga will strengthen further. We'll have completed the first part of our budgeting processing (adding up what everyone has asked for!), settled on our IT services contract as well as our printing and photocopying, prepared for next Monday's all important ERO visit, had a BOT meeting at which I hope to get permission to spend some money and appoint some more staff, enrolled a few more students, formed teams to plan to address achievement of Maori and Pasifica students and to prepare for Consent to Assess against NCEA, planned Orientation Day, visited Marina View Primary, continued development of our school Charter, participated in workshops and presentations delivered by several of our wonderful leaders and had some fun!

A weekend of kayaking on a choppy Waitemata, mountainbiking in the Woodhill Forest, going to the movies (Rush), finding a new craft beer pub, eating great food at a new (for me) Malaysian Restaurant (Selena) has me almost ready for another great week.