Each program contains a series of sessions that are a blend of research and best practice presentations, coupled with workshops designed to tailor content to specific contexts, by blending international advice with local experience and understandings. The programs require participants to engage actively in the sessions through, for example, using their own school’s survey data, interacting with colleagues, tackling problem solving scenarios, and completing non-threatening assessments of what they have learned and gained from each session.
How to Plan for and Achieve Effective and Sustainable School Improvement
This program focuses on the phenomenon of change in the context of school improvement. It explores theoretical and research content relevant to the nature of change, factors promoting change and those that challenge it. In particular, it deals with how a more systematic approach to understanding forces and variables influencing school systems, schools and classrooms can be used to avoid simplistic explanations and underdeveloped improvement strategies. We investigate how to elicit open and honest discussions between groups and individuals – a critical prerequisite to consensus building and collective effort. We explore how best to find what are the major factors influencing the school’s performance (positively and negatively).
The topic covers a broad range of school roles and responsibilities that ultimately affect the quality of teaching and learning and how different policies, programs and practices impact student performance and well-being. The participants will explore what has been learned about change for improvement in schools and systems drawing especially on international research, literature and best practice that contain valuable lessons for local contexts. In particular, the approach will consider the various ‘component parts’ of the school’s responsibilities and activities based on the five domains surveyed in The Balanced Scorecard for Schools Program (BSfS). Those domains include: School Environment, School Leadership, Teaching and Learning, Well-being and Equity, and Use of Technology. With the benefit of having a report on their own school’s BSfS survey findings, participants will be trained in how they can take full advantage of the rich information and data provided in the report.
A major objective of the training is to build each participant’s knowledge, understanding, skill and (most of all) confidence in knowing what the data says and how it can best be used. Participants will have frequent opportunities to compare their data with others, to apply their data to analytic processes and to link these to improvement strategies. There will be an emphasis on recognising where the data suggests opportunities for improvement and where it endorses current practice. This information will then be coupled to the understanding of the dynamics of change – prospects for positive change and forces working against change. The program emphasises the importance of context, managing change, inclusivity, communication, engagement and the careful planning and monitoring of progress. It will highlight likely risks and suitable risk management strategies.
Participants will be introduced to a (templated) methodology for building school improvement plans and implementation strategies and will investigate how their school’s BSfS information and data can be used to give content, shape, form and guidance to change strategies. This involves instruction in process and method together with significant sessions that enable participant collaboration in order to model the dynamics of working with strategies for change in their own school setting - where there is a diversity of views, philosophies and personalities. A key objective of the program will be to locate the content very much in a realistic setting that is directly relevant to, and representative of, the participant’s own school. Another key focus is on the elements of stakeholders’ motivation, engagement, mindsets together with prevailing attitudes and behaviours.
- Determine your Vision
- Recognise that every School is an ‘Eco-System’
- Understand your school’s Data and Findings
- ‘Get Below the Surface’
- Organise for Change
- Bring it All Together