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A resilient home: The Fonofale Model of Health

It’s Vaiaso o le Gagana Samoa 2020 – a time to celebrate Samoan language, culture and identity. And this year, the theme is Tapena sau ōso mo lau malaga, which translates to “prepare yourself a gift for your travels”.   So, in line with this – and our recent focus on resilience during a crisis – we would like to highlight a model of wellbeing that all leaders can learn from, one that finds its roots in Samoa: the Fonofale model of health.   What is the Fonofale model of health?  Developed by Samoan-born academic Fuimaono Karl Pulotu-Endemann, the Fonofale model of health is a system of wellbeing that acknowledges and embraces Pacific perspectives.   It is a model built around a simple idea: the Samoan fale, or house. However, it includes elements from many nations, including the Cook Islands, Niue, Fiji, Tokelau and Tonga.   This fale represents one’s overall wellbeing, and is comprised of multiple individual elements.   The floor, or foundation, represents aiga – family. Not just your immediate relatives, but extended family and anyone you are linked to by partnership or agreement.   The roof is your culture, your beliefs and value system that provide protection and shelter. Pulotu-Endemann notes that this can be traditional beliefs tied to a specific Pacific identity, but can also focus more on Palagi identity and values.   These two parts of the fale structure are then supported – figuratively and literally – but four pou (pillars). They represent the spiritual, the physical, mental and ‘other’ aspects of your wellbeing. Other includes elements like sexuality, socio-economic status and gender.   No one part of this fale stands in isolation – they are all reliant on and supportive of one another. Then, all around the fale, sits a circle, boundary or cocoon that has the final three elements:  The environment surrounds the fale, and is focused on the physical setting, no matter where you are.   Time and context relate to, respectively, a point in time that impacts Pacific people and the surrounding socio-economic, political, legal or personal context that shapes who you are.   For many people, this might be a new way of looking at wellbeing. Typically, we might only consider two or three elements of this when looking at how we’re feeling, or what we can change to improve our situation. But in times when we need to take the utmost care with our wellbeing, models like Fonofale show us a different way of approaching ourselves.  Why are models like Fonofale so important?   In New Zealand, it is critical that we apply a culturally competent lens to everything we do that involves Pacific or indigenous people - especially in schools.   Helping people learn and grow as themselves is paramount, and models like Fonofale (or Hauora, Te Vaka Atafaga, Kalaka and Fa’afaletui) help both leaders and learners do that. It also provides a far better framework when looking at issues like our widening mental health gap for Pacific youth.   And beyond cultural responsiveness, the Fonofale model of health has a lot it can teach about resilience and wellbeing. Mackay et al have noted that Māori and Pacific models have a strong focus on both connection and reciprocity which, in addition to adhering to the overarching principles of Te Tiriti, are likely to help the practice of looking after your wellbeing. On top of this, it has recently been foundational for helping older people reconnect with their identity and culture.   At a time when we’re emerging from two months of disconnect and relative isolation, Fonofale gives us a model for taking stock of everything in our lives, identifying what’s going well (and not), and charting a clear path to resilience and wellbeing.  
2 min read
News

The home school life: An interview with Sven Pannell

Sven Pannell, Director at KPMG and four-year veteran of Springboard Trust programme facilitation, is showing me his monobrow. “These maniacal little ones,” he says, “have scratched me right between the eyes in a ‘tickle-fight’ and now I look like I have a monobrow over Zoom calls”. Gesturing to the rest of his home office, he points out painting supplies and toys scattered around the books and folders. “If you look downstairs, it’s total carnage – huts, toys everywhere. My wife and I prefer a tidy house, but we’ve found the kids disagree.” Two months into home schooling his 6yo son and 3yo daughter, Sven and his wife have embraced an unstructured approach to their children’s learning. With both parents working jobs that ramped up under lockdown, they decided to focus on meaningful connection with their children over disciplined learning frameworks. It’s something he notes has been deeply rewarding, albeit with a few quirks. Bringing the learning home Prior to COVID-19, just 3,597 families home schooled their children. Of course, in the last few months that number has skyrocketed, with parents assuming multiple roles – parent, worker, teacher, friend, playmate – often simultaneously. For Sven, the unstructured approach to home schooling has been both necessity and a challenge. “I definitely wouldn’t recommend doing it the way we did - but it was the way we had to do it.” “We both have full time jobs with clients who needed support as much as possible, and we both have that desire to do our best for them during this time. It meant a lot of pressure, largely driven from within, which we were then balancing with spending as much time as possible with our 6yo boy and 3yo girl.” “Our home schooling, we weren’t super disciplined about it – the most important thing for my wife and I was to connect as meaningfully as possible with our kids.” Under the view that the lockdown would not be a long-term situation, Sven and his wife set about creating fun, creative educational situations for their children without focusing on a structured routine. “A big highlight was taking the training wheels off my son’s bike, and riding with him around Khandallah. There’s a really great community of families, of kids saying hello and social distancing and being together, even if they’re apart.  Just getting outside and exploring our local environment with fresh eyes was important for us.” “And my daughter – spending time like this, you see so much more about what makes them tick. I didn’t realise how wonderful she was at role playing, singing and at inventive games. You learn so, so much more about them in this situation and by letting them entertain themselves a bit more than normal.” “It’s only by being there every day and seeing those things, what they learn and what they’re good at, that you can step in and do a better job of being a dad.”Challenges and boundaries But with that deeper, more constant connection came a challenge all parents will be familiar with under lockdown – maintaining work-home boundaries. “I’ve never had so many plates spinning at home before,” Sven notes, “you deal with the kids urgent needs, and your work’s urgent needs, then you try to find moments to focus on being a family – it leaves no time for yourself.” “We’re extremely fortunate to be in the situation we are in, but regardless it’s been hard in a bubble with full time jobs and full on little ones.” With no time to himself and resigned to a single building (“which has been absolutely dominated by the kids”), Sven turned to cooking as a focal point. “Before this, I didn’t cook nearly enough – I wasn’t home in time – so I decided that I would do it every night while we’re all here. It makes a nice daily focal point for the family. We do all sorts of cheesy things, asking the kids what their daily highlights were, that sort of thing, to connect. We’ve all loved that time, coming together after a busy day” Of course, it’s back to work for Sven and his wife after dinner – but even a single family meal can form a critical touchstone with so much chaos going on around us. Returning to school – lessons learned Acknowledging, of course, that Sven already has a deep appreciation for the work principals and teachers do (“Springboard volunteering is the most wonderful contribution I get to make”), there was still a lot he learned from his home schooling stint. “We know all about the role schools play in developing great humans – but this has really hit home how big a role they also play as a nucleus, as a driver of better communities.” “My kids are gagging to go back – to see their friends, teachers, just to be a part of school as a community – it's such a massive part of their identity at that age.” On top of that, there is a more practical role that Sven admits he hadn’t thought of before. “I never really appreciated how much of an enabler school is for working families. Increasingly, it takes two people working in a household to live a comfortable life – and that’s impossible without schools.” And finally, the understanding of just how exhausting it can be to teach or manage a school. “Normally I’m in a workplace of adults, who have a very different set of demands to kids. Once one of ours has an idea, they want to communicate it and engage with you directly and immediately.” “They can immediately tell if you’re not fully present too – they will not suffer fools!” “I hadn’t thought about that aspect before. I imagine it’s hard for teachers to get things done, keep learning and engagement on track for a class of 20 children, all of whom have needs and want them met right then and there. That’s probably the biggest eye-opener for me.” With home schooling done (for now) and a routine on the horizon, Sven is excited for what comes next – but not without some sorrow. “Our kids are such remarkable, resilient little creatures and having so much time together as a family has been wonderful. The kids have missed school and kindy, for sure – but it’s been replaced with something really new and interesting. I’m sure they’ll be old enough to remember ‘lockdown’ into their futures and I hope they remember our family time with fondness.” As Sven can attest, Springboard volunteers have busy schedules at the best of times – let alone in the middle of a pandemic and public shutdown. But it is in times like these that coming together and supporting communities can be most rewarding. “The cohort I’ve been working with – it's been like a beacon of hope, of people coming together who are experiencing similar challenges. Empathy is built in the trenches, and I’m glad I can do my part.”
5 min read
News

Impact Report review: Strategic Leadership for Principals Programme

This article forms part of our coverage of the 2019 Impact Report. To read the abridged version of the report, please head this way!   The Strategic Leadership for Principal Principals Programme (SLPP) celebrated its fourteenth year in existence in 2019. This free, ten-month programme teams principals up with Capacity Partners – dedicated volunteers from the business world who teach strategic leadership, stakeholder planning and how to create the conditions for change.   Who took part SLPP in 2019?   Last year, some 115 principals took part in the programme, across 19 cohorts of give or take six apiece. Each principal had their volunteer Capacity Partner, and each programme also has a volunteer facilitator – taking the total number of volunteers for SLPP 2019 to 134.   These principals came from an even distribution of deciles, with the Springboard team taking into account PLD budget allocations, resource constraints, leader and volunteer needs, leadership styles and the prevalence of new principals in the sector when onboarding programme participants.   Our geographic reach also continued to expand. 2019 saw our first cohort in the Bay of Plenty, while we also ran SLPP in Wairarapa and South Canterbury for the first time. We continued to support New Zealand secondary schools, while also developing a New Zealand-first programme tailored to rural teaching principals.  The impact of SLPP in 2019  Through our assessment rubrics and reflexive thematic analysis, we could outline statistically significant improvements in several key areas related to SLPP. This included:  Active engagement of stakeholders (including more buy-in)  Coordinating a team around a focused set of initiatives  One-year planning  Clarity and understanding of school vision  Developing change in a process-driven way  This impact continues as principals move onto our Alumni Services programmes, with maximising student outcomes a key long-term impact theme alongside professional development and distributed leadership.  Big changes don’t happen overnight – but the impact we have seen from SLPP lays fundamental groundwork for the transformative change that follows.  Where is SLPP in 2020?   Springboard’s commitment to continuous improvement means that every year, we tweak our programmes based on feedback from principals and volunteers.   We revised the measurement module in 2019, and also looked at streamlining language across all of our offerings.   Of course, the COVID-19 pandemic has also had a significant impact on how we work. Since first entering Level 3, Springboard has moved its delivery online, with SLPP workshops and debriefs all taking place over video or phone calls. We’ll have more on how the remote workshops are functioning in a later article.   Overall, 2019 was a fantastic year for SLPP – evidenced in the amazing celebrations we had after completing the programme. We’re thrilled about the impact and how the current year is progressing, and are looking forward to sharing the results of that work with you soon.  
3 min read
News

How to be a predictable leader in a crisis

Be predictable. Just a month or two ago, it would have sounded like a call to arms for the bland and uninteresting but now, it is a mantra for leaders during crisis.   It isn’t a new train of thought, however. You can look back to 2009, when authors like Barry Conchie and Tom Rath spoke to behavioural predictability as the foundation of trust, or Stevenson and Moldveanu’s work in 1995. More generally, leaders have always sought to maintain stability – they just might not have thought of it as predictability.   But right now, predictability should be the goal for all leaders – educational, organisational or otherwise. Research has even tried to make this a formal, measurable concept - it’s making it happen that can be difficult.   How to make predictability your focus  The current focus on wellbeing is excellent – but leaders also need to think about cementing predictability for the long-term.   1. Predict the future (as best you can)  Leaders need to show their people how they will act in the weeks and months ahead.   That means reiterating your vision, your purpose, and building your plans around that. Let people know what the future of the organisational structure is, whether pay will stay the same, and what the long-term outlook is.    The essential principle here is “tell them before you tell them”. COVID-19 means that many aspects of our life, from travel to distancing to education, will be up in the air for some time. Identify what you can control – and make sure your people know exactly what’s going to happen in that regard.   2. Overcommunicate As Springboard’s new CEO, Dale Bailey has had quite the introduction to our working environment – but has been a great example of predictability during a crisis. When asked about what the concept means to him, he had some clear words – of course – about communication.   “Establishing clear communication and information is important – even when you don’t know the answer, you should be saying so and committing to coming back with a response.”  This is echoed by Dan Grafton, ASB’s South Island Sales and Service Manager and volunteer with Springboard.  “The only way to keep things moving is give lots of clarity – almost overcommunicate what is going on organisationally. Keeping that door open and the information flowing – it means everyone knows what they need to and feels secure.”  Often, there is analysis paralysis about how often, how much, even how verbosely to communicate. But in times of uncertainty, it is almost always better to err on the side of too much.  3. Give a great routine   Establishing predictability means exercising consistency – and your own calendar is a great place to start.   “Predictability certainly starts with new routines – especially regular meetings and comms at set times,” Dale explains.   “There’s no better example than our daily briefings with the Director-General of Health. The nation has been glued to these 1pm communications, providing a great rhythm to our collective experience.”  Being deliberate with your time, blocking out the same space each day for important communications and delivering metronomic updates to your people – this is the way to predictability.   4. Learn from the experts  You may have seen the news that New Zealand ranked top of the world in COVID communications, according to a roundtable of PR professionals. But as the results show, there’s more to it than the clear routine communications.   Ranking the most credible sources of information on COVID-19, ‘independent scientific commentators’ were a clear first place – ahead of government departments and media.   Just as leaders can learn from the expertise on display from the New Zealand government, they can learn from the constant deferral to experts like Dr Bloomfield or Dr Siouxsie Wiles.   As Dale mentioned earlier in this piece – good leaders need to communicate when they don’t know the answer. But to cement predictability, having a clear trusted voice to defer to on matters outside your expertise can go even further to helping your people.   Predictability is not an art form: it is something achieved through repetition, reliability and routine. It may not be the most glamorous trait to have as a leader – but when your people are in a state of flux, it can be the most valuable.  
4 min read
News

A sense of purpose – Anita Hawthorne on what she gets out of volunteering

Every year, New Zealanders contribute about 159 million hours of volunteer work to their communities.  At an individual level, that might seem like a lot. But for Anita Hawthorne, Group GM of Operations & Infrastructure at Air New Zealand, giving that time invigorates everything she does.   Pure coaching  With three years of the Strategic Leadership for Principals Programme experience in the bag, Anita has spent quality time with numerous principals and volunteers through Springboard.   “It’s a really nice match between the educational and the corporate, a nicely structured programme that supports principals’ development. All those elements of strategy and operations that you don’t use as a teacher but absolutely need as a principal – it's a real privilege to help them work through that.”   And it’s work, she notes, that doesn’t actually feel like work at all.   “The effort that the principal, the Springboard team put in – all the foundations and support for me are already there, I get to come in and have quality coaching conversations with pthe principal every few weeks.”  “The way it’s set up – first-timers might think they have to do all this work, but you are working with a principal from a pure coaching perspective. No barriers, just you being your purest self and supporting someone else!”  Learning a sector, but helping the person   Anita wanted to learn more about education as part of her work with Springboard, but stresses that it isn’t a requirement to volunteer as a Capacity Partner.   “You’re coaching a person, not a whole sector. In my first year, realising how much my principal was looking forward to speaking to me, that really hammered home the value of what I was doing.”  “I wasn’t there to provide advice on education, so to speak. I was there as a human being, a coach and a sounding board. They can talk to you about the broader school environment, their board, challenges facing the school – and you build this trust that makes you a trusted advisor rather than a sector expert.”   That isn’t to say that Anita has gone through three years with us without learning a bit about schools, however!   “A big learning for me was governance, how the board structure in schools works and how that is different to corporate boards. It really helped me understand more about the school environment, how it impacts people and even how it impacts people in my team back at Air New Zealand.” A focus on the here and now The last few months have been difficult for everyone – something that isn’t lost on a GM at Air NZ. But Anita’s commitment to working with principals has seen her continue right on through lockdown, learning more and more about what could change in education.   “[Principals] have had so many challenges recently. The way COVID has challenged everyone to focus on wellness remotely, the way it has really highlighted the diversity of privilege in our communities. These are massive issues that start way out of the school environment, but principals are dealing with the consequences for whole communities.”  “There are amazing opportunities there as well, and I’m so happy to be able to talk through these things with a principal who might not have that immediate support network – just like any CEO anywhere.”  That’s why, no matter what else is going on, Anita is thrilled to focus on her volunteer work with principals.   “Volunteering, it could be a time issue for some people – especially with everything going on right now. But working with Springboard isn’t like that – it's fulfilling, it gives a real sense of purpose.”   “When you’re doing something so focused, mindful and meaningful, it creates quality time for the rest of the day – that's why I love working with Springboard!”  
4 min read
News

What's the impact of a Springboard volunteer?

Springboard’s approach to professional development for principals is a little different. While we have a set curriculum of programmes and workshops, this work comes alive thanks to the work of more than 400 unique volunteers.   As the very last piece on our 2019 Impact Report, and to coincide with National Volunteer Week 2020, we’re going to shine a light on how the cross-sector model makes a lasting impact on NZ educational leaders.   Volunteers create a unique learning environment  Just as every principal’s environment is unique, so too is that of our volunteers.   Coming from private, public and philanthropic sectors across New Zealand, each volunteer brings their own approach to our programmes and workshops, creating a dynamic learning environment based on what principals need.   For so many principals we spoke to for our Impact Report, this unique flavour was the real standout in their time with Springboard. Volunteers create lifelong partnerships  Our volunteers – in particular capacity partners and High Performing Leaders coaches – provide insightful, trust-based coaching over the course of many months. This forms relationships and connections that last well beyond a principal’s time with Springboard.  Volunteers develop their own skills Beyond the professional development for principals, volunteers almost unanimously felt that working with Springboard improved their own skills.   Knowledge transfer, learning and applying new frameworks, innovative thinking and reinforcing their own leadership capabilities – the benefits cited as ones brought back to a volunteer’s own organisation were endless.  Across the board, volunteers learned more, felt greater engagement and loyalty to their own organisation and education in New Zealand, and truly understood the difference they were making in schools.   The value of the work Springboard volunteers do is truly immeasurable, in scope and depth. But the impacts of it are clear – and are the reason our volunteers continue to give so much of their time and energy to these principals.  
2 min read
News

First, second and third places: Creating boundaries in a remote environment

There are three places in everyone’s life. The first is home – the space we live in, our comfortable surroundings. The second is our place of work – the space that, outside of our home, we spend most of our time.   Then there is the third place – something that Ray Oldenburg argues is critical for a healthy society. This third place differs from person to person, but it is always where you go to enjoy yourself, or more generally partake in society. It might be your favourite café or bookstore, perhaps your local church, or even a nearby park you like to take a walk in.   But under COVID-19 and the lockdown restrictions, our ability to access these three places is greatly limited. So what we’d like to explore today is, can you possibly have the three places accessible from your own home?   The problem with place in a remote working environment  Work-life boundaries were already difficult to maintain prior to lockdown. Researchers like Leonardi, Treem and Jackson have highlighted how information technology – the bridge between us when working remotely – often acts as the ultimate boundary eliminator, making us feel connected to work no matter what space we occupy.   In our current conditions, the distinction becomes even harder to maintain. At least one space in your home has to be converted to a work environment, and the majority of people’s third places will be closed until we reach at least level two. There are those who will have already done this courtesy of work from home arrangements – but Stats NZ indicates that this is only 16% of New Zealanders. This drastic shift to remote has many impacts – and often negative ones.   Further reading: MBIE Flexible Work Toolkit Grant, Wallace and Spurgeon found a tendency to over-work in remote environments (for those with high motivation), as well as minimal time to recover. By the same token, remote work also lowered productivity among those with an existing lack of motivation. Then there are also new barriers put in place through remote working arrangements – ease of access to physical resources, tech literacy gaps and the conflation of home and work boundaries are the beginning.   Of course, it isn’t all bad. Grant, Wallace and Spurgeon noted increased autonomy and confidence, as well as reduced travel- and family- related stress. The freedom afforded by remote working gives us all a greater sense of control over the way we work.   But the fact remains that with this situation put upon everyone who continues to work, there needs to be boundaries – spaces – for each element of someone’s life. So how can we make that happen?  Creating a first and second space in the home   The first space is the easiest to create in a remote working environment – in that it doesn’t need to be created at all. Rather, it is a task of maintaining boundaries in your pre-existing home – which in turn creates the second space.   This can be as simple as marking out a specific room that is the ‘work room’ - a study, lounge or kitchen for example. You can do work in this environment, and maintain a ‘home’ boundary at the edges of the room.   However, this makes some assumptions about one’s living environment. Many people will be working without such a space available to them – co-working households, flatting situations or smaller properties may lack the space to create a separate work environment.   In these cases, boundaries may have to be actions, rather than physical borders. Going for walks to mark breaks or the end of the day, changing into work attire, using a work-specific chair and desk or strict working hours can demarcate your lockdown workplace effectively. The Springboard Team has their own tips for doing this here.   An interesting note to add here as well is the use of our home’s outdoor spaces. Khajehzadeh and Vale found that even in summer, New Zealanders average just 0.55 hours a day spent outdoors at their own home – perhaps an underutilised space for all of us.   Creating a third space in the home   This can be more difficult. When someone’s third space is a commercial premises (like a café or bar), or even a non-essential service venue (libraries, meeting halls), it is difficult to recreate.   You can create areas of the home for specific activities (reading, watching films) that typically form part of your third place, although this can have cross-over with home activities.   For others, the third place may be (or become) an action. The popularity of the daily walk in our current environment offers one way people are creating this third place, while for others something as simple as the dairy queue might be all they need.   Then, of course, there is the virtual. The third place does not have to be a physical environment or action – it is the sense of participation, creativity and relationship-building that defines it. Zoom or HouseParty calls, playing board games with a friend online, or perhaps even logging on to Twitter or Facebook could constitute visiting a third place for many.   These online communities, ever-present in modern life, reflect real-world social environments in many ways. Crowd participation, the ability to have private exchanges, learn new ideas, even argue – for some, a third place may just be a Stuff comments section.  Food for thought: The body as the work-life boundary  For a final point of discussion, we have to acknowledge that many remote workers do not have those clear boundaries – they are comfortable performing domestic, working and social functions in quick succession or even simultaneously.   For example Koslowski, Linehan and Tietze argue that the body is the “ultimate boundary object”, in that it is part of every space in the home and controls what that space is being used for – work, home, or something else. This includes the mind, where we will often feel the pull of all three spaces at once, clouding our needs and creating confusion.   They use examples of this like someone answering emails on their laptop while talking in bed with their partner. In this situation, a person is acting in both a home and work environment, turning home furniture into work furniture, and performing both personal and professional acts at once.   There are limits, of course. The researchers use the example of parents working from home to highlight that a home / work duality only properly works when one party does not demand active attention – for example, if a child is sleeping on their lap rather than asking for something.   But the fact remains that no matter how we create and maintain our spaces, we are capable of blending multiple roles into one action. They key is understanding your limits, your comfort zone and which parts of the house you want to reserve for a particular kind of space. 
6 min read
News

Impact Report review: Alumni Services

The Strategic Leadership for Principals Programme is just the beginning.   For hundreds of principals (and their leadership teams) every year, Springboard’s Alumni Services offer continued professional development in numerous areas, ranging from individual coaching to fully distributed leadership.   As part of our ongoing dissection of the 2019 Impact Report, we’d like to break down how Alumni Services aided principals and benefited students throughout last year.  Alumni Services: By the numbers  In 2019, 285 schools utilised Alumni Services. That spanned 79 programmes and workshops across six regions of New Zealand, resulting in impact on 104,835 students.   Of course, that work doesn’t happen without our volunteers. Last year saw 80 individuals from our cross-sector network give more than 1,100 hours of their time to help school leaders upskill.   Across each of our offerings, that meant:   130 principals, senior and middle leaders took on High Performing Leadership Teams  91 principals, senior and middle leaders took on High Performing Leaders  44 schools took on Implement Your Strategy  60 schools took on Talent Management Workshops  72 schools took on Annual Planning Workshops  More than 200 school leaders attended our Learning Event  On top of this, our Kāhui Ako engagements under the Ministry of Education reached 198 schools and more than 78,000 students.   The Springboard leadership journey isn’t something that culminates after one year of SLPP. It is an ongoing process, in which principals and senior leaders learn from cross-sector experts and develop skills through programmes uniquely tailored to their strengths and needs.  The impact of Alumni Services on learners  In our review of SLPP, we showcased the skills principals develop in their first 12-18 months with Springboard. As they continue through Alumni Services, the impacts spread outward to leaders, teachers and students.   We conducted qualitative and reflexive thematic analysis on debriefs with principals after they finished HPL and HPLT, and found three significant themes:   1. Maximising student outcomes  Principals were unanimous in their ultimate goal with Springboard being to create the conditions for maximised student outcomes. They reported direct improvements in student engagement and performance thanks to what they learned in ALS, as well as attributable increases in wellbeing and achievement.   2. Distributed leadership  Through HPL and HPLT, principals and their teams reported stronger trust, belonging, cohesion and  efficiency as a unit. Individuals had more clarity on their role, development and respect from their peers as a result.   3. Personal and professional growth  Principals found new pathways for development through our Alumni Services – becoming aware of strengths, needs and perceptions (both real and imagined) that helped them improve as leaders. Principals unilaterally agreed that understanding their own leadership abilities better helped them build better student outcomes.   While the first year with Springboard sees principals develop their own strategic leadership, subsequent work with our team and volunteer network helps expand that impact drastically. With a focus on student outcomes and a desire to improve themselves to make that happen, principals demonstrate tangible growth through Alumni Services that ultimately improves conditions for learners.  
4 min read
News

Resilience: In conversation with Wendy Paul

This article forms part of our kete of resources for principals on resilience and wellbeing and will be regularly updated with new clips and advice. To access the rest of our resources, head to our Resilience page. For Wendy Paul, Director of Purpose at Fonterra, resilience grew from ego death. Having handled crises for her organisation before, she learned the importance of letting go of the 'hero mentality', and how that was core to true resilience. "It's a stoic, old-school mentality, believing your role as a leader is to save everyone," she says. "But it's normal to have ups and downs - you have to be authentic to yourself and those around you in how you deal with it." In this piece, we will break down our conversations with Wendy about resilience, wellbeing and growing through adversity. With regularly updated pieces of advice, we hope you find something to help you grow your resilience - and that of your team and community. What does resilience mean to you? Under lockdown, our resilience was put to the test. But for many leaders, it can be difficult to identify exactly what that trait means.  For Wendy, it is several things. Perhaps first and foremost, it is knowing yourself:  But beyond this, it is also important to understand what resilience is not. For many, the concept of resilience means ‘sucking it up’, and swallowing difficulties without a second thought. As Wendy explains, true resilience means being far more open about your feelings – both with yourself and others.  Putting this into practice, this routine of looking after yourself, and letting others express themselves instead of trying to fix things, is a difficult task. So difficult, in fact, that Wendy herself has struggled with it under lockdown – but remains focused on building a plan to help her own resilience. But as we explore what resilience looks like in our own lives and remain honest with ourselves, we can begin to demonstrate the trait in a way that others can adopt.  Supporting teams to be resilient can be a difficult task - one that begins with yourself and managing your own feelings to be helpful for others. Wendy notes that this is all about knowledge. And when your team is having a bad day, Wendy believes it's all about perspective. As an organisation, Fonterras has maintained a big focus on resilience throughout lockdown. For Wendy, this has meant being deliberate with her time in both personal and professional contexts - where she can! And now that we are moving into Level Two, we are all taking lessons from remote working into our organisations - something Wendy has already given significant thought to. And finally, we couldn't let Wendy go without first letting us know the most important resilience lessons that she has learned.
2 min read
News

Reflexive thematic analysis and the challenge of leadership evaluation

How we measure our impact for New Zealand learners. At Springboard Trust, we work with more than 300 volunteers and principals every single year. Each of these individuals has their own unique experience, bringing their own expertise and background to courses like High Performing Leaders and the Strategic Leadership for Principals Programme.   Throughout their journey with Springboard, and for some time afterwards, we gather information on the impact that Springboard’s work has had through surveys, interviews and specially designed assessment rubrics. This gives us a significant breadth of qualitative and quantitative data about how our portfolio impacts principals, volunteers, organisations, schools, senior leaders and New Zealand students.  Every year, we publish this data – along with substantial analysis of it - in our Impact Report. It includes our work on a new evaluation framework, reflexive thematic analysis, qualitative and quantitative findings that link the work we do with principals to positive outcomes for students.  With the 2019 edition now available for you to read, it’s a good time to break down some of the ways we use this data to measure our impact.   How we are measuring our impact: Reflexive thematic analysis  In the past, we have presented impact data qualitatively, as stand-alone case studies or supporting evidence. By utilising reflexive thematic analysis and a dedicated statistician, we have been able to turn this wealth of information into statistically significant findings around our impacts on schools and learners.   Thematic analysis (TA) is an overarching term for a set of practices in psychology, that have applications well beyond this field. In TA, researchers analyse qualitative data (like interviews, surveys or other expressive, open-ended responses) and identify statistically significant themes and outcomes. In short, it’s a more objective way of demonstrating results from data sets that can be highly subjective.   Reflexive thematic analysis (RTA) is a subset of this, and was originally developed by the University of Auckland’s Virginia Braun and Victoria Clarke in 2006. Since then, it has become a hugely popular approach which has seen it being used as a methodological approach in hundreds of academic journals internationally.  It is particularly well-suited to data sets that relate to people’s personal experiences or perceptions, and so forms a useful basis for analysing Springboard Trust’s impact.   RTA consists of the following six key steps which are recursive - meaning that the researcher might move back and forth between these steps several times:   Familiarising yourself with the data or information  Giving each element of the data a name or label (coding)  Developing the high-level themes or patterns within the data  Reviewing these themes against the entire dataset  Detailing and analysing each theme  Writing up the findings  We have adopted this approach, together with quantitative methods for the 2019 Portfolio Impact Report with the assistance of a dedicated Research and Evaluation professional, resulting in the most in-depth analysis of Springboard Trust’s impact to date. The challenge of measuring the impact of educational leadership  Springboard Trust’s ultimate goal is to improve outcomes for New Zealand students, which we do by enhancing educational leadership. However, research on this area has indicated some complexity in linking leadership in schools directly to student outcomes.   While it might seem reasonably straightforward to evaluate an SBT programme’s impact (just ask one of our principals), there has been ongoing debate about whether it is possible to determine the true and direct impact of principal development programmes. This debate is prevalent right across the development spectrum – not just in Springboard’s work.   Specifically, while there has been consensus on the role of leadership in student achievement, there has been a general reluctance to confront the challenge of determining indicators of effectiveness, identifying what aspects to measure, how to measure them and how to interpret and respond to the results.   This means the challenge for researchers – and Springboard Trust – is to go further in our evaluation than the bulk of educational research has gone before to navigate the complexity of tying school leadership, organisational function, teacher effectiveness and student learning together. That means clarity in identifying the focus and outcomes, consideration of whether these outcomes can be achieved in the short-, medium- or long-term, the selection of relevant and varied data sources (e.g., multiple stakeholders, multiple methods) and the systematic collection of evidence over time. All of this must also be tied together in an agreed-upon evaluation framework and a commitment to gathering data from the short- to long-term. Without that long-term commitment to evidence the impact of development programmes, we have - at best - a snapshot of delivery rather than evidence of impact over time. The challenge of evaluation is not one we – or anyone working in this field – can solve overnight. But we believe that with this Impact Report, we have laid the groundwork for some remarkable findings in how school leadership influences student outcomes.   It forms part of our commitment to both improving student outcomes and continuously improving our portfolio, year on year, to better help principals and learners alike. We're thrilled with the results, hope you enjoy them too. 
7 min read
News

15 Questions with: Dale Bailey, Springboard Trust CEO

Welcome to 15 Questions! Each month, we will ask a different member of the Springboard Team or wider community about their work, heroes, education and secret hobbies. We hope you enjoy it! Dale Bailey: Springboard Trust CEO On February 24, Springboard Trust welcomes Dale Bailey as its new CEO. With a storied history across education, evaluation and GLAM (galleries, libraries, archives and museums), he brings a wealth of experience and insight to our work. To get ourselves (and you all) acquainted with Dale, we got his answers on hard-hitting questions about his hobbies and heroes. 1. Hello Dale! Where are you right now? I'm on the beach in the Coromandel, at Pauanui! My partner's sister has a beach house here, so I am taking a few days off before I start at Springboard. 2. What are you looking forward to most next week? Learning about Springboard – meeting the people, getting to know the team and understanding what drives you all. That’s the most important thing I think. 3. How did you first hear about Springboard Trust? I’ve got some friends who have intersected with SBT before. Some worked here, some have been on the corporate side of things and worked with the team.   They were very positive about Springboard and what it was doing and recommended it highly – which leads us here! 4. What's the most exciting thing about working at Springboard? Coming back to work in education. As a part of that, the idea of connecting the corporate world with education – it's pretty unique, that cross-fertilisation of ideas is really exciting.   5. And the most daunting?   I think it’s getting back into full time work after a few months off! And having such a distributed team across the country, getting to know them over a distance. I want to work quite hard at that.  6. Before Springboard, what was the most interesting thing you did for work?   That would have to be working at Te Papa, where I oversaw national collections. It was a pretty awesome responsibility, and one of the highlights was negotiating with the Chinese for the Terracotta Warrior exhibition to come to NZ. I got to travel to China six times, meet so many people and understand their systems a lot better. I loved it there, and loved working through how to create such a large scale exhibition.   7. Who is someone you look up to?  I am a great, long-time fan of Ernest Shackleton the Antarctic explorer.  8. Why?  He saved everybody in his party when it went to custard on an expedition, camping on ice and leading men on a 700 nautical mile journey through hurricane conditions to save them. The sense of personal leadership that he brings is so inspiring.  9. What's a piece of history you want more people to know about?   The Treaty of Waitangi. I have worked over the last year with the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, and am always surprised by how little people know about these complex relationships, and how amazing the treaty is as a modern guiding document.   10. Best piece of advice you've ever received?   One of my bosses once said “where you smell smoke, go towards the fire”.  Don’t try and ignore things, it's important to take them on.  11. How would you describe your leadership style?   Very collaborative and outcome focused. I like empowering people to get on with their job and making their job easier.   12. Favourite thing about NZ education?   The strength of public education in New Zealand. The fact that we have one of the world’s best systems, and that it started very early on in NZ’s history with a great level of investment in it, which has continued to this day – it’s a real standout strength.   13. What's your secret hobby?   I'm a great collector of Crown Lynn, usually through TradeMe and secondhand shops. Any time I travel, I’m looking out for more. I really like NZ-made things, and Crown Lynn is just incredible.   14. Favourite news source?   I am actually quite a fan of the Daily Mail online app – it's hysterical.   15. What is the question we should have asked you?  “Can you tell me about your grandsons?”  
3 min read
Resources

How have we been facilitating workshops in a remote environment?

We’ve all been doing things differently. But for the team at Springboard Trust – including our amazing volunteer base – the remote environment has provided an opportunity to learn and connect in all-new ways.   Much of the work principals do with us is predicated on the cross-sector model, the idea that people coming together from different backgrounds can help each other develop in truly astonishing ways. Between our volunteers, facilitators, team and principals, how can we keep that connection going?   With an ironing board, of course.   Better together – no matter the environment  For Ellie Sutton (Portfolio Delivery Lead, Wellington and Canterbury) and Nicholas Williams (Programme Manager, Canterbury), facilitating a Strategic Leadership for Principals Programme workshop remotely had some key differences – and challenges.   “There wasn’t much of a shift in the course material,” Nicholas says, “but tech was a huge consideration.”  “'We had to be particular about planning the sequence of events and who would drive the different tech functions, and think how we would provide people with the opportunity to talk.  With a series of faces on a screen and most people 'on mute', normal silences can become amplified, and it became really important to address everyone and create times where they all could contribute.”  Nicholas and Ellie had some nerves about leading a remote workshop – how engaged people would be, and whether everyone would feel a part of it. From the moment principals began reflecting on their last few weeks, they realised everyone was all in.   As Ellie explains, a big factor in keeping this engagement going was changes of state.   “We learned a lot from out facilitation workshop with Sysdoc, particularly not to be afraid to change our space. Just because we’re presenting on a screen, it doesn’t mean everything has to take place there – we're also in our own physical environment, which we can use to our advantage.”   This meant, when it came time for whiteboard sessions, things got inventive. Using a whiteboard and flip chart on the wall, and the computer set upon her ironing board, what could have been a screen share became something much more engaging and entertaining.  “I’d seen memes of people creating home offices in lockdown, using ironing boards as standing desks – that sort of thing. When I started thinking about changes of state, I thought about those ironing board memes and realised hey, I have one of those!”  Breaking out   For Ellie and Nicholas, one change they might focus on for future remote workshops is the breakout rooms.   “We’d send people to breakout rooms and they wouldn’t necessarily do the activities we set,” Nicholas notes, “but they absolutely loved it. It was an opportunity for them to connect and process the learning.”   “You see them come out animated and energised by the conversations they’ve been able to have with their Capacity Partner.”   Speaking of Capacity Partners – IAG's Tania Morgan-Smith, who formed part of this workshop, agrees wholeheartedly on the breakout rooms.   “I’ve only used Zoom with SBT, so the breakout rooms were very new, and totally amazing,” she says. “In an in-person group, you can miss the opportunity to have those more intimate conversations.”  “Everybody is on a level playing field, and in meeting rooms you can miss things. Being able to have those one-on-one catch ups, take notes, even screenshots – it gave me so much clarity.”   Connections made and lost   For Tania, the opportunity to connect with her principal in private breakout rooms was fantastic – something that Ellie and Nicholas saw clearly during the workshop. But for everything gained, something is often lost.   “I miss the social conversations,” Ellie says. “Those random bits in your break time, how’s your mum doing – that kind of thing.”   Nicholas agrees - “I really want to continue these remote workshops – give time for discussions, for people to open up and feel more confident in being part of that conversation. It takes a lot of getting used to, but I think there’s a lot of value in being able to hold workshops this way. I do, however, miss catching up with people on the journeys around Canterbury.”    This is something Sven Pannell, Director at KPMG also feels.  “I’m the sort of person who gets a kick out of being in the room with people, getting that human connection – which is a lot more difficult in a remote environment.”  And at the end of it all, remote workshops will continue to pose challenges for connection. Asking a group of people to conduct a programme founded on relationship-building through an online environment is big – but as Tania adds, it’s something everyone is committed to.   “At a time like this, it would be so easy to put Springboard down the priority list. But everyone came, connected and reflected just like we always have.”  “It could be a time like this that actually drives people’s desire to come! Put schools in a crisis, and the spirit of its people comes straight to the top. Even if we’re connecting over a screen, that still shines right through.” 
4 min read

Our favourite volunteer stories here at Springboard

News

Volunteer values from a self-proclaimed strategy geek

This article forms part of our National Volunteer Week coverage, celebrating the breadth and depth of expertise that our partners bring to New Zealand schools. For more interviews and celebrations, head this way! Springboard’s volunteers are the backbone of our work. Bringing their unique skill sets to New Zealand school leaders creates connections and learning that are difficult to find elsewhere – and for the volunteers themselves, it means a special opportunity to give back. For the Department of Conservation’s Carolyn Smith, this sense of giving back to schools was at the heart of her decision to work with us. “I’ve always volunteered in some form. Our communities are run and defined by how much we participate in them, and schools are at the heart of that. It makes for a pretty cool opportunity!” Flexing your strategic muscles Carolyn is a self-proclaimed “strategy geek”and was thrilled to be able to apply that expertise in a volunteer setting. “Springboard means I can align my volunteering with something I already love to do– strategic thinking and planning.  It’s a different skill to some of the volunteering opportunities you see on offer, which is fantastic.” Since 2017, Carolyn has volunteered in a number of Springboard roles. She initially came on board as a Capacity Partner, to work directly with a principal on their strategic plan.  That role reshaped into becoming a facilitator for our High Performing Leaders Programme for two years in a row. Now, she is in a coaching role for our newest offering, the Strategic Leadership for Rural Teaching Principals programme. With a rich history in strategic planning and a variety of SBT roles under her belt, Carolyn is well-placed to speak to the value of this work – and the challenges she has helped principals overcome. “Coaching has been a great experience for me.  We use the GROW Model of coaching Springboard uses at DOC.  The aim is to help others explore and resolve their challenge without the coach leading or solving the issue for them.  As I have no education background, I can’t fall into the temptation to solve because I don’t understand the context well enough-which holds me firmly in the coaching space.” Carolyn has found having a breadth of experience outside of education has also been an advantage in other ways. “It means you concentrate on leadership and strategy. You don’t get caught up in the details of what the ministry is doing – you just focus on the principal as a person and a leader.” Facing challenges alongside principals Carolyn has some fantastic insights into principals and the risk of burnout– all of which stems from her own experience. “I’ve seen senior leaders go so long without having a good work/life balance, and it take its toll on everyone eventually. Even if it’s not a burnout as such, I’ve seen people develop cancer through exposing themselves to years of stress – everyone needs to find their limits.” It’s a lesson that she believes is critical for principals. “They are always giving 190% - and it’s not healthy. You need to have a good balance, to set an example for your team. If you get too immersed in the role you lose perspective, and I’ve found that to be a vital step that I can help with.” Helping principals achieve that lightbulb moment, of realising they need to set a healthy example for both themselves and their teams, was one of the most impactful experiences for Carolyn. Taking risks as a facilitator has also been a high point. “One time I pushed forward with a series of uncomfortable questions. It was incredibly challenging for the participants, but I encouraged them to lean in and be brave, which they did. It moved a principal relationship into a place of true honesty with their team. It was incredibly powerful and I was so proud of them - helping them reach that place is a real privilege.” Cutting-edge application When Carolyn first joined Springboard Trust, she had just completed her post-graduate certificate in Strategic Leadership through University of Canterbury’s Executive Leadership MBA programme.  Coming into a volunteer environment focused on this, she was impressed with what she saw. “A lot of the material Springboard teaches – it's very similar to the contemporary and cutting edge material in the papers I had just completed at Canterbury. It reinforced the quality of Springboard’s approach around leadership.” “So many principals I’ve worked with move from being a teacher into this leadership role, and it’s totally different. Many don’t have formal training or support and may have outdated models of leadership or experienced traditionally masculine ideals around what makes a good leader.” “At Canterbury we learned that leadership is people centered-starting with looking after yourself.  A good leader doesn’t need to be the star up front with all the ideas, but a coach who brings out the best in their people. The way leadership has been taught was, for a very long time, not focused on the human elements of an organisation. Springboard’s leadership material doesn’t do that, and I was very impressed.” Overall, Carolyn believes Springboard is a great place to volunteer. “Schools are at the heart of communities. And if you want to give back to your community, Springboard is the perfect place to do that.”
5 min read
News

A mirror for leadership: Gai Foskett on the role of a Springboard coach

"All I do is ask questions – the rest of it, they do.” Gai Foskett, Master Certified Coach, has a talent for keeping things simple. And while that’s undoubtedly a strength in the leadership coaching sphere, it perhaps belies the true value of what she – and Springboards’ volunteers generally - bring to the table. Making a positive difference in the world With 19 years of experience in the executive coaching sphere, Gai has an immense pool of knowledge to draw upon – and a clear understanding of what she wants out of volunteering. “I can’t get rid of fossil fuels. But if I can make a big difference in lots of small places, it turns into a ripple effect.” “The work I do normally, I have structured it so I always have time and space for one or two pro bono coaching projects. When the ICF (International Coach Federation) sent out a call for Springboard volunteers, I knew I wanted to give my support.” As she explains, that’s because education is the most important sector there is. "It’s undernourished, undervalued, but so incredibly important. Teachers shape young minds, and educational leaders – like leaders in any sector – get lonely at the top. It’s such a privileged space to work in.” Starting with the leader in the mirror Gai’s approach to leadership coaching is an holistic one, which means – in her words – getting out of the school leader’s way. “Coaching, it’s a very empowered space for people to do their own thinking. I try to do that, then get out of their way. It’s a little like being a mirror – whether they’re deputy principals or CEOs, they often don’t have people they can speak to about their leadership struggles.” “That also makes my role one of a sounding board, and a bit of a cheerleader. I provide rigour and accountability to what they say they want to do. It can be scary for the leader, coming into these sessions knowing they’re going to be stretched and challenged.” “But that’s my job. Finding the simple questions they need to answer, no matter how hard, and then letting them come to that answer themselves.” Building vulnerability With that focus on enabling and holding accountable comes some significant challenges – especially in the education sphere. “Leaders, especially new ones, seem to think they have to know all the answers, and refuse to be seen as vulnerable. They haven’t connected with the idea that vulnerability is courage. You have to learn as a leader that you’re not the one who knows everything – you're the one who empowers your people to find answers themselves, to learn and grow as individuals.”Better than equal This is a difficult road, especially with so many ingrained behaviours that create barriers to vulnerability in leadership – something Gai understands well. “When I was a senior executive in the corporate space , working with a lot of male lawyers and accountants, I had to be better to be considered equal. Sadly, I still see this in some workplaces - it's very detrimental.” “I’ve seen women in leadership who refute that vulnerability because, like I did, they feel they have to know everything just to be seen as equal by their male coworkers. It’s an incredibly hard approach, because that idea that vulnerability is weakness is still so pervasive.” Coming back for more Despite the many struggles for leaders in education, Gai remains committed to helping them succeed. “People tell me things they’ve never told anyone before. About how they think, why they act the way they do – just because nobody has ever asked them before.” “That’s the thing with Springboard volunteering – you have the opportunity to make such a huge difference to leaders who play the most important role in our children’s lives.” “It cascades down as well. You help leaders understand themselves, they help their team, who then pay it forward to others. That ripple effect, the trust you build, it is just incredible. If you’re ever on the fence about whether you should do this kind of work, let me tell you: just do it!”
4 min read
News

How Tania Morgan-Smith takes a "peek behind the curtain" at education

There are many ways we give back to our communities – and for one in five New Zealanders, that takes the form of volunteering.   For IAG’s Tania Morgan-Smith, there were many reasons to volunteer with Springboard Trust. A labour of love, a tangible way to give back, a way to put her strategic expertise to use for the good of others.  Also, a naturally curious parent, she was thrilled to get a look at how principals worked day-to-day.   [This content forms part of our National Volunteer Week celebrations - head this way to check out the rest of our interviews, videos and infographics!] Coming together  Initially, Tania thought Springboard was too good to be true.   “I was referred by a work colleague who’d been a capacity partner (CP) the year before, and thought I would love it.”   “But from some initial social research, I couldn’t find anyone who had heard of Springboard. Once I found one of our Auckland team volunteered as a facilitator and spoke to them, I understood – and I couldn’t wait to start.”  “I loved that it was separate to the Ministry, and everyone I ended up speaking to about the work said the relationship they built with their principal was amazing.”  With 10 years of leadership experience, a background in coaching and a high dose of natural inquisitiveness and optimism, Tania leapt at the opportunity to partner with a principal.   “At a lot of organisations you do a volunteer day each year – but with IAG happy to have me work with Springboard, I felt like this was a much longer-lasting way to give back.” A rare kind of relationship  In Tania’s own words, her first meetings with her SLPP principal – Mark – were like an awkward blind date.   “As we figured each other out, we got a beautiful level of openness that I really appreciated – totally impartial and honest, which is really rare these days.”  Her work with Mark was in challenging him, reflecting with him and helping him overcome hurdles in his strategic development.   “I loved working with Mark and it was such a privilege to be so embraced by both him and his school community as one of their own.”  The two-way path of learning  A self-confessed overthinker, Tania found SLPP an invaluable opportunity to practice keeping things simple in a coaching and relationship-building environment.   “Corporate environments tend to lean on fancy language, but this programme is not academic – it's organic.”  “It’s you talking to a principal, one human to another. Working with Mark basically helped me learn when to stop talking – to understand when he was opening up in a way he often couldn’t, and when it was my job to listen and help him simplify what was going on.”   “I want to help them capture how they feel, and help them respond to it – no jargon required at all.”  These are lessons that Tania has brought back with her to IAG, and used to help herself and others discover new development opportunities.   “Since doing SLPP, I’ve been promoted into a more strategic role. I thought that was going to mean more of that academic thinking, but it’s the opposite – it's about stepping back, doing less so you can achieve more – applying what I tried to help Mark with to my own role.”  “It’s made working with SBT such a huge win-win, being able to give back while also gaining some pretty groundbreaking personal and professional development myself!” Unique opportunities for connection  As Tania explains, there was also a massive third benefit to volunteering with Springboard Trust – the connection with other Capacity Partners.   “You work with the most diverse range of businesses in SLPP. Air New Zealand, Conservation, Sports New Zealand and small business owners – people I would otherwise have never had the opportunity to work with.”  “Everyone’s had the typical networking experience, where everything feels a bit false – SLPP is nothing like that. Every single person is involved for the greater good, which brings a real honesty to the work. It’s people being their real selves!”  Seeing the role for what it truly is   Through SLPP, Tania noticed a common thread between Mark and other principals – that they often undersold their capabilities.   “I was surprised by how many don’t see themselves as leaders, using statement like ‘never left school’ and underplaying their role. Their role is massive! It might be innate humility, or maybe true servant leadership – either way, actually seeing behind that curtain gave me so much respect for everything they do. They give all of themselves to the work.”  “I just wish their own view of principalship matched more with how I feel about it!”  Back for round two   In 2020, Tania has returned to volunteer with Springboard – and she’s brought some great metaphors with her.   “Why wouldn’t I come back? The first time is like the burnt pancake – it's still good, but it’s never the best. Now that I’ve done SLPP once, I want to give it another shot and develop more. IAG has been super supportive of this too – there's been no barriers at all to coming back.”  The second time around, Tania is spending more time sitting with what her principal – Bruce – is saying and trying to challenge him in a constructive way.   “Last year it would take me a couple of tries to properly take something in – this year I’m more familiar with the content of the workshops, so can focusing on being present, clearing my head and giving my all.”  But of course, the COVID-19 pandemic has made being present a little more difficult. Bruce and Tania enjoyed the switch to virtual conversations o far and, based on their first remote workshop, there are still no real barriers to development ahead.   “I’m told we should never waste a crisis, so using this time to notice how Bruce and his school community rally has been invaluable. How you uniquely are is how you respond to a situation – and for Bruce and I, we’re both here to help each other. There’s no stopping that!”  
6 min read
News

"Back your own knowledge" - A volunteer's advice to himself

A common thread in first-time volunteers at Springboard Trust is wondering what you can bring to a school principal’s development. We work with volunteers from a broad spectrum of industries, all with different focuses and levels of expertise – yet almost always, they feel unsure about the work.   Even Dan Grafton, ASB’s South Island Sales Manager – who had done extensive work with schools before, including being on a Board of Trustees – was uncertain about his expertise with school leadership.   It didn’t take long for that to change.   The a-ha moment  In his role at ASB, Dan has spearheaded multiple initiatives that saw the bank engage schools throughout the community. Through this – and his time on a BoT – Dan saw school leadership first-hand, including the complex dynamics that principals must navigate.  But it wasn’t until the first session that he fully grasped what he could bring to the relationship.   “The vision session was a big a-ha moment for me. As a corporate we talk about purpose a lot, and have shifted over time to a big focus on helping customers over making products. To go to the first workshop and hear about the vision was like hey, wait – this is my bread and butter!”   With schools also looking at tools like the Gallup Q12 surveys, Dan was able to go above and beyond – bringing his expertise with these frameworks to principals in a clear and concise way.   “The strategic planning process is really similar across both ASB and schools – realising that gave me a huge appreciation for how these models work and align with other sectors.”   Despite thinking his experience with strategic planning was unofficial – and perhaps not applicable to an education environment – Dan quickly realised the core of Springboard’s cross-sector magic.   “If you’re a people leader, in any way, you can help others learn. Strategic planning, focusing on vision – everything you need is there.”  Bringing the long-sightedness  Upon joining the Strategic Leadership for Principals Programme, Dan found that each principal had distinctly different priorities.   “I’ve done the programme twice now, and these schools were chalk and cheese in terms of structure and what they wanted to achieve.”  “The balance between wellbeing and achievement, particularly in schools affected by the earthquakes, was huge. Some also haven’t thought a lot about their strategic plan before either – it's just a document they file once per year, rather than something they always come back to.”  That’s where honesty becomes, as it often does, the best policy.   “You’ve got to call them out, challenge the principals on what they want to achieve, so they can identify what they want to do and how that links back to their vision.”   “It’s sometimes hard. A lot of principals are so busy fighting fires, fighting to get through the next hour that a long-term focus takes some work.”   He also believes the matching process goes a long way to forging this honest relationship.   “It takes a bit of time to get to know your principal, but we got along just so well – felt really well paired, which is fundamental for making this programme work.”  Learning for two   While the Strategic Leadership for Principals Programme focuses on the school leader’s learning, Dan also brought back some important lessons to ASB.   “SLPP was great for some perspective, to appreciate how good we have it at ASB. Education changes so often and so fast – by comparison, we have a lot of stability. I was able to bring back some of the challenges teachers were facing which helped bed in that mentality for our teams too.”  “Another big thing was cultural diversity. We had relatively little exposure to Māori culture from my departments perspective, while it is a critical priority for the principals I’ve worked with.”  “I’ve been able to do some training myself in that regard, and bring it forward as a focus.”   All told, it has been a fantastic pair of partnerships for both Dan and the principals he has worked with. When asked what advice he would give himself if he was considering SLPP, he was unequivocal:  “Just go in and do it – and back your own knowledge. It’s an awesome experience, well run, and incredibly rewarding.”  
4 min read
News

The home school life: An interview with Sven Pannell

Sven Pannell, Director at KPMG and four-year veteran of Springboard Trust programme facilitation, is showing me his monobrow. “These maniacal little ones,” he says, “have scratched me right between the eyes in a ‘tickle-fight’ and now I look like I have a monobrow over Zoom calls”. Gesturing to the rest of his home office, he points out painting supplies and toys scattered around the books and folders. “If you look downstairs, it’s total carnage – huts, toys everywhere. My wife and I prefer a tidy house, but we’ve found the kids disagree.” Two months into home schooling his 6yo son and 3yo daughter, Sven and his wife have embraced an unstructured approach to their children’s learning. With both parents working jobs that ramped up under lockdown, they decided to focus on meaningful connection with their children over disciplined learning frameworks. It’s something he notes has been deeply rewarding, albeit with a few quirks. Bringing the learning home Prior to COVID-19, just 3,597 families home schooled their children. Of course, in the last few months that number has skyrocketed, with parents assuming multiple roles – parent, worker, teacher, friend, playmate – often simultaneously. For Sven, the unstructured approach to home schooling has been both necessity and a challenge. “I definitely wouldn’t recommend doing it the way we did - but it was the way we had to do it.” “We both have full time jobs with clients who needed support as much as possible, and we both have that desire to do our best for them during this time. It meant a lot of pressure, largely driven from within, which we were then balancing with spending as much time as possible with our 6yo boy and 3yo girl.” “Our home schooling, we weren’t super disciplined about it – the most important thing for my wife and I was to connect as meaningfully as possible with our kids.” Under the view that the lockdown would not be a long-term situation, Sven and his wife set about creating fun, creative educational situations for their children without focusing on a structured routine. “A big highlight was taking the training wheels off my son’s bike, and riding with him around Khandallah. There’s a really great community of families, of kids saying hello and social distancing and being together, even if they’re apart.  Just getting outside and exploring our local environment with fresh eyes was important for us.” “And my daughter – spending time like this, you see so much more about what makes them tick. I didn’t realise how wonderful she was at role playing, singing and at inventive games. You learn so, so much more about them in this situation and by letting them entertain themselves a bit more than normal.” “It’s only by being there every day and seeing those things, what they learn and what they’re good at, that you can step in and do a better job of being a dad.”Challenges and boundaries But with that deeper, more constant connection came a challenge all parents will be familiar with under lockdown – maintaining work-home boundaries. “I’ve never had so many plates spinning at home before,” Sven notes, “you deal with the kids urgent needs, and your work’s urgent needs, then you try to find moments to focus on being a family – it leaves no time for yourself.” “We’re extremely fortunate to be in the situation we are in, but regardless it’s been hard in a bubble with full time jobs and full on little ones.” With no time to himself and resigned to a single building (“which has been absolutely dominated by the kids”), Sven turned to cooking as a focal point. “Before this, I didn’t cook nearly enough – I wasn’t home in time – so I decided that I would do it every night while we’re all here. It makes a nice daily focal point for the family. We do all sorts of cheesy things, asking the kids what their daily highlights were, that sort of thing, to connect. We’ve all loved that time, coming together after a busy day” Of course, it’s back to work for Sven and his wife after dinner – but even a single family meal can form a critical touchstone with so much chaos going on around us. Returning to school – lessons learned Acknowledging, of course, that Sven already has a deep appreciation for the work principals and teachers do (“Springboard volunteering is the most wonderful contribution I get to make”), there was still a lot he learned from his home schooling stint. “We know all about the role schools play in developing great humans – but this has really hit home how big a role they also play as a nucleus, as a driver of better communities.” “My kids are gagging to go back – to see their friends, teachers, just to be a part of school as a community – it's such a massive part of their identity at that age.” On top of that, there is a more practical role that Sven admits he hadn’t thought of before. “I never really appreciated how much of an enabler school is for working families. Increasingly, it takes two people working in a household to live a comfortable life – and that’s impossible without schools.” And finally, the understanding of just how exhausting it can be to teach or manage a school. “Normally I’m in a workplace of adults, who have a very different set of demands to kids. Once one of ours has an idea, they want to communicate it and engage with you directly and immediately.” “They can immediately tell if you’re not fully present too – they will not suffer fools!” “I hadn’t thought about that aspect before. I imagine it’s hard for teachers to get things done, keep learning and engagement on track for a class of 20 children, all of whom have needs and want them met right then and there. That’s probably the biggest eye-opener for me.” With home schooling done (for now) and a routine on the horizon, Sven is excited for what comes next – but not without some sorrow. “Our kids are such remarkable, resilient little creatures and having so much time together as a family has been wonderful. The kids have missed school and kindy, for sure – but it’s been replaced with something really new and interesting. I’m sure they’ll be old enough to remember ‘lockdown’ into their futures and I hope they remember our family time with fondness.” As Sven can attest, Springboard volunteers have busy schedules at the best of times – let alone in the middle of a pandemic and public shutdown. But it is in times like these that coming together and supporting communities can be most rewarding. “The cohort I’ve been working with – it's been like a beacon of hope, of people coming together who are experiencing similar challenges. Empathy is built in the trenches, and I’m glad I can do my part.”
5 min read
Case Studies

Digital donations: How a volunteer supplied schools with laptops

What’s the best way to recycle a laptop?   E-waste collections, selling on TradeMe, gifting to a friend – there are many opportunities for passing on your tech when you upgrade to something new.   But for Whangarei-based Fonterra Area Manager Neil Crowson, the option was something a little different – donating laptops to schools in need.   Relationships and resources  In 2019, Neil was a Capacity Partner in Springboard Trust’s Strategic Leadership for Principals Programme (SLPP). Working with Okaihau Primary’s principal Tim Couling, they spent 10 months of the year working together to build Tim’s strategic leadership in a schooling context.   As the programme went on, conversations turned to issues specific to those rural and remote Northland schools. Issues like funding access, families’ digital resources, and improving the tech literacy of students in the regions.   “The tech space can be a big challenge, as Northland isn’t as well-resourced a region as some other parts of the country,” Neil notes.  “It meant that when the laptop situation arose, working with these schools was the organic and clear thing to do.” A timely donation delivery Towards the end of 2019, a refresh of Fonterra’s hardware presented Neil with a fantastic opportunity.   “We had 40 laptops that we wanted to recycle, and we suggested getting them out into schools instead.”   “During the last workshop and celebration with the SLPP group, I put it to the cohort – and it went down really well.”   From there, it was a simple case of logistics. Neil asked the principals to give him some direction on how to split the laptops, and together they decided to share the devices evenly between each school in the cohort.   Carol Ashton (one of Springboard’s Programme Managers in Northland) and Neil then delivered the laptops to the schools, and work was done – as simple as that!   “It was a pretty good feeling,” Neil adds, “especially at the end of the year – it feels great to be Santa Claus.”  “And on a professional level, it’s also nice to identify an opportunity and get those devices out. It’s having an impact in schools and communities who need it, without costing anyone anything.”  How the laptops impacted Northland schools Schools often operate on very fine margins – and while the gift of laptops may have been low effort and cost, Neil found the impact it has on the ground is profound.   “The comments from principals were that this will have a big impact, particularly for struggling families who don’t have access to or the means to buy these laptops. Kids had been sharing laptops, and with roll increases that scarcity would only grow worse.”   “It really filled the gap for low decile schools that needed more resources.”  Additionally, the laptop gifting has led to more projects outside the realm of the principals’ and Capacity Partners’ interactions during SLPP.   “I had conversations with some principals who suggested assigning the laptops to senior students at their school. From there, they could partner with people from Fonterra – bring that Springboard framework into the school and foster some great coaching sessions.”  While those conversations to set up the programme are ongoing, it is a testament to the power of connection that programmes like SLPP can develop.   “You have a 10-month programme with these principals, but the benefits are far longer-lasting.”   With six schools equipped with refurbished and recycled laptops and more work in the pipeline, Neil is thrilled with the way things have turned out – and what he’s learned in return.   “When you work as a Capacity Partner, there’s an impression that you’re teaching the principal – but it’s a two-way street.”  “I took a lot of learning out of my experience, things outside my industry that taught me new theories and ways of working. It’s a great thing to be a part of, and I can’t wait to come back for my third year!”  
4 min read

Helping you lead through change with confidence and clarity.

COVID-19: Leading Through A Crisis

Springboard Trust is committed to helping principals and their schools through the extraordinary environment we now find ourselves in. As part of this, we have developed Leading Through A Crisis - a series of webinars and resources to give principals the tools, frameworks and skills they need to lead during times of change. How Leading Through A Crisis helps principals Over the coming weeks, Springboard will publish a series of videos and helpful resources - freely available from this page - to help leaders guide their communities through a crisis.   This begins with a webinar from our Board Chair Ian Narev (Seek, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, McKinsey), introducing our series and speaking on: You as a leader. Understanding your team well – at the moral and human level. Your plan – the importance of understanding what you control and what you don’t. Following this will be a series of bite-size interviews, learning modules and tools on leading self, leading the school and leading others. This includes:   What you bring as a leader Māori perspectives on leadership Communication and decision-making Developing a crisis plan Organizational culture and identifying values Distributed leadership  These topics have been developed out of focus groups with principals who have worked with Springboard before, and mapped to conceptual frameworks by the University of Auckland’s Professor Carol Mutch and Columbia University’s Professor Paul Ingram.   Who is Leading Through A Crisis for? These modules are designed to be useful primarily for New Zealand principals, but the learning included will be applicable to anyone involved in educational leadership.   For more information on our Leading Through A Crisis resources, or to request assistance on a specific topic, please contact your Programme Manager.  

COVID-19 Distance Learning Support for Principals

Distance learning is here, and it may be here for the long-term.   The challenge for school leaders is now finding what works well for their school community, how to build confidence in the use of distance learning methods, and what can be sustained in the long-term.  Springboard and our expert partners are providing support to schools under Ministry of Education’s guidelines, leading and implementing the transition from classroom to a remote and blended environment where every student, teacher, parent and caregiver will have a different role to play.  How Springboard Trust can help with distance learning  Under our School Innovation Services banner, and in our role as an accredited PLD provider with the Ministry of Education, Springboard can support you and your school to create a sustainable distance learning model that brings together your people, all relevant technology and best-practice leadership.    Currently, we have developed custom support under the following themes:   Leadership in a time of change (lifting capability, critical decision-making)  Leading towards distance learning Implementing distance learning (“getting it done”, including distance teaching practices)  Engaging stakeholders  Building resilience  Coaching for school leaders  If you, your school or your community need assistance with making distance learning a seamless experience for everyone involved, please get in touch with your Programme Manager or fill out our contact form.    Who can access Springboard’s distance learning support – and how  Our support comes in addition to the COVID-19 PLD Distance Learning Support package from the MoE, and is open to all schools who need it – not just Springboard alumni. To access our support, you can either reallocate approved PLD hours you have with Springboard Trust or request our support directly from the Ministry of Education.   To access Ministry of Education guidance, FAQs and contact details on Distance Learning PLD, head this way!

COVID-19: Resilience

Right now, there is nothing more important than resilience and wellbeing. While already a focus for many principals who have worked with Springboard Trust, we would like to provide more support in this area to help all New Zealand school leaders through the COVID-19 pandemic.   Our goal is to support principals to build and maintain resilience within themselves, so they can support others to do the same.   How Springboard Trust can help principals with resilience  We understand the time constraints and information overload that principals go through at the best of times – let alone during a pandemic.   That is why, rather than provide a comprehensive programme, we are offering a kete of wellbeing-focused resources that principals can use at their leisure. We will be releasing multiple items a week, focused on topics that respond directly to priorities principals have highlighted.   This will include:  Video content  Models of wellbeing   Presentations, seminars and conferences  Interviews and advice   These videos, toolkits and articles will give you a regularly updated set of tools to build and share resilience.  We will be calling upon our network of experts to provide insight, learning and perspective on resilience, helping principals keep a strategic approach to their own wellbeing, and improving that of their community.   Who can access our resilience resources – and how   We will publish all resilience resources either on this page or in our news section, keeping everyone updated on the latest we have to offer.   These resources are free to use for everyone who needs them, principals, volunteers, partners and the general public alike.   Resources for resilience:

Recalibrate Your Strategy Workshop

Get your plan back on track Every principal who has worked with Springboard Trust has developed a three-year outlook and a strategic plan for their school.   But in the wake of COVID-19, so much has changed. You might have new priorities, and new initiatives that you want to introduce that mean your original plan may suddenly seem out of date..   Recalibrate Your Strategy (RYS) is a new Springboard Trust workshop designed to help school leaders reconnect, share ideas and rework their strategic plan to better suit the current environment. It gives you perspective, clarity and the tools for a roadmap for the months and years ahead.   How does Recalibrate Your Strategy work?   In the two-hour online RYS workshops, principals will:   Assess how the current situation will impact your strategy  Consider and review your goals and initiatives  Identify priorities for the short- and medium-term  Identify key stakeholders and their engagement needs  Consider the conditions needed to lead these changes   Essentially, RYS acts as a reset – a space for you to take stock, look at what’s important to you now and start working on a plan to make that happen.   Who is Recalibrate your Strategy for? Recalibrate Your Strategy is open to all principals who have completed a strategic plan with Springboard Trust before.   It is a workshop conducted online, will require two hours of your time and requires your existing tools like roadmaps and your stakeholder, annual and strategic plans.   To enquire about attending a Recalibrate Your Strategy workshop, please get in touch with your Programme Manager. 

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2019 Impact Report

In-depth analysis of Springboard Trust's impact on New Zealand students, schools, leaders and communities.

Students impacted
138,487

Over 150 participating schools across New Zealand

From strategic leadership to educational transformation, our programmes impact schools and learners right across the country.

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