Infographic: Celebrate your local principal!

How To Shout Out Your Principal

Download our latest infographic, focusing on how to thoughtfully and sincerely say thank you to your local principal - initially for International Women's Day, but useful all year round!

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Media Release

Springboard Trust response to COVID-19 pandemic

With the recent announcements of new precautions for managing COVID-19, Springboard Trust is actively reviewing its operations. We are currently monitoring developments and following the advice of the Ministries of Health and Education. We know you will at this point be concerned about your own schools and communities, and will want to prioritise that work. Our team is taking extra precautions and working with venues and organisers to ensure that our programmes do not impact on your communities. We remain committed to leadership development, and will continue to find innovative ways of providing safe and impactful learning. As a first step, we are moving all meetings, calls, programme and workshop delivery to an online environment. We will send Zoom links to all those who wish to join, and those impacted can expect further communications from us in the coming days and weeks. While community transmission of COVID is not a reality at the time of writing, our first and foremost priority is to create safe conditions for everyone. As a second step, the Springboard team and volunteers are all practicing safe distancing. We have reorganised our office to accommodate this, and have urged all team members to stay home if it is safer to do so. Our internal meetings are now conducted online, and our team has been advised to reschedule or reorganise all future meetings to accommodate this. This may mean we have to reschedule or delay parts of our programmes at short notice - it is our top priority to be careful and safe in the way we work. Finally, we have postponed some workshops and our ongoing recruitment - individuals affected can expect to hear from us soon. If you have any queries or concerns about the delivery of upcoming workshops, programmes or services you have with Springboard Trust, please contact your Programme Manager for more information. We have provided some useful links below, and please do not hesitate to get in touch. Helpful links and information regarding COVID-19 NZ Ministry of Health Guidelines for events and gatherings Guidelines for infectious disease prevention in the workplace Guidelines for workplace pandemic situations Guide to self-isolation Latest updates Latest media releases NZ Govt - other Information and advice for students, whānau and the education sector Information for businesses General information 'Flattening the curve' - The Spinoff 'Self-isolation guide' - The Guardian
2 min read

Teacher leadership: When paying it forward pays dividends

Leadership in New Zealand schools doesn’t rest solely with the principal.   By distributing leadership throughout a team, you clarify accountabilities, efficiently delegate workload, and give all of your people the opportunity to thrive. Typically, this distributed leadership begins with your senior leaders – DPs and APs and the like. But as recent research shows, teacher leadership is just as – if not more – critical for student success.   What is teacher leadership? Broadly speaking, teacher leadership is what it says it is – active teachers taking on more leadership roles within their school. As Charlotte Danielson explains, this is typically exhibited through a teacher’s sphere of influence expanding outside the classroom, as well as motivating and mobilising other individuals. It remains focused on the school’s ultimate vision and goals.   Additionally, Leblanc and Shelton (2012) found that collaboration is fundamental for teacher leaders, while time is the most important resource to make it happen.   This can mean that teacher leadership is a difficult concept to put into practice. With already long hours and staffing challenges for schools across New Zealand, a formalised programme to develop teachers into strong educational leaders can fall down the priority list.   But for those who can implement such a strategy, it can pay dividends in the long-term.  Distributing leadership all the way down  When school leadership is distributed, it can have a significant positive influence on student outcomes. However, some methods of spreading leadership throughout a school are more effective than others.   The above research – Seven Strong Claims Revisited - summarises a few key elements of successful distributed leadership:   Basing responsibilities on expertise, rather than role   Creation of new teams   Focus on interactions over actions Strong levels of leadership team cooperation and full participation in decision making  Of course, the degree to which schools can do this will vary in each case. Some may be able to flip the system, as Kneyber and Evers put it, resulting in a completely teacher-driven model for how the school is run. Others may simply use their strategic plan as a blueprint, and begin assigning initiatives and actions to teachers with the relevant expertise – giving them control and the opportunity to develop their own leadership skills.   The key is finding the balance between available resources, your teachers’ expertise, and the degree of change that your school can take on.  Why teacher leadership matters  If you don’t focus on developing teacher leadership, you may miss out on significant impact for students.   At Springboard Trust, we focus on school leadership - especially in our foundational courses like the Strategic Leadership for Principals Programme. As principals continue their learning journey through our Alumni Services and School Innovation Services, we focus more and more on the leadership team and empower them with tools and frameworks to lead on their own. It is vital that school leaders then impart this learning on their teachers. As Seven Strong Claims notes, in terms of in-school variables, educational leadership is second only to classroom teaching in impact on learners.   And while teachers must be given the resources and time to continue effective practice, developing teacher leadership brings a new dimension of growth into the fold. Harris and Jones (2019) note that teachers who play an active role in creating change yield much more positive results in their school than ones who are “passive tools of policy delivery”.   In the end, the message here is one of paying it forward. Teacher leadership will look different in every school context – but by empowering them to influence, collaborate and take responsibility, you can only deepen the pool of leadership in education and help learners succeed.
5 min read

15 thoughtful ways (plus an infographic) to help shout out your principal

This International Women’s Day, it’s time to shout out your principal!   New Zealand has 1,291 female principals – for the first time, there are more women than men in this role. Coupled with female teachers outnumbering men by nearly 3:1, it is clear that New Zealand’s women hold a massive collective responsibility for young people’s learning. At Springboard Trust, we work closely with principals right across New Zealand to improve their leadership for the good of all students. But unfortunately, we can’t work with every single principal – so we’re enlisting you all to help. Let’s be better together and shout out our principals!   But of course, teachers and principals are busy people. Shouting out someone without much time on their hands might be intrusive if you do it the wrong way.   Thankfully, we have 15 ways for you to shout out a principal for #IWD – we hope you find something that works for your local leader! Shout-outs that keep it personal  For many people, the concept of a public shout-out is absolutely mortifying. If you want to acknowledge the hard work of a principal for International Women’s Day in a more private setting, any of the below should do just fine!    1. A greeting card  The traditional. The stalwart. The classic. Cards are minimalist, non-intrusive, and let you say something personal and meaningful that a principal can appreciate in their own time!   2. An email  Much the same as above, only this time – it's digital. Words of thanks, appreciation or just a simple ‘keep up the great work’ can go a long way to making someone’s day.   3. Phone call or face-to-face greeting  For those comfortable with it (on both sides of the interaction), saying how a principal has made a difference over the phone or in person can be supremely rewarding. However, be mindful of the principal – they might be busy during the day, or not want to be disturbed during their free time. Use your discretion and knowledge of the person you want to thank!   4. A gift  Now, we don’t mean over-the-top gift baskets sent to the school in plain view of everyone – this could be just as mortifying as shouting from the rooftops. But if you have an existing relationship with the principal and know their tastes, sending them a gift can mean the world.   5. Be specific This is more generalised advice for the above. When you’re giving a principal a shout-out, don’t just say “for all the hard work you do”. Take the time to acknowledge something specific they have done – it might be a strategic initiative that’s worked wonders, innovative decisions in the school, or simply taking the time to go the extra mile for you or your children.  Shout-outs in the public arena  Many people thrive on public acknowledgement of their work. If you know a principal for whom this is the case, then International Women’s Day could be the perfect opportunity to give a shout-out in one of the following ways!   6. Social media posts  The Instagram shout-out is a tried and true way to acknowledge people on a social media forum, broadcasting your thanks and appreciation to all your followers.   You could also do it on your school’s Facebook page, tweet up a storm or go for an inspiring LinkedIn post. Tag them if it’s appropriate and shout out to your heart’s content!   7. Assemblies or meetings   Public appreciation in assembly can be an amazing thing. Thunderous applause, heartfelt thanks and a forum that brings it all back to why principals work so hard – the students. School assembly can be the perfect place for the perfect shout-out.  For something a little more informal, team (or board, or PTA) meetings are also a great setting for collective thanks and caring – consider the classic workplace morning tea!   8. News and newsletters  Most schools have a publication of some kind – and even if they don’t, there is always the local paper. Submit an opinion piece, or – if you’re feeling extravagant – even take out some ad space for a loud and proud thank you.   9. Public gift or gesture Remember above, where we suggested that some principals might not like getting a gift in public? This could be where it’s appropriate!   If you work with a principal who loves public acknowledgement, it’s time to get that hamper, bouquet or otherwise highly visible gift together. Who knows – maybe even a barbershop quartet to sing a song?   10. Being mindful with public shout-outs  While these gestures can be amazing to receive, it’s important to be very mindful of the recipient’s needs. Be thankful, be sincere – but try not to be intrusive if it’s going to have a negative impact!  Shout-outs: Wild cards  These gestures are the wild ones. The ones you might not immediately think of, but if they are appropriate (and executed well), can have magnificent results. As always – use your discretion!   11. Unfurl a gigantic banner  The principal’s face. A message of thanks. The lyrics to Tina Turner’s iconic ‘Simply the Best’. You can put whatever you like on a banner, and unfurl it at the right moment for maximum impact!   12. Create a flash mob  These aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, but can you imagine anything more adorable than an entire school coming together to perform a song and dance in honour of their principal?   An alternate and more up-to-date version of this is, of course, a TikTok.   13. Buy them some art  Finding a piece of art that reflects someone’s work and personality can be tricky. But if you’re confident in choosing the right piece, this can be a massive statement – and a lifelong gift.   Another way to say thanks with art is to work with the school’s students. Pieces created by the people the principals works so hard for can be some of the most meaningful gifts of all.   14. Send them away What better way to shout out someone in one of the busiest professions in the world than by giving them a break from it?   While principals may not have much free time, banding together to gift them a holiday when they do get time off could be just what they need.   15. Refer them to us!   You didn’t think we’d let the article slip by without mentioning our programmes, did you?   Year after year, principals tells us that the Strategic Leadership for Principals Programme is the best professional learning and development they have ever done. A free 10-month course that partners principals with business experts, it’s a vital piece of learning for any principal of any tenure.   If your principal hasn’t worked with us before, perhaps you want to give them the gift of knowledge – put them in touch with us!  
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

Our Portfolio

What We Do

Improve your leadership Springboard Trust's unique learning programmes are designed to enable the development of outstanding educational leaders who dramatically improve their schools and wider communities.   To achieve this, we offer a range of programmes and services that provide multi-year support for leaders. Over these years, principals partner with us on a journey to:  Learn or enhance their strategic leadership skills.   Connect with cross-sector partners for unique leadership insights.  Develop the tools and skills necessary to plan and report to boards and other stakeholders.  Build leadership capability throughout a school.   Map the impacts of strong leadership right down to student outcomes.   Network with other schools and sectors to improve the community.   Principals do not generally undertake every programme and service that Springboard offers. By partnering with Springboard and selecting programmes and services that are tailored to your needs, you broaden your skill set and bring yourself – and your leadership team – on a journey that alumni call "the best professional development you will ever get".   The Principal's Journey   Every Principal's journey begins with the Strategic Leadership for Principals Programme (SLPP). After this point, your programme manager will work with you to understand your challenges and opportunities, and support you to select the best programme or service for your needs.Entry Programmes Strategic Leadership for Principals Programme (SLPP) A one-year, nine-workshop programme that sees principals partner with a business sector volunteer to develop strategic thinking and leadership. The foundational building block of strong educational leaders.  Strategic Leadership for Rural Teaching Principals (SLRTP) A full-year programme, focused on the challenges faced by teaching principals in rural New Zealand communities. (Pilot phase - limited entry). Alumni Services After completing SLPP or SLRTP, principals become Springboard Trust alumni. At this point, they can take part in a number of highly tailored programmes, workshops and services to deepen their strategic leadership and build the capabilities of their team. High Performing Leaders A one-term service for alumni principals or your senior and middle leaders, focusing on building self awareness through 360 degree feedback and support from a coach.  High Performing Leadership Teams A one-term programme for alumni principals and their leadership teams, learning the essentials of group dynamics, shared goals and commitment. Kickstart Your Strategy Workshop A one-day workshop in which principals and your leadership teams are provided with tools and to put your strategic plan into action on a day-to-day basis.   Talent Management Workshop A one-day workshop focused on ensuring that you have the right people in the right place at the right time to deliver your strategic plan. Annual Planning Workshop A one-day workshop for principals and your leadership teams, focused on building initiatives, actions and goals for the coming year.   Learning Events Annual, half or full-day networking events that give principals and your lead teams the opportunity to hear from the best and brightest speakers, from both in and out of the education sector.   School Innovation Services A bespoke service, based around initiatives that schools require specialist support to scope and implement.  Beyond these set programmes and workshops, the beauty of the Springboard Trust model is its flexibility. By partnering principals with cross-sector experts based on your needs, we are able to facilitate solutions for a whole host of issues, including:  Project Management  Coaching and people management  Change management  Digital transformation  Communication plans  Strategy refresh  Parent and whānau engagement  Select a programme above – or head to our contact page to enquire about how else we might be able to help.

Our Portfolio

Strategic Leadership for Principals Programme

A free 10-month development programme for New Zealand principals. The Strategic Leadership for Principals Programme (SLPP) brings New Zealand principals together with strategic experts to develop your leadership and support clear, insightful planning for our schools - free of charge. Strategic leadership is a pivotal element for improved school performance. The ability to plan, manage and report as the fulcrum of your community ensures healthy relationships and the right conditions for everyone to thrive.   But too often, school leaders lack the time, knowledge or resources to learn strategic planning and put it into action.   How does SLPP work?   1. Expression of interest  We can’t help you develop your leadership if we don’t know you’re there! All New Zealand principals are welcome to participate in the Strategic Leadership for Principals Programme. You can get in touch with us here, and one of our Programme Managers will get back to you on availability for our next set of cohorts.   Our Programme Managers are some of the most experienced members of the Springboard Team and will be on hand to guide you through the SLPP journey, answering any and all questions you have. They’ll also be your main point of contact for post-SLPP programmes and services!   Please note that our journeys begin in Term One of each year, so getting in touch with us by the end of Term Two the year before is a good idea.   While we aim to give everyone an opportunity to take part in SLPP, our resourcing only allows for limited places, with schools in greatest need of our assistance given priority.   For volunteers interested in SLPP, please see our Volunteer Support page.   2. Finding your partner   In SLPP, you work extensively with a Capacity Partner – a volunteer from the business world who brings knowledge, trust and curiosity to the relationship.   Having run nearly 100 cohorts in the last decade, the Springboard Team is adept at finding people who work well together.   3. The workshops begin   Over 10 months, you and your Capacity Partner will meet as part of a ‘cohort’, with five to six other principal-capacity partner pairings and one volunteer facilitator (also from one of our major or strategic partners).   This peer-to-peer, cross-sector work means you get insight and understanding of strategic leadership that often isn’t possible on your own.   As a cohort, your progress through nine workshops, each focused on a core element of strategic planning.   4. Present and Celebrate  The final workshop is more of a celebration and reflection. You and the other principals in your cohort will present your strategic plans to everyone, before celebrating the progress you’ve made together alongside your partners and the Springboard Team.   While this ends the formal meetings of your group, many of our cohorts stick together long after the SLPP is complete – meeting quarterly, sharing advice on their strategic plans and continuously evolving their leadership skills.   Most principals who have completed SLPP will also want to continue their leadership development – for example, sharpening their annual planning skills or involving their leadership team in the same professional development. This is where our Alumni Services begin.   Why take on SLPP?   At Springboard, we believe we’re better together. By sharing tools, frameworks and expertise across sectors, principals and business leaders develop much greater understanding of each others’ roles and the common challenges and opportunities that they face as leaders.   This is reflected in New Zealand Council of Educational Research (NZCER) reporting we commissioned on the impacts of SLPP. Some 93 per cent of principals said this programme had a high or medium impact on their leadership.   In turn, this has a positive impact on leadership teams, teachers, and student opportunities.   What comes after SLPP?   The Strategic Leadership for Principals Programme is the first step on your development journey with Springboard Trust. Once you understand and apply strategic planning tools and frameworks yourself, it’s time to move on to areas like implementation, community engagement and distributing leadership across your teams.  Typically, we recommend the Kickstart Your Strategy workshop as an excellent follow-up to SLPP in Term One the following year. However, alumni principals (those who have completed SLPP) are able to pursue any of the programmes and services we offer.   To find our more about SLPP or join our next cohort, click here.  

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High Performing Leadership Teams (HPLT)

It takes a village to raise a strong school environment.  While strong leadership is a must for any New Zealand principal, it is equally important to bring that journey to each and every member of a school’s leadership team.   Springboard Trust’s High Performing Leadership Teams programme helps schools develop a shared vision, understanding and plan for high performance. It helps individuals find their place in a leadership team, create development pathways and identify how every members of a team contributes to the vision or plan of a school.   A problem shared is a problem halved, and leadership shared is leadership gained by all.   How does High Performing Leadership Teams work?   HPLT is a programme designed to light the fire of distributed leadership in New Zealand schools.   You and your leadership team (both senior and middle leaders welcome) meet with two expert volunteer facilitators through four workshops, taking place across one school term, all under the guidance of a Springboard Trust Programme Manager.   A pre-survey helps the facilitators understand your team, and they will feed back analysis on how you all work together before the workshops begin. This ensures the course is tailored to your leadership team’s needs, rather than a prescribed curriculum that may not be an ideal fit.   The four workshops are: Building a cohesive team; Understanding team dynamics and viewpoints; Operating an effective team, and Strategic leadership in action.  Through the workshops, you will build a cohesive team unit who understand one another, learn to operate effectively and communicate with one another to improve learner success.   A final round of analysis with the facilitators helps your team set next steps, and clearly define roles and development for the future.   What do school leaders gain from High Performing Leadership Teams?  By the end of an HPLT course, you and your leadership team should be able to:   Give and receive open and honest feedback in a trusting environment.   Operate as a strong team (good time management, delegation and facilitation of meetings). Identify how each individual fits into a long-term strategic plan.   Understand why you work together; what the common goal of your group is and how you contribute to it.   Use and apply tools to improve everyone's development immediately.   Distribute leadership, improving everyone’s strategic thinking.   Who is High Performing Leadership Teams for?   HPLT is open to the leadership teams surrounding all Springboard Trust alumni (those who have completed the Strategic Leadership for Principals Programme).   While all leadership team members are welcome, it is ultimately the decision of the principal on who to bring to the HPLT programme. In particular, leadership team members who play an important role in the implementation of your strategic plan should be invited.   What do you need for High Performing Leadership Teams?   First and foremost, a willing leadership team that wants to commit to positive change and a better shared understanding of your work. The HPLT programme will take up to five days of time across a single school term, ideally conducted face to face in a safe environment. Please note that unlike many of our other strategic leadership programmes, HPLT does have a cost of $2,500 plus GST. There are scholarships available thanks to our partners – please contact us to find out more about this.   To enquire about our next HPLT intake, please either contact your Programme Manager or head on over to our contact page.  

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

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