Tags:Impact ReportAlumni Services

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06/15/2020
4 min read

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.  

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2019 Impact Report

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

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.  

In school, PD is generally around teaching curriculum better and academic counselling. A whole programme focussing on people as individuals is incredibly powerful.
HPL Principal, 2019 - Auckland

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.  

Analysis and evaluation of Springboard Trust's impact on New Zealand learners.

2019 Impact Report

In 2019, Springboard Trust continued to improve outcomes for students, principals and schools across New Zealand. Reaching a record 154,212 learners nationwide, our portfolio of programmes, workshops and services supported more than 400 principals in improving their educational leadership.   In this Portfolio Impact Report, you will find:   A breakdown of our portfolio by region and programme.  Qualitative and quantitative analysis of our impact on New Zealand school leaders and students.   Analysis of our volunteers' work and impact. We have gone further than ever before in the evaluation of our impact on students in NZ schools, and are thrilled with the results - we hope you are too. 
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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. 
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