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Springboard celebrations: Reflections from our team

It has been a difficult year for everyone – which makes the work that principals and volunteers have done together with Springboard all the more impressive.  

Throughout November, we are hosting our Present and Celebrate workshops – the culmination of a year of incredibly hard work in our Strategic Leadership for Principals Programme and the Strategic Leadership for Rural Teaching Principal Programme.  

A final opportunity for everyone to connect, share their strategic plans and celebrate one another, it’s a very special time – and over the coming weeks, we’re going to share participants’ reflections on how it all has gone.  

What is present and celebrate?  

For Ellie Sutton, Head of Delivery at Springboard, SLPP celebrations are a time for showcasing and reflection.  

“It’s about acknowledging all the contributions that everyone has made to a principal’s journey. The principals present their strategic plan-on-a-page, which represents everything they have built over the year – and we reflect on those, the challenges everyone faced, and those crucial a-ha moments for the principals.”  

On top of capping off the year, these celebrations also act as a stepping stone to further learning, as Ellie explains.  

“For these principals, it’s the end of the first part – they have their plan and know what they want to do. The next step for us is supporting them in implementing it, which might mean further workshops, coaching or even a full school leadership team programme!” 

Carol Barnett (left) in action at one of our celebrations!

Celebrating the bonds 

In such a disruptive year, it has been difficult to keep the connections going beyond a video call. But as Carol Barnett, Programme Manager and Facilitator for one of our SLRTP cohorts explains, the challenges of 2020 helped forge deep bonds between principals, volunteers and the SBT team.  

“SLRTP is a little different from SLPP, in that we have three block courses of two days each. Even in that short space of time, the closeness that the principals created with one another was something to behold.”  

“We also – at the principals’ request – set up weekly stand-ups for them, to check in on programme progress and often just connect with one another. The volunteer Impact Coaches would join when they could, and it maintained that camaraderie that was forged early on before Levels 3 and 4.” 

As Ellie adds, everyone’s commitment to the work has also been incredible.  

“The fact that 96% of the principals who started these programmes in January or February are still with us is miraculous. It really shows the depth of the connections that are built between participants, the commitment of the principals to their development and to their schools and communities; and the extraordinary commitment of  the volunteers.”  

Some of the Springboard team (Ellie front left) out and about at our celebrations!

A special moment as a team  

Together or apart, in-person or virtual, Ellie reflects that all the SLPP participants have been ecstatic to celebrate with one another.  

“It’s been so beautiful – the personal stories, the confidence principals have gained and the network of colleagues and peers they have built. The celebrations have really hammered home that despite the adversity of COVID-19, this really is a triumph of a year in terms of the work and progress that these school leaders have seen.”  

And with the SLRTP celebrations to come in the next week or two, Carol adds that it will be – for many of the volunteers – the first time they get to meet face to face.  

“The Impact Coaches have provided incredible support to these rural teaching principals, and done it largely online. For most of them, the celebrations are the first time they will get to meet everyone face to face – which, considering the growth we have seen in these principals, is phenomenal.”  

As both of our foundation programmes come to a close for 2020 and we look towards next steps and a well-deserved break, it has also been so rewarding to see the work continue outside of Springboard. Cohort of principals have already committed to continuing to work together, and interest in more work towards implementing the plans they made in 2020 is strong.  

To all the principals, volunteers and contributors to these programmes in 2020 – we cannot thank you enough, and we hope that the celebrations you have attended – or will come to very soon – are a rewarding, reflective time for you all. 

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