COVID-19: Springboard Response and Resources

Helping you to lead and develop your skills - no matter the environment.

Innovative development for school leaders

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed so much. New challenges rose faster than we could count, while old priorities were put on the back burner as we adapted to change.  

What hasn’t changed, however, is Springboard’s commitment to New Zealand school leaders.  

Throughout the pandemic, we have developed new resources and workshops – tailored to your requests and needs – that can help you get back on track, focus on your students, team and wider community, and bring everyone forward together. These are:  

Additionally, we have reviewed all workshops and programmes, making them more flexible and suited to a distance learning environment.  

We have full contact tracing measures, are on hand for all existing programmes and can also work with you on custom projects that fall outside our portfolio.

For more information on your next workshop or event with us, please contact your Programme Manager or make an enquiry.

More from the Springboard team


Springboard's guide to Zoom: The basics

Springboard Trust’s programmes are built on connection. Principals partner with volunteers, each bringing their unique insight and perspective to a relationship that builds stronger leaders.   But in the current environment, that connection is harder to build. We are all in our bubbles, and face-to-face connection is extremely limited.   We have tools to overcome this as best we can – and one of the most reliable we’ve used so far has been Zoom. Today, we’ll walk you through how – and when – we're using it.   What is Zoom?   Zoom is a cloud-based video conferencing app, that anyone can pick up and use. You can use it in your browser (like Google Chrome or Edge), or download the app and use it from your desktop. The National Cyber Security Centre recommends using the desktop application, then the in-browser version, with the Zoom mobile app to be avoided wherever possible.  Additionally, it's important to make sure you always update the app as soon as one becomes available - this keeps you up to date with the latest security patches and tweaks. When Springboard Trust is using Zoom   As an organisation, we have replaced all face-to-face communications with video conferencing. For smaller meetings – say, fewer than five people – we often use Microsoft Teams. But with Zoom, you get a much more comprehensive view for bigger calls. When there are five or more people on a call, Zoom has a useful ‘gallery view’ that turns everyone into the Brady Bunch titles, rather than you only being able to see the person who is speaking.   So as a rule of thumb, we use Zoom when we have six or more people on a call. Typically, our team does one of two things in Zoom: they set up and schedule a meeting for others, or they join a meeting that someone else has set up.  How to use Zoom in the workplace  Zoom has their own very useful guides for setting up and running meetings – we are going to run you through an adaptation of our own guidelines as well.   Setting up Zoom   You don’t have to have a Zoom account to join a meeting – the host (person who created the meeting) can send you a link that you can click regardless.   But if you want to host your own, setting up an account is a good idea. Simply go to, and click the Sign Up button. It’s free, but if you use a paid account, you get access to hosting meetings longer than 40 minutes with more than two people. It’ll also be much easier to set your own meetings up if you have an account.   Go through the steps, and you have it! You’ll also be given the opportunity to download the app – not essential, but handy (and preferred by the GCSB).   2. Setting up and scheduling a meeting in Zoom Depending on whether you’re in the app or the browser, you’ll have a button saying ‘Schedule a meeting’. Clicking this takes you to a screen where you can fill out all of your meeting’s details.  Many of these are straightforward – the time, name and video or audio settings in particular. However, some of the settings might not be familiar to you.   ‘Enable join before host’ is something the GCSB recommends keeping off (do not tick).  ‘Mute participants upon entry’ is good practice, to avoid sudden loud noises on the call   ‘Enable waiting room’ is a useful security measure and, as of April 9th, turned on by default for individual accounts  ‘Record the meeting automatically’ is useful if you want to review the call later on Please note that in early April, Zoom made several important changes to its security, notably automatically be turning on meeting passwords and waiting rooms for individual accounts. There is also a new security button available in-call. You can read more about the latest updates to settings here.  3. Inviting people to a Zoom meeting   Once you have scheduled a Zoom meeting, it will show up in the ‘Meetings’ tab of your Zoom account. You can change the time and settings from there.   Additionally, you can add it to one of your existing calendars – Google, Outlook or Yahoo. Just click one of the buttons to add it, and you’ll be taken to the relevant calendar with everything set up for you!   From here, you can add invitees and a personalised message for the meeting. People will be sent the calendar invite, which contains a link to the meeting and all the details you want them to know.   Alternatively, there is a section to ‘copy the invitation’ - this gives you a URL that you can put in your own calendar event, or just include in an email or chat to someone you want to meet with.   When it’s time for the meeting, you have the option to click ‘Start Meeting’, or just click the link in your event! Only can the host can start the meeting if you have that setting turned on, as long as you have ‘enable join before host’ turned off – which is a good idea!   4. What to expect when you're in a Zoom meeting   When you enter a Zoom meeting, it should look like this (except you'll see yourself and others instead of a stock photo of a bunny): You’ll be asked what kind of audio to use – just select ‘Use Computer Audio’. Then you should be able to hear everyone!   The next step is checking everyone can see and hear you. In the bottom left are the ‘Mute’ and ‘Start Video’ buttons – click these to turn your audio and video respectively off and on.   In the middle are a few buttons:   Invite is to bring other people onto the call – you can do this by entering their email   Manage participants is a button for the call host to mute or manage everyone on the call   Share is for screen sharing – you will get to select a tab or screen that you want to share with everybody else.  Chat brings up a text window on the right, where everyone can do a text chat – useful to keep people from talking over one another. You can chat with everyone, or a specific individual. Record is a host-specific button, to turn this on and off as required. - able to be given to others    Breakout rooms is a button for hosts, where they can set up multiple 'rooms' and assign people on the call to them. This is useful for more close-knit sessions within a larger workshop. Security is a button for hosts that lets them lock the meeting (preventing new people from entering), and adjust other security settings for participants. And that is the basics of being on a Zoom call! We’ll be back soon with some more advanced Zoom tricks, like running whiteboards and breakout rooms – as well as some best-practice data security from the NZ Cyber Security Centre and GCSB.   In the meantime, if you have further questions or need some guidance on using Zoom, please get in touch with the Springboard Trust team. We are well-versed in these tools and are happy to assist you or your leadership team with getting up to speed.  
4 min read

The government's learning from home package: A summary

The government has announced a broad-ranging $88.7 million package to support families and schools as we head back into term two with the lockdown still in place.   From broadcast content to device distribution, Education Minister Chris Hipkins has emphasised the Ministry’s focus on public health, while still supporting New Zealand’s learners. We at Springboard Trust are thrilled to see this investment, and look forward to working with school leaders in any way we can. With a goal of every NZ household having access to at least one learning channel from home by mid-April, there is a lot to be rolled out in a short space of time – here is what the package entails.  More information: Learning From Home government website Minister Chris Hipkins' press release Hon Kelvin Davis'press release 1. Increased access to internet and devices  Minister Hipkins noted in a press conference on April 8 that some 80,000 New Zealand households (and therefore more than 100,000 children) are without access to either internet or appropriate devices for learning (ie laptops).  To address this, the government is working with a number of businesses and suppliers to provide connectivity and / or devices to these households. They have at least 17,000 laptops sourced already and are working with schools to safely free up devices they might have on-premises already.   While he notes that they will not be able to resolve issues for all households on day one of the school term, there will be two key priorities: secondary students with looming NCEA assessments, and households with the greatest need.   Hipkins acknowledges that there are large challenges with so many households in need, and that there are hundreds for whom internet is a technical impossibility, but is optimistic that everyone will have access to the learning they need.   2. Hard packs of learning materials   To supplement the expansion of devices and connectivity, the government is putting together some half a million ‘hard packs’ to be distributed to families across New Zealand.   These packs contain materials to support and supplement each child’s learning, with different packs going to learners of different ages.   For example, a senior primary school pack contains workbooks from Te Kura, School Journal copies, activities for inside and outside, and all requisite health and safety materials. Junior primary packs contain items like numbers workbooks, fold-out card packs, and the ready-to-read series (Mr Hipkins was thrilled to see the Little Yellow Digger in one he showed the media).   Additionally, early learning / ECE packs would be split by age group and contain jigsaws, stories, pavement chalks, pens and crayons, fabric and coloured cardboard or drawing paper.   Each pack will contain extensive resources for parents, guiding them on how to use the resources and keep their children engaged.   Speaking before Mr Hipkins, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern noted that providing these materials helps to take the pressure off parents, who have the added jobs of keeping their children entertained and engaged in learning during lockdown.  3. Television channels  The government is launching two television channels – one in English, and one in Māori – with up to 6.5 hours of educational broadcast content shown daily. The government is exploring Pasifika options currently, and the channels are being provided by TVNZ and Māori Television.   It will focus on different age groups at different times, and cover subjects like wellbeing, numeracy, literacy, music, movement, science and physical education. There will be a range of well-known New Zealand hosts, with Suzy Cato being the only one Mr Hipkins would confirm during the press conference.   4. Additional resources for parents and teachers  Mr Hipkins acknowledged the extensive work that parents are doing in the home under lockdown, and the challenges that a remote schooling environment would mean.   This is why the fourth arm of the government package includes resources for teaching communities, and parents who want to continue their involvement in a child’s learning. Examples include Ki te Ao Mārama, announced by Hon Kelvin Davis today, as well as the re-establishment of the Te Ara Whitīki helpdesk to support distance learning.   These measures will come into place from April 15th, and will be in place for one month. While Mr Hipkins noted they were planning around the initial four-week lockdown period, these measures are designed to be sustainable should level four be extended. For more information, please refer to the Beehive website – and if your school requires any assistance setting up its remote learning environment, please get in touch with the Springboard Trust team.  
4 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 Trust 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

Working from home: 25 tips from the Springboard team

The COVID-19 pandemic has meant that for many people, they are working from home for a lengthy period for the very first time.   This can be a challenging situation, but it is one that Springboard Trust can assist with. Since we began offering programmes and workshops around the country, we have had team members in each of these regions to provide on-the-ground support. We thought it would be a good idea to canvas them for their top tips on working remotely – here's what we came up with!1. Walk to punctuate your day  Before you start work and when you finish work, taking a quick 5-10 minute walk is a great way to punctuate the day, putting a nice ‘event’ between your working time and your relaxing time.   2. Make the environment feel like an office  Wherever you choose to work, try and make it feel like a working environment. Having a dedicated work desk, some storage for your paperwork, and a phone if you need it – try and make your working spot distinctly work-flavoured to keep those boundaries.   3. Get dressed for work (at least on the top half)  Pyjamas are comfy, but they won’t put you in a work mindset easily! While it’s important to dress work-appropriate for video calls, most of the time you’ll only need to take care of your top half. Warm slippers, comfortable socks and – should the occasion call for it – some polar fleece trackpants can all be perfect additions to a remote working wardrobe.  4. Use the environment to improve your Te Reo   A few of our team members are scrubbing up on their Te Reo, using resources from Te Wiki o te Reo Māori (like the essential Kōrero Kawhe sheet) to do so! A great way to improve your language skills, especially in your downtime.  5. Do your chores early  Once dressed, do the tasks around the house that need to be done – otherwise they become the perfect excuse to stop working later on!   6. Be predictable! Make a point of starting and stopping at the same time each day, with the same breaks in between. Personally, I like to work in 90-minute blocks, which let me get through a lot without feeling like I’m stuck in my chair.   I like to announce to my partner that I’m going to work – even if I’m just going to the next room to open my laptop!   7. Do a lunchtime activity  Exercise, walks, reading, watching an episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race – do something that isn’t work for your lunch break. You’re in the comfort of your own home, and working there shouldn’t diminish your enjoyment of that!  8. Make some interruption rules If you have children or family at home, be very clear and specific about your working time and the rules for interrupting – that stickman drawing might be a work of art, but it has to wait until you can pay proper attention to it!   This lets you dedicate real, proper quality time to both your work and your family.   9. The house doesn’t have to be perfect  While chores at the start of the day are a good idea, the house doesn’t have to be perfect before you start. With everyone living at home, there’s always going to be something that needs doing – but focus on having your workspace be comfortable rather than the house be spotless.  10. Make your start and end times clear to others Know when you start and when you finish. Your work-life boundaries are going to blur during this time, so give yourself a fighting chance of keeping them clear with a good timetable.   11. Change your space  You know better than anyone where you like to relax while you’re at home – so make your working space somewhere else. You don’t want to have the places where you relax, watch TV or sleep become spaces where you’re in a work mindset.   12. Do the same thing every morning  Shower, breakfast, brush your teeth, open laptop. Exercise, breakfast, check emails, read the news, do the laundry, start work at 9:30am. Whatever your comfortable routine in the morning, stick to it – do the same thing every morning. It’ll help keep a sense of healthy routine in your life.   13. Work in bursts  Some work best in 90 minute spurts as above, while others prefer the Pomodoro method, and others like to do a big morning session then a big afternoon session. Find the amount of time you can comfortably stay working for, and build your schedule around that.  15. Check off achievements  Be as pedantic as you want with listing tasks – the more you put in your list, the more you get to check off throughout the day!   16. Pack a lunch   I’ve already taken a two-hour lunch break to do some baking – preparing a lunch in the morning can help you keep the momentum on days you need it.  17. Allow yourself a bad day  This is going to be a difficult time, and for many people working from home is just not the ideal. Don’t be hard on yourself if it’s difficult to get work done.   18. Change the energy   Play with your dog! Make a cup of tea! Change the rhythm and energy of your day to keep things interesting.   19. Stand up, and standup  Standing up is an excellent way to energise a working environment – as are daily standups. The daily standup is a quick five minute meeting with your team to catch up on what you’re doing today, what you did yesterday and what your roadblocks are – it's great to get more face time too!   20. Vary your hours  Your work day does not have to be one continuous block of time. Take breaks when you need them, and be kind to yourself.21. Check people’s calendars  We might be working remotely, but people’s schedules will still be busy. Make sure to keep on top of your colleague’s calendars so you know when they’re free for a meeting – or for a social catch-up!   22. Make the most of phone calls  Video calls tend to have you sitting in one spot – but phone calls give you the freedom to get up and walk around. Schedule these in for your afternoon so you can be active, maintain connection and keep on top of your work!   23. Don’t eat at your desk!   Or you’ll soon be wondering just where all those snacks went!   24. Check your coffee intake  Chain coffee drinking is a deadly trap for remote workers. Line up your coffee drinking with your timetable, or get someone in the home to hide the black gold from you lest you drink it all in the first week of lockdown!   25. Be intentional with your social time  Without the natural interruptions and conversations that happen in an office, you have to be deliberate about making time to catch up with people in a casual, social manner. Be mindful of schedules, but be intentional about talking to people about their day!  
5 min read
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 Trust 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 Relationship & 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

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