Disengaged board members. Poor teacher performance. The lowest student achievement levels in the country. A school that recently worked with Springboard Trust has faced an ongoing series of challenges, and we have helped to build resilience and turn things around since 2016.
Our association with this school began in 2016, when one of our alumni was appointed to the principal role. At this time, the key issues were:
Extremely low levels of student achievement
Bullying and violent behaviour from students
Poor teacher performance
Minimal engagement from board members
Limited Statutory Manager (LSM) already in place
Springboard Trust had initially set out to provide coaching support to the principal in the face of these challenges, but ended up delivering a far more comprehensive set of services.
Our goal was to be on the ground, anticipate and provide comprehensive wrap-around support services for schools at risk of LSM intervention. To turn the school around, grow strategic leadership capabilities, improve teaching and learning quality and facilitate the engagement of parents and whanau to all ultimately improve the learning outcomes for students.
To achieve this, our team established seven primary goals:
No further requirement to employ an LSM.
Ability to bring visitors to the school with confidence that teachers and students would be in their classrooms engaged in learning.
Quantitative improvements in student achievement.
Principal defining a programme of personal activities that build resilience.
Funding for a community liaison full-time employee.
Effective leadership team development.
The initial step from Springboard Trust was to provide the principal with a coach, to help her build resilience in the face of these challenges. That meant before any change could occur, there needed to be some very difficult conversations. As the volunteer coach notes:
“Initially, just listening was important for me. Getting into the principal’s shoes and being able to empathise was really challenging, given the seriousness and scale of the issues. Without spending the time understanding things, my energy and approach would have been misdirected.”