Aligning the Scenius

image via @therealbanksy

image via @therealbanksy

This last week at Hobsonville Point Secondary School has felt to me like we are shooting out the end of that image on the right. Suddenly all kinds of things are aligning and we are shooting forward in our latest iteration.

Our Specialised Learning Leader team has a focus on visible thinking and learning. For us that means seeing explicit use of the learning design language in what teachers are using and saying day to day in class. To help this along, a couple of us (Kylee and I) have it as our focus for our 30 Day Sprint. This awesome on 2 levels for me. 1) I see the use of this language as incredibly empowering for our learners. 2) Utilising 30 day sprints alongside 90 day team goals is giving our team a renewed focus this year and has helped us get into that Start-Up frame of mind that served us so well when creating the original structures for our school in 2013.

Friday morning’s PD session saw a focus on 2 things: Setting our goals for the year and planning our Teaching as Inquiry. Our 3 personal professional goals had to align with the school principles: Continue reading

Warm and Demanding

Last year we started using the phrase “warm and demanding” to describe our approach (Maurie and Lea to blame for bringing this phrase into common usage). I remembered this from Restorative Practice workshops and quickly saw how it could apply across much of what we were planning. Initially I viewed this as being a phrase for our students, now I realise it describes how things are for staff at Hobsonville Point as well.

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A Principled Leadership Structure

The last few days has been all about leadership. Starting from the whole leadership vs management binary, through educational leadership models and into what the leadership structure here at Hobsonville Point Secondary School will look like.

As a group we set about trying to place characteristics (such as develops a team culture or maintains stability) under the headings of leadership and management. Interestingly, we quickly fell into negative connotations about management while placing positive aspects under the leadership heading. Eventually, however, we realised that there were important aspects that needed to be placed under the management heading. At this stage, our conversations turned reflective as to why we had such negative feelings about management.

We realised that we associate management with bad management or micro-management and forget about good management all together. My personal reflection on why this occurs, is that when management is functioning well it slips into the background, becoming almost invisible and lets the rest of the organisation get on with their functions. Management is critical for a school (or any organisation) to function effectively and leadership simply cannot function without it. Maurie reminded us of the saying “Leadership/vision without management is simply an hallucination.” I think it is really important for us to remember this as we move from our big picture thinking into our work setting up the structures that will allow this vision to flourish. Continue reading