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School Improvement: it’s not just talk

Found in: Leadership Blog

Tomorrow I will be attending a conference on "The culture of open dialogue in organisations".

I have completed the pre-reading required for this conference and it speaks about experiential learning, creating anxiety and encouraging risk taking as part of developing self, contextual and organisational awareness… sounds intriguing. Hope you recognise me when I return.

I am currently reading a book entitled Exploding the Myths of School Reform, by David Hopkins. The first chapter deals with moral purpose. Moral purpose is the commitment, the fundamental determination and the motivation to enable and support students to reach their potential.

I’ve never really liked the term "reach their potential". It has become clichéd in educational circles and implies a finite set of potentials for every student… something 'out there', like fate, for each of them to arrive at if they try hard enough.

The truth is, every student is far more of an open script, and their lives, dispositions and learning can change. Our imperative is to provide the atmosphere for that to take place.

What I find so exciting about MCC is the deep, shared moral purpose of our staff. Our school is improving and outcomes for students are rising. This is borne out in student achievement and in the recently received NAPLAN results for this year.

This is not an accident but part of a definite and precise strategy. I would like to speak specifically about this year. Every school and system of schools is required to submit a School Improvement Plan and a Strategic Plan. The figure below describes some parameters for improvement.

Rod - Page 14
(Hopkins, 2013)

I am encouraged as I read to know that what this figure refers to is actually at the heart of our school planning. Our school improvement plan is not just a document of compliance for us but an expression of the actual life and purpose at our College.

It was deeply gratifying at the beginning of this term, when staff returned two days before students, to see our staff so engaged in working on these plans and their commitment to implement these strategies. The Stategic Plan has been a collaboration of school leadership, all staff, and our parent committee. The strategic plan for 2015 – 18 has been placed on our website for your information, please click on the link.

Mr Rod McNeill

Reference: Hopkins, D (2013) Exploding the Myths of School Reform. Vic: Centre for Strategic Education.