Welcome to the emerging roles of schools post the COVID-19 Lockdown strategies in most States and Territories. I trust your students, staff and families are thriving well in this new environment as the restrictions are being eased around Australia. While the world is in various stages of response to COVID-19, we hope and pray that the easing of restrictions will work well and there will be no second wave of infections.
On behalf of the CaSPA Board, I want to congratulate you, your staff and community for your dedciated and committed work for the welfare and wellbeing of others. The shifting sands of change over the last three months has provided many challenges not normally experienced at schools but all of our schools have responded professionally and in a very caring manner.
COVID-19 has challenged traditional education models and forced us to redesign the how, where and when of teaching and learning. From online learning opportunities and revitalised relationships with parents to flexible working arrangements. Teaching and learning has indeed been transformed.
I would like to invite you to share your recent professional experiences:
- What was learnt as a result of adapting to the COVID-19 restrictions?
- What might be implemented as permanent changes in the future?
- What were there unexpected outcomes and / or innovations that emerged?
- Anything else?
Please send your responses for our website and newsletter to: email@example.com.
On another matter, I hope you will be able to find some time to read CaSPA's response to the 2019 Australian Principals Occupational Health Survey. The response was sent to the NCEC and all Catholic Education Directors.
May God continue to bless you in your leadership at this time.
CaSPA Key Activities (May)
- AITSL – National Strategy to Address Teacher and School Leader Abuse consultation.
- AITSL - Middle Leaders Standards consultation.
- Education Department consultation regarding the review of Students with Disabilties matters and related legislation.
- AITSL – National Architecture of Education consultation.
- Planning for CaSPA Conference 2021.
- AITSL School Leadership workshop / teleconference.
- ACARA Teleconference: 2020 Review of MySchool, Australian Curriculum & NAPLAN.
- ICP Forum Teleconference for Asia / Pacific Region.
- Publishing and sending CaSPA responses to NCEC, Associations and Catholic Education Directors regarding the 2019 Australian Principal Occupational Health Report.
CaSPA Principal Profile
Name: Michael Egan - ACSP (NSW) Chair
Current School: LaSalle Catholic College, Bankstown
Previous Position: Principal: De La Salle Catholic College, Caringbah
First Year as a Principal: 2009
The hope for my current school is: To offer the best possible Catholic Education to the young people of Bankstown
The Joy of Principalship is: Working with parents to bring their children to know and love Jesus in a safe, supportive educational environment.
A Book I would recommend: Bridging the Gaps, Between Families and Schools by Nance Millar
Fun Fact about me: I once appeared on Red Faces and won
My valued Well-Being Strategy: Swim in the ocean regularly
Advice for a Beginning Principal: Listen carefully to those who criticise you until you understand why.
Inspiring Leadership Quote: “God has chosen you to do his work.” St John Baptist De La Salle, patron Saint of Teachers.
CaSPA Principal Profile
Name: Mark Murphy - PAVCSS (Vic) Chair
Current School: Whitefriars College
Previous Position: Principal at Marcellin College
First Year as a Principal: 2009
The hope for my current school is: That we continue to nurture and grow our identity as a Catholic Carmelite school for boys and that we support our young men to be able to take their place in a contemporary world as good Christians and productive global citizens
The Joy of Principalship is: Walking with and supporting all in our faith learning community to become the best versions of themselves.
A Book I would recommend: Leigh Sales: Any Ordinary Day
Fun Fact about me: A love to surf
My valued Well-Being Strategy: Get as much “salt water therapy” as you can!
Advice for a Beginning Principal: Don’t think you have to know everything. Utilise the great strengths of your team, trust others to run with their own ball, take care of yourself and realise that Principalship is a Marathon not a spirit – pace yourself.
Inspiring Leadership Quote: Don’t so much spend your life planning as preparing. If we prepare we will always be ready to take hold of the next opportunity. – Julian Burnside
What Title would you give to your TED Talk or Book: “It’s all in the preparation”
CaSPA Principal Profile
Name: Geoff Mills - CSPA (W.A.) Chair
Current School: Ursula Frayne Catholic College – Victoria Park, WA
Previous Position: Principal – Lumen Christi College – Gosnells, WA
First Year as a Principal: 2006
The hope for my current school is: That our school continues to flourish as an authentic learning and faith sharing community, centred in Christ.
The Joy of Principalship is: Working within a community context in which staff and parents are committed to ensuring the best learning environment students and God is part of the conversation.
A Book I would recommend: In enjoy reading about Australian leaders and am currently working my way through the biographies of former Prime Ministers. A current book recommendation is Robert Menzies – The Art of Politics (Troy Bramston) in which Menzies talks about his life, reflects on political events and personalities, offers political lessons, candidly assesses his successors and contains contemporary lessons for those in, or aspiring to, positions of leadership.
Fun Fact about me: I have recently taken up the guitar and juggling – but not simultaneously!
My valued Well-Being Strategy: Ensuring that time is prioritised on weekends to ‘recharge my batteries’ by spending time with family, friends and pursuing personal interests.
Advice for a Beginning Principal: Maintain a clear focus on two interrelated questions: “What have I done to improve student learning today?” and “Where is Jesus in what I am doing?”
Inspiring Leadership Quote: “Agitate, educate and then legislate” – Bob Hawke.
What Title would you give to your TED Talk or Book: Leading a Christ-centred and student-focused community.
CASPA Principal Profile
Name: Brian Schumacher - APCSS (S.A.) Chair
Current School: Rostrevor College
Previous Position: Principal, Cabra Dominican College
First Year as a Principal: 2005, Sacred Heart College Middle School
The hope for my current school is: To continue to fulfil our mission as a Catholic boarding school for boys in the Edmund Rice Tradition as we move into our second century at Rostrevor.
To emerge stronger, more focussed and confident in our mission after a period of decline.
The Joy of Principalship is: The energy that comes from life fully immersed in a school community.
A Book I would recommend: The Peaceable Kingdom by Stanley Hauerwas
Fun Fact about me: I have a collection of skateboards cluttering up my shed
My valued Well-Being Strategy: Exercise – a lot! Take a break about Week 5/6 – we usually earn our money towards the end of term.
Advice for a Beginning Principal: It takes time (10,000 hours) to learn the job. This can be liberating as you approach new experiences/challenges as learning moments. As you learn the job, learn how to do it in a way that works for you.
You are the gift to your community, in the role of Principal.
Inspiring Leadership Quote: Kindness saves lives.
What Title would you give to your TED Talk or Book: The Camino (like life itself) is not about the stamps!
CaSPA Principal Profile
Name: Shayne Kidd - CPAT (Tas) Chair
Current School: St Thomas More’s Catholic School, Newstead Tasmania
Previous Position: Head Teacher (Principal) SIS Semarang Indonesia
First Year as a Principal: 2010, Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, Wadeye NT
The hope for my current school is: To continue to provide an excellent community centred education for our children.
The Joy of Principalship is: Being able to serve my community.
A Book I would recommend: What Great Principals Do Differently (18 Things that matter most) – Todd Whitaker
Fun Fact about me: I enjoy home renovations, one of the biggest jobs I done is build a new kitchen.
My valued Well-Being Strategy: Time for myself outdoors.
Advice for a Beginning Principal: You don’t have to do or know everything in your school. Trust your team.
Inspiring Leadership Quote: Seek first to understand, then to be understood. Stephen Covey
What Title would you give to your TED Talk or Book: The power of Actions.
Are You Leading for the Right Reasons?
Source: Leadership Now
YOU either lead for yourself or others. Why you took the role you now fill, affects the results you are getting.
Patrick Lencioni has penned another leadership fable that follows the discussion of two CEOs getting to the bottom of why they lead and the results they are getting from their two different mindsets. The Motive is classic Lencioni, with plenty of let’s-get to the-core-of-the-issue insights.
He writes that there are fundamentally only two motives that drive people to lead: service or reward.
Those who lead to serve “understand that sacrifice and suffering are inevitable in this pursuit and that serving others is the only valid motivation for leadership.
Those who lead for rewards often associated with leadership “see leadership as the prize for years of hard work and are drawn by its trappings: attention, status, power, money.”
When leaders are motivated by personal reward, they will avoid the unpleasant situations and activities that leadership requires. They will calculate the personal economics of uncomfortable and tedious responsibilities—responsibilities that only a leader can do—and try to avoid them. This inevitably leaves the people in their charge without direction, guidance, and protection, which eventually hurts those people and the organization as a whole. Employees will express their disbelief as to how their leader could have been so negligent and irresponsible, yet it makes perfect sense in light of his or her motive for becoming a leader.
Lencioni acknowledges that although we all try to do the right thing at times, we do fall short. But a little self-examination will reveal that one of these motivations is predominant in our thinking and explain the impact we’re having on the health of the entire organization.
What Do Reward-Centered Leaders Avoid?
When you are motivated by reward as a leader, you typically avoid these five situations or responsibilities:
- Developing the Leadership Team
In some cases, leaders delegate team-building to their head of HR. Let me be very clear; this does not work. And that’s not a knock against HR folks. If people on a leadership team don’t believe that the leader sees team development as one of his or her most critical roles, they’re not going to take it seriously, and it’s not going to be effective. The leader simply must take personal responsibility for, and participate actively in, the task of building his or her team.
- Managing Subordinates (And Making Them Manage Theirs)
Managing individuals is about helping them set the general direction of their work, ensuring that it is aligned with and understood by their peers, and staying informed enough to identify potential obstacles and problems as early as possible. It is also about coaching leaders to improve themselves behaviorally to make it more likely that they will succeed.
- Having Difficult and Uncomfortable Conversations
Failing to confront people quickly about small issues is a guarantee that they will become big issues. And if you’re not a responsibility-centered leader, one who understands that if the leader doesn’t do it, no one will, then you’re probably going to find a reason, almost any reason, to ignore those messy issues and do something else.
- Running Great Team Meetings
Meetings are the setting, the arena, the moment when the most important discussions and decisions take place. What could be more important?
Think about it this way. The best place to observe whether a surgeon is good at her job, a teacher is good at his, or a quarterback good at his, is to watch them during an operation, a class session, or a game, respectively. What’s the best place to observe a leader? That’s right—a meeting.
- Communicating Constantly and Repeatedly to Employees
Most CEOs don’t hate the idea of communicating to employees. But the majority of them greatly underestimate the amount of communication that is necessary…. Unfortunately, many CEOs refuse to repeat themselves again and again and again and again…. No reasonable human being has ever left a company because management communicated too much. “That’s it. I’m going somewhere where leaders tell me something once and never repeat it again!”
Each of these points ends with a section of questions “to help you reflect on your own attitude and discern whether you may be struggling to some extent with reward-centered leadership.”
What motivates us to lead? If it is not service, we aren’t really leading; we are simply draining the organization and its people for our own gain. Lencioni encourages “those who chose to embrace responsibility-centered leadership—even if they were formerly focused on rewards—will come to see activities and situations that they once viewed as tedious and unpleasant as the real work of a selfless leader. And eventually, start to enjoy them.”
But more than that, we are teaching future generations that the only kind of leadership that matters is responsibility-based or service-centered leadership. If reward-centered leadership is the norm, “the wrong people will aspire to be managers, CEOs, and civic leaders, condemning society to more of the same or generations to come.” The cost is too high.
Pose reflective questions: teachers and students must unite to build a 'new normal'
By Dr Lisa L Lande & Dr Russell Quaglia
Community contribution / May 28, 2020
COVID-19 has resulted in countless school closures, a shift to emergency remote learning, and the cancellation of traditional in-person milestone celebrations.
As we prepare to welcome students back to brick and mortar classrooms, we can pool our most creative thinking, learn together, and move forward with a celebratory and strong spirit.
While timelines and transition plans vary, most schools are looking ahead to reopening buildings with the hope of returning to business as usual. Even though returning from breaks has long been part of the typical cycle of school, this return will be vastly different for teachers, students, and families.
Anticipation runs the gamut. Some predict it will be a relatively easy transition, with plans to jump right back into the school routine as if nothing ever happened. Others are bracing for a challenging adjustment, believing that nothing will ever be the same again.
We envision that it will likely include experiences from both ends of the spectrum, and we are choosing to embrace the upcoming transition with an air of optimism. As we prepare to welcome students back to brick and mortar classrooms, we can pool our most creative thinking, learn together, and move forward with a celebratory and strong spirit.
Take Time to Listen, Learn, and Lead
It would be incredibly naïve to think that the time spent in quarantine and the disruption to school as we once knew it has impacted every teacher and student in the same way. For some, this experience offered a rejuvenating sense of independence, yet for others it may have been a significantly painful and difficult time. While we understand the pressure to get education back on track, we think it is vitally important to create time for students and teachers to reflect on their experiences during remote learning and listen to the various lessons learned by individuals.
Reflective questions for students and staff to guide conversations:
- What have I learned about myself and how I best learn/teach?
- What have been my favorite remote learning/teaching experiences?
- What has surprised me the most about myself as a student/teacher?
- How have I used my voice when learning/teaching from home?
- What did I take for granted in school that was no longer available while learning/teaching from home?
- What am I going to do differently as a student/teacher when I return to school?
There is no doubt that remote learning has brought out the best in some individuals and was incredibly challenging for others. Students who crave independence, set goals for themselves, are responsible learners, and have no fear of technology may have flourished during this experience.
These students could find it challenging to return to the daily routine of the typical school setting with rigid structures and scheduled bells that signal the time to change classes, eat, and even use the bathroom! On the other hand, students who lack self-motivation and need consistent guidance are perhaps eager to return to the routines of school. While these students may be enthusiastic about returning, they could bring with them a decreased sense of self-worth as a result of their struggles with online learning.
Another factor to consider is the social impact of this extended time of remote learning. Students who experience social anxiety in the classroom setting may be thriving with the opportunity to isolate and hide behind the computer. For others, engaging with their peers at school is critical to their overall mental health and they deeply miss socialising in person with their friends.
It is important to recognise that students of all learning styles and personalities may struggle, at various times and with various aspects, as they transition back to in-person classrooms. Teachers need to be prepared to practice additional patience and flexibility as they re-establish - with students’ input - expectations as a classroom of learners. They need to be ready to guide students through understanding the social and educational implications of this transition.
Using the questions above as a starting point, discuss with students how to best lead the way forward in partnership with one another. What aspects of pre-COVID learning do you want to maintain? What experiences during COVID-19 will influence decisions about the best way to proceed from here? Teachers and students need to take time to understand each other and support one another with kindness as they approach this time of new beginnings, both in school and beyond.
As we reflect on the lessons learned and look to the future, we offer the following considerations for students, teachers and administrators preparinging to celebrate and support their students in getting back to school.
Move Forward Together
While some opportunities were certainly lost with the onset of the pandemic, there are many positive elements to recognise from the past few months. Families have been connected in creative ways (board games have been dusted off and family dinner time has been revived). Heroes have stepped up in extraordinary ways to serve those in need.
The world has come together to fight this pandemic, and we have grown in our collective compassion and appreciation for life - which perhaps, at times, was previously taken for granted. Even during a time when it is best for us to be physically apart, we have learned that it is imperative to stay closely connected. Even as classrooms closed and education at home became the norm, we discovered that we all must take care of each other, in learning and in life.
This time in history will have a lasting impact on today’s students. It is important that they know how impactful their ideas and actions are now, and can be in the future.
Consider the following as you move forward with your students:
- Listen and Validate.Encourage students to share their disappointments, sadness, and fears over lost celebrations and uncertain transitions. For some, this may be easier to express in writing. However and whenever students choose to share, be an empathetic listener and validate their feelings. Really listen to, and learn from what students say.
- Cultivate an Attitude of Gratitude.After validating disappointments and fears (an important step for students and adults alike), shift to a positive mindset. Work with students to make a list of what they are grateful for within their school community, what they are looking forward to for the remainder of the year, and what they will be most excited about when they return to their school campus.
- Hold a Community Impact Summit. Discuss with students how they have contributed to healing their communities in the midst of the current pandemic. Identify specific acts of kindness already taken and develop action plans for pursuing further practices of compassion. Together, commit to continuing efforts moving forward to positively impact our homes, schools, and local communities.
- Celebrate Accomplishments and Each Other. Throw a party (virtual if you are still quarantined) - a celebration that will remain a highlight in the memories of students from this unprecedented time in their lives. Celebrate all that was accomplished during remote learning, including progress made by students in your classes, the actions of local heroes in your community, and the beauty observed as people in countries across the world worked together to help one another heal. The most important part of the party is letting students know how truly proud you are of the role they played in navigating this historic time. Invite students to plan the celebration with you and challenge them to create unique ways to highlight successes they deem worthy of accolades.
It is imperative that we find ways to let students know how much we value them as individuals and as learners, and to let them know that we are there for them as they take the next steps forward. Consider the following as you celebrate and look ahead to the next stage of this shared learning journey:
- Create Classroom Hoopla.Turn the music up and fully engage in commemorating this time in the lives of students! Recognize specific areas in which students have grown, the challenges they have triumphed over, and the academic successes they have achieved. Make awards, create posters, or write a poem to meaningfully recognise successes.
- Encourage Students to Celebrate Others. Have students create end-of-quarter awards for their peers, teachers, and family members to show appreciation for their support during online learning. Support students in planning at-home parties for their parents as they complete the last leg of guiding (ok, surviving!) at-home learning.
Get Excited About the Future
After enduring weeks of at-home learning, many are focused on making it back to school and washing their hands (pun intended!) of being isolated at home. There is no doubt that students and adults will return to school with a newfound appreciation for one another.
Remember to leverage the positive aspects of the time spent apart as students and staff transition back into the school building. Our greatest partners in this process are the students themselves. Embrace the amazing voices of students and invite them to lead with you as everyone enters a new chapter of learning together. Students’ voices matter, and together we will not only survive, but thrive.
Listen to your students, learn from their experiences in recent months, and lead together for a more promising future. Let go of the idea that you will return to how things used to be. Instead, imagine a new vision of what things can look like as you reunite in your schools and classrooms. Your passion, commitment, and willingness to listen and learn from students will be contagious (in a good way!) for your students and colleagues.
If students and teachers intentionally share what they have learned during this time, about themselves as people and learners, and remain open to new practices moving forward, we can seize the opportunity to create a new normal that very well might be the best version of education yet.