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Using frameworks to support change at Woodend School

Change can be an exciting prospect for some people, but a daunting and sometimes overwhelming prospect for others. Therefore, managing change can be a difficult task. Canterbury schools and their communities are currently managing exceptional change. Principal Graeme Barber and Deputy Principal Adrienne Simpson share how they manage change at Woodend School in a positive and collaborative way.

Change leadership - using frameworks to support change
The Power of Professional Capital
The leadership team at Woodend School use a transformational approach to managing and creating change. This approach focuses on building professional capital in staff, ensuring inclusive practices and developing distributive leadership.

Developing professional capital involves working with staff to develop:

  • strengths;
  • relationships;
  • collaborative practice;
  • shared ownership of teaching and learning with students and family (whānau);
  • professional knowledge and understandings.

Graeme and Adrienne work with their school community to build trust, develop strong relationships and grow people. Mentoring and coaching is used widely in the school to help develop leaders. Staff and students strengths are identified, valued and nurtured. Both staff and students are also encouraged to try new things, be innovative, take risks, fail fast, reflect and iterate.

Graeme suggests that de-privatising leadership is important. Strategies he uses to achieve this include:

  • involving people early on in discussions around change and future directions;
  • sharing physical and virtual spaces to support collaboration;
  • providing ways for everyone in the school community to inform and support the school’s vision for teaching and learning.

Collaboration with other schools is a vital part of Woodend’s philosophy. Graeme and Adrienne suggest forming strong links with other schools to work together effectively. This can have a big impact on building community engagement and have positive outcomes for learners.

Concerns Based Adoption Model (CBAM) 
Graeme and Adrienne recommend this framework to support change. This tool provides leaders with significant insights into staff and whānau concerns around change. Leaders can then provide scaffolded strategies to support and work with people through this. 

The Herrmann Brain Dominance Instrument (HBDI)
The HBDI is a thinking preference profile. It identifies your degree of preference for emotional, analytical, structural or strategic thinking as defined by Ned Hermann’s Whole Brain Thinking Model. This has led to a greater understanding of the different perspectives that people bring in the change process. Graeme reports:

“As a leader, I think it gives you an insight into how to run staff meetings because you need the relational things for staff meetings, you need the facts and figures, you need the visionary and big picture and you need the nuts and bolts. And so if you can put those things into meetings then you actually hook everybody in. You’ll pick up different people at different points. It’s about being aware of differences, valuing diversity, being inclusive.”

The importance of a cultural narrative
The school’s cultural narrative also underpins any change processes at Woodend School and supports the schools vision for learning. It also helps to build and maintain a strong sense of belonging to a close community.