This edition of ‘Connected Leader’ brings a chance to reflect on some wonderful presenters I have listened to recently at state conferences, including WAPPA, SAPPA, QASSP and QCPPA. The conference organisers need congratulations on selecting a great range of keynote speakers and workshop presenters. I know for some, getting out of school or other commitments prevent you attending these events. So for a brief one line about each might entice you to look up their website or contact a colleague who was present for more information.
Brendon Spillane: Speaking with impact requires you to develop a leadership voice that enables people to connect to this frequency. What is the sound of energy in leadership? Be kind, always. Leaders, do not lose sight of what you are asking people to do.
Sue Langley: Strengths are a pre-existing capacity: natural and energising. Do we have performance improvement based on a ‘strengths’ or a ‘weaknesses’ approach? People do their best work when they are in a positive frame of mind.
Simon Breakspear: Leadership is a dance of continuity and change. Differentiation is like conducting open-heart surgery on 25 people at once. Implementation is not delivery. To get better all the time, look at shorter time frames. Learning by doing with evidence-informed practice.
Rabia Siddique: Sum of experiences provides wisdom as life is lived forward but our understanding of life is by the past. Leaders: What are your strengths, your purpose, and what is calling you? The ability to influence change is by the ripple effect.
And another speaker worth looking up is Robyn Moore.
I strongly encourage school leaders, especially principals, regularly attend principal association events. At these gatherings, you have the opportunity to discuss and soundboard ideas, and share challenges and achievements. I believe these events are where principals can talk without fear or favour. It is in these conversations that the greatest support can be found: the principal sitting opposite may be the one who truly understands your role. These professional conversations can be deep and lead to new learning or confirmation of a practice or an idea; a chance to reflect or 'shoot the breeze' in a more natural setting, without the distractions of the school environment. I encourage all principals to ensure that their colleagues are attending. It is by inviting others that we build collaboration and networks. This is the real strength of principals’ associations; one that is based on the participation and involvement of principals.
Being involved is a vital network that will support your work but, more importantly, your health and wellbeing. The Australian Catholic Primary Principals Association (ACPPA) completed research last year that identified three networks that build positive health and wellbeing. The three networks were: work networks, professional networks and community networks (hobbies, sport or social). The vital aspect is for school leaders to have connections to all three. Maintaining our networks requires commitment. This commitment is greatly supported by another colleague. All too often I hear the words, ‘Sorry, I can't get out of the school because this has arisen or I am needed here.’ While this can be the case in emergencies, it should not be the norm. If you have colleagues saying this, then maybe they need to receive a visit with a helpful conversation about how they are maintaining networks.
In addition to networks, the National Principal Health and Wellbeing Survey has identified that passionate leaders who reported positive health and wellbeing have strong social capital within the school.
Here are some features that contribute to social capital:
Social capital, then, is the strength that enables principals to deal with the unexpected or unintentional upsets or events that we know can happen in schools.
The Principal Health and Wellbeing survey is due to be completed by the end of third term. Please take the time to complete it.
So, attending your principals’ association meeting or event, like your own health and wellbeing, is a priority, not an ‘if I can fit it in’.
If you are unable to get to regular meetings, then ensure you get to the state or national conference. APPA will hold our national conference in Brisbane in 2017.
At the recent Queensland Catholic Primary Principals Association conference, I shared some initial results from the APPA NAPLAN Online Trial Survey. We received 191 responses from 1100 schools involved in the trial. While the survey showed that approximately 77% of schools recorded their overall experience with the NAPLAN trial was positive, there were a number of challenges and problems experienced in conducting it. The survey reports that approximately 77% of schools indicated that, overall, their school is ready to undertake NAPLAN Online in 2017, while 23% would not be ready for 2017.
Interestingly, a large majority of schools (84%) reported problems with technology and connections. Schools also reported that, in order to be ready, they will need to increase time spent in teaching keyboard and word processing skills, time in teaching and assessing online, and increase technology support. There is also great concern over the viability of iPads to perform under test conditions. Following the trial, 35% of principals estimated it will take four to six days, with 38% estimating 7-10 days to complete the NAPLAN Online tests. The survey showed that 80% of principals reported that more than six hours were required in administration and setup for the trial test. Approximately 41% of principals indicated that year 3 Writing should remain a pencil and paper test, with 20% undecided, 24% either, and 14% agreed with online.
We have collated the comments and sent the report out via NAC members. APPA encourages principals to discuss the challenges with their state or territory associations and education leaders. Each State Territory Minister will decide if NAPLAN Online will be conducted in 2017. APPA’s position on NAPLAN Online is on the website. Our main position is that APPA is not convinced that year 3 Writing should be online due to the huge implications it has for practice, learning and resourcing in the early years.
The question remains: What kind of assessment is, and should be, driving teaching practice?Dennis Yarrington
Locally made ethical school wear
Through their own procurement policies local schools have the power to support an ethical Australian clothing industry and help prevent the exploitation of workers. There are local school wear manufacturers who are committed to making clothes locally the right way.
Ethical Clothing Australia is responsible for accrediting local clothing and footwear manufacturers to ensure that their workers are receiving their legal wages and entitlements, and working in decent conditions.
To find out more contact Ethical Clothing Australia to ask how we can assist your school to source ethically accredited school wear.
Written by internationally recognised school and early education experts, Your Child's First Year at School: Getting off to a good start, is highly valued as a home and school resource which provides excellent advice to parents, teachers and all interested in giving childrenthe best possible start at school. Order at:
PR1ME Mathematics—based on the world’s best practice used in Singapore PR1ME has been developed by Scholastic in collaboration with the Ministry of Education in Singapore.
How does it work? PR1ME: explicitly and systematically teaches the problem solving processes and strategies; uses consistent and carefully structured pedagogy; takes a carefully scaffolded, deep-dive into conceptual development; actively involves students in metacognition; and provides professional learning for teachers.
For 40 years, Scholastic Australia has been partnering with schools across the country to give kids access to books they want to read through Clubs and Fairs. In 2012, Scholastic gave Australian schools over $11 million worth of Scholastic Rewards. To find out how you can spend Scholastic Rewards on resources and save your budget, visit
Modern learners experience the discord and melody of an ever-changing score while modern leaders are charged with conducting an orchestra of many diverse instruments and unifying them in harmony. This conference will explore the attributes of agile, innovative leaders who leave a legacy tuned with purpose.
Dr Muhammad is one of the most sought after education consultants in North America and currently serves as CEO of the highly regarded New Frontier 21 Consulting. As a middle school teacher, assistant principal and principal, he earned numerous awards both as a teacher and principal. Anthony is recognised as a leading expert in the fields of school culture and organisational climate. His work and passion for changing cultural dynamics have seen him work successfully with schools across the US and around the world.
Dr Fox is a modern day ‘wizard-rogue’, author and leadership adviser. With expertise in motivational design, Jason shows forward-thinking leaders around the world how to unlock new progress and build for the future of work. Named Keynote Speaker of the Year by Professional Speakers Australia, he delivers fresh thinking to instil the curiosity so needed for future relevance, purpose and growth. His clients include Fortune 500 companies, he’s the bestselling author of The Game Changer and his research has featured in the likes of Smart Company, BRW and The Financial Review.
Holly Ransome is the CEO of Emergent, a company specialising in the development of high performing intergenerational workforces, exceptional leadership and sustainable social outcomes. Working with corporations, governments and non-profit organisations, Holly is renowned for generating innovative solutions to complex multi-stakeholder problems. She coaches and professionally mentors leaders around the world and, in 2014, was appointed to chair Australia’s G20 Youth Summit. In 2016, she Co-Chaired the United Nations Global Coalition of Young Women Entrepreneurs and became the youngest ever female Director of an AFL Club.
Dr Murgatroyd is an expert on innovative policy and practice, the author of some 40 books and a frequent contributor to radio and news media. As a skilled communicator with the simple goal of improving performance, Stephen makes a difference to organisations through challenge, change and innovation. He is the new CEO of the Collaborative Media Group, a company focussed on providing organisations with creative technology solutions to their performance challenges, by using social media technology, consulting, mentoring and video production facilities.
Linda Kaser and Judy Halbert are co-leaders of Networks of Inquiry and Innovation and the Aboriginal Enhancement of Schools Network. They have served as principals, district leaders and policy advisors with the Ministry of Education in the areas of innovative leadership, district change, rural education, literacy and Aboriginal education. They are the co-directors of the Centre for Innovative Educational Leadership at Vancouver Island University and also Canadian representatives to the OECD international research program on Innovative Learning Environments.
The Royal ICC, or better known as the Brisbane Showgrounds, is just 1.6km from Brisbane CBD, 15 minutes from Brisbane Domestic and International Airports and is in easy reach of the Gold and Sunshine Coasts.
Address 600 Gregory Terrace, Bowen Hills Brisbane, QLD 4006.
Parking is available at the Royal ICC for a fee of $12 per day at various locations.
Trains Bowen Hills and Fortitude Valley railway stations are less than a 10 minute walk from the Royal ICC.
There are a number of accommodation options within easy walking distance to the Royal ICC:
Early Bird Registration to the 2017 APPA National Conference will open in Term 4, 2016.
Full registration to the APPA Conference includes the welcome function, opening ceremony, all conference sessions, the conference dinner and entertainment.
The APPA 2017 National Conference is organised by a committee made up of APPA and national sector principals association representatives based in Queensland, and representatives of QASSP, QCPPA and IPSHA – Qld. The Committee looks forward to bringing together another hugely successful conference in Brisbane 2017.
QASSP is delighted to be appointed Conference Organisers of the 2017 APPA National Conference. For more information about this conference, please contact Magdalene St Clare, QASSP Business Manager and APPA Conference Manager on ph (07) 3831 7011 or email email@example.com.
Camp Australia delivers after school care solutions, building on the educational experience of school communities. As the nation’s leading after school care provider Camp Australia has partnered with school communities for 25 years, adding value by delivering high quality care, well-trained staff, systems and support. Find out how Camp Australia will add value to your school community at
Primary schools do a fantastic job of developing the skills and strategies young people need to cope with the challenges of adolescence and transition to high school. Therefore, including body esteem education into already existing wellbeing programs can further benefit your students.
The Butterfly Foundation has offered Education Services around Australia since 2006 and is considered a reputable leader in prevention focused, body esteem education. Our sessions are evidence based and work to address the modifiable risk factors and protective factors that underpin the development of eating disorders.
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02 8456 3908
If you are concerned about someone contact
The Butterfly Foundation National Help Line 1800 ED HOPE (1800 33 4673)
KidsMatter Primary is a proven mental health and wellbeing framework for primary schools. It provides expert knowledge, tools and support to help schools grow healthy young minds and care for children’s mental health. KidsMatter is backed by the expertise of Principals Australia Institute, beyondblue and the Australian Psychological Society.
Academy Photography are proud sponsors of the Australian Primary Principals Association. Academy Photography services include school photography, yearbooks, complete printing and educational solutions using latest technologies.
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Describe your current school, its students, the demographics of your school community, and any special challenges and/or strengths.
Goodna State School is a complex large, urban school in the Western Corridor between Ipswich and Brisbane. The school was established in 1870 and many of our children have parents, grandparents and great-grandparents who went to the school. Many of my staff attended the school or had children who did. We currently have around 765 primary students, with a further 50 enrolled at our Headstart Kindy. At last count, there were 52 different nationalities represented at our school.
How many years have you been a school leader?
I have been an educator in the Queensland state system since 1990 and a principal for 10 years.
What motivated you to become a school leader (and when)?
In the late nineties I began to dabble in program leadership and found more and more that I was enjoying working with adult learners. This expanded further when I took on the principalship of a small three-teacher school where working smarter, but not necessarily harder, led me toward cluster leadership and investing the collective capacity of other school leaders to achieve what we couldn’t in isolation.
What was your first leadership role, where was it located, and what were some of your early challenges as a new leader?
My first principalship was at Mount Marrow State School, just outside of Ipswich from 2006-2008. My early challenges were feeling I needed to have the answer to every question and the solution to every problem and to be ‘seen’ to be effective. I soon learned that taking your time and finding out about, and acknowledging what you don’t know, is a far more prudent approach.
NEW resilience and wellbeing program
Dusty and Friends is a great resource for learning and building resilience in children. Game ON highlights the importance of being calm and prompts children to see how consequences result from actions. A popular resource in Early Stage 1- Stage 1 classrooms, children identify and relate to different characters. The program aligns with the Australian Curriculum and works well for Stage 3 in a peer support model. Available for immediate download through the School For Living website.
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As a new principal, what was the most useful lesson you ever learned from a more experienced principal colleague?
The value of networking. I became an active member of my professional association and my local school cluster and followed the adage that you get out of an organisation what you are prepared to put in. This includes investing time and energy into your colleagues.
What makes you smile at work?
Whenever I’m having a rough day, if I can I go and hang out with the preps and the kindy kids – always makes the day seem brighter.
In managing your staff, what are your most valuable skills and beliefs?
Active listening is vital and treating everyone with unconditional high regard. I have high expectations of my staff and I believe that they have high expectations of themselves.
What was the best day you ever had as a school leader?
Harmony Day and NAIDOC are major celebrations at my school and they are always a highlight of my year. Last year, we reintroduced a ‘march past’ parade to the athletics carnival and the pride with which our kids marched, heads held high, brought a tear to my eye. I love the traditions associated with leading a very old (est. 1870) school.
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What was the toughest day you ever had as a school leader?
Learning that a former student had sustained serious irreparable brain injury whilst drug-affected. That was tough.
What tips would you give new school leaders about staying positive and keeping their energy levels high?
Network, network, network! Build the collective capacity of the leaders around you. Don’t try and be the heroic leader/super hero. It’s not possible.
If you could name just one thing that kept you going to school every day, even on the really difficult days, what would that be?
Diet coke and chocolate are the universal cure-all. Having wonderful staff around you who can energise you helps, too.
How do you achieve (or are trying to achieve) a positive work-life balance?
I don’t believe in work-life balance. There’s work and there’s life and I don’t see the two as mutually exclusive. The secret is making sure you get satisfaction from your work but also taking time out to do other things. I love to travel and I try to ensure I go somewhere I’ve never been before every year or so.
What do you see yourself as doing with your life after the principalship?
I’m still trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up. As long as it’s interesting, and I feel like I’m making a difference and a contribution, I’ll be happy.
Mr Lee Gerchow
Debra J. Crouch
Mobile: 0413 009988
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Connected Leader is an official publication of the Australian Primary Principals Association. In close collaboration with APPA, Connected Leader is designed, produced and edited, specifically for APPA members, by Debra J. Crouch, Managing Director of straight to the point, to enhance the professional learning of Australian primary school leaders.
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