Uplifting leadership for real school improvement - The North Coast Initiative for School Improvement: an Australian telling of a Canadian story
Chaseling, M, Boyd, WE, Smith, R, Boyd, W, Shipway, B, Markopoulos, C, Foster, A & Lembke, C 2017, 'Uplifting leadership for real school improvement - The North Coast Initiative for School Improvement: an Australian telling of a Canadian story', Alberta Journal of Educational Research, vol. 63, no. 2, pp. 160-174.
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This paper reports on a preliminary Australian adoption and adaptation, in the North Coast region of New South Wales, Australia, of the Townsend and Adams’ model of leadership growth for school improvement in Alberta. The Australian adaptation of this Alberta model has been named the North Coast Initiative for School Improvement (NCISI). The participants comprise nine university academics and almost one hundred regional school leaders. Leadership is developed through continuing and regular collaborative-inquiry and generative-dialogue meetings between the academics and school leaders. The aim is to improve school leadership with the primary purpose of improving student outcomes. Provisional evaluation records significant positive changes in school leadership across the region. Convergence and divergence of the Australian and Canadian models are explored. The Australian adaptation requires some modification to suit local education processes and context. In particular, there has been the development of some divergence in approaches, especially in working in individual schools or clusters of schools. While the program has only been running for a comparatively short time, and therefore formal program evaluation is only commencing, preliminary evidence suggests significant traction and success in the Australian context. The paper concludes with some tentative implications for the future development of this model in the Australian context: how can the model be conceptualised and delivered to a wider audience in the years ahead.