The School’s leadership teams are motivated by the fact that our School is growing in both number and reputation.
The School’s leadership teams are motivated by the fact that our School is growing in both number and reputation. We have plenty of data that shows significant increases in tour numbers and enquiries, enrolments are continuing to rise despite the fall in international students and a few of our Junior School year levels now have waiting lists.
But what else suggests we are a successful and sustainable School? We have financial data that shows our fiscal health, we have marketing data that reveals our extended reach and appeal, we now have customer satisfaction data that points to our strengths and gives us key insights into what needs extra attention. But does all of this truly paint the picture of a thriving enterprise?
Developing a scoreboard of success has been the most recent challenge of the leadership executive.
While we all have improvement plans full of goals, tactics and timelines, getting a real measure of the effectiveness of those strategies is sometimes really difficult. In our quest to enhance learning through the increased integration of technology, how can we really see the impact of this one measure on a student’s learning growth? When we introduce new measures in the Wings wellbeing program how do we hold all other things constant that impact on wellbeing to see just what a difference this one measure can have?
Another challenge with evidence is seeking meaningful data by generating the right queries. What are we trying to measure that points to us being a successful School? What does success mean for St John’s Grammar? What data gives insight into how we can be successful?
Evidence-based practices and using data to inform our work has been a major part of our strategic plan for the past three years. We needed to veer away from anecdotal feedback, inference and professional judgement and include more factual information to feed our quest to provide an even better educational experience for every child.
What would be on your scoreboard of success for a school?
What do parents use to decide whether a school is a place of excellence? What benchmarks would help make your data meaningful?
As a parent myself, I would want to know things like:
- Is learning growth greater at St John’s Grammar than other places or against expected state benchmarks?
How effective is the wellbeing program?
Is the school’s culture stronger than other schools?
Are the teachers high performing compared to national standards?
How effective are the differentiated learning programs?
Does it offer a co-curriculum program that meets all needs and new opportunities?
How successful is the school in generating desired university or work pathways for students?
Under four of the pillars of the Strategic Plan we have now drafted a ‘Soarboard’.
This ‘soarboard’ will help us compare our successes against other schools, over time and between year levels. Categorised by our four Strategic Plan pillars, we will gather data and evidence to help us better analyse our success in each of these areas:
Learning to Soar pillar
Under the Strategic Plan pillar of Learning to Soar, the Leadership Team will gather evidence that shows learning growth, achievements, destination data for graduates, NAPLAN growth, learning diversity data, co-curriculum participation and success and diversity of curriculum indicators.
Under the Wellbeing Pillar we will capture the annual data from surveys of student and staff wellbeing, bullying and grievance data, counselling information and wellbeing learning outcomes.
High Performing Staff pillar
Being able to give an analysis of professional learning and growth in staff, achievements and contributions they make, deriving information of teaching and leadership impact are crucial KPIs under the Pillar: High Performing Staff.
Connected Community pillar
The leadership team will focus on gathering data on engagement numbers with our parents, alumni and past families, support and demand for community events and also in facilities use, and engagement and interest with our communications.
Producing a dashboard of results that is easy to read, concise and meaningful has been a tough task. These dashboards represent only a subset of the data we collect to inform our work and what good schools do is to focus on evidence and data that supports each individual child in their schooling journeys. Good schools deep-dive into exploring what its community thinks and feels, good schools embrace regular parent and student feedback and build an appetite in the staffroom for information that supports ongoing professional growth and improvement.
During May, we sent out a feedback survey to all members of our community; parents, staff and students.
This very general survey simply looks to create general indicators of satisfaction for our dashboard and, with time, will help us get an emerging picture of strengths and weaknesses. It will be the catalyst for those deep-dives into knowing more! Later in the Term, we will again host the Flight Check-In opportunities for parents to give their thoughts on the schooling program for each year level and campus.
The Soarboard will not be a pre-occupation for St John’s Grammar but it will provide an even more compelling narrative of the growing success of our wonderful School and will guide our hardworking leadership teams in making positive and constructive change.