Professional Renewal Report from Harvard University
After many years as a secondary school principal in two school settings, Sydney Catholic Schools offered me the opportunity to take Professional Renewal Leave. During the planning phase a colleague suggested I look at the programs offered by Harvard University. Upon investigation, I found a range of excellent professional development programs through the Principal's Centre at Harvard. After my initial contact, I was offered a vast range of courses and I narrowed down my selection based on my areas of interest. However, my budget did not stretch that far, but after hearing Frank FitzGerald speak at our Principal's meeting I made contact with CaSPA and submitted an application for a scholarship, which was successful.
In June 2018, I flew to Boston with great excitement and anticipation. I met some wonderful people and educators, one in particular being Associate Professor Kay Merseth (Attached is a link to one of her speeches - the first 9 minutes is Gold). Kay was in charge of the program at
Harvard and in attendance every day, she is an inspirational educator who touched our hearts as "We Learn to Change the World". My focus was on the key factors that can drive school improvement and how to use these to improve the learning outcomes for the children in our schools today and for tomorrow.
The course I attended was called "Turnaround School Leaders" . This program was developed to assist school systems, superintendents, principals and teachers to deepen their understanding of the key principles required to turnaround schools that needed immediate intervention. I chose this course after reading about the program and developing an appreciation that these principles are also central to any self improving school community. In fact, the key elements of the program are applicable in any setting.
Key Factors to Drive School Improvement:
These six factors are all high yield strategies that have consistently improved student success over many years and across different types of schools. The major learning for me as a Principal is to focus, with precision, on the strategies that will drive improvement and to develop a shared and committed approach to implementing these strategies across the whole school.
The network I developed with the teaching staff at Harvard, along with other professionals from all over the world, has been invaluable. It was an amazing opportunity to simply be a student!
Daniel Delmage Principal
Trinity Catholic College