Supporting Continuous and Sustainable Change by Karen Klironomakis

As part of the International E-Exchange Program, a virtual exchange was completed between Karen Klironomakis Albury Public School New South Wales and Nancy Bromley St Richard School Alberta Canada. This exchange provided an opportunity for short-term one-on-one partnerships between educators with similar interests or fields.

This action research report on the shared focus area was completed following the 6-week program.

Introduction

Investigate and test a model of change to create continuous and sustainable improvement

Focus of the Study: Description of Current Practice

A cycle of improvement is expected, as stated by the educational Policy Stement (2017); through a process of analysis, strategic improvement, strategic planning, implementation, progress monitoring and a model in which to reflect annually on progress and impact. (The Department of Education, NSW, School improvement and why it matters; 2021).

Thus, change is an inevitable component of education and, continually, a topic of discussion, debate and dialogue. According to Marilyn Harrington, the Access Economics Director, Chris Richardson, views education as ‘an under-appreciated driver of our economic prosperity’. Based on this understanding the purpose of this research is to test a model of change to support leaders to maintain a positive culture through the inevitable change that is seen through educational reform.

Positive culture has been identified as an integral component of any educational system reaching it’s highest potentional. Positive school cultures are conducive to professional satisfaction, morale, and effectiveness, as well as to student learning, fulfillment, and well-being. Students and staff members feel emotionally and physical safe, and the school’s policies and facilities promote student safety’. Therefore, having an evidenced based framework to guide change and address culture is the premise of this research.

Signficant Learning: Findings

Dr Myron Tribus states, ‘change in paradigm cannot be brought about by talking. People have to experience the change..’. He created a framework to shift paradigm and support a culture of quality change and continuous improvement.

Using two case studies, sourced from Nancy Bromley, St Richard School, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, the elements of change were extracted and applied into a model for change, developed by Dr Myron Tribus, and discussed by Judy Hatswell in Choice Theory, Reality Therapy and Lead Management, 2021.

Results

The model illustrates the core components required in order to achieve an outcome of quality change and continuous improvement.

Change Embedding a process of continual improvement
  • Aim/shared vision/ purpose
  • Knowledge & skill
  • Motivation/’buy in’
  • Resources/people
  • Action plan/goals/organisation
  • Data
Case Study 1
Image: Blue text: Areas that were addressed during the change process. Red text: Areas that were not addressed.

Analysis

Decision was made for change, by the board of education, with an aim and purpose but no shared vision. Lack of communication during decision making did not consider available resources, community concerns and articulating the motivation behind the decision. The organisation and goals were specific and met, however, focus was heavily reliant on the financial saving. Prior to the change there was no data collected, discussion or community and school input. Staff and community came away with feelings of frustration, overload and with an illusion of change.

Conclusion: Recommendations & Dissemination

  • Evaluating the model of change using two case studies highlghts the necessity of planning for and implementing all components to support effective change.
  • If the outcome is to be quality change and continuous improvement a planned and strategic approach must be considered.
  • ‘School improvement is a continuous process, centred on maximising outcomes for all students, and sustaining this improvement over time’. Vivienne Robinson; ‘Reduce Change To Increase Improvement’ (2018), discusses ‘nealy every evaluation of school improvement will partially attribute its degree of success to the quality of leadership (Robinson & Timperley, 2007).
  • Using Dr Myron Tribus’ framework, for example, leaders have the capacity to strategically plan for quality change and continuous improvement in order to maximise student outcome.
  • The framework supports the School improvement process by creating a structure to; guide milestoning, focus on capacity building and create a positive and collaborative approach to improvement and/or change.

Acknowledgements

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