Having a positive impact on schools

A series of collaborative opportunities - 26th to 29th July

Update 19th July 2016

In what ways and to what extent does the purposeful implementation of a collaborative inquiry model of professional development affect the professional growth of school leaders and ultimately improve student outcomes?

Outline: The aim of the symposia series is to bring together school leaders and academics from Canada and NSW who are committed to school improvement. We have invited school leaders and academics from Lethbridge, Calgary, Chinooks Edge, Red Deer, Edmonton and Northern Lights School Districts in Alberta. David Townsend will also be coming back out to Australia to continue his partnership with us.

This will be the first event of its kind to take place in Northern NSW.

At our symposia series we will be coming together to

  • learn from each other about leadership strategies that are having positive impacts in our schools
  • share our approaches to leadership growth
  • explore further and understand better how leadership growth can impact on school improvement, and
  • commit to future action to support continued school improvement

Each symposia will be a stand-alone event running for a full day. We will hold four events in four different locations over the week. Our goal is to produce a leadership resource (action plan) at the end of each day. At the end of the symposia the NCISI project will collate the action plans from each day into one resource to distribute to all participants.

Each one-day event will be similar in design and content. Schools wanting to maximize participation may choose to:

1. send multiple staff to one of the days to work as a team, or

2. send different staff to events on different days in different locations to reduce the number of staff out of school on the same day.

How will you benefit from attending one of the symposia?

  • Exposure to new ideas on what is making a positive impact in schools and what evidence demonstrates this (both in NSW and Alberta)
  • An introduction to initiatives occurring in Alberta - a leading educational system
  • A chance to collaboratively explore what is "quality' evidence and what constitutes authentic school self assessment
  • An opportunity to investigate links between evidence, collaborative inquiry, reflective practice and evaluative thinking
  • Access to a range of resources and the affirmation that comes from working collaboratively with other school leaders.

Preparing for the symposia - how we can ensure each day is as productive as possible

We would like everyone attending one of the symposia events to come prepared to be able to talk, in a small group situation, about a work flow, project or focus area the evidence is demonstrating is having a positive impact on student learning outcomes.

Shape your talk to take three to five minutes and include references to:

  • Context - why was this focus needed in your school (or COS)?
  • What evidence are you using to inform your evaluations of the success (or otherwise) and how are you going about collecting and analysing that evidence?
  • What have been the key learnings along the way, and what do you think your next steps will be? For example - have there been any really big ah ha moments? Or, where there any really significant challenges and how did you work through these?
  • Are there any implications for school leaders or leadership teams in terms of our professional learning and/or how we support future school leaders?

Schools sending more than one person to an event can choose to focus on one topic that each team member can talk about or individuals can talk about different topics and the impact each approach is having on school and student learning.

As well as being able to talk to your chosen topic we are asking that each participant (or school team) provide us with an electronic artefact that captures the essential information related to your focus area. For example: your artefact could be a short written summary provided as a text file, a couple of pages of a powerpoint presentation highlighting key points, or a short video extract (Podcast?) .... be creative! We will collect all of these together and share access to them from our website after the symposia series is completed.

When and where

When: July 26 to July 29


* Tuesday 26th July - Banora Point High School

* Wednesday 27th July - Grafton High School

* Thursday 28th July - Southern Cross School K-12 (Ballina) - this event is full.

* Friday 29th July - Lismore - Wyrallah Road Public School


  • Greg Prior - Deputy Secretary School Operations and performance (Banora Pt High School)
  • Dr David Townsend
  • Dr Carmen Mombourquette – Lethbridge University
  • Danica Martin – Principal Innisfail Middle School
  • Della Ruston – Associate Superintendent Red Deer Public Schools
  • Ruth Isley – Isley Oilfield Consulting (Contracted by Northern Light School District)
  • Krista Lee - ‎Associate Principal at Foundations for the Future Charter Academy
  • Michelle Deleau - ‎Associate Principal at Foundations for the Future Charter Academy Calgary
  • Joshua Symonds - ‎Associate Principal at Foundations for the Future Charter Academy Calgary
  • Roger Nippard - Superintent Foundations for the Future Charter Academy Calgary
  • Marilyn Chaseling - Associate Professor Southern Cross University
Outline of Symposia Program - Banora Point High School

Click on this button for the current program for Banora Point High School on Tuesday 26th July.

Outline of Symposia Program - Grafton High

Click on this button for the current program for Grafton High School on Wednesday 27th July.

Outline of Symposia Program - Southern Cross K-12

Click on this button for the current program for Southern Cross School on Thursday 28th July.

Outline of Symposia Program - Wyrallah Rd Public School

Click on this button for the current program for Wyrallah Road Public School Lismore on Friday 29th July


Cost: $150 to be paid to Southern Cross K-12 School (we will invoice you when you have registered).


If you want to learn more about leadership growth, collaborative inquiry and the impact it is having on fellow school leaders and students - this is where you should register!

If you have any questions regarding the symposia, please email David Silcock (Principal School Leadership) using the email address david.silcock@det.nsw.edu.au. Alternatively you can call me on 02 66235951 or 0407284031.
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