PSA continues its Support to SMTs amidst COVID-19 challenges (July 2020)

PSA continued with the provision of Online Training & Coaching for the principals at 4 schools funded and supported by Penreach in Mpumalanga. The online training and coaching focused on the 2 modules PSA recently developed and implemented to assist the management teams of schools, to respond positively and proactively to the challenges resulting from COVID-19.

The Modules are entitled: “Managing a School Remotely” and “Managing a School in Small groups”. The material is aligned to Departmental policies and procedures and assists with their practical management and implementation.

The delegates were provided with links to download the materials associated with each module which included PowerPoint Slides with audio commentary, delegates notes, a range of relevant guidelines, templates, and resources. In preparation for the Online Training Sessions delegates were encouraged to listen to the audio commentary.

For each module there were two Zoom Training Sessions to take the delegates through the content. These Online Training Sessions were conducted in a group consisting of the 4 Principals, 2 Penreach Management and Leadership Change Agents and the PSA Trainer/Coach. The Online Coaching was then conducted in 2 smaller groups so that more focus could be given to each principal. There were 2 online coaching/support sessions provided per module. The entire training and coaching process for the 2 Modules took place over a 4-week period.

The Modules followed PSA’s approach of having focused practical activities for the principal to focus on, develop and implement with the support of relevant school stakeholders. These 2 Modules provided guidelines, templates, resources, and support for the following:

  1. Staff Support and morale maintenance plan

  2. School Situation Analysis

  3. Stakeholder Communication Plan

  4. Plan to deliver curriculum remotely given the specific constraints faced by the school and documented in the Situation Analysis

  5. COVID-19 School Safety Management Plan

  6. Educator Workload Management Plan to consider the staggered return of learners and social distancing requirements

The Principals and Penreach Management & Leadership Change Agents had the following to say:

  • “The material was very relevant and assisted us to address some of the practical issues not covered by the Department. Another benefit was that it prompted us to address some issues which we would not have otherwise focused on. One example was the structured planning and management of the Educator Workload. This assisted us to ensure that our staff were not under or over utilised and were focusing on key activities. The second example was the guideline on managing staff and learners with co-morbidities. In this instance those staff members with co-morbidities were identified and a system set up whereby they came to the school each Friday to return work that they had been marking and provide the supporting teachers with the next weeks teaching content and plan. The other positive was that during the support sessions each Principal had an opportunity to share what they were doing and discuss challenges. As a result, we learnt from each other as well.” Ms Lina Phiri Principal Kaapmuiden Primary

  • “The input regarding managing a school in small groups, and remotely, was effective and had a positive impact to assist us to handle the challenges faced in a professional manner. It also helped us as leaders to widen the scope of our thinking and be ahead of those who are relying on us in these times of uncertainty. I was also impressed with regard to drawing up of school regulations that will see to it that everything is put under a strict monitoring system and that processes to keep stakeholders involved and informed was covered. The proposal on how to welcome and divide the in-phasing of the returning grades to meet the government’s set guidelines was of paramount importance. May your organization’s good spirit and love of the profession keep you going from strength to strength and your new thoughts and research not only benefit us as the selected few but also the country as well” Dr SC Msibi Principal Thanda Primary

  • “All the zoom sessions conducted with the principals of the four schools and the two Change Agents were very informative. There is a lot that we gained. The principals are now very confident in how to go about managing their schools during this unprecedented Covid-19 period.” Sam Khoza – Penreach Change Agent

  • “I just want to express my appreciation for the sessions that were conducted. All the presentations were professionally done, were of good quality, easy to understand, and in line with all DBE prescripts. As a change agent, I have learnt that technology (zoom) can be effectively used to support and interact with principals without being physically at the school. I am going to use what I have learnt to continue coaching and mentoring principals, using this approach.” Jabulani Khoza – Penreach Change Agent

The best news is that PSA is in the process of obtaining SACE endorsement for these online modules and the one titled ‘Managing Schools in Small Groups’ is already endorsed with 10 professional development points for principals that complete the associated activities.