The Brief Solutions STRENGTHS IN SCHOOLS team offers consultation to schools who wish to implement Strengths- and Solution-Focused ideas within the school program. These are schools who want ongoing support, advice and suggestions rather than just one-off inservice training.
Typically, a consultation arrangement will begin with inservice training for some or all of the staff, accompanied by detailed discussion with school leadership personnel about your desired outcomes from the process and detailed planning of the services to be provided.
Services may involve a combination of training for staff, briefing for School Executive, consultation with Welfare staff or Deputies on ongoing implementation, regular discussion sessions for staff to discuss their successes and difficulties with the ideas, review and collaboration on written material ... and so on.
We do NOT have an "off-the-shelf" Strengths- and Solutions- package. Rather, our aim is to share what we have learned from a large number of teachers and other school personnel and work with you to develop an approach — and associated materials or resources — that fit uniquely for YOUR school community and values.
Riverside Girls High School is a girls' high school in Sydney's inner west, which includes some of Sydney's wealthiest and most elite suburbs and also public housing areas — and most things in between!
Driven by then Deputy Principal, Peggy Druitt, this project was about equipping teachers to have more useful conversations with students. The emphasis was on how to use Solution-Focused questions to side-step typically dead-end conversations with students.
Michael Durrant conducted a seminar for the school Executive, then half-day training for the school Welfare Committee, then a full-day inservice training for all the staff of the school. Michael then offered a half-day consultation once each term for the next year or so. These half-day sessions were open for any staff to attend as and if they wanted. Sessions included discussion of people's experiences using Solution-Focused ideas with students, sharing successes, role-playing and brainstorming challenges and difficulties, exploring wider implications, consulting with the Head Teacher (Welfare) about particular issues, and so on.
Doonside Technology High School, in a highly disadvantaged area of Sydney's western suburbs, embarked on a multi-year project which resulted in their adopting a formal school-wide Solution-Focused welfare and discipline policy.
This project was driven by then Deputy Principal Neil Worsley, who was keen to bring about "culture change" in the school, to change what he perceived as a negative "climate". The project began with Michael Durrant conducting an inservice seminar for for school's Welfare Committee, followed by training for a larger group of school staff. Conversations about applications of Strengths-based and Solution-Focused ideas continued in a number of forums over the ensuing two years or so, leading to the launch of the official school Student Welfare policy.
The policy, as its name implies, was built around a focus on strengths and an expectation of change. (Logo and details reproduced with permission.)
Following a number of Solution-Focused training events for guidance officers and for Deputy Principals in Far North Queensland, the Regional Director is funding a number of innovative Solution-Focused projects in schools across the region. Teams of school personnel — DPs, guidance officers, welfare staff and classroom teachers — have designed Solution-Focused projects unique to each school context ... from using Solution-Focused ideas to orient all students entering Year 7 and help them set "goals" for their high school involvement through to using Solution-Focused ideas to support vulnerable, indigenous students.
Michael recently conducted additional Solution-Focused training in Cairns for teams from a number of these schools. In most cases, a Guidance Officer and/or Deputy Principal had driven the project; however, many of the people at the training had had NO previous exposure to Solution-Focused ideas. It was exciting to see people "grab hold" of Solution-Focused ideas and some of the projects have begun to explore applications of the ideas that we haven't previously thought of! In May 2019, Michael spent two days in Weipa (top left of Cape York) with school leaders from Western Cape College — the major school for the western side of Cape York, across a number of campuses. These staff were excited with various ideas they developed for using Solution-Focused ideas with their majority indigenous student population.
Michael is privileged to be able to assist this endeavour.
More information here once implementation begins!
Strengths in Schools home
Strengths in Schools team — who we are, our backgrounds and experience
Professional development training for teachers
Consultation to schools who wish to implement Strengths- and Solution-Focused ideas in the school
Solution-Focused training for school counsellors, guidance officers and educational psychologists
International examples of Solution-Focused ideas applied in schools
References, links and resources
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