Angela – Connecting professional growth and school improvement

classroom angela
“The Teacher Standards and Principal Standard are a pathway for a career in educational leadership.”

Angela is the Assistant Principal at Snug Primary School, a government school just outside of Hobart, Tasmania.

Snug recently increased the number of teacher leaders across the school, and Angela has significant involvement in developing and nurturing the talent in this expanded leadership team. 

As Assistant Principal, Angela’s role is varied and covers all of the Professional Practices described in the Australian Professional Standard for Principals (Principal Standard). On any typical day you will see Angela supporting teaching and learning, developing self and others, leading improvement, innovation and change, engaging with the community and assisting in the management of the school.


Angela demonstrates a broad range of leadership skills and behaviours and uses the Principal Standard to reflect on and develop her leadership capacity.

I would encourage all potential, current and aspiring leaders to use the resources from the Leadership Profiles to reflect on and develop their own career pathways.

Angela’s working day starts by welcoming a relief teacher to the school.  

She takes her to the classroom and shows her the replacement teacher folder, making sure she understands the school’s expectations and the class schedule for the day.


Each classroom has a folder for relief teachers containing key information about the class, the class rules, timetable and any specific student needs along with relevant school policies. Angela ensures these folders are kept relevant and up to date by regularly working with the classroom teachers to review and maintain the content.

In the first lesson today, Angela undertakes a classroom observation.

Angela plays a key role in developing staff and improving teaching and learning through the classroom observation approach which she introduced at the start of this year.

Angela enables teachers to engage in observations by building them into the existing school improvement plan and aligning them to the Professional Learning Community (PLC) cycles and the teacher’s Professional Development Plans (PDPs). The focus of each observation is informed by data, “We focus on an area identified to improve both teacher practice and student learning outcomes.”

Following today’s observation Angela and the teacher have a conversation guided by a template that details the student and teacher goals, linked to the teacher’s PDP and the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers (Teacher Standards).

We have a set learning intention for all staff around observations; to develop a clear culture of continued improvement through peer collaboration and observations.



Next Angela meets with the school principal Bonnie for their daily catch up.

These regular meetings provide the opportunity to plan for and reflect on current initiatives within the school. They also have a strong developmental focus.

Together with use of the AITSL School Leader Self-Assessment Tool, Angela used these meetings to identify an area for growth and is currently developing her practice in leading the management of the school.

Our discussions help me in my journey of building my own leadership profile.



Each year Angela engages with the school and local community to develop the NAIDOC week program.

This year Angela works with Billy (an Aboriginal Elder), the school grounds person, kitchen and library teaching assistants and parents. Angela leads the group, drawing on the expertise of each member in planning the week long program.

Activities are selected to help students develop their understanding of and respect for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories, cultures and languages. All the planning leads to the students undertaking a range of activities such as storytelling, cooking traditional foods, learning songs and dances, mural painting, and art and craft.


Angela has time in her office to work on the schools’ professional learning program.

She is currently planning the program for the next school term. 

“The professional learning program is developed based on our school improvement plan. We use data to inform our direction and then work on creating professional leaning opportunities to support the targets and goals set. Our professional learning is always being connected to our mission statement and vision for the school and used when communicating and working with staff and the community.”

Angela connects the school improvement plan to the Teacher Standards, providing a scaffold for teachers to use when developing and discussing goals for their PDPs, and to ensure that individual goals align to the school’s professional learning program.

While Angela delivers some of the professional learning, responsibility is distributed across the leadership team. Each leader runs a PLC and supports the teachers within their team through classroom observation, coaching and development of their PDPs.

We refer to ‘working together to achieve personal excellence’ on a daily basis.





Angela’s school day ends by running a PLC session.

PLCs were introduced to the school by Angela and Bonnie who worked together to research and develop Snug’s approach to teaching and learning based on evidence of best practice. 

Using feedback from last year’s PLC cycles Angela has determined goals for the current cycle. A learning intention is set for each term and success criteria established so that outcomes can be reflected on and support improvement for the next PLC cycle. “We continue to evaluate and use the go slow approach to embedding this as a part of Snug’s feedback culture and quality teaching practices.”

Angela continues to lead the implementation of the PLCs through maintaining school structures and processes that help them to run effectively. She supports each PLC leader through individual coaching and by meeting as a PLC team, where they reflect, problem solve, share successes and celebrate achievements together. 

In today’s PLC they are using student data to look for opportunities to drive inquiries around increasing student achievement and improving teacher practice.


Angela has a strong focus on leadership, developing her own leadership and that of the teachers within her school. She connects the school vision, mission and school improvement plan to the work of teachers and their development goals which are all underpinned by the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers. “Using the Teacher Standards as a reflective tool and goal setting tool is a brilliant way for adult learners to set goals, achieve success and stay in touch with innovation.”

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