Nexus International School Singapore

One of the international speakers at the conference was Judy Cooper, Principal of Nexus International School in Singapore. (insert photo of Judy) Judy has been leading the school for only two years and in that time has initiated a coaching program which is now school-wide and embedded in the Strategic Plan – quite an achievement. Judy explains the process…

The Nexus Coaching Journey so far

I started as Principal at Nexus International School, Singapore in August 2017. At that time, I arrived with a passion for coaching in education from the work we had done in my previous role in a Hong Kong International School. I was delighted to find that there were already some trained coaches and great foundations in place to build on such as high trust and restorative practice embedded in the school.

In my first year, I spent time getting to know the community, meeting with all colleagues and groups of parents and learners to find out more about their hopes for the school and how I could support them. From this work we developed three visuals which have been instrumental in the development of the school. The visual of The Nexus includes definitions of the four elements of Relationships, Mindsets, Innovation and Inclusion. The Strategic Plan has The Nexus Way at the centre and six strategic goals all relating to teaching and learning, and Nexus as a Coaching School is one of them! We also restructured the Senior Leadership Team and appointed a Deputy Head of School (Fiona Lewis) to lead on coaching. The final visual shows all the roles and responsibilities of the Senior Leadership Team and coaching is there. The appointment of Fiona has really helped to raise the profile of coaching across the school. We now run coaching training together and already have 45 colleagues trained and the same again to be trained this month. The knock on impact of the training is the way it is starting to impact the way we work together and the way we have conversations. We still have a long way to go.

A big development this year was the introduction of the ‘Coaching for Learning’ pathway. This gives access for all colleagues to a coach. We listened to feedback on what didn’t work here in my first year and time was a big issue. So, we identified 12 meetings where we would give the time over to coaching. All trained coaches would coach another trained coach, as coaching partners and some would also coach a second non-trained colleague. Coaches will keep a journal about school related goals and all other goals can be kept in their own records. We are excited to see how this goes over the year!

This year we have big plans for coaching including training Principals from across Singapore to create coaching partners and to build a strong support network. We are also looking at how we measure the impact of coaching - always so difficult to do! In addition to training including for parents and learners, we want to look at our visible identity as we move to a new school in January 2020. You should know we are a coaching school from the moment you walk through the door!

Meet Judy in the short video below where she talks about these early stages of the program at Nexus and also shares a hot tip on microanalysis of teaching – one of her take-aways from the conference workshops. Judy also mentions that the school is partnered with GCI and Jim Knight’s Instructional Coaching Group to host the Coaching in Education Summit ,hosted in their brand new school, in June 2020. If you are planning a trip to Asia around that time, perhaps it is possible to include this exciting conference and see the state of the art new buildings at Nexus!

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