Animo Leadership Charter High School

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Month: April 2018

Giving Children a Sporting Chance

Posted on April 29, 2018 in Uncategorized

Living in a Garbage Dump

“It was during a sponsored rugby union visit to Cambodia that I saw children living in squalor on the Stung Meanchey Municipal Waste Dump in Cambodia’s capital, Phnom Penh. Despite the terrible conditions these children were living in, they still had hope and happiness in their eyes,” says Greening.

Greening was inspired to get involved when he saw the difference sports could make to them. Two boys who had grown up on the dump, and had then been given assistance from a volunteer, were now representing Cambodia on the national rugby team. He quickly realised his expertise could go a long way towards helping these children.

Greening says, “In most cases, sport is last on the list in terms of a charity’s funding and objectives. Knowing that sports have excellent therapeutic value, I also believe that the ethics learnt on a sports field – responsibility, leadership, and teamwork – are transferable to any environment. We established this charity to provide an opportunity for children to gain some therapy through various sports, and gain self-confidence.”

Kick a Ball

Thus came about the Sporting Chance Foundation to improve the lives of underprivileged children – whether they’re inner city kids from London, or child prostitutes in Vietnam. As long as they want to kick a ball, the charity aims to always be there to kick it back. “Sporting Chance Foundation established itself by providing the necessities to make this transformation – food, shelter and clothing,” Greening explains, “and we have endeavoured to provide each child with a set of characteristics that will last them a lifetime.”

Jonny Wilkinson Steps Up

Calling upon high-profile friends, Greening gained support from sport and media personalities, including England rugby World Cup heroes Jonny Wilkinson and Jason Leonard, Joel Stransky, leading musician Heidi Range from the Sugababes, TV and radio presenter Dave Berry, and ESPN STAR Sports presenter Charlie Webster. Each has pledged to dedicate their time and expertise to ensure the charity reaches as many children as possible.

To maximise the impact of the Sporting Chance Foundation, Greening ensures that the charity works alongside existing non-government organisations (NGOs). The charity will help supply funding and sporting equipment to orphanages, and work directly with specific NGOs to improve the lives of the children in their programmes.

Greening says, “The charity presently works with three NGOs. Two are based in Phnom Penh and the third is an international charity, Touraid, based out of the UK. Touraid funds children from less developed countries to travel and play sport abroad. The alliance with Touraid gives children from Sporting Chance Foundation the opportunity to experience new regions of the world and learn about different cultures.”

Down in the Dumps

Funding from Sporting Chance not only supports their own projects; if they see an NGO with a suitable cause, they will also help. On a recent trip to Phnom Penh, Sporting Chance Foundation met up with two other NGOs: Friends and the Sunrise orphanage. Both had shelters set up to help the city’s street children. Friends, an inner city shelter, has been incredibly successful at taking boys and girls off the streets; however, the children had nowhere safe to run around. Sporting Chance Foundation proposed a sports hall and playground within the shelter’s walls.

Sunrise, based just outside the city, has a small soccer field, but the girls at the shelter have no sporting outlet. Sporting Chance Foundation drew up plans to build a multi-purpose playing surface for the children to enjoy tennis, badminton, volleyball and netball. This is just the start of their work in Phnom Penh; they will continue to look for more worthwhile projects in the city.

Developing Coaches

Presently, the foundation uses outside help with its construction projects and coaching, but its aim is to make the charity 100 percent self-sufficient. Greening’s goal is that children coached in his programmes will go on to be coaches for the next generation of young sportsmen and women.

Currently, Sporting Chance Foundation helps 2,000 children a day, ranging from infants with HIV to children orphaned by landmines, dysfunctional families or drug abuse. As funds increase, the charity hopes to sponsor children through the local public school. Ultimately it aims to establish its own centre in Phnom Penh near the school with dorms, a canteen, a sports field and sporting facilities.

Through Joel Stransky and Heidi Range, Sporting Chance Foundation is beginning to use the Cambodian template to help an orphanage in the townships of South Africa.

An All-Star Team

Through his contacts in the rugby world, Greening is also in the process of putting together an all-star rugby team to play in Dubai, Hong Kong and Bangkok to raise funds and increase overall awareness of the charity. Two young boys from Cambodia will be invited to join the team for the tour.

“The Foundation’s aim is to ultimately help children in every corner of the world. As a charity that works to a ‘non-compete’ principle, Sporting Chance Foundation openly invites other charities to give a helping hand, resulting in a bigger impact towards helping those in need,” concludes Greening.

Greening is currently living and working in Singapore with Standard Chartered Bank as Associate Director, Global Clients Relations & Entertainment for Wholesale Bank, along with continuing Standard Chartered’s commitment to youth sport and especially Greening’s sport of rugby.

Sustainable Education Reform Is Possible by Focusing on Results to Overcome Under-Education

Posted on April 22, 2018 in Uncategorized

In a recent article by Jay Mathews, education writer of the Washington Post, Mr. Mathews writes about the K.I.P.P. (Knowledge is Power Program) and the above average outcomes that this program is delivering in 43 selected schools throughout the country.

This program focuses on 5 pillars:

  • High Expectations
  • Choice & Commitment
  • More Time
  • Power to Lead
  • Focus on Results

What is interesting to note is the last Pillar – Focus on Results. By embracing the desired end results, this program has shown how to overcome the under-educated culture that is rampant within many urban and even suburban schools.

Focus on Results

In the book Fail-Safe Leadership by authors Linda Martin and Dr. David Mutchler specifically addresses the importance of beginning with the desired results and then developing the shareholders through leadership (see next pillar) to achieve those results. Using this approach of internalization to improve performance is a more logical driver of change than trying to use the traditional approach of externalization.

Power to Lead

Additionally, this program embraces solid leadership skills that include both academic and organizational. Many administrators are good instructional leaders, but are not trained nor developed to be equally good leader managers.

More Time

During the last 25 years, actual time in the classroom has continued to decline even though information is increasing at phenomenal rates. When I was a school board member in the early 1990’s, elementary teachers spent less than 5 hours daily engaged with their students. The other 2 plus hours centered on recess, lunch time and specials such as library, computers, gym, art or music.

Choice and Commitment

Even though KIPP schools appear to be “chartered or choice schools,” the emphasis by all shareholders on commitment is necessary for the success of any organization.

High Expectations

When public education started changing its focus years ago by dumbing down the curriculum, the standard of high expectations was relegated to the bottom. This action also directly contributed to the under-education of students within all schools. Evidence of this is supported by the dismal progress nationally by students through the Nation’s Report Card. When over the course of 33 years 17 year olds students nationally have not improved their reading scores and those scores are not exceptional, these results reflect low expectations. For example, one of the reading questions for 12th grade students asked the following:

The purpose of a tax table is to help you determine: a) gross income b)the amount of tax you owe c)your net earnings d) your allowable deductions.

Less than 2/3 of the students answered this correctly. Given the clue words are tax and table and only one response has the word tax, the inability of 1/3 of the students to answer this correctly clearly demonstrates why there has been no reading progress. And more importantly suggests that we are not developing the knowledge workers required for the 21st century.

Just imagine, if all schools infused these 5 principles identified by KIPP or similar principles within their culture,what types of outcomes could be realized? From a performance perspective, each and every American public school could easily be a Baldrige winner in 5 years. And, our country would once again retain its number one leadership role in education.

P.S. If your immediate response to the statement regarding attaining Baldrige in 5 years was No, Not possible, or She doesn’t know what she is talking about, then you are a victim of low expectations and looking at excuses to justify unacceptable performance.

Who Benefits From Training in the Mega Yacht Industry

Posted on April 16, 2018 in Uncategorized

What follows is an attempt to get the luxury yacht charter industry to face some severe shortcomings in what is being taught and what is being learned by the people in it. The time has come when we must bring ourselves, whether kicking and screaming or through mutual co-operation, onto the next level of professional development for the benefit of all us privileged to be working in the industry. Obviously, some will dismiss all this as a waste of time and another excuse for training providers to screw a few more Euros out of yacht crew: if you instinctively agree with this last statement then this article is addressed to YOU more than anyone else!

Whatever your views many observers both inside and outside the industry feel that ongoing training is essential. A large Italian yacht builder, for example, has recently set up its own crew school and regularly hosts training seminars for its fleet. So if it is already happening what’s the problem?

The impression that I get from the luxury yacht charter crew that I teach seems to reflect both sides of the argument. Like any good instructor I teach in as interactive a style as I can. This means that crew often say things to me that they might not say to their captain or owner (or to my bosses in Blue Water!). Here are a few quotes…

‘Owners should be doing this course!’

‘Captains have no concept of man management!’

‘Crew are lazy and are only looking for the easy way out!’

‘Management companies have very little training in management skills!’

‘Training establishments are only interested in taking your money!’

Of course as many will be quick to point out, the charter yacht industry has already changed a huge amount. In the early 1990s it was recognised that a professional system of qualifications was required for the industry. Yachts were beginning to be built in such numbers and to such a size that t was becoming generally acknowledged that if the industry didn’t take the initiative for training then the government would step in and impose its own standards, not necessarily adapted to the yachting environment. The Professional Yachtsmen’s Association was formed specifically to do this. The result was the old master class 4 and 5, now replaced in line with STCW95 and with a parallel structure for engineers. At first people howled about it but now no one seriously challenges the need for these qualifications. But what has happened since then?

Many people, having got their tickets, seemed to think that they had ‘made it’ and were only bothered to keep their skills updated if required by the MCA, I estimate that only 3% of certificate holders voluntarily return, for non required training or refresher courses, to keep their skill levels up to date.

So, back to the original question, who is benefiting from yacht charter training; the Owner or ships officer who does not have to attend or pay for extra training, or, is it crew and guests who entrust their lives in the yacht management team’s levels of competence? Surely professional skills like passage planning, radar operation, navigation should be maintained to a high level. We often hear of high profile yachts involved in collisions and groundings, but they are just the high profile ones; many more incidents occur which do not receive the same level of attention (but I hear about them on my courses from the crew who witnessed them). In my view increased ongoing professional training would go a long way toward improving this.

In many industries and professions across many parts of the world ongoing professional and personnel training is an accepted and welcome fact of life. In the UK a quality organisation called ‘Investors in People’ has been set up to promote this very thing. In France the government ‘Formation Continue’ scheme is specifically designed to encourage personal and professional training amongst salaried employees. This type of training ensures that the business or organisation continues to improve because the staff avoid professional stagnation.

Investors in People, in fact, promote some strategies to improve the organisation which are conspicuously lacking from the current MCA training programme in areas such as leadership and personnel management, appraisal and assessment skills The Investors in People benchmark offers a framework for improving business performance and competitiveness through good practice in human resource development. Companies and organisations who wish to gain the ‘investors in people’ kite mark must show that they have procedures to monitor performance and develop training strategies to improve it. It runs along similar lines to other quality assurance systems and yachts who are already certified for ISM might not find it too difficult to add type to system on to it. I believe this type of training could improve the wellbeing of everyone connected with the industry.

I have emphasised the importance of continuation yacht charter training in areas concerned with safety but we are not just talking about safety here, we are talking about PERFORMANCE across every aspect of a yacht’s activities. In businesses companies devote resources to training because in the long run it makes them more profitable and efficient. Yachts should not just passively assume that they provide the best possible level of service to owners and charterers they should actively make sure they do by continuation training. Here are some subject area for training that would improve the performance of every yacht

Change management
Time management
Team leadership & management skills
Inter personnel skills
Interviewing skills
Appraisal systems
Safety Management
Project management
Negotiation skills
Financial and accounting skills
Train the trainer

If the industry wants to move on and be seen to move to a higher professional level I feel certain things need to change, Out must go the attitude ‘ It was good enough for me so its good enough for you’ and in must come ‘how can we improve’. Attitudes like ‘its not broken so don’t fix it’ are ultimately doomed to consign any organisation to mediocrity. If you always do today what you did yesterday you will always obtain the same results. How about a course in change management? It is a skill which can be learn: with just small adjustment in how we approach a new concept change can be a positive, informative and helpful process.

Many people in the industry (ashore and afloat) believe they deliver the premier maritime leisure experience available. They could well be right BUT, how can they be sure? Levels of service in yachting (at its best) are second to none, but the level of knowledge required to manage crew (i.e. people), needs to be dramatically improved.

There are still many people in the industry who believe the concept of ongoing personal and professional training is just a distraction. Sometimes they are the first to ask for help; not by asking their own management companies for the information they require for fear of being seen as less than competent, but by asking friends or companies in the industry!!

In conclusion, the above may sound like a training provider looking for work, but I’m sure all who read the article will be able to identify areas where they wish they knew more. Being honest about this and then taking it further and seizing ownership of an industry wide ongoing training programme is what I really would like to promote. Only by working together will we manage the industries’ prolific growth and maintain a large pool of highly motivated and trained staff. There are many people out there wanting to embrace change I believe it’s a great industry but like all great things there is always room for improvement. Lets do it!