On the potential eve of what school life in BC may look like for the Fall, only fitting to once again revisit the model of Year-Round Education. Does our current education delivery model really meet the needs of all students? Maybe it's time for some creative #change in #bced.
The new curriculum has brought changes to what we teach, COVID-19 has forced us to look at how education is delivered, now it's time to look at when it's delivered. It is refreshing to see some districts will be attempting a quarterly schedule for secondary learners (see Abbotsford SD) and I'll be interested to see how it fares for students and their ability to learn.
I refer to this article by Karen Rasmussen back in March 2000 from @ASCD. Although written 20 years ago many of the points make sense even more so today . https://bit.ly/3fgOkEn
"We can't go back now". We've heard this a lot in many aspects of our daily and work lives. Lots of future ideas and possibilities sat on the drawing board, only to be forced into action because of the pandemic.
Is Year-Round Education one of those "drawing board" possibilities that needs to be rolled out sooner than later? Here are some other reasons it could make sense:
One of my 2017-2018 Professional Growth Plan Goals is to work with my new staff and introduce the applications found within the O365 suite. Our District has adopted the O365 platform and in my opinion, has been a game changer in the work we do as school based administrators. The ultimate goal is to get our students using the applications as part of their learning. With the new/redesigned curriculum, using online applications and technology is a huge factor in ensuring students are prepared for the future.
On our last professional development day, I worked with staff to share the basics of OneDrive and the power of collaborating online and working synchronously on a small activity. Now that all the staff have their laptops, it was an easy exercise to show what is possible. It gave a good example of how staff (and students) could easily access their files from anywhere and on any device. It also showcased how easy it is to share files/documents and work together on a single document. Ron Popeil said it best when selling his famous countertop kitchen appliances, "It's just that easy".
To tie it together with the Core Competencies, the use of a student blog to acquire, interpret, and present, connect and engage under the Communication Competency is a great place to start. An online journal of sorts. We are hoping our next meeting with staff will be working with OneNote and how we can get the student use increased. We have been using it as our main area for staff - Meetings, resources and a launch point for discussions.
The encouragement I will continue to provide and also any in class support, is to get the students using the applications. Although we struggle with devices at our school, it shouldn't prevent us from trying as many have opportunities at home.
In my role as a school administrator I get the opportunity to experience different school communities over time. I'm now into my 3rd school in the last five years as school Principal. I enjoy working with new staff to build an environment that fosters success in student learning and expose the community to current educational practices.
The Mount Pleasant community is changing like many others in Vancouver. What seems to stay constant is the sense of togetherness and care for each other. There is a great family feel here and I'm excited to be apart of it and hope to contribute as a school leader.
On a day that is celebrated by many across America, Martin Luther King Jr. had a vision for change; a dream and hope to make the world a better place.
The same day that 54 complete strangers (well maybe a couple know each other), finally met to begin our journey to Constanza, Dominican Republic to bring hope to a small community of people. All of our backgrounds and home cities are very different, but we are brought together for one common purpose.
Learning, Serving, Storytelling - our main activities this next week or so. It will be exciting to get our boots on the ground and start making a difference in the lives of others; and doing it all with complete strangers - even better.
In just over 3 weeks, I'll be one of 52 educators from North America heading to the Dominican Republic to help finish the building of a school. This came as quite a shock and pleasant surprise when representatives from Life Touch Photography came to my school at the end of November to let me know I was chosen.
On January 16, 2017 I'll be heading to Atlanta, then off to a town called Constanza in the Dominican Republic. I'm looking forward to experiencing life in a small rural countryside town and hoping that my being there will only enhance the lives of those I meet. As one of two Canadians lucky enough to be going, I know we will do our country proud and spread our word of acceptance to all those we meet.
I am hoping to use this blog to document my adventures over the 7-8 days I'm there. I'll be using Twitter as much as possible and hoping to send word back to my school and students about the people I meet and places I see on a regular basis.
It's been ages since I've had a chance to put something down on paper or in this case on a computer screen. I've had lots of ideas and many drafts sitting in folders. This doesn't mean I'm all caught up and have time to write. I honestly just felt like it today - break up my day.
So our staff recently had a BCeD Curriculum In-service Professional Day. It was a chance for a couple of our staff members to share their thoughts on what was presented from Ministry of Education reps around the Re-Designed Curriculum. I know many are saying "new" curriculum, but really it's the same curriculum just with a lot more allowances to open it up. Expand on what's already there, instead of feeling you have to cram it all in.
What made this day exciting was listening to the buzz in the room around the possibilities. The opportunity to share one's passion of a particular area in a curriculum area. Not only will this make the learning more meaningful in the classroom, but model for students what to expect when they explore an area of interest they have. Dig a little deeper and ask questions. Answers may or may not happen, but begin to ask those questions and make you wonder.
This Re-Designed Curriculum will no doubt change how we teach are students. The idea of pulpit teaching has to end. We need to give it back to the students to discover on their own. Of course teachers are there to facilitate and guide, but spoon feed them answers is a thing of the past. That's not the real world.
It's an exciting time in our BC Schools and you could almost say its a Renaissance of sort. A re-birth of how we teach our children of tomorrow. It's time we caught up.
This is my initial post back in August 2013 answering a similar question when I first participated in #SAVMP.
Everyone's path to leadership is different and it's one that has helped me get to where I am today in terms of why I lead.
Like all educators turned admin, it started in the classroom. In my case, leading a classroom of Grade 4's to not only learn, but do all the schoolwide activities opened my eyes to how much fun being a leader was. More importantly was how much the students got out of the experiences. The question then became whether or not I could lead a whole school of staff and students to achieve the same results.
The chance came and I took full advantage of the new challenge. So far in all my situations, each being different, has allowed me to build on previous experiences. The two most exciting aspects of why I enjoy educational leadership are watching teachers take risks in their class and then take the time to teach their colleagues as ongoing professional development. It's exciting and the payoffs are how engaged the students are.
When I look back, only 2-1/2 years ago, not too much has changed in my thinking as to why I enjoy leading and why I'm in my current position as an educational leader. Schools have changed for me and so have the size and demographics of the communities, but students are students and teachers are teachers no matter where you go. Goals and objectives of a public elementary institution remain the same.
Two big things have really influenced my desire to offer greater opportunities/experiences for teachers and staff I work with. My own two kids. They are now 8 and 10 years old and in the prime of their elementary years. They love going to school. Every day they come home and want to share their day of learning and experiences. Sometimes it's classroom related, other times its what's out on the playground.
So how do my two kids influence my thinking? Any time I work with staff or present new ideas, pedagogy, apps, or online tools it is not only for the intention of their class full of students, but in case, one day, or maybe, just maybe, one of those staff members go on to teach my own kids. You may think this is a long shot, but you never know; and if it does, I want my kids to have the best possible chance of experiencing the most current educational practices. I want my kids to be prepared for what lies ahead in the future.
The future is changing everyday. I, as an educational leader, must do my best to stay up on what is out there in educating the children of tomorrow. It would be no different than doctors, dentists, plumbers, engineers or scientists. They are always learning the latest and greatest in their fields as things change. Educators should be no different. Students are changing and so we need to adapt to their learning styles to ensure they reach their potential and become a valued member of society. We owe them that much if we are to have them in our care for those 13 years and roughly 6 hours a day (less pro-d, holidays and summer/winter vacations).
Well, its my first month at my new school and things are starting to feel a little more comfortable and grow each day that goes by. I've done it as a teacher and yes, it's been a little challenging, but you could always just hide away in your classroom and focus on your students; looking for the right time to add to the school culture when you're ready.
As an admin in a new school, it's a little different. I feel like I'm just sitting in the balcony of a theatre watching an ongoing performance that started hours before and have no idea what the plot or the characters are. You know that annoying person that sits besides you and is always asking, "What's going on? or Who's that?". That's me right now. However, I'm beginning to piece things together and understand the players a lot more. Slowly creeping up to the edge of my seat and really getting into the show, as if I'm in it, is the feeling I'm getting. It's very exciting to not only finish the current performance, but work with everyone to write a script that engages the entire school community.
At my first PAC meeting back in December (intro meeting with current admin), I described the feeling as the new boyfriend coming by to meet the parents, but instead the entire family happens to be there. Hoping that you'll be accepted as it is always difficult to step into someone else's shoes with memories still running so deep.
I have felt that the last couple of opportunities to meet with the school parent group has been extremely positive and exciting to talk about the future of education and where it may be headed with their children. It actually revs me up and I look forward to the same conversations with my staff. That is where the real work will begin.
So far I have been able to pop into all the classes, work with a couple of teachers and their students, and get the school leadership team up and running. It's a lot busier than what I've been used to, but it will be fun to see where my skills and working with a motivated staff go. It's an exciting time in education and I can only hope we can bring that to the students we work with everyday.
I have been a big proponent of change and how much it actually makes you a better educator. Reason? It keeps you fresh and current with the trends in a quickly changing educational environment. Like buying a brand new computer, the next day it is already out of date. Well, maybe education isn't quite that fast, but I would say new ideas and better ways for students to learn comes about as often as Apple introduces a new iPhone.
So my new change will be taking place on Monday, January 5, 2015. After 3 years as a newly appointed Principal, I'm on the move to my second school - David Livingstone Elementary. It's at least twice the size and in an area of town that is growing rapidly. It is also a school known as a Technology Inquiry School and was a leader in bringing SmartBoard technology to the Vancouver School Board. After 3 years of starting at a school from scratch, it seems this move gives me a chance to work with a staff that has been a leader in using technology with students and share our knowledge of technology and inquiry to really make this a school the entire District can look upon as the leader in 21st Century Learning practices. It will be an exciting challenge and one that I'm really looking forward to.
Change often brings about the feeling of fear. This fear can either help or hinder your progress. In my case, this change isn't a feeling of fear, but more of an opportunity to continue putting into practice what I'm learning about best practices in today's education. I only hope the staff are willing to join me on this ride and see how fun it will be.
In my most recent post on building credibility with staff, I failed to even answer the question - What are some areas of teaching and learning that you can lead in your school?
So the areas of teaching that I have found to be helpful with staff, is the use of online tools and apps on the iPad. I have been in many classrooms, but lately I've been in the Kindergarten class as one of their play centres. It has been awesome! My first week I was experimenting with Osmo (a little R&D) as I wanted to see if it would be appropriate for this age group. We had a blast. Each group of students I worked with were completely engaged and worked together to solve the problems presented. By doing it this way, the teacher was able to see how easy it will be for the students to work independently next time they have centres.
The other area that I have worked extensively with students is blogging and the use of Edmodo. I have used these online tools as a way to deliver content and assignments to my students between the Grades 2 - 4. I use these tools, not only to expose my students, but to demonstrate their use to teaching staff. It allows me discover any pitfalls that teachers may find difficult to even get started. Takes away a bit of the fear. The best part is witnessing the engagement that students have when using these tools and how much they want to do more of it.
So get out there and get into classrooms, work with students, and show others what is possible to increase engagement in how a student learns. Break down that barrier of fear.
I am the Provincial Coordinator for SET-BC. I'm passionate about inspiring others to be creative, curious, inclusive, collaborative and current in their learning