Leading the Change

By May 27, 2014Uncategorised
Challenging times right now for everyone  – especially as year end decisions pile up. And yet, every day Linda and I are inspired by the quality of learning taking place in BC schools and the terrific educators with whom we get to work. 
As an example, the year end meeting last Friday for the northwest region was a cause for real celebration. Along with several teams from Prince Rupert, Nisga’a, Coast Mountains, Bulkley Valley and network leaders from Nechako Lakes and Prince George,  Linda and I had an amazing day. Each year we attend the Northwest Celebration we see that the work just keeps getting smarter, deeper and more connected. Some of the recurrent themes in the school presentations were:
  • be relentless in support of all learners
  • make intentions and strategies clear
  • project based learning and building community connections
  • self-regulation from emotional control to deep readiness to learn
  • the impact of co-teaching
  • going in depth on one topic “If we lose focus, so do the kids.”
  • the ripple effect of resiliency
  • moving from a small team to a whole school initiative
  • integrated and seamless use of technology 
A big thank you to Bulkley Valley School District for hosting the celebration and to Dwayne Anderson for facilitating the day. And, thank you to the Northwest network leaders  – in particular Nicole Davey, Roberta Edzerza and Debbie Leighton Stephens  – for making this day and the work in the northwest so very special. This was Debbie Leighton Stephens’ final meeting as she leaves her formal role in Prince Rupert and she will be sorely missed. Debbie has been a support, a mentor, a leader and an inspiration to countless educators and families – not just in Prince Rupert but across the region. We have reminded Debbie that no one actually ever retires from the network and we look forward to hearing her say ‘yes’ repeatedly over the next few years. 
Debbie Leighton Stephens and Roberta Edzerza at NOII Northwest celebration
We respect that it may be difficult for school teams to meet to complete their case studies – and we would like to keep this as simple as possible. The completion and submission of the case studies is one consistent way we have to learn from each other. Up to now, we have been able to provide recognition grants to all schools that completed their case studies and this is the plan for 2013-2014 as well. The templates will be emailed to all network schools within the next week and they will also be posted on the NOII website. 
Just before the long weekend, we had the great pleasure of visiting schools in Vancouver Island North – being part of the trades and transitions experience at NISS, meeting with the inquiry team at A J Elliott, learning about the depth of the Aboriginal language and culture work at Fort Rupert Elementary School, and observing the STEM challenge at Seaview Elementary Secondary School in Port Alice. D’Arcy Deacon did a great job of organizing the STEM Challenge – here is the powerpoint he used to explain the process to the students involved. 
We also really enjoyed meeting and learning from the students at Fort Rupert who explained the Dukwala’mas Project, shared their writing about a recent field study, and showed us some of the masks and the dances they would be sharing at the ing house in June.  Check out the school blog post. http://fres.edublogs.org/2014/05/15/celebrating-fres/

And, the work in BC is being recognized in a range of international forums. Lead the Change is the name of the journal prepared by the Educational Change Special Interest Group (SIG) at the American Educational Research Association. Recently Louise Stoll, a lead international researcher from the Institute of London, was interviewed by Dennis Shirley.  She was asked what she saw as some of the most promising educational change innovations. As part of her response she identified the work in BC and the spiral of inquiry as ‘a research-rich framework for collaborative inquiry.’  

Check out  the complete article. 

Louise also talked about the importance of the OECD study on innovative learning environments, especially what will be learned from the five systems participating n the final stage of this study. We are  proud that BC is one of these systems – along with New Zealand, Peru, French Belgium and Kwazulu Natal in South Africa. 
There are three key aspects to the BC work featured as part of the OECD study – the focus on disciplined inquiry through the networks of inquiry and innovation, leadership development for formal and informal leaders through the CIEL and MEDL programs at Vancouver Island University, and the provincial curriculum reform initiative.  Next steps in the study is for each system to provide an update on how things are unfolding and also to consider an evaluation framework for innovation that is being developed by Helen Timperley and Lorna Earl. The will take place at a meeting in late June and we will let you know what we learn as a result. Here’s more information on the ILE study.

Despite our challenges, there is much for us to celebrate and for us to be proud of. As Linda so eloquently said at the recent symposium, BC teachers rock! 

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