Sunday, 23 November 2014

Is Growth Mindset a Sliding Spectrum? - a response

I want to swim in the deep, murky waters of nuance when it comes to growth mindset. Maybe I need some lessons.
 Royan Lee

This is how Royan Le finishes off his article on Growth Mindset.  It is a good place to finish a post on how we develop our own growth mindset.  This is something I am thinking about this year.  Our board has made this an important initiative this year for all of us and I know many school boards conducted studies and research on this last year.

I think as teachers, we get into this profession because we believe in having a growth mindset.  I think it is a great focus for our school board.  I really like how Lee used the 'How to Learn Math' series by Jo Boaler in his post.  He is following the series and I am going to encourage our teachers to do the same thing.

This will be a good series for me too - I actually said in a staff meeting 'I never could teach math' good start!

For us, the challenge of growth mindset will be transferring this to our students and parents.  I know I have lots to learn about all of this, but my first thought is that we need to make sure our students believe in themselves.  They need to know that they can make a fundamental change in their living circumstances.

One of my goals this year will be to have a growth mindset for myself, the staff, students and our parent community.  Where can we growth, where can we move to.

We will try all sorts of projects to see if we can encourage a growth mindset - right now we are trying to redevelop our entire schoolyard.  It is a bit of a crazy idea, but it is capturing the imagination of our kids and teachers.  If you push hard enough, what can you achieve?

It doesn't matter if we win this competition - although we would love your vote!  What matters is that we are trying new things to see what is possible, to see how we can grow and make a difference. Actually, we are doing OK, we are in 6th place nationally right now and are poised to enter the semi finals next week.

Still, this will be a learning journey - I totally agree with Lee - I will need lots of lessons!

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

What are some areas of teaching and learning that you can lead in your school? #SAVMP Blog Post

Our first school mural of the year along with all our artists! 

The November question is What are some areas of teaching and learning that you can lead in your school?

Always good questions come from SAVMP!  What can I lead in my school?

That is a bit difficult to answer.  When you are new in a school I think the question becomes - what teaching and learning can I pick up from the staff.  At this point, this is a much more interesting question for me to reflect on.

What can I say so far?

  • our staff connects with its community - parents are in all the time to meet with teachers and discuss concerns - face to face beats the phone every time.
  • people here are all about empowerment.  This is a poor community, many parents speak a language other than French and English at home.  Our teachers challenge our students and they have very high expectations - this is so visible to me!  Our students rise to these expectations and they perform better as they get older on our standardized testing.
  • our children love our school.  There is a great deal of affection amongst the students and parents for our school.  This is, I believe, is because our staff provide a nurturing environment, a place where children can thrive and grow.
  • our staff are willing to experiment - we are introducing e-portfolios, new math and language on-line programs, a makerspace, a national campaign to transform our asphalt yard - the staff accept and embrace all of this and much much more.  They are for the kids and are willing to try new things all the time.
  • there is a strong spiritual sense about the school.  We celebrate together and we pray together.  Today, I witnessed one of the most moving Remembrance Day ceremonies I have ever seen.  The kids all know how important these moments are and treat these ceremonies with great respect.
People come to our school and they say it has a special spirit.  I am the newest member of the staff and I agree with them.  There is a special spirit here, it makes you want to do your best and contribute what you can to make the community even stronger.

What areas of teaching and learning can I lead?  Right now I can lead best by following the staff and learning the culture of our school.  I can learn to become part of a vital and caring culture.

Our junior students at the war memorial in Ottawa - a special day

Sunday, 9 November 2014

SAVMP Year Two - “What are some ways you connect with your school community?”

It is good to be writing again in the SAVMP community. Thanks Amber for giving us our first prompt. “What are some ways you connect with your school community?”

I have just come back from a great Ontario conference - ECOO 2014 in Niagara Falls.  The conference was wonderful and I learned a great deal.  I think what was most important however was connecting to the learning community that I have developed through working on the organization of the conference.  I also connected with people I follow on Twitter and again I was touched by the power of connecting to others.

At ECOO and earlier at the GAFE Summit here in Ottawa, I had the chance to listen to keynotes by George Couros.  I really like George - he knows lots of cool stuff and gives excellent talks.  After listening to him a bunch of times over the past month, my main take away from his talks is the importance of connecting to others.  He has this wonderful video where a retiring teacher is celebrated by generations of students.  It is really touching, no one talks about how many apps they learned from this teacher or even the way she taught.  They all talked about how she had touched their lives in unique ways.  One woman told a story  about singing a song in her class when she was a child,  her teacher loved it so much she encouraged her to visit the other classes in the school to share her wonderful song - what a great story!  Real connections remain strong always.

Connecting to your school community can be done through social media, but that is such a small part of the story.  I think I am known for being a strong proponent of digital forms of communication and I certainly spend enough time blogging, tweeting and googling.

But, now I am in a new school community and I am thinking every day on how I can connect to this wonderful community.  While all the forms of social media are important, I know that what is most important.

It is most important to get to know everyone in our community - the staff, the students, the parents and the wider community.  I know I am doing my best work when I am simply being with other people, learning their names and learning more about their families and their lives.

A very wise principal once said that every day he started out by talking to each staff member in his building.  That is how he started his day.  Whatever else happened for the rest of the day, everyone would know that they had a moment to connect to another person.

This will be my centering question for this week.  I have been away for four days and I really need to get back into the school and really reconnect.  What will be the quality of my connections with people in the coming week?  Will I make it a priority to reconnect and listen to people?  Will I put aside the mounds of paperwork that has accumulated during my absence and make it my priority just to be with all these great people?

These are my questions to myself this week.  Focus on the person, focus on the building of relationships - everything follows from that.

Have a great week everyone!

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

How to connect in the post e-mail world

How will I connect to parents this year?  A big question as I get ready for a new year and a new school.

Due to CASL legislation here in Canada, we are not allowed to send out unsolicited e-mails to parents. The fines are very high, so the risk is real.  So, we have lost some terrific, innovative tools in the rush to comply with the legislation.

Remind  is gone.  Constant Contact is gone.  Too bad, these were the two mainstays of my communication strategy.  There are always other options however.

My main communication tool for the community will become Edublogs.  These folks are really my heros.  They supply a great variety of templates and their customer service is unbelievable.  They actually had me doing css code this week to redesign one of my blogs.  Not sure what css is, but its pretty cool.

I have one blog up and running for staff - the SAN Script (the code for our school is SAN).  It's in the development stage, so if you see something that I should change, let me know.  During the year, I will be posting to it every day to keep this really diverse staff connected.

Next, will be St. Anthony Connects - this blog will be for parents and the great community partners I am meeting. Haven't got a template ready for that yet.

I will go with a 'pro' account so that people can sign up to get my posts.  This will satisfy CASL and it will allow me to break away from the deadly weight of the monthly drab newsletter.  As you can tell. I can't stand newsletters.  Why does anyone do these things any more - we live in a world of instant information, why should parents wait for some stale document at the end of the month?

Twitter and Facebook will round out the strategy.  Both are set up and I hope through IFTTT they are linked.  I will use Flickr and Instagram so people can see what is happening every day.  This is a key point - parents need to see what is happening almost as it happens.  I want engaged parents who are hooked into what we are doing.

That's a good start.  Lots of work to do, but this is so important!

Am I missing anything?  Just let me know.

Thursday, 7 August 2014

The Human Factor

It's been a great summer! I have had some time to work on my blogging and I have reorganized my twitter so maybe it will be more effective in September.

I have had the luxury to take part in some great twitter chats #whatisschool - from Australia -  very cool!  I am working on new blogs to use for September thanks to the patient people at Edublog!

Now comes the transition to the human factor.  I'm not stopping all my PLN reorganization, but I am moving to a new school and there are lots of really exciting opportunities coming up.

I have met the man who runs a coffee shop and espresso repair store right next to our school.  Today, he showed me all the ins and out of maintaining your machine (you need to clean it out every week).  I also met Bob the custodian at my new school - a really great guy and a very hard worker - he comes in at 5:30 am!!  The other custodian is Guatemalan, so we are going to work together on my Spanish.

I started learning about Vox today and I think it is going to lead to a very cool collaboration with some of the real stars of my PLN.  Its a little hard to turn my iPad into a walkie talkie, but I am trying.  I had a very cool conversation with some people from Nearpod - a really cool new technology (new for me).

I also met some community people who run programs to connect kids to recreational programs - we are going to look for office space for them. And - the best - I got to work with my wife on setting up a new Edublog, a better Dropbox and Discovery Education!  I also read some of her blog posts - truly amazing writing!

We also met with some terrific people who want to run a pilot program at our school to encourage our kids to get into running.

All this is just in the past few days.  In the near future I am going to start working with another group of great educators on a blogging workshop for administrators.

All to say I feel so blessed!  There are so many great learning opportunities out there, so many great chances to collaborate with others.  Its all about connecting to people and really getting into all the wonderful possibilities that come from being in this great line of work.

This is about to become a terrific year!!

Monday, 28 July 2014

Watering my PLN garden

I know, it's a cheesy title, but it is summer, I think this is OK.

I am taking some time this summer to really work on my PLN. I think it was Doug Peterson @dougpete who wrote this is the best time to go through your twitter feed and cull the contacts who stopped tweeting in 2007.

So, I'm working on a few things.

I rely so much on Twitter now, I really need to spend time making sure my feed is in good shape for the hectic year ahead.  Here are some of the things I am working on:

1.  Fine tuning my Twitter feed - There are a whole host of services out there that will help you fine tune your twitter feed.  Who should be followed? Who just dropped you?  Who do you need to acknowledge?  Right now, I am using  every day.  I had NO IDEA that people actually 'unfollow' you on a regular basis!  I am also using and to finess my feed.

Its actually really interesting to see who unfollows you.  I just found out that I was unfollowed by a Guatemalan supergroup - what did I say?

Seriously, these tools are really useful. There are a bunch of people out there who I should be following, but I didn't know it.  Now I am trying to make amends.

2.  Follow your crew - My school board is pretty amazing when it comes to social media and digital technology.  I have decided to follow everyone in my school board - including all the schools - who have a Twitter account.  At this point, that means I am following an additional 253 people and schools.

It is a little like cheerleading, but I think it is really important to support educators who are willing to put themselves out there.  Over 250 - not bad!

3.  Thank everyone - have you ever been thanked when you follow someone?  Think about it, you saw their posts, you considered what you could learn and you clicked on the 'follow' button.  Good for you. You have just affirmed someone else's work and you don't even know them.  Isn't it great if they actually thank you for acknowledging them?

So, that is what I am working on and it's lots of fun.  I am having some great conversations and I am learning lots.

So - how are you watering your PLN garden?

Sunday, 13 July 2014

What actions can you take to become a connected leader?

I watched this video today made by Mark Carbone and Donna Fry, two educators who have been doing a great deal of interesting work trying to connect learners in Ontario.

If you are following their work, you will be aware of their MOOC - Ontario School and System Leaders Edtech.

I have been doing my best to follow their blog posts and contribute where possible.

Now that we are off and starting to regenerate for another school year, it is a good time to take a look at the OSSEMOOC blog

Mark has one line in the video that has me thinking and wondering about the future - 'The smartest person in the room is the room.'  We need to move to a learning model for educational leaders that puts the emphasis on connecting with others to get new ideas.

Being a connected learner is more important than ever.  This comes out very clearly in the TED Talk above by Donna and Mark.  I think our teachers are starting to do this, we have some great educators in our board who are very well connected to a variety of learning communities.

However, I am concerned about our administrators.  Our attempts at connecting to the wider community are sporadic at best.  We still meet monthly to listen to one speaker with one idea.  We do not spend time connecting to other administrators in our board or with administrators in other jurisdictions.

My hope for the future is that there will be a shift for all of us to become a connected learning community.  People are doing this on their own, but I think this should be facilitated by the school board as well.

In the meantime, I will continue to work on connecting to other learners and I will of course continue to be an active participant in the OSSEMOOC.

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Year's end - don't cry because its over

I thought this quote was a good way to start an end of year post.  I'm not sure how many people are crying, everyone needs a break after a long, busy school year.  The end of the year is a good time to look back on the year and spend a little time reflecting on how things went.  In my case, I will be reflecting on the past three years as I get ready for the move to another school.

One of the things I love to hear about our school is that it is a busy place.  There is always something going on.

I think this says alot about our entire school community.  Collectively, we aspire to offer a complete education for our students.  It is never enough to teach the curriculum, we need to teach the whole child.

I think this is a shared vision for our school.  It encourages us to look for new partners that enrich the learning environment for our students.  Here are just a few we have become linked to in the past few years.

  • Evergreen, the City of Ottawa and TD Friends of the Environment - these three partners have helped us build what will be a little urban forest in the years to come.  Over twenty trees, raised beds and now two outdoor classrooms are the results of this partnership.  At the heart of all this are the children; our Evergreen partners Ann Coffey and Andrew Harvey have consulted with all our students throughout the greening process here at our school - this will be the students' urban forest.
  • Becoming a digital school - not sure of another way to put this, but our teachers, students and parents have all embraced the idea that students learn better when they have a variety of devices from home, school and the district to use every day.  Over the past three years we have seen a real transformation in the learning environment not so much because we have lots of devices but because innovation is accepted as the norm at our school.
  • Partnerships with arts groups - an elementary school on its own cannot offer the varied programming students need to have a well rounded education.  We have Little Horn Theatre and Big Kid Entertainment to help us offer a varied arts curriculum.  Big Kid integrates drama with important lessons on cyber bullying and inclusion in a way the students really enjoy.  Little Horn offers instruction in dance and drama to every child in the school.
  • Partnerships focusing on athletic development - this is so important for us.  We need our kids to remain  physically active throughout the year.  In fact, it could be argued that our kids would do better with year round schooling to make sure they remain active throughout the summer months. Jungle Sport, the Ottawa Fury, Y Kids Academy and Starr Gymnastics are just some of the programs that we now offer every year.  Starr Gymnastics is so important to the school that we will now pay for this right out of the student activity fee.
We have so many other important partners, St. Maurice Church, the University of Ottawa, Engineers in Residence all enrich the lives of our students throughout the school year, they are part of the fabric of our school life.  

There are two essential elements that make all these creative partnerships work.  

First, we have a staff that welcomes everyone.  Visitors to our school always comment on how friendly people are at our school.  All staff try hard to make people comfortable when they are with us.  This is how it should be. We are caught up in the joy of education and we want to share this with others.

The second essential element are our parents.  They support us in so many ways.  They are open to our ideas and projects, they make us part of their community.  As principal, I have felt nothing but unconditional support and appreciation for the work we do with their kids every day.

This is why St. Greg's is a busy place.  Our staff, parents and students have great ideas and are always open to the education adventure.  It is hard work, but look what we have all created!

While I am looking forward to my new school community, I will never forget the dynamic partnerships of the St. Gregory community that provide such a rich learning environment for all of us.

Have a great summer everyone!

One of the outdoor murals created by Ann Coffey, Nicole Belanger and our students

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Rethinking professional learning and development

It is well passed the time that we rethink professional learning and development for educators.

We have made great strides when it comes to refashioning teaching methodology, especially at the elementary level, but we seem to be frozen in time when it comes to how we train and develop educators, especially educational administrators.

Most of what we experience in the area of professional learning for school administrators is ineffective. There are some good moments when we are introduced to leading thinkers in education, but there is no plan to this learning, the good moments happen almost by accident.

While most administrators are critical of the learning provided to us, we have been silent on what the alternative could be. I would say that our silence has allowed the current situation to continue with our implicit approval. If we see the current system as ineffective, we need to be able to propose a different way of doing things.

Where can we look for more effective models? I read a very interesting article on this topic today by Thomas Handcock in Workforce - A Network Rethink for Learning and Development. There are some important points in this article on how we really need to rethink professional learning. To me, the essential problem is that we play no active role in our professional learning. We passively accept what is being offered at a time when we should be active participants in our learning.

The pervasiveness of social media in employees’ personal lives has set an expectation of instant access to information and connectivity. And it’s not just Generation Y. As Fast Company notes, the fastest-growing age group on Twitter is 55 to 64; on Facebook, it’s those aged 45 to 54.
 To bring about meaningful change, need to introduce a "culture of continuous learning". This can be done by implementing Handcock's suggestions:

Developing bite-sized learning — making learning resources smaller and more consumable.

Betting on technology — deploying enterprise collaboration platforms, mobile-learning and upgraded LMS functionality.

Creating push learning — attempting to push out targeted learning resources to employees “just-in-time.”

I really suggest you take a look at this article - there is some much in here that speaks to what we need to do if we really want to instill a culture of learning amongst our educational leaders.

What would such a culture look like? I think we would have to start by developing learning groups or peer coaching teams of three to four administrators. Each would be responsible for setting up a personal learning plan for the year. The learning partners would then play the role of supporting and critiquing the learning of the others in the group. The learning would have to be structured in such a way that each group member is accountable both for their learning and for supporting the learning of others.

When done correctly, peer coaching circles not only teach employees valuable learning behaviors but also build employees’ ownership of development by reinforcing the idea that learning is more about engagement and discourse and less about the provision and consumption of content. 

Time would be set aside each month for these learning groups to meet and work together. The time would be found by replacing the current model of PD delivery which no longer is effective.I have seen this system in place in other school boards in Ontario.  Learning partners have presented as part of the annual LSA conference in Toronto. What always struck me about these presentations was the level of excitement and commitment administrators felt about their learning projects.

I want to learn more about this. Given the social media tools we can use right now, there is no question that we can design more effective professional learning experiences for ourselves. If we don't suggest a change in this direction we will continue to be served up PD that may have little relevance to the work we do in our school.

 Related articles

Saturday, 7 June 2014

The Six Secrets of Change

Q7: How do Fullan’s Six Secrets of Change fit into your evolving role as a Digital Leader? If you are about to make this transition how do you see them impacting you and your work? I always learn so much from Fullan.

Question 7 of our #satchat book study asks us the reflect on Fullan's Six Secrets of Change - there is lots to write about here. I will answer this question by quoting and reflecting on some of the statements written in Sheninger's book.

1. Love your Employees: "The best way to love your employees in order to initiate sustainable change is to trust and support them unconditionally."
I think there is no other way to go. I have so much respect for the thinking and practices of our teachers. They are the truly innovative ones and they are the ones really driven to act for the success of our students. We tend to forget this. We think there is a 'magic potion' out there that teachers have not considered - that simply is not true, we do not give our teachers enough credit for their spirit for innovation. Instead we rely too much on the wisdom of the district - this is flawed thinking.

2. Connect Peers With Purpose: "Purposeful peer interaction allows teachers to have a voice in the decision-making process and to craft how policies and mandates will be implemented (Dufour, Dufour, &Eaker, 2008)"
Everyone loves to quote Dufour, but do they really think about what he is saying? We need to abolish all senseless babble from district experts and instead allow teachers more time to talk to each other and come up with new ideas. Let's put more time into working on all sorts of collaboration - face to face meetings, twitter networks, edcamps, play dates, book studies - let's let them innovate!

3. Capacity Building Prevails : "Studies on school change indicate that schools successful in sustaining school improvement build capacity for leadership within the organization (Harris & Lambert, 2003)" 
True leadership comes within the school. Change happens when the school community focuses on what is essential for that community. We tend to think that the solution is somehow 'out there'. It is not - the solution to any problem at the school level starts with the people within your own community. We can't expect change to come from some over staffed district that doesn't necessarily have any clear vision on what change should look like. We need to stop looking outside of ourselves.

4. Learning is the Work: "Leaders must not only be creative in finding time for teachers to engage in PD during the day, but they also must consistently model lifelong learning themselves. Digital leadership dictates that learning is first and foremost."
Learning is the work is the title of a paper Fullan wrote about how teachers need to learn. If educators paid attention to what he wrote in this paper we would totally change the way we offer PD. In fact, we wouldn't 'offer' PD anymore, we would empower learning hubs of teachers to effectively inquire and share their good ideas. Do we as administrators actually accept this idea? If so we need to take courage and start modelling this for our teachers.

5. Transparency Rules: "Leaders, proud of the work being done in their schools, now have the means to continuously tell their story to key stakeholders. Sharing more information will increase engagement in the change process." 
We can play a unique role our schools - share what your teachers are learning. Don't hide great work. Don't sit on your hands. If you are an administrator start sharing the great change that is happening in your school. Nothing great happening - I find that hard to believe.

6. Systems Learn: (I hope so!) "Continuous learning depends on developing many leaders in the school in order to enhance continuity. It also depends on schools being confident in the face of complexity and open to new ideas."
Do you notice in everything I have quoted here that the emphasis is put on the school. This puts added pressure on the administrator. I am glad for that, I like the pressure. As administrators we need to realize that we are the change agents in our schools and we are there to empower others to do the same.

We must stop relying on the district, state or province to come up with great ideas. they are totally incapable of doing this! If we don't lead the change the change simply will not happen. This puts pressure on the leader, but we signed up for this!

Terrific ideas, great challenges. I am convinced that if we hope to save education we need to be the change agents. We need to stop thinking someone will do this for us.
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Thursday, 5 June 2014

How do we deal with the really hard questions in education?

This post started as a response to Maureen Devlin's blog post @lookforsun -

How Do You Contribute to Your Teaching/Learning Community?

I focussed on one of Maureen's questions -   'what work or effort does not serve your organization as well'

We still work in such  conservative organizations that we are really encouraged not to think out of the box.  The problem with this is that we are doomed in education if we continue to focus on reform and not revolution as Sir Ken Robinson would put it.  Why is any significant criticism of the status quo seen as a threat to the system?  When will we start asking the really difficult questions like why we still support an antiquated industrial age school system.

Reform is no use anymore, because that's simply improving a broken model. What we need -- and the word's been used many times during the course of the past few days -- is not evolution, but a revolution in education. This has to be transformed into something else.
Sir Ken Robinson TED Talk Feb. 2010

There is much written these days about Deeper Learning.  I am reading all I can to see if here there is finally a challenge to the status quo.  Will Deeper Learning provide solutions to these problems?

  • we have a system where the adult is protected - the teacher - but the rights of the child to an excellent education are not.
  • we have a system where we are told by the resident expert what the next great idea will be.
  • we have a system where sharing outside our classroom is still the exception, not the rule.
  • innovation outside a tiny box is not really encouraged.
  • we simply do not ask the really hard questions - why do we support a top down system that was initially designed to train workers for the factory?
I am sure there are lots of other questions and issues that need to be addressed.  Does Deeper Learning address these issues, or are we still afraid to ask the really difficult questions.

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Sunday, 25 May 2014

Develop your own personal learning network - now

Personalised Professional Development with Twitter

Posted by  | August 12, 2013 English One Comment

This article is so good I had to refer to it right off the top The main point - develop your own personal learning network, never again accept the generalized PD model where everyone gets the same thing.

We expect a huge amount from teachers these days - more than ever before. But at the same time we are being trained using a 19th century model - one talking head at the front of the room. Any time you go to a workshop and that is happening you know this is not the way things have to be. At the very least, we should not call this professional development.

If we are to be treated as professionals, the learning model needs to reflect that we are all quite capable learning what we need on our own and in groups of like-minded professionals. The model that we have developed in our schools over the past three years is very important - it is the only way to go.  We have developed a system where the professional learning goals for the school are developed by the teacher teams from our three schools (triad).

I find the learning goals coming from these groups get better and better.  The goals are more attuned to conclusions based on student work.  The goals also build on the work that has already been accomplished.

We are all professionals and if we respect the work we do every day we need to make sure we all stay in control of your own professional development.

Never let anyone tell you that they know better than you do. There are so many people out there thinking and writing about educational issues - you need to choose who speaks to you and who you will learn from.
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Sunday, 11 May 2014

Our Creative Spaces

This is another big week for us.  We just finished a terrific Education Week - thanks again for all of you stepping up to make this a great week.  Students thrive in a creative environment and there is no question that they are thriving at St. Gregory!  Just think about what is going on - a vibrant makerspace with litteBit and makie makie kits, math competitions involving Brock University, Kahn Academy for grade one and two students, over $700.00 raised by selling second-hand purses, the discovery of young rabbits in our future outdoor classroom, creative dance and choir singing to over 100 guests to our school, a beautiful mass at St. Maurice, a board dedicated to inspiring change, our own Egyptian museum, another terrific Jump Rope for Heart day, a spring bouquet of prayer petals, parents reading in all our classes, pasta for everyone at school - all this and much more in just one week!!  The list is staggering!!!
I hope everyone feels great about last week - look at all the great things that you do!
As we move into the middle of may the creative pace continues. This week we welcome Nicole Belanger to our school.  She will be working with our students for the next two weeks to create murals for our outdoor classrooms.  She will be joined by Andrew Harvey and ann Coffey who will be actively working on our outdoor classrooms this week.  Andrea Hallendy-Mallon will be back for another Little horn Theatre session with the grade ones and twos and Katie Gauthier will be in for our first hip hop session on Friday.  We continue to work on our crowd funding project with Luc Lalande and we will also be sending home all the Vesey bulbs on Monday - thanks to the work Crystal is doing today at school.
Have I missed some things - of course.  It is a challenge to keep up to the pace at our school.  The building continues to brim with the creativity of our community.  
Lets take a moment this week to reflect on the creative spaces we are fostering daily.  This is what education is all about - we see the joy in everything and are always open to the limitless possibilities presented to us through our children.
Have a great week everyone!
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Saturday, 5 April 2014

Week 27: Little Things and School Culture #savmp Apr 1

I think a school leader is doing really well if they can discern what the school culture is in such a short period of time.  I think it is best to spend as much time as necessary to figure out the school culture.  Then, once you had a good idea what the culture looks like you can figure out how you fit into this culture.  Finally, you can start to reflect on how you can contribute to making a lasting impact on this culture.

I have worked in lots of schools.  I find it really interesting that even as people move on the culture remains essentially the same.  It is not something that I find people talk about very much.  I have worked at schools that are very inclusive and progressive.  Obviously, not all schools share this characteristic.  When we do try to change the culture of a school can we do more than make superficial changes?

If you work carefully and you truly respect the culture of the school I think you can start making a positive contribution.  I am not sure how long this takes, I am sure it varies from school to school.

Can I contribute to affecting the culture of a school?  I'm not sure. I hope so. I think you would have to ask the students, parents and staff of our school.  I do my best and I leave it up to the community to discern if one individual can really make a change.

It would be really interesting to see how other people answer this question.  I am really interested in understanding the culture of the schools I work in.  I would like to know how others understand their school culture and what they feel is their role within this culture.

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