Superintendent of Schools – Last week we had our third Leadership Team Meeting (LTM) of the school year. These LTM meetings involve Education Centre leadership staff sharing and learning along with school principals and assistant principals. We keep them to a morning only, so time is tight. Yet for the past year, we have included some form of professional learning in each of these meetings.

We spent about an hour with colleagues from the Sheldon Kennedy Child Advocacy Centre (SKCAC) and Alberta Children’s Services. We watched and discussed the recently developed video about a school’s role in keeping our kids safe. The 28-minute video highlights what child abuse is, how to recognize the signs of child abuse and how to respond / report suspected abuse. It is a tough topic but the video does a nice job in walking people through the basics. We spent an additional 30 minutes asking questions to the experts from SKCAC and Children’s Services. We learned together by watching the video together and through the subsequent discussion that followed. All of our schools will be showing this video in the upcoming months to help our staff.

The second part of the meeting was some self-directed professional learning led by a variety of our divisional learning specialists. These sessions included topics such as: documenting literacy assessments; numeracy; physical literacy; assistive technology; digital literacies; project planning; e-portfolio tool for younger learners; supporting our indigenous learners; and others. People self-selected based on their personal interest and school goals and for one hour they dug into the topic in their groups of 5 to 25 participants. The value of people learning and sharing together is powerful. At the table I was at in the numeracy session, schools shared strategies that were working for their struggling math learners. People were nodding and writing down ideas that they could consider for their school. I was reminded that often schools are not aware of what another school are trying. The importance of getting people in small groups and let them share and talk was affirmed.

The last part of LTM was some information sharing. As much as we try and minimize these “stand and deliver” pieces, they still have value. People appreciate each department highlighting an item or two from their multi-page update, which was previously included in the agenda package. We try and keep it to a minimum, but walking people through a complex item and allowing for nuance to be shared remains to be valuable. A quick question at the right time is valuable to almost everyone in the room.

So, there you have a recap of last week’s leadership team meeting and a bit about why I think it is important to get people together to share and learn together.

Greg

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