Professional Learning Matters!

Professional Learning Matters!

Superintendent of Schools – This past week I was able to attend a number of professional learning opportunities for our staff. It was a great chance for me to meet people, while listening in on the wide variety of professional conversations. We model and value lifelong learning and strive to work collaboratively to extend our practices to meet the needs of all our learners. We also must remember that all adults in our system need to be learners as well.

Over the four days that staff were back without students, there were countless professional PL_MC_Aug2016learning activities spread throughout the division. I will share just a bit about some of the events I attended. Each of our schools sent a representative to work with Dr. Karen Loerke from the University of Alberta / Alberta Education and our own Learning Specialist Deb Rougeau-Bell on reading comprehension benchmarks. It is part of the literacy framework we are committed to in our 4-year plan.  Another day I joined Muriel Clayton’s staff who were in a workshop focused on Lucy Calkin’s literacy work and a school-wide emphasis on common reading and writing approaches/strategies. I saw staff across all grade and subject areas discussing their shared responsibility to be literacy teachers, rather than the responsibility fall on the shoulders of Language Arts teachers. I swung by Bert Church High School for an impromptu visit, but forgot that they were all at Telus Spark working with our 21st C team on inquiry, design thinking, and project based learning. I also joined 25 brand new teachers who just completed their teaching degrees and now are working with a coach to help them settle into their first year of teaching. This group is lucky to have a coach focused on supporting them during their first year – something I wish I had when I started. These are literally just a few of the activities that were going on this week in RVS.

Some people question the value of professional learning for our staff, but I am a wholehearted believer in the value of our staff learning, growing, and innovating together! We need to be engaged in professional conversations and actions to ensure our learners are engaged, supported, and successful.

New Kid on the Block

New Kid on the Block

Superintendent of Schools – Welcome to my first post on Rocky View’s blog site. I hope to write once every week about something that has come up in my week. I may miss a week or two, but what I’ve found is that taking a few minutes to reflect on the week and write something about it is very helpful. I cannot promise it will be profound, but hopefully you will get to know what I’m up to and what makes me tick.

I started officially on Monday, August 22, in my new role as Superintendent of Schools ofRocky View Schools. It is a bit of a deja-vu as I actually worked in Rocky View from 2000-2003 as the Supervisor of Technology Services GL_sml_old_name_tag(see my attached old name tag which I found while packing to move here – pardon my breaking our branding strategy using the old colours, name, and logo – this cost me $1 for breaking the rules). Through the first week I had the pleasure of meeting our amazing RVS team. Some familiar faces from my last stint but many, many new ones.

For the past 11 years I’ve worked for a rural school division in the Kootenay region of British Columbia. It was quite a bit smaller (3,700 students in 10 schools), but equally committed to supporting the journey of all learners. When I left RVS in 2003 we had about 13,500 students and now we will be serving approximately 22,500 students. The growth became obvious to me when we had our first formal admin leadership team meeting last Thursday. We had around 125 people in the room – mostly school-based administrators along with some Ed Centre teammates.

At our first leadership team meeting I shared a bit about what people can expect from me so I thought I’d share those with you:

  • It is important to me that we operate as a team and that we support each other; shared leadership is critical.
  • I’m not a micro-manager, rather I’m here to support.
  • Don’t expect any radical change in direction coming, my goal is to continue to focus on student success.
  • We’re in Year 2 of a 4-Year Plan … it’s our collective responsibility to bring the three goals to life and to report on our progress.
  • I fully recognize that we also have many other initiatives ongoing and just because we are sharing with the public these three strategic goals it does not mean nothing else is happening.
  • In this order, I listen, think, ask questions.
  • You’ll come to understand that I am consistent, thoughtful.
  • I have and hold myself to high standards.
  • I like to laugh.
  • I believe in equity at all schools, yet not a one size fits all model – honour the uniqueness of each community/school culture.
  • Together is better. I really believe we need to invest in our staff – together we are the people that help make the magic happen.
  • I promise to be visible in schools.

So there we go, week 1’s blog hopefully lets you know a bit about myself and what you can expect from me.


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