Anne Chirakal's Learning Portfolio
PQP 1 & 2

Over the course of the last three months I have taken PQP part 1 at OISE. Throughout the course I have been assessing my strengths, weaknesses and gaps in my leadership opportunities. What a refreshing experience and one that I needed. This portfolio is collection of my thoughts over the last three months, resources that I have both collected and created and some additional tidbits about me.

I was fortunate to be able to go to South Africa and partake in Safari.

I used this picture of a pack of Lions for a reason - we all know that a lions are the leaders/kings of the "jungle." This trip really highlighted my role, or I should say, our role, as global citizens in environmental sustainability.


The Ontario Leadership Framework (OLF) is a resource to help individuals assess their leadership strengths and areas for improvement. As well, the OLF concisely indicates the traits of effective leaders, the characteristics of effective organizations and a common leadership language (OLF, 2013). Personally, it allows me to perform a gap analysis of where I might need more experience or time for reflection.


The first weekend at PQP Part 1 focused on getting to know the OLF Framework, establishing positive relationships and setting directions.

Setting Directions: The Principal builds a shared vision, fosters the acceptance of group goals and sets and communicates high performance expectations (OLF, 2013).

In my role as Instructional Coach in the Peel District School Board I have learned so much in terms of the roles various stakeholders play in determining next steps at the school level. The stakeholders I am referring to are the administration team, superintendents, school social workers, ministry representatives and resource teachers. At my family of schools’ SO meeting, in which all of these stakeholders are present we share the various schools’ SIPs, their Theory of Actions/Challenge of Practices, implementation strategies and monitoring strategies. This then filters down to the school level so that the Principal can share this new knowledge/learning with the staff so that the staff can be a part of the process of developing a vision for the school.

I know that a schools' vision is dictated by the boards' vision, but does this not set the Principal up for failure? How can we create a vision for the school in collaboration with staff when the goalis already (pretty much) dictated for you? As well how do you really access all the stakeholders to create a collaborative vision? This is tough - I really need to digest this for a bit.

Sometimes in my role I am subject to negative thoughts and feelings by others, due to their feelings of stress and being overwhelmed. These feelings can sometimes cloud my own vision. I really like how Kevin discussed this weekend our need as administrators to be positive. For example, we were talking about a loose model of Instructional Rounds. I said, that I liked that Instructional Rounds holds teachers accountable to achieve the theory of action. Kevin quickly corrected me, and said accountable can be perceived as negative. He said, he would word it: “It is his DUTY to provide teachers with the support and knowledge on current instructional strategies/practices, and he can only do this if he is in the classroom and assessing teacher needs.” I believe as well, if staff members were apart of creating the goals, theory of actions and vision for the school, they will have a better understanding of the implementation and monitoring strategies and therefore be clear on the purpose of Instructional Rounds. This is clearly outlined in the OLF, it discusses how school leaders need to "establish in collaboration with staff, students and stakeholders an overall sense of purpose or vision for work in their schools" (OLF, 2013). As well it discusses that school leaders need ensure goals are clearly communicated and to encourage staff to evaluate/reflect on their own progress in achieving the goals. I do not believe this happens enough; at staff meetings, school bulletins and blogs I will ensure our goals and vision are always present and discussed.

Ian Allison, a superintendent in TDSB, came to talk to us on Sunday morning. He is a dynamic, engaging speaker that has the ability to inspire a group of people. I like his comment; “leadership is like a bag of tea, because you find out the quality of the tea when you put it in hot water.” It is important to have experiences and the qualities outlined in the OLF, however you need to have the personal resources and be reflective to be able to effectively respond to situations. I think it is important to critically assess my personal leadership resources as well as the skills outlined five core leadership capacities. Developing and establishing positive relationships are critically important in leading an organization. The OLF does an excellent job of outlining the key personal leadership resources that leaders need in order to be effective. Ian really focused on Improving the Instructional Program. Which I really liked, because that is one of my areas of strength, however, I wish he was able to speak to the other competencies as well.

Some resources for  Setting Directions

Building Relationships and Developing People

Building Relationships: Building relationships should be my first priority as a school leader. Organizations thrive when members feel respected and trusted. George Couros (2014) said, "Strong relationships are the foundation of great organizations and without laying down that foundation first, nothing great will happen, and if it does, it is in spite of leadership, not because of it."

The focus of this weekend was on building relationships and developing people. According to the OLF, effective leaders informally and formally contribute to the professional and leadership development of staff, by building healthy, trusting and productive relationships. Effective school leaders not only communicate and build relationships with teachers, but with all stakeholders involved.

The OLF points out the importance of visibility, "School leaders are highly visible in their schools" (OLF, 2013). We touch on this a lot in the PQP. Teachers need to see Principals in the school and not just in their office; Principals need to be seen as part of professional learning sessions, in classrooms, at athletic and social events. This way teachers will see Principals as part of the team not above them. The OLF (2013) also states the importance of modelling, and that school leaders need to demonstrate the importance of a learning stance through "visible engagement in their own learning."

We also talked a lot about courageous conversations. How can one have a courageous conversation if the person on the other end does not feel valued and respected? This is why building relationships is critically important when establishing a leadership role within your school. The OLF (2013) states, "School leaders demonstrate respect for staff, students and parents by listening to their ideas, being open to those ideas, and genuinely considering their value." School leaders cannot just be open to communication, but also show that they are listening and will make change happen or follow through on the ideas presented.

On Saturday we had a unique opportunity to combine with the York Region cohort and engage in rounds and Ed Camp. I enjoyed this opportunity; I was able to network with leaders from all around Southern Ontario and be able to collaborate, have discussions and ask questions in a safe environment.

The first round was looking at being able to self-assess my leadership experiences and evidence and then reflect on the impact for the school but also how it has prepared me for the VP or P role. I took a lot out of this session; I can list in my resume all of my leadership experiences but this really forces me to think about the “so what?”

The second round looked at having an online presence in education; we discussed ways in which we can ensure that a school has a positive online presence. We discussed the advantages and disadvantages of tools like, instagram, twitter, facebook, D2L, ed motto, google, blogs, tackk, smore and so on. I really liked Kevin’s suggestion of using a blog to act as a weekly memo versus sending out a newsletter.

The third round looked at achieving excellence, in particular supporting math instruction and assessment in schools. We talked about the importance of PD, release time and collaborative inquiries on math instruction and curriculum analysis. Even more so, the focus was on the Principal as the instructional leader and acting as a co-learner with teachers.

The fourth round looked at Instructional Rounds. Importantly, the focus was on that Instructional Rounds are NOT to be evaluative. They are to support the implementation of the challenge of practice and the resources that are needed in order to achieve this.

On Sunday, we took a deep look at various policies, bills and acts and discussed what we knew, where we had more questions, what surprised us and what more we needed to know. I realized how much I don’t know, and felt a bit overwhelmed with what I needed to familiarize myself with. On Sunday we also looked deeper at facilitation skills, looking specifically at Wellman protocols and did a role-play really paying attention to our communication skills, not solving the problem and getting all the facts.

Resources for Building Relationships and Developing People

Improving the Instructional Program

Improving the Instructional Program: School leaders improve the instructional program by recruiting and selecting teachers according to program needs, provide instructional support, monitor progress in student learning and school improvement and buffer staff from distractions in their work (OLF, 2013).

I really like this particular domain of the OLF. It speaks to the importance of the Principal as the Instructional Leader but also as a co-learner. The OLF speaks to mobilizing resources to help teachers use data effectively and plan which could be in the form of time, partnerships with the community and/or experts and providing a culture in which data is valued.

As part of my observation of my Vice Principal I got an amazing opportunity to be part of instructional rounds at our feeder school. What an incredible learning experience to see effective monitoring first hand. We discussed the schools' Theory of Action and what the staff has done to this point to strengthen their instructional practice, we then went to classes to collect observations. Afterwards we shared our observations (without evaluation) and discussed celebrations (connected to the TOA) and wonderings/next steps about the TOA. We also looked at trends across the school. The OLF (2013) states, "School Leaders observe classroom instruction and provide constructive feedback  to teachers" and "school leaders collect and use data about the status of those classroom and school conditions that are the focus of the school improvement efforts." I truly believe Instructional Rounds, when done properly and after valued and trusting relationships have been developed can be an amazing learning opportunity for stakeholders involved and lead to increased student achievement.

As part of improving the instructional program in the OLF (2013) it says that “leaders should recruit and select teachers who have the interest and the capacity to further the schools’s vision and goals.” I find this very interesting. Can Principals really do this? When staffing comes around then, why do my current Principals look at seniority vs PROGRAM? I find this very frustrating. I would really like to learn more about this.

Lorraine Giroux from EQAO helped us examine standardized testing and EQAO through a leadership lens. EQAO ensures greater accountability in publically funded education. As well, the data it provides allows for in-depth discussions around school improvement planning. At the forefront of this presentation was that data is just an entry point, it is only numbers on the page, unless we do something with the information. According to the OLF, leaders need to incorporate the explicit use of data when making decisions that relate to student learning and student achievement. EQAO is one small measure of achievement. Lorraine explained that the tests are designed using curriculum expectations and how tests are graded. She also showed us to use the EQAO site to help us examine the different types of data the test results produce.

In class we discussed both staff and student discipline. I HAVE A LOT TO LEARN; I know and understand much of it is common sense, but holy cow, I feeling a bit overwhelmed. I feel better knowing that not always do decisions need to be made right away and that your Superintendent and colleagues in HR/Law are just a phone call away. I found it interesting that Progressive Discipline is used regardless if we are dealing with staff or students. The continuum of intervention can start at a verbal reprimand (or courageous conversation) and end with termination. We learned a lot this day, and conversations were rampant about TPAs, use of staff handbook, sending teachers home and so on.

On Sunday of this weekend, we had presentations by various groups. We were asked to present our “research” in a way that would work for a staff professional development session. This was a great way to put to use our facilitation skills that we worked on last module, but as well reflect on what meaningful PD looks like. I enjoyed all the presentations and was able to take learning away from all of them.

This is an infographic I created that lists the effective instructional practices and strategies, and outlines collaborative inquiry.

Resources for Improving the Instructional Program


Securing Accountability

Resources for Securing Accountability

Securing Accountability: develops staff members’ internal accountability and works to meet the demands for external accountability (OLF 2013).

As school leaders we need to be using data as a third point and reference Ministry, Board and school goals regularly so that it is not just an idea but an actualization. How does this happen? As school leaders we need to reference our goals all the time, we need to ask staff to reflect individually and as a collective on whether we are achieving our goals, and most importantly we need to determine how we will implement our goals (TOA), monitor our progress and sustain our gains. Kevin talked how we need to mobilize our resources, which is not just money, but also putting to use other stakeholders within the community.

What data do we use? Data is in everything. Often we resort to the latest EQAO scores, but data can also be accessed via: attendance records, IPRCs, reporting cycles, learning skills, surveys, formative assessment, teacher interviews, teacher moderation, PLCs, TPAs and so on. It is important that our theory of actions are grounded in data so that we can indeed measure our progress.

I do believe the other domains are connected to Securing Accountability. For example, we cannot engage in collaborative inquiry without understanding the data we have or our school goals and vision. I guess that is what makes the OLF so powerful - the interconnection allows Principals to do their job well.

On May 9th speakers from OCT came to speak to us about the standards of practice and ethical standards. I asked, "If we want to be considered a profession, and have a designation after our name, then why are teachers not held more accountable to both the standards and ethical standards of practice, in particular, in relation to professional development?" Carson (OCT), replied, OCT cannot do this because they do not have the jurisdiction, however, OCT believes the more teachers reflect and review the standards the greater the integrity of the teaching profession. I have my doubts. Again, sometimes my cynical side has come out, especially with the work that I do; I wish I was exposed to more of peers taking the time to reflect on their practice.

On May 10th, a lawyer from TDSB came in to do a presentation on the law and education. What I got the most out of this: CONFUSION. In other words, always call my SO and law aides for assistance/advice. Principals are NOT investigators, we need to ensure that we get all the information but we do not decide what to do with that information. Really: document.

Developing the Organization to Support Desired Practices

This domain seems to be looking at developing leadership (building capacity), building relationships with families and the community, maintaining a safe environment and aligning resources with priorities (OLF, 2013).

According to the OLF (2013), School leaders must: model collaboration, encourage collaborative work, provide adequate resources to support collaborative work and provide staff with leadership opportunities. Whoa - collaboration is really at the forefront, isn't it? I really like that we are taking steps to de-privatize practice and encourage collaboration. My work as an instructional coach has been a tough one this year in secondary school settings. Teachers are still apprehensive about opening up their classroom doors. I do not get that same feeling with my elementary counterparts. I feel they have been exposed to a co-teaching model. I really think it is important for the Principal to be a part of the collaborative process. If teachers see Principals as co-learners they more be more willing for the Instructional Round process. My other issue is we keep changing the terminology which staff get upset about, for example PLCs or Collaborative Inquiry? I know they are pretty much the same thing, but teachers feel it is just another initiative being downloaded on them. If we want them to collaborate - just say it!

"School leaders must provide leadership opportunities and distribute leadership on selected tasks" (OLF, 2013). I believe this is speaking to building capacity and building on teachers' strengths within the building. We need to remember there are other leaders in the school other than the admin team and curricular heads. It is important for Principals to show that they value their teachers and the knowledge, experience and passion they bring. How do you this? Encourage teachers to be part of leadership and professional development teams. Encourage teachers to take courses or present at conferences - show them that you believe in them.

George Couros (November 2014) asked what are desired practices? This question got me thinking as well. Desired practices, according to whom? The school, the board, the ministry? I am sure the OLF says desired practices in relation to our school goals and vision, however I have worked in schools where the desired practices were very much outdated. Something to think about.

"School leaders manage budgetary processes" (OLF, 2013). This scares me a little. When I was Department Head of Health and Physical and Athletics I had to manage a budget of close to $50 000  - with no guidance or training. Please tell me Principals get some training on working with budgets that they get? I do think if the one of our goals is to improve collaboration and the instructional program money needs to be set aside for release time. Teachers need time to unpack data, plan, co-teach and co-debrief and we cannot always expect this to happen on their own time.

"School leaders create a school environment in which parents are welcomed, respected and valued as partners in their children's learning" (OLF, 2013). In my schools I do not know if this is happening enough. I have really begun to see the importance of parents understanding what their child's education looks like, so that they can be better advocates for them. This has never been more apparent then now during the new HPE curriculum roll-out. What a mess. I believe if we had a better connection with parents in which parents felt empowered to ask questions and have conversations with teachers and the administration team we could avoid the HUGE mess (especially Peel).

This weekend we discussed Special Education and the Principal's role. I did not realize how important the Principal was with both IEPs and IPRCs. Kevin emphasized that he is by no means an expert in this area and he often seeks help from his SPEC ED head and resource team. He is a co-learner. Even though I have my SPEC ED part 1, I still have a lot to learn, and am wondering if I should take my Part 2 and 3 to be better prepared. Saturday afternoon groups presented on various legal issues: search and seizure, Bill 157, use of technology, competing rights and OSRs. Again, emphasizing how much I do not know - this course is very humbling. Hopefully, if I get to go back from work action I will be able to ask the Principals I work with about some of these legal issues.

On Sunday, we discussed the wonderful world of Teacher Performance Appraisals (TPAs). Kevin explained that he likes to look at TPAs through the lens of "support." Mainly because TPAs can be viewed as a negative experience by teachers. What can we do as Principals do to set the tone to help teachers feel comfortable? Principals need to be visible in the school for teachers to not only form those relationships but to also collect evidence on teacher practices so that you can give further support (i.e. connect with an IC, PD, workshops, collaborative inquiry, PLCs etc). Tina a peer in my class asked, "Where does the accountability lie for the Principal to ensure a"good" TPA?" What a great question, how often do we see "bad" teachers get a satisfactory report. Kevin responded there really isn't much accountability on their part. Arghh! An out of cycle TPA can be initiated anytime and does not need 20 days notice. Kevin suggested that you bring the teacher in with union representation and say this is the evidence collected and I would really like to give you support to help with teaching practice, then three weeks later you give them an out of cycle TPA - make sure union representation is present. So that the union understands and knows the case being presented. Who knew: Principals have 20 days in writing a satisfactory TPA and 15 days to write an unsatisfactory TPA.  Principals have a performance appraisal every 5 years by their SO. A VP gets a PPA by their principal.

Various Vice Principals from around Southern Ontario came to speak to us about being a VP, the challenges, the process and their successes. I really appreciated this, because it is nice to hear from professionals who are in "it" now. I like the idea of depersonalizing resistance, or in other words, don't take it personally. As well, the Peel administrator said to really immerse myself in Peel language for the process. I feel lucky, that I am an instructional coach currently and eat, breathe, sl

Resources for Developing the Organization to Support Desired Practices

Practicum: Observation

April 13, 2015 (5 hours)

Connection to the OLF: Building Relationships and Developing People (school leaders: consider staff members' opinions when initiating actions that affect their work, build upon and respond to individual staff members' unique needs and expertise, treat individuals and groups among staff equitably, are highly visible in their schools, are easily accessible to staff, parents and students, encourage federation representatives to collaborate in determining how to implement labour contract provisions in ways that support school improvement work). Developing the Organization to Support Desired Practices (school leaders: engage teachers in making decisions about their instructional work, implement and monitor the use of appropriate disciplinary practices in classrooms and throughout the school, develop with the input of staff and students, processes to identify and resolve conflicts quickly and effectively, distribute resources in ways that are closely aligned with the school's improvement priorities). Improving the Instructional Program (school leaders: actively oversee the instructional program, create and enforce consistent, school-wide discipline strategies).

I decided before I wrote my reflection on today's activities that I should refer to the OLF and see what connections I could make. Whoa! I cannot believe how much I observed in only 5 hours! You know when fellow staff members say, "what does the admin team even do?"  I should reply by showing them this. Never did I think that we would tackle so much on the OLF in one day, it really speaks to the VP and P's roles in a school.

Today I observed Mr. Lam a VP at Stephen Lewis Secondary School. So you know, I will be observing him during all my sessions. I really enjoyed it. Mr. Lam is an energetic, thoughtful, caring and humble man. He is very approachable but is also highly regarded and respected by his peers. Our day started with a walk around. Mr. Lam likes to walk the halls in the morning and say hi to the students and drop into departments to wish them a good morning. By 8:50 he is in the main atrium "corralling" the troops and asking them to start moving to class. Mr. Lam knew most of the students names and was able to connect with most students just with a smile. It was really nice to see. After announcements, he met up with the other VPs to do a walkabout. We walked the halls and stepped into a few classes. Mr. Lam has a huge online presence, especially on twitter. Throughout our walkabout he took pics and posted to twitter what he saw was happening in classes. I think this shows his teachers how proud he is of their efforts. He does a really excellent job of showing care and respect, and this building of relationships with his teachers allows him to come into their classrooms engage with their students without them feeling as if he is being evaluative. I still believe we need to take a step forward and do instructional rounds, so that the observations are tied to learning goals which then should be connected to our SIP. This walkabout took us about an hour.

Back at his office, I was already exhausted. At his door was a couple of students who have on-going attendance issues. Mr. Lam asked them to come in individually to discuss what was happening, why they were not in class, if there was something he could do to help them be better at getting to class. I was very happy to see that neither parties were confrontational. Mr. Lam does a really nice job of creating/starting a conversation in which he really wants to listen and hear the student's "side." This is comforting to students and they trust Mr. Lam. In the end, he decided not to pull them from more school, however, he did contact the academic resource team to help them get caught up in their work and talk about why getting to class is important and how to ensure they continue coming to class. At Stephen Lewis we have a 2 hour period that starts the day. The second half of the 2 hour period is meant to be review time, so that the resource team can pull kids to catch up, work on restorative practices and maybe do some credit recovery.  After the students left Mr. Lam and I discussed what just happened and my thoughts. I agreed with him, I don't see the point in taking them out of more school, but his worry is that the teachers will probably be upset that he didn't give them a detention, he said progressive discipline is sometimes lost on people and it his job to explain it to them. He put notes into each of the students SIS files and called the teachers to explain his decision.

Over lunch and into the afternoon I was able to get a birds-eye view of the timetabling process. Another incredibly daunting task. At Stephen Lewis they do not use a computer to generate sections. Instead they have Ronnie, a mastermind at timetabling. She really knows the school, numbers and how things can work together. She creates this matrix of post-it notes of classes and teachers and sections. I was very confused and had difficulty following, mainly because I was not part of the process to begin with. They explained to me that they were having difficulty with balancing the science time table and that they did not have enough science teachers to fill the spots and would probably have to hire, however, we were down two teachers. SO CONFUSING. So they had to move teachers around, give some teachers careers or GLS. In other words, I have no idea what was going on. The conversations I did understand and like, was the discussion around program and what is best for students, but also taking into account the needs and wants of their teachers. Mr. Lam actually brought in a few teachers to discuss options and what they would prefer.  This experience sufficiently scared me and I am a little worried how I will do it if and when I am a VP.

April 15th, 2015 (5 hours)

Connection to the OLF: Setting Directions (establish, in collaboration with staff, students and other stakeholders, an overall sense of purpose or vision for work in their schools, build consensus among staff, students and diverse stakeholders about the school goals). Securing Accountability (school leaders: insist on the use of data that is of high quality and has been subjected to collaborative interpretation, promote collective responsibility and accountability for student achievement and well-being). Improving the Instructional Program (School leaders: actively oversee the instructional program, observe classroom instruction and provide constructive feedback to teachers).

Full disclosure as part of my role as Instructional Coach I was already part of the Instructional round process. However, I asked my SO if I could be paired Mr. Lam so that we could talk and work together through the process.

Today my SO had the administration team from each of her schools (6 elementary, 3 middle, 2 secondary schools), along with her instructional coaches, ministry representative, social workers, ITRTs, and psychologists to come to a middle school to do our first Instructional Round. It was a fascinating experience and one that I will never forget, I cannot wait to be a part of another when I am back from Maternity leave.

Before I talk about how the day went, I need you to know when my SO presented this to her administration teams they were apprehensive and quite frankly scared of the process. Not for their own sake, but their teachers. Like Kevin likes to say, they were protecting their teachers. They were afraid the teachers would feel judged and evaluated. The SO, along with the Instructional coaches and the ministry representative explained the process and that it is not intended to be evaluative but instead a process that helps inform our challenge of practice. With a little push and some kind words, one of our middle schools stepped up to the challenge. We helped the Principal design a presentation to her staff about Instructional Rounds and what are goals were. A few weeks laters, the Principal was surprised and said that her teachers were excited and receptive and over 20 teachers volunteered to have us come into their classes. This really speaks to us and how we sometimes make presumptions. These teachers were excited for the learning opportunity and wanted to the admin teams to see the work they were doing.

We started our Instructional Round day with looking again at what Instructional Rounds are. We watched some videos and read some excerpts from a text. Then the Principal of the school that we were observing presented her theory of action. As well, we looked at professional development they have done up to this point, including the various collaborative inquires and action research. Our SO went over the protocol and really emphasized that we understood that we are not to be evaluative but rather just taking down observations not presumptions or judgements. For example, we were encouraged to record and document observations/conversations with students, take notes and/or pictures that capture artefacts related to the TOA. We could ask students, "What are you learning? How are you doing? How do you know? Tell me more. What helps you do better? Where do you go for help?" and so on. We were asked not to talk to our fellow observers especially afterwards - there was a protocol for that as well.

Teams of 4 (a combination of administrators, ICs, ITRTs, resource and so forth) visited one of 10 classes that were chosen. In my report for my practicum I will include the protocol and pictures that I took. Afterwards we came back to the library (our original meeting place) to record our observations. We took 5 - 10 pieces of data that we collected that was relevant to the TOA and shared them on a piece of chart paper (we were doing this in the same teams we visited classes with). We needed to ensure that we stayed descriptive and not evaluative. We then grouped our observations based on patterns. After looking at the trends we came up with one celebration (in one sentence) connected to the TOA, and then we also wrote down our wonderings. Once we finished this, we looked at the other classrooms observations and celebrations and looked for trends across classrooms. The admin team was amazed of how well it went and the professional learning that was gained by the admin team. We did discuss, that because it was not evaluative how will schools grow and learn more? This is something we really need to unpack for next year.

Mr. Lam and the other admin team and I afterwards looked more closely at our TOA and how we can better support teachers to enhance their instructional practice to achieve our TOA. We wondered if we would see the connection to TOA if we did classroom visits. We decided we needed to bring this to our pillar teams and discuss our next steps for PD and staff meetings next year.

April 22nd, 2015 (6 hours)

Connection to the OLF: Securing Accountability (School leaders: align school targets with board and provincial targets, provide an accurate and transparent account of the school's performance to all school stakeholders). Setting Directions (School leaders: regularly invite different stakeholder groups to discuss how their work furthers the school vision and goals). Improving the Instructional Program (School leaders: examine trends in student achievement over time, incorporate the explicit use of data when making decisions that relate to student learning and school improvement).

Today I joined two of my VPs at SIM (Systems Implementation and Monitoring for K-12) a ministry initiative to help system and school leaders unpack their goals and look at new initiatives and research. Today the focus was on Numeracy and Rich tasks in the math classroom, but more specifically looking at the resource, "5 Practices." This resource looks at how teachers can effectively plan lessons so that they can orchestrate and create a learning environment that produces a growth mindset, allows for multiple learning entry points and orchestrates discussions that effectively debrief and overview mathematical concepts. My VP and I looked at how we can use the 5 Practices in PD and discussed how we can use it in all subject areas.

In the afternoon, we were grouped with administrators and RTs/ICs from other districts to share the work we are doing in our schools and how we are implementing, monitoring and sustaining our goals. We discussed resources that we are using and how we are building capacity within our staff. Mr. Lam and I paired up again and discussed what we took from this and ideas that we can put forward to our PD team.

BTW - lunch was awesome!

April 28th, 2015 (4 hours)

Connection to the OLF: Building Relationships and Developing People (school leaders: consider staff members' opinions when initiating actions that affect their work, build upon and respond to individual staff members' unique needs and expertise, treat individuals and groups among staff equitably, are highly visible in their schools, are easily accessible to staff, parents and students, encourage federation representatives to collaborate in determining how to implement labour contract provisions in ways that support school improvement work). Developing the Organization to Support Desired Practices (school leaders: engage teachers in making decisions about their instructional work, implement and monitor the use of appropriate disciplinary practices in classrooms and throughout the school, develop with the input of staff and students, processes to identify and resolve conflicts quickly and effectively, distribute resources in ways that are closely aligned with the school's improvement priorities). Improving the Instructional Program (school leaders: actively oversee the instructional program, create and enforce consistent, school-wide discipline strategies).

Today I was invited to the SO meeting with the admin team. We discussed the upcoming PD day on May 11th and how our work would align with the school and board goals. The SO also addressed the upcoming work action and emphasized with her Principals to maintain relationships with her teachers by going out on the line, give them snacks and refreshments and just see how the teachers are doing. I really liked this - it speaks to Building Relationships and Developing People. Work action is a stressful time and all parties involved need to remember that we will be working with one again soon.

When we got back to school we spent the rest of the morning doing classroom visits. What I was most impressed with was how much both staff and students love Mr. Lam. They welcomed him into every class that we went to (now I don't know if he avoided certain classes). Mr. Lam got involved in class discussions, group work and labs. We took pictures with students and teachers permission and added to the schools' twitter feed. Mr. Lam also took this opportunity to connect with students in his alpha. The students were not scared or worried that they did something wrong, they genuinely knew that Mr. Lam cared about them. Afterwords Mr. Lam explained it is this connection that makes it easier if he ever needs to do progressive discipline or if there is a student that needs help and knows they can trust him.

Today, I was privy to some discussions regarding three students who were expelled. The first in Stephen Lewis history - so this was a learning experience for the relatively new administration team as well. A student stabbed another student from our school off school property due to them believing that student stole $20. I wasn't able to sit on all the meetings but they did explain to me a bit of the process. Mainly the police and SO were called and that is when the process started. After work action, I want to talk to them more about how they specifically handled this.

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