Relationships, Relationships, Relationships – The Fundamental Building Block for Learning and Leading

-by Garry McKinnon, Superintendent In a recent conversation with a group of realtors about the challenge of selling a home, a common theme which I have heard many times was reinforced – it’s all about location, location, location. If I were to identify one element which is fundamental in all aspects of teaching and leadership I would say that it is all about, relationships, relationships, relationships. In fact, I believe that wherever you see people gathered in work situations, socially and/or their family lives, the ability to establish authentic relationships of mutual respect is the key ingredient. In schools the … Continue reading Relationships, Relationships, Relationships – The Fundamental Building Block for Learning and Leading

Embodying Visionary Leadership

-By Garry McKinnon, Superintendent It is interesting to reflect on the nature of visionary leadership as a starting point for dialogue on school leadership. Who would you identify as visionary leaders who have had a significant impact on the world in which we live? When Barack Obama was campaigning for election as President of the United States he generated a great deal of enthusiasm through his passionate articulation of a vision of what could be. He caused people to join him in pursuit of a dream and a commitment to the slogan, “yes we can”. He was effective in giving … Continue reading Embodying Visionary Leadership

Leading a Learning Community

-by Garry McKinnon, Superintendent  The Minister of Learning the Hon. Lyle Oberg, in 2003 following an in-depth process of public consultation accepted a report from the members of Alberta’s Commission on Learning entitled, Every Child Learns- Every Child Succeeds which set a new direction for education in Alberta. Most of the 95 recommendations in the report were implemented. Recommendation 13 made reference to requiring every school to operate as a professional learning community dedicated to continued improvement in students’ achievement. A Professional Learning Community was described as one in which teachers and school administrators continuously seek and share learning and … Continue reading Leading a Learning Community

Providing Instructional Leadership

-by Garry McKinnon, Superintendent If you were to ask anyone involved in education about the importance of instructional leadership, there is no doubt the response will be that it is critical to the success of any school. If you were to enter into a dialogue with school principals, it is very likely they would all describe themselves as being instructional leaders, but, what exactly is instructional leadership and to what extent is it actually taking place in our schools? We have been exploring this question through a series of informal professional development sessions at the Calgary Science School involving the … Continue reading Providing Instructional Leadership

Developing and Facilitating Leadership

Dr. Garry McKinnon Team Ferbeyen.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Team_Ferbey.jpg As I continue my series of blogs on school leadership with reference to the seven competencies outlined in the Alberta Education Professional Practice Competencies for School Leaders framework, I will highlight the fifth dimension-Developing and Facilitating Leadership. In an earlier blog I made reference to the evolving concept of school leadership, which I described as the Ferby model with reference to Randy Ferby and his Edmonton curling team which has been highly successful at the provincial, national and international level. As Skip of the team, Ferby introduced a new approach to team leadership by having … Continue reading Developing and Facilitating Leadership

Managing School Operations and Resources

by Garry McKinnon, SuperintendentSeveral months ago, I made a commitment to share some insights on school leadership based on my experiences in various roles in education through the years, using the Alberta Education Professional Practice Competencies for School Leaders document as a framework. Specifically I made reference to the seven leadership competencies in the document and I continue with some thoughts on the sixth leadership dimension which makes reference to the school leader’s role in managing school operations and resources to ensure a safe, caring and effective learning environment. The descriptors related to this dimension highlight the importance of good … Continue reading Managing School Operations and Resources

Understanding and Responding to the Larger Societal Context

Dr. Garry McKinnon It has been a very challenging and invigorating experience for me to prepare this series of blogs on the Alberta Education Professional Practice Competencies for School Leaders. I have enjoyed the opportunity to share my thoughts on school leadership with the school administrators involved in the Alberta Association of Public Charter schools project on school leadership during this current school year which was funded by Alberta Education. The challenge was to explore school leadership using the Professional Practice Competencies for School Leaders as a framework through a series of workshops, administrator exchanges, personal reflections, and the exchanging … Continue reading Understanding and Responding to the Larger Societal Context

Student Responses to a Digital Textbook Continued

-by Dave Scott, Grade 8 Humanities This post is part of a four-part series exploring the curricular potential of digital textbooks or what I am calling “Integrated Inquiry Resources.” Read the first blog here for an introduction to the ideas that informed this project as well as the inquiry resource itself. And then a second blog for an outline of the inquiry tasks imbedded in the resource and accompanying student work. This blog post is a continuation of a previous blog post that reports on findings from an anonymous student survey which sought to document the impact of a specific … Continue reading Student Responses to a Digital Textbook Continued

Student Responses to a Digital Textbook

Over the last week the media has been awash in news stories surrounding Apple’s unveiling of their new iBooks 2 application for the iPad. This free App provides a user-friendly platform allowing anyone with an Apple computer to create their own digital textbook specifically tailored to the educational needs of both their students and their specific subject area. Touting the many features that make this resource infinitely superior to the large cumbersome textbooks we grew up with, the presence of imbedded videos and interactive animations, promises, according to Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of marketing, to provide students with … Continue reading Student Responses to a Digital Textbook

Digital Textbook Inquiry Tasks for the Renaissance

by Dave Scott What follows is post number two of a four part series on the curricular potential of digital textbooks. These posts are the result of an action research study I have been involved in as part of a research initiative at Calgary Science School to encourage innovation and reflective practice within an inquiry-based environment. Recently, there has been much discussion of Apple’s free iBook 2 application that allows anyone to create interactive textbooks for the popular iPad tablet. See this article here for details on an application Apple believes is going to revolutionize the textbook market. In working … Continue reading Digital Textbook Inquiry Tasks for the Renaissance