Learning Coaches Networking Day

Originially printed in the Calgary Science School SpectrumChris Dittmann Communications Director On August 31, 2012 the Calgary Science School hosted a networking/PD event for learning coaches, organized by CSS PD and Collaboration Coordinator Dan McWilliam. The purpose of the session was to bring together learning coaches and instructional leaders from a variety of schools and districts to discuss the role and explore best practices and skills as they strive to support enhanced teacher learning. We also hope to build a supportive network of learning leaders in Calgary and the surrounding area, who can develop materials, structures, and supports for the … Continue reading Learning Coaches Networking Day

Students Teaching the Student Teachers

On September 11, 2012 eight of our grade 8 students walked to Mount Royal University to assist with an Google Apps orientation for new Education students. We were contacted by Dr. Norm Vaughn, who sits on the Calgary Science School board, to come and help his students in using the different applications that our students as so familiar with. Our students not only worked with individual university students, but took to the lectern to share some of their examples from class. They discussed how these applications “..can used as a catalyst for an inquiry-based approach to learning by getting parents and the wider community … Continue reading Students Teaching the Student Teachers

Calgary Science School Parent, Student and Staff Interviews

Calgary Science School Parent, Student and Staff Interviews Executive Summary Garry McKinnon-June 25, 2012 The annual superintendent interviews of parents, students and staff members were conducted over several weeks in the Spring of 2012 as a component of the ongoing school evaluation process. On March 8 and 9 during student-led conferences, 48 parents were interviewed. In May and June, grade 4 to 9 students as class groups (approximately 600) were interviewed. As well, teaching and support staff members (36 participants) were interviewed. The feedback generated through the two questions (without any prompting) “What causes you to believe that the Calgary … Continue reading Calgary Science School Parent, Student and Staff Interviews

Collaboration: The Art of Strengthening

Amy Park and Deirdre Bailey [Investigating the truth of opinions] consists not in trying to discover the weakness of what is said, but in bringing out its real strength. It is not the art of arguing but the art of thinking… the art of strengthening. (Gadamer, 1975) Abstract Although there is substantial research supporting collaborative practices in school environments, definitions of the term vary widely. Most often, collaboration in schools remains limited to sharing resources or co-planning. A significantly prohibitive factor in allowing teachers to achieve mutually valuable, collaborative relationships are the perceived or established imbalances of power. Traditionally, collaborative … Continue reading Collaboration: The Art of Strengthening

Instructional Leadership – Challenges and Opportunities

-by Garry McKinnon, Superintendent In my first blog on instructional leadership, I described the ultimate goal of positively impacting the quality of teaching and the learning experiences of the students. I also observed that to be effective as an instructional leader one needs to have a clear idea of what it looks like. I suggested that in addition to making reference to the Alberta Teaching Quality Standard knowledge, skills and attributes of effective teaching, it is highly desirable for the members of the school community (teachers, students, parents and school administrators) to engage in a process of articulating descriptors of … Continue reading Instructional Leadership – Challenges and Opportunities

Learning Coaches Networking Day: Creating Pedagogical Partnerships

On August 31, 2012 the Calgary Science School hosted a networking/PD event for Learning Coaches. The purpose of the session was to bring together Learning Coaches and Instructional Leaders from a variety of schools and districts to discuss the role and explore best practices and skills as we strive to support enhanced teacher learning. We also hope to build a supportive network of learning leaders in Calgary, and the surrounding area, who can develop materials, structures, and supports for the role. We were very fortunate to have Dr. Pam Adams from the University of Lethbridge orchestrating the day and working … Continue reading Learning Coaches Networking Day: Creating Pedagogical Partnerships

Opening Up a New Frontier of Exemplary Instructional Leadership

-by Phil Butterfield, Assistant Principal Instructional leadership has been getting a lot of buzz in educational circles these days. It seems challenging enough to gain consensus on a definition for the role of an instructional leader without venturing into the potential minefield of strict adherence to a set of guiding principles designed to provide a framework for exemplary instructional leadership. Well…strap on your helmets and forge boldly ahead for a few minutes as we take the first tentative steps toward finding alignment between the seven Professional Practice Competencies for School Leaders and the frameworks for exemplary teaching and learning that … Continue reading Opening Up a New Frontier of Exemplary Instructional Leadership

Learning Coaches – One Year Later…

-by Erin Couillard, Professional Development and Collaboration Coordinator We have reached the end of our first year with designated learning coaches within the school. Last fall, two Math/Science learning coaches and two Humanities learning coaches were selected from teachers who applied for the positions through a letter of intent process. For more information on the impetus for learning coaches at the Calgary Science School, read the blog post I wrote at the beginning of this project. Midway through the year, an inclusive practices learning coach was added to the team in a part-time capacity. This coach specifically worked with teachers … Continue reading Learning Coaches – One Year Later…

The Winding Road to Exemplary Instructional Leadership

-by Phil Butterfield, Assistant Principal As you may know from visiting the Connect! Blog or the Calgary Science School website, we have developed frameworks for exemplary teaching and exemplary learning. Together these two documents form the guiding principles by which we believe students can enjoy rewarding educational and social experiences that will equip them for success beyond CSS. But what mention is made of the role of school administrators within those frameworks? Certainly leadership as a desirable attribute of teachers and students is a key element but there is no specific reference to the nebulous and hard-to-define capacity of instructional … Continue reading The Winding Road to Exemplary Instructional Leadership

Action Strategies for Fostering Effective Relationships

-by Garry McKinnon, Superintendent  In my last blog highlighting the first of the seven school leadership competencies, fostering effective relationships, I presented three scenarios which represented real life experiences I have encountered. It is helpful to consider the school leadership competencies in the context of realities which those in formal school leadership roles (principal, assistant/vice principal) may encounter. In this blog, I will present two more scenarios and will offer what I would describe as action strategies for school leaders to foster effective relationships. Scenario One- At the first staff meeting of the year, the principal articulates a strong belief … Continue reading Action Strategies for Fostering Effective Relationships