Sophia Sam – MCI

Volume 3

Coaching As A Capacity Building Strategy for School Leaders

Author: Dr. Denese Belcehtz

Increasingly, school leaders are appointed to positions of school leadership with fewer years of experience in the classroom. To support these newly appointed leaders and build their capacity to lead in these changing times, coaching is one strategy being implemented for all school leaders in the York Regions District School Board. Coaching is a non-evaluative process that supports reflective and reciprocal dialogue about the individual’s practice as a leader. A coach uses skilled questioning and interactive strategies to encourage and support dialogue about the issues under discussion. In this approach, the structured interchange becomes the springboard to providing new insights and awareness.

Keywords: coaching, capacity building strategy, school leaders

Leadership and Innovation in the York Region District School Board

Author: Dr. Denese Belchetz

With its vision of a sustained focus on improving student achievement and wellbeing for each student, the York Region District School Board recognizes the key impact that strong leadership has in this process. Grounded firmly in the Province of Ontario’s education strategy, the board has adopted a coherent and aligned research based approach to fostering school and system leadership in support of the evolving roles and responsibilities of its school and system leaders.

Keywords: leadership, innovation

Aligning Goals to Maximize Students’ Success

Author: Sayeda Datoo

In this paper, I will argue that York Region District School Board (YRDSB) has achieved immense results in the area of student achievement (literacy) largely due to three factors. The three factors, in no particular order of importance, are (a) the district literacy goals align closely with the provincial goals, (b) the district focus on the Literacy Collaborative and (c) the leadership and change facilitation strategy of ‘pressure and support’.

Keywords: aligning goals, students success

Critical Knowledge Building

Author: Dr. Debbie Donsky

The study will review how a critical knowledge building (Donsky, 2006) environment is created and sustained by taking into consideration several factors: (1) how mandated curriculum influences the implementation of critical knowledge building and student engagement by limiting the value of indigenous knowledges and establishing cultural capital within the classroom (2) the dialogue and patterns of participation within this space; and (3) whose knowledge is valued and whose is silenced.

Keywords: critical, knowledge, building

Teacher Stories, Principal Vision and the One Hundredth Monkey: Quantum Change in School Improvement

Author: Corey Jackson

Downtown Toronto shimmers darkly from the front page of the Toronto Sunday Star, March 30, 2008. It is the day after Earth Hour, and the city’s core is eerily beautiful, and very different from its usually well-lit night-time glow. Other major cities all over the world took eager part in this year’s Earth Hour, in stark contrast to the meager participation for this same environmental initiative only just last year. As one letter writer enthuses on this year’s Earth Hour success: “Every snowball begins with a bit of snow that gathers momentum, and so it is with people. If our overindulged population can see that token efforts can make a difference, the idea has a chance of growing“ (Mackie, 2008).

Keywords: teacher stories, quantum change, school improvement

Learning Networks for First-time Vice-principals: A Process of Socialization to a New Role in the Ontario Context of Educational Leadership

Author: Richard Williamson

The issue of educational leadership has a long and tumultuous history (Donmoyer, 1998; Mitchell & Ortiz, 2006; Greenfield, 1978; Hoy & Miskel, 1982; Ryan, 1999; Bates, 1980). For over a century policy-makers, scholars and practitioners have grappled with issues and constructs of leadership (Donmoyer, 1998; Mitchell and Ortiz, 2006; Greenfield, 1978; Hoy & Miskel, 1982). In the opening years of the twenty-first century the discussion has gone global. The worldwide exchange of ideas and practices is now a routine phenomenon as key stakeholders seek an understanding of what good school leadership is and what its purposes are. The Ministry of Education for the province of Ontario has added its perspectives to this discussion.

Keywords: learning networks, socialization, leadership

Teacher Leadership: A Lever for Shaping School Capacity

Author: Kathy Witherow

The demands on schools have increasingly become more complex in the context of accountability. School reform is on the agenda in many countries throughout the world (Barber & Mourshed, 2007, Fullan, 2008) with the belief that improvement can only be achieved if the entire school and system take responsibility for student learning and collaborative teacher learning. School reforms have not had a long history of success as there tends to be the problem of “initiativitis” according to Fullan (2008). The symptoms of initiativitis are the unrelenting launch of disconnected programs and initiatives. Add to this the lack of involvement of teachers in the proposed changes and you have a recipe for failure.

Keywords: leadership, school capacity

First and Second Order Change in Education and Its Implications for Future Directions

Author: Peter Zsebik

A new form of dialogue has begun to appear within education – a dialogue that may break the current cyclical nature of playing catch-up to society with which education has found itself entwined (see Zsebik, 2003). It centers on the notion of first order and second order change, a theory that has recently come to light in education that may provide a dialectic for exploring new possible answers to problems that perennially resurface within the educational framework. If it proves systemically beneficial, it may also encourage a lasting transformation to both current and future educational processes that in turn may help to establish a new paradigm for leadership in education.

Keywords: change, education, future