After another amazing education conference put on by the ASCD in Philladelphia, I have have now had some time to reflect on the great sessions and presentations. Although a lot of the themes were very US-centric (especially their focus on No Child Left Behind, Race to the Top, and teacher evaluations), many of the sessions had applications to BC’s current conversations around personalised learning, teacher learning, change and the Whole Child philosophy.
To start with the Whole Child. The main philosophy behind this is the belief that schools should look at five areas of support: health, safety, engagemnet, support and challenge. In a future blog, I will talk more about these areas, but I would like to congratulate the students, staff, and community of Byrne Creek Community School for being the first school in Canada to win the Whole Child Schools in Action award. I felt extremely proud for their win, as I had nominated them as president of the BCASCD. If you feel other schools deserve recognition, please let me know at either @brynmw or through the comments.
One of the best sessions I attended (besides all the Whole Child sessions and celebrations) was Douglas Reeves one on Teacher Evaluation and the supporting fundamental changes to the evaluation system. Although this was mostly around the US style of evaluation for merit pay, job stability and maintenance, some great ideas around professional development and support for all educators to grow and improve their practice for the benefit of their students. This really resonated with me, as a first year administrator and my future responsibilities around teacher evaluation. I would really like to find some balance between mandated evaluation systems and responses to teacher development. If we believe that we should be creating in our students both the ability the learn outside the classroom the desire to become lifelong learners, we must model it in our own journeys.
Reeves’ books on change (especially institutional, school and leadership change) are guiding me through the difficult daily tasks of change that I encounter. One of the greatest points he makes around change is that you do not need complete buy-in; that you need to respect that change is difficult as it is also a loss; that you need to respect this loss and articulate it; that for many, actions that show results will develop into beliefs around that change.
If you want to see more about the conference, check out either www.ascd.org, or check out the great twitter feed at #ascd12 (just ignore some of the spam that developed).