Day 32 (of 183) Connecting Leaders 2015 via @stevebarkley @dpontefract @daisydyerduerr

Day 32 (of 183) Connecting Leaders 2015 via @stevebarkley @dpontefract @daisydyerduerr

I love the title of our @bcpvpa conference: connecting leaders. A strong theme that runs through our organization and through our days of learning. Todays theme is some of my thinkings and “likes” throughout the day (possibly even a question or two)

Minister of Education Mike Bernier gave his first address to our PVP group and made a nice observation: Tools have changed – we don’t use slide rules anymore (his memory) …but what about the class structures/supports…mindful change?

Steve Barkley ( ) was our first keynote.

I love the introduction talking and thinking about “teaching in a learning community” – where teaching is a team sport (not a franchise – a la “grade meetings” where grade 2 teachers share tips and go back to their rooms….shifting from 5 divisions with 20 students to 5 teachers with 100 students. Teaching is a public act is the shift to a culture where “we’re all in this together”. I was proud in the spring when one of my staff stated “we have to get over being shy about our classes – they are all our kids”…we are getting ‘there’!

Start with: What is the change you want to get in Student Achievement, and then backward design the:

Change in Student Behaviour

Change in Reaching Behaviour

Change in PLC & Peer Coaching

Change in Leadership Behaviour

and…do we have common language on what student achievement IS.

One of the school boards Steve works with has the following Student Achievement Goals:

  • Academics – knowledge and skills to be successful in school & life
  • Life Skills – aptitude, attitude and sills to lead responsible, fulfilling and respectful lives
  • Responsibility to the Community – attributes that contribute to an effective and productive community and the common good of all

NOT just in their mission statement – but what they are accountable to and need to ‘measure’

Librarian Thinking Sidebar: Steve mentioned a lot of students enter freshman year not knowing how to find books that they are interested in….

What can I do for extra credit (nothing!) mindset change to: what can I do for extra learning (that we can help with!)

Great observation: does mission statement match what is going on (ie “creating life long learners” vs kids unmotivated by 5th grade – might need to change the statement….!)

Very happy that my learning community has been supportive of our school shifting a few years ago to “mental wellness/anxiety/self regulation” because that needs to be “good” before learning can occur. 

Homework not always about successful completion – sometimes struggling for 15 mins more valuable than others (parents) completing work for you. Who practices trombone – kid or parent…? even if it’s bad (squeaky) band – gotta do it! If you want to improve athletic stamina, lectures don’t help – gotta run till you puke! quality over quantity can’t just do more writing of the same achievement level to “earn a higher description”

Trust most important. For coaching – for improvement – for data collection – for data usage. Say what you are going to do, then do it.  ie don’t coach during an evaluation.

In closing, he shared a comment from a teacher who ‘got it’: I’m getting out of the fix-it business and into the passion business.

Don Pontefract ( ) the author of Flat Army (the Purpose Effect going out May 10)

As an each-day-of-learning-blogger, I love that he has enabled his kids to share via blogs – similar to my “encouragement” that it’s ok to expose our vulnerabilities (sidebar- I’m going to start sharing some of my wonderings about some “oopses/failures” along the  way…gulp!)

The power of using tech (and working with people) on collaboration; an e.g. a no-cell phone rule at a store – but a worker had to ‘break the rule’ to help Don look up which popcorn was gluten free….a re-meet with the store manage led to an ‘aha’ moment about maybe having a conversation about “why might we want tech on the store floor” (kinda similar to my ongoing discussion with my learning community of “tools vs toys”….)

“The Sweet Spot” between Personal, Role and Organizational mindsets (Personal – why you want to do ‘the job’; Role – punch in punch out/routine; Organizational primary function) how to install a sense of purpose in employees who are trying to bring ‘good’ into their classrooms – how to unleash the passion!

Collaboration fuels engagement

an awesome culture = better results for everyone

So….collaboration has to seen as continuous – not just friday afternoon fun, but setting up ‘the never ending story’ – about being connected.

Rhetorical Question

How are teachers and PVPs in your school ‘really’ collaborating with one another?

How are teachers and PVPs working together?

Everyone has pieces to ‘the’ puzzle that they can add to put things together to show a bigger picture. Not “collaboration day”.

Gallup poll on K-12 teacher engagement:

31% engaged ; 56% not;  13% actively disengaged

Are “your” teachers engaged? Really?

Collaborative Leader Action Model

Connect – Consider – Communicate – Create – Confirm – Congrats – repeat (6 C model – clam)

THEN use collaborative technologies

Converse: micro-blog, instant message, comments, email

Content: wiki, video share, blog, webjam

Context: personal profiles, badging, tagging

How are you using the tools? Are you flexible/maleable to use whats coming ‘next’?

ALSO – Learning is Pervasive (Formal, Informal, Social) – how do we engage staff in learning in all formats? How do we value each way of learning?


  1. Training is not simply “an” event
  2. Learning is continuous, collaborative and connected process

Over time, Dan has learned:

what benefits can collaboration bring your school?

engaged staff

engaged students

engaged community

What can schools do today?

  1. do you have a leadership model (that is open to all)?
  2. is your leadership model akin to your collaborating model?
  3. what collaboration practices are bing used and what more can be implemented to support openness?


  1. do you have a leadership model
  2. is leadership collaborating
  3. what practice support openness

What can you (as school leader) do today

  1. CLAM – start connecting and considering ASAP w teachers & administrators…and ideally with other SDs
  2. stop being  a closed leader. Become an open and collaborative leader with teachers, other school districts, etc
  3. “We’re not here to see through each other; we’re here to see each other through”

as kids – we were born to work together (set up games of tag, hockey, etc)

may need to break rules (don’t climb on ….)

conviction (ie Kathrine Switzer in 1967 – first woman to run a marathon) – change requires conviction  – support helps…

Closing thoughts:

To change requires a different perspective….

To change requires belief (tearing down berlin wall)

To change requires planning ahead (1940 Louvre directors hiding art)

To change requires leadership (mayor bloomberg moved into biggest room and set up as many desks around him in the room as possible to create collaboration & sense of purpose)

Breakout Sessions that represented a wide range of ‘stuff going on in BC Schools”

Professional Dialogues via Richmond

Confessions of a neophyte elementary principal via Victoria

Why would anyone go to our school via the Sunshine Coast

LGBTQ issues via Delta

Disruptive Innovations via Comox Valley

Tech Ed Skills via Peace River North

School based approaches to professional learning via Maple Ridge & Pitt Meadows

Child Centred school code of conduct via Sooke

Daisy Dyer Duerr

I was thrilled that I could be the one who introduced (and thanks) Daisy for coming to BC. She has truly been an inspiring force in my #PLN. A charming southern belle who turns problems into assets. So excited for when her book comes out!

So…of course she got our room to dance – everyone should know how to whip whip…and… nae nae …..

Coming out of rural Arkansas, she decided to become an educator when a teacher stepped up for her and defended her to her family.

Her rural connection – being a principal an hour away from central office; kids would come to schools on their 4 wheeler atvs…and about making relationships (no cheerleaders, pvp allowed their car to be painted!) and beginning to change things…. especially using technology – despite poverty/ruralness/etc:

No excuses…No limits…

attitude: every place has obstacles

technology a tool to help enhance the learning. Shifted culture form a lockdown district (phone = 3 day suspension) to a byod program.

Great comment via (current education czar) Arne Duncan: “In America your zip code or your socioeconomic status should never determine the quality of your education”.

SAT statistics – showed scores ranged almost completely to income – the more money your parents make, the better you do on those tests.

Interesting: only half the number of rural folks go beyond high school compared to urban.

“High speed internet is as important to todays young adults as electric lines and paved highways were for their parents and grandparents” Dr Paul Lasley

I agree with sharing from Arne Duncan: Technology is a great equalizer for all schools – but love how Daisy adds Technology, Relationships & Leadership are GREAT Equalizers for ALL SCHOOLS.

No Excuses…No Limits Culture: Principals Role

  • Leadership ON POINT
  • Everyday: EXCELLENCE in all Classrooms
  • Tis-Taking & Innovation Encouraged for ALL

Huge value in being connected – but connected well beyond your region: learn from what others are doing – you may be a leader in one area and can share your experiences AND learn from others who are exploring other areas that you may not have thought of yet! (very kind of her to give me a shoutout for the work that we have been doing on eportfolios)

as a parent she had that ‘aha’ moment: I gotta connect with my own kid – how we do we connect with this generation of learners?! being interested/present in what they are doing/interested in.

This is a group of learners that would rather work with elements of social connection than make more $. Save the world trumps make a million $ every time.

Todd Whitaker says “Make all decisions based on your best people”. Everyone important, but the ones bringing their A game every day…those ‘unicorn teachers’ are the ones to listen to.

The ones that say “it would be neat if we….” and then you get it going.

Don’t expect a 1:1 initiative to “fix it”. pedagogy is the way to fix things. Rural school in 80% free lunch school – 3/4 of population had cell/smart phones. They are connected…don’t be fooled. Allowing access to wifi improved Daisy’s attendance by 25%. Gonna be problems? Sure – just like note-passing. You teach them. Teach them digital literacy. They will do things they “shouldn’t” be doing – they’re kids. But they’ll do better.

Be sure to Plan for Equity. survey students/families to see what is actually out there.

Principals: You are CREATING  our FUTURES with the Leadership YOU exhibit in our schools today. Be the principal you want your child to have.


What a day of learning and thinking. I’m glad I have the weekend to now process and synthesize all the information that came my way!

About technolandy

Principaling on the Pacific in Powell River BC Pushing 'technologization' in education: blending technology and curriculum seamlessly. Advocate for better understanding of Anxiety in Education (and use of self-regulation) Utilizing ePortfolios & Descriptive Feedback to personalize learning!
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2 Responses to Day 32 (of 183) Connecting Leaders 2015 via @stevebarkley @dpontefract @daisydyerduerr

  1. Thank you Ian! I couldn’t be at the conference, really wanted to go but did not have the funds. You have done a great job here summarizing what you experienced. Looks like a lot of learning and engagement was happening. So many great messages, I will be re reading your blog and reflecting on my own practice.

    Also, admire your commitment to your blogging!

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