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CEA’s Whitworth and Pat Clifford Awards shine a spotlight on influential leaders and rising stars in educational research in Canada
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13 May 2016

The Canadian Education Association (CEA) is celebrating 125 years of advancing powerful ideas for greater student and teacher engagement in public education. One of the ways in which the CEA accomplishes its mandate to support and promote innovation in education is through its awards program for educational researchers. CEA celebrates the work of innovative researchers from across the country – their contributions, their promise, and their commitment to breaking new ground and revisiting commonly held assumptions in education policy, practice or theory in Canada.

The annual Pat Clifford Award for Early Career Research in Education and the triennial Whitworth Award for Career Research in Education are national awards to recognize educational researchers who demonstrate outstanding leadership...

Blogger
On what is NOT captured by our assessment and evaluation processes
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10 May 2016
Stephen Hurley

I don't think that I would be revealing any secrets if I told you that my mother has always been a better baker than a cook. Even to this day, she will call me when it comes to cooking the Sunday roast, but no one in the family—and I mean no one—can hold a candle to her butter tarts or rhubarb pie. 

As a child, my ears were keenly-tuned to all sounds associated with baking: mixing bowls being stealthily removed from cupboards, the special flour sifter with the red wooden handle, the electric mixer—these were all cues to drop what I was doing and head to the kitchen to investigate. Sometimes, my curiosity would be rewarded with the chance to act as "batter taster". But mostly it was all about the opportunity to watch Mom effortlessly (and without a recipe in front of her) mix, blend and knead to perfection!

I was always amazed at how efficiently she was able to work. She didn't like wasting anything. In fact, some of my...

Blogger
Connecting Stuart Kauffman, Bedroom Closets and Radical Emergence
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22 April 2016
Stephen Hurley

We've been avoiding making the decision to buy new carpet for a couple of years now. Our reluctance has had nothing to do with need. Our 12 year-old berber had become so worn that even deep cleaning didn't seem to help the appearance. The real reason for our resistance, however, was the knowledge that we would have to completely empty bedrooms, move things around and make those important decisions on what to keep and what to give away. Until now, it has been much easier to live with the status quo. 

But an impending family gathering and a decision to move the boys into their own rooms forced us to bite the bullet and make the commitment. 

For one of my sons, taking apart his bed and moving the contents of the room that he had shared with his brother for several years was a little disconcerting. But for my seven year-old, the experience was pure magic. He discovered things in the process that he had forgotten about. He got the...

Blogger
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19 April 2016
Paul Cuthbert

This blog post is part of our series on leadership and governance.

Over the last three decades, we have seen a trend toward the centralization of decision-making in public education and the erosion of power of democratically elected local school boards across Canada. In some jurisdictions, their continued existence has been called into question. My personal experience as a superintendent has demonstrated that school boards can be strong and effective institutions of leadership in public education and are central to community voice and the local democratic process.

For those of us who currently serve or have served as superintendents, we understand that governance issues are paramount to our work as education leaders. We collaborate with school trustees to meaningfully engage members of the community in understanding and supporting their school division/district’s mission, vision, values and priorities in...

Blogger, EdCan Blogger
Strategies to increase technology adoption in school districts
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14 April 2016
Julia Hengstler

This blog post is part of our series on leadership and governance and part 2 of this post.

To paraphrase Geoffrey Moore[1], the greatest point of peril in technology adoption lies in transitioning from early adopters—dominated by a few visionary users—to mainstream users who are predominantly pragmatic: in between the two lies the chasm.  In...

Blogger, EdCan Blogger
Six ideas to increase technology adoption in school districts
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12 April 2016
Julia Hengstler

This blog post is part of our series on leadership and governance.

Much is made of the amounts of money sunk into technology in education – sometimes with few extensive innovations in teaching and learning. Alfie Kohn recently discussed the issue in his blog post, “The Overselling of Ed Tech”[1]. Technology in education can be a physical object, software, or both, but ultimately, what technology leaders desire is an uptake (adoption and...

Blogger, EdCan Blogger
Tips on applying our understanding of different personalities to our leadership practice
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8 April 2016
Jim Grieve

This blog post is part of our series on leadership and governance.

We’ve all done it – Meyers Briggs, True Colors, DiSC or some other workplace personality test designed to help us gain personal insight and build team cohesion.

But, as education leaders, how do we apply our understanding of different personalities and workstyles to our leadership...

Blogger, EdCan Blogger
Working together, we uncovered the advantages of doing things differently
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7 April 2016

This blog post is part of our series on leadership and governance.

Three years into our four-year term, some members of the Halifax Regional School Board (HRSB) thought there was money being left on the table in the form of lost governance opportunity. To the extent defined, we were getting the job done, but it seemed that, tackled differently, we could do better. Things weren’t in crisis or disrepair. No one was calling for our heads. But there was the sense that we could aspire to set the bar higher. In true “good-for-the-goose-good-for-the-gander” fashion, the continuous school improvement to which our schools subscribed could apply to us as well in the form of continuous board improvement.  

By year three we’d established a rhythm with our collection of discrete responsibilities – strategy, planning, budgeting, reporting, oversight. But were we getting at the whole picture? What were we...

Blogger, EdCan Blogger
What can be achieved by redistributing power
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6 April 2016
Ann Sherman

This blog post is part of our series on leadership and governance.

The term “decentralization” in public education refers to a process that transfers administrative and financial decision-making powers from central Ministries of Education to local governments, communities, and schools. Decentralization has unfolded (and is currently unfolding) in a variety of ways in Canada’s 13 provincial education systems.

Promise of decentralization: Decentralized education promises to be more efficient, better reflect local priorities, encourage participation of all stakeholders, improve learning outcomes and quality of teaching. Governments with severe fiscal constraints are also enticed by the potential of decentralization to increase efficiency of spending. But does it improve academic achievement? 

Decentralization can work: Evidence suggests...

Blogger, EdCan Blogger
An introduction to our blog series about leadership and governance
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4 April 2016
Holly Bennett

This blog post is part of our series on leadership and governance.

A friend of mine served for many years as a school trustee. It seemed a thankless job: she fielded phone calls from angry and sometimes desperate parents, sat through endless graduation ceremonies, attended board meetings that dragged on way past midnight, and wrestled year after year with budgets that were stretched too thin. This is, to a large extent, the work that puts the “public” in public school – but not everyone is convinced it’s an important or even functional way to ensure public oversight. New Brunswick overhauled school board governance 15 years ago; Quebec is on the verge of dramatically altering school boards and school board elections (discussed in depth in our French articles); and after the recent implosion of the Toronto District “megaboard,” a National Post feature asked whether our...

Blogger, EdCan Blogger