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David DeRosa


September 13, 2019 Message to Members

Reading and Leading

I’ve participated in a number of book clubs over the years, some for fiction but mostly for books that focus on themes of education and leadership. But here’s the thing: I found it challenging to pair my tremendous book club enthusiasm with successful completion of that session’s selection. Tackling a book for pleasure – even one that I was very keen to read – could be a struggle when there were so many other tasks in the school vying for my attention. I gravitated to reading online articles for my professional learning as that felt achievable and still gave me the personal development that I was craving. But without a book club, I didn’t have a cohort of readers around me who were eager to discuss and debate the content and concepts.

It amuses me now that it took time for me to accept that books have chapters, and that reading a chapter is a lot like reading an online article. So, a book club that is accepting of personal pace – and that encourages members to consume the book in the way that suits them – is my kind of book club. And I’m happy to say that’s the book club that we’re launching next week.

The BCPVPA Book Club starts on Wednesday September 18, the first of four monthly sessions this Fall that will examine Michael Fullan’s Nuance, co-published by the BCPVPA and the Ontario Principals’ Council (OPC) through Corwin Press. Each session will focus on a chapter, and while we will offer support from our committee, our greatest desire is for the book club members to lead their own discussions. Through the Zoom platform, we will break out into rooms for ease of conversation and then will gather back together to conclude. We’ll be encouraging continued dialogue through the weeks between the book club sessions, and you can read more about that later in this issue of eNews.

We see the BCPVPA Book Club as a special opportunity for our members to meet online. You may come into the room with friends, but you’ll definitely have a chance to chat with someone you’ve never met. And while we can’t promise that Michael Fullan himself will drop into one of our sessions, he is interested in what we’re doing and has invited our comments and questions as we get into the book.

If you haven’t yet had a chance to read the book, don’t let that hold you back: the book club’s discussion of the concept of nuance and why some leaders succeed where others fail will be rich and relatable, and everyone will be able to contribute. No need to register or sign up: we’ll just see you there!

Take Care,

David

David DeRosa


September 6, 2019 Message to Members

Expect the Unexpected

We’ve all been there. You have had an amazing lead-up through August, and you’re now a few days into the school year. You’re not exactly relaxed, but you’re feeling confident. It’s the best start-up yet. And then … something happens. It could be an equipment failure in your mechanical room or a missed class in the schedule. It could be a teacher’s unexpected absence or a family emergency for a student. While it’s impossible to plan for the unexpected, there are strategies for being nimble and responsive when the unexpected arrives on your doorstep.

As the lead learners in our schools, our expertise in strategic planning is a powerful factor in our school’s operational success. While planning is key, leaders also need to be skilled critical thinkers who can recognize and swiftly navigate change. I know that as you are reading this, you are thinking of a recent circumstance in your own school – or maybe in planning with families or friends – where an obstacle or a new fork in the road derailed your plans. You can see the cascade of options that came to you, and how you assessed and categorized them before taking action. Whether there was an opportunity for consultation, or whether you had to act decisively and start to build out from your action. Whether there were secondary measures or fixes that spun out from that change of direction.

For most of us, critical thinking is now second nature – it’s a requirement in the work we do. We can learn from the decisions that we make in those pivotal moments and sometimes, in reflection, find another path that may have opened different options. Each time we are challenged, we can improve our reactions and creative thinking. Because we always know that there’s another test around the bend, and we’ll be ready for it.

Take Care,

David

BCPVPA Leadership Standards

The Standards were revised July 2019
Find them here

David DeRosa


August 30, 2019 Message to Members

Welcome Back

When I think of our members in your schools during August, I can visualize exactly what you are doing. Finalizing timetables. Greeting and consulting with your staff. Updating handbooks, websites and newsletters. Inspecting your schools to ensure safety. And following up on 1001 details that will spell success for your students on opening day.

There’s a mix of emotions on the return to school, a pull between the time you have just spent with family and friends and the excitement of the time ahead as you welcome students back for another year. Some of you will have smooth and routine returns, others may experience hiccups and for a few there may be more urgent matters that draw your attention.

I’ve had the absolute pleasure of serving as President for more than a year now, and reaching out weekly through these columns, so my next words won’t come as a surprise: in the whirl of preparation and the laser focus of leading in these early weeks, make sure that you are taking care of yourselves.

Recently when I’ve chatted with colleagues or presented to groups and committees about personal wellbeing, I typically hear a solid understanding of why wellbeing is important and what wellbeing looks like. But I’ve frequently felt that the how is less clear. When we discuss strategies and supports for ‘work-life balance’ – or as it is being rebranded, ‘life-work balance’ – I find my conversations to be more prescriptive. I might say: We need to give ourselves permission to set boundaries. These boundaries need to reflect our school community and personal shared values. They need to be communicated in a very transparent way with our school community, friends, colleagues and family. How we each achieve this will be contextual, but I hope that you can allow yourselves to consider the how.

A simple start can be changing the way you manage your emails, and letting your colleagues know your communication strategy for the year. Or setting aside time each week for meaningful connection with a peer. Or nourishing your own professional development by setting reading goals.

The process of establishing boundaries is within your control and can be as simple as you need it to be: while it can be hard to let go, breathing deeply away from your working life and changing the channel for just a moment will allow you to recharge and return with energy and increased efficiency.

Good luck to all of our members as you open your schools next week.

Take Care,

David

BCPVPA Fall Magazine

Check out BCPVPA’s Leading: Back to School

Summer 2019 Adminfo

Read the June 2019 issue of Adminfo here

David DeRosa

June 27, 2019 Message to Members

Your Summer

As Principals and Vice-Principals around the province say goodbye to their students and staff members for the Summer, this is our final opportunity as an Association to wish you well as you wrap up your school year and look ahead to Fall.

This school year has presented some interesting challenges for school leaders across the province, and that theme is very likely to continue in the Fall. While we remain hopeful that the BCTF and government will reach a negotiated settlement over the Summer, it is quite likely that the bargaining will continue through the Fall. The BCPVPA will issue reports to our members if we are made aware of any significant bargaining updates through the Summer.

For that reason and many others, we encourage all of our members to take the time that you need this Summer to rest, recover and reenergize both physically and mentally. The challenges faced by school leaders are many, varied and on the rise. Dr. Philip Riley of the Australian University is the leading authority on school leader wellbeing: his 2017 report indicates that Principals and Vice-Principals are suffering from burnout (1.6 times the population); stress (1.7 times); sleeping troubles (2.2 times); depressive symptoms (1.3 times); somatic stress symptoms (1.3 times); and cognitive stress symptoms (1.6 times). Reports such as this have added to the Association’s ongoing concern about the wellbeing of Principals and Vice-Principals in BC.

In the Fall, we will continue the conversation with our members about how the BCPVPA can proactively support the wellbeing of all of our members. In advance of that dialogue, I am pleased to let you know that our Early Intervention Program provided by humanworks will be expanding from our 22 pilot school districts to all 60 school districts in the province, and beginning in September, all BCPVPA members will be able to access the supports and services of humanworks. 

As this school year comes to a close and you continue preparing for the Fall, I want to thank of all of our members for everything you do to ensure positive learning conditions for students and maintain the high standard of public education in this province. Have a happy and healthy holiday when it finally arrives: you deserve it!

Take Care,

David

David DeRosa

June 21, 2019 Message to Members

Funding Model Implementation Progress Report

In my December 14 2018 column, I shared my perspective on the Funding Model Review. At that time, the Ministry had announced that additional work would be completed during the 2019-20 school year so that the Ministry and partner groups could review the recommendations and determine the best path forward for 2020-21. The work of assessing the recommendations has been extensive, and we are proud to have BCPVPA members on each of the working committees representing the interests of their fellow members across the province. In the busy final weeks of your school year, I’ll share with you the link to the June 2019 Funding Model Implementation Progress Report so that you can find out more when you have the time.

Take Care,

David

David DeRosa

June 14, 2019 Message to Members

Upcoming Director Election

As the June days roll along, we start to transition our thinking from coordinating year-end activities and checklists and look farther down the road to tweaking the systems that we hope will ease

Last week, BCPVPA members voted for the Association’s President-Elect. Congratulations again to Darren Danyluk (SD6, Rocky Mountain), who will serve as our President-Elect for the next year, as I complete my second term as President.  I look forward to supporting Darren over this coming year as he prepares to transition into the role of President when my term ends on June 30, 2020.

Although Darren has served as a Director on the Board, for his year ahead as President-Elect he will dive even more deeply into both the work of the Association and the BC education sector. And, once he moves into the role of President in July 2020, he will be as fortunate as I have been in receiving the support and commitment of an excellent Board of Directors.

The BCPVPA Directors serve terms that overlap, so that there is always a consistency of experience and knowledge on the Board. Six of the current Directors have one year remaining in their terms, and from June 18-20, members will vote for five Directors who will start their two-year terms on July 1. Seven candidates have put their names forward for consideration, and you can read the Candidate Statements to find out more about each candidate’s experience and priorities. Your Directors help to guide the direction of the BCPVPA, and they mindfully represent the diversity of the membership. They serve on committees, are part of professional development initiatives and work together to serve the needs and interests of the members in countless ways.

I am familiar with all of the candidates, and that’s why I can say that both myself and Darren who will follow as the next President will be able to continue the Association’s work with the support of a welcoming, congenial and committed Board of Directors. You, as members, get to decide which of the seven candidates will best represent you when you fill out your ballot next week. You can vote for up to five candidates. I hope you’ll take the time to read their Candidate Statements, to think about the BCPVPA’s road ahead and to cast your vote June 18-20.

Take Care,

David

David DeRosa

June 7, 2019 Message to Members

BetterEducate

As the June days roll along, we start to transition our thinking from coordinating year-end activities and checklists and look farther down the road to tweaking the systems that we hope will ease our Fall 2019 start-up. A huge component of this process is interaction with our many professional cohorts: have you given thought to different ways that you can seek feedback, share resources and connect with colleagues?

Your BCPVPA membership provides you with access to a powerful networking platform that supports the diverse needs of new-to-the-role leaders, veteran educators and everyone in between. More than 1800 of our members are part of BetterEducate, some engaging daily and others still dipping their toes in the water. One of the great things about this platform is that you can manage your participation, and when you’re ready to learn more you can take that next step.

The platform is perfect for sharing resources like Worksafe BC information, emergency preparedness documents and start-up checklists, information that can help newer colleagues to build their capacity, connect with new colleagues and strengthen our sense of community.

BetterEducate can also play a role in your staff meetings, or Chapter gatherings. At recent BCPVPA events, some of you have experienced the power of using one of the newer features, a BackBEat Channel. This tool is a quick, effective and visual way to seek community or staff feedback, to gauge perspectives and to determine needs. Themes in the responses develop naturally as responses are entered, through a colourful burgeoning word cloud tagged with direct links to relevant resources.

Using a feature such as the BackBEat Channel is a conversation-starter in more ways than one. In responding to a question or contributing to a discussion, colleagues experience an immediacy of thoughts and opinions even amongst teams that are geographically separated, and you as the leader can gain an understanding of your key issues with the opportunity to bounce ideas and follow-up in real time.

You’ve heard me say it before – and this may be the last time for this school year, but certainly not the ‘last time’; dive in, and embrace the technology that will smooth your path, inform your practice and ultimately provide you with a deeper and richer connection to your colleagues and your teams. It’s literally right at your finger tips.

Take Care,

David

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