BCPVPA Webinar Series – Fall 2018
Make some time for yourself this Fall with a selection of BCPVPA webinars that will help our members to learn, connect and reflect. This series includes overview sessions focusing on your personal services contract and benefits plan, tools for improving your networking and decision-making skills, and a primer on finding space for personal priorities.
The Fall Webinars are now available on the BCPVPA YouTube channel.
Understanding your Personal Services Contract
This webinar is presented by BCPVPA Managers of Contract/Legal, Don Boyd and Warren Hicks. This webinar is aimed to help principals and vice-principals develop a general understanding of their personal services contract, key components of their contract and their fiduciary responsibilities as agents of their Boards of Trustees.
Taking Care of Your Personal Wellbeing
Presented by President Jack MacNeill and Vice-President Wade Repta of humanworks. humanworks has had a long association with the BCPVPA supporting the health and wellness needs of principals and vice-principals. Jack and Wade’s presentation will offer participants some important reminders on how to make their wellbeing a priority in their lives.
BetterEducate – A Dynamic Tool for School Leaders
Presented by BCPVPA President David DeRosa, this webinar is intended to highlight some of the important features in BetterEducate and to showcase some of the recently added functionality. The BCPVPA continues to work with the BetterEducate developers to create a dynamic platform that allows educators to connect, network and learn from each other.
Understanding and Accessing Benefits Supports
Presented by Ingrid Gallier of Morneau Shepell this webinar is intended to provide an overview of the benefits plans of principals and vice-principals and how to access a range of supports within the plan.
Leading an Effective Decision-Making Process
Presented by BCPVPA Managers of Professional Learning, Liz Bell and Jessica Antosz along with Dr. Bruce Beairsto. The webinar will introduce the elements of a tool kit of PDF files that can be used in a variety of ways to improve a group’s ability to understand each other, resolve differences and make good decisions. The entire toolkit is posted on BetterEducate.
October 5, 2018 Message to Members
Celebrating Teachers and Principals
As we lead in our schools every day, juggling the activities, challenges and triumphs that mark our hours, we can get pretty focused on that world. Today is a good day to put our heads up and be recognized by the global community. It’s National Principals’ Month, and October 5 is World Teachers’ Day: I invite you all to recognize your colleagues and to be recognized for the great work that you do.
All of our members started their careers as teachers and continue to serve as instructional leaders today. Those beginnings in the classroom and that passion for teaching, learning and positively influencing the life trajectory of your students opened a variety of paths to leadership at the school and district level. Our research reveals that the majority of principals and vice-principals continue to teach: nearly 60% of us have a teaching assignment alongside our leadership responsibilities, strengthening the impact that we have in the lives of our students.
The transition from teaching to leading can be a steep curve, and the BCPVPA is here to make sure our new PVPs have all of the tools they need to be successful. Many of the 167 participants who recently completed Short Course I commented that the training – and the sense of community – was invaluable to their progress. Our Mentorship program is another way that the ‘wisdom in the room’ can benefit new leaders.
This month, we’ll be focusing on our success as school leaders, how we can continue to learn and grow, and ways to share best practices from around the globe. BC continues to be an international success story in education, and this can be attributed to the strong collaboration between amazing teachers, remarkable principal and vice-principal leaders, skilful district staff and supportive trustees. I’m inviting you to share your leadership stories with us this month and to tell us what you and your colleagues are doing to foster innovative education in your schools. Send me an email or post on social media tagging @bcpvpa & #OutstandingPrincipals – great news needs to be shared! To get you started, check out what some of your colleagues are up to: twitter/bradleyrbaker twitter/selmahsmith twitter/SLShortall
Happy National Principals’ Month, and I hope you enjoy Thanksgiving with your friends and family this weekend.
September 28, 2018 Message to Members
We’ve Got Your Back
Principals and vice-principals can be the broad backs that carry a lot of weight: they advocate for the needs of their students and teams, represent the needs of their schools and often even support the needs of their communities. We see it on the ground in our schools, and it’s backed by widespread research: in order to be supported and successful, our students must be at the centre of all we do. Ensuring this in our ever-changing environment can be a delicate balancing act as we respond to our Boards of Education with school plans and goals, ensure that Parent Advisory Councils have the data that they need, and listen to the ideas and concerns of all of our different stakeholders. As we prioritize the streams of basics, necessities and requests that flow through our days, we place our own needs somewhere to the side, where we can “get to them” later. And we all know that later is, well, much later.
As a Principal, advocacy and representation were embedded in my daily life. As I adjust to my new role as BCPVPA President, there’s a comfort in knowing that these are also the core pillars of the Association, and that this team is here to support your success with the same energy and enthusiasm that you bring to supporting students, teams and partners every day. One of my markers of success in this role will be sharing the stories of our members: sometimes those are success stories, and sometimes they are the narratives of challenge on the path to success. I’d like to share a few sweet tweet-moments that resonated with me this week: Delta VP Sarah Garr’s favourite moment with a student; Director Steve Dalla Lana’s thank you; and the BCPVPA’s Elizabeth Bell’s tribute to shared learning.
These are some of the gifts that we gain from the work we do, and there are many moments in the day that tell us we are on the right path. As you travel through your days, with all of the baggage that you accumulate, I wanted to let you know that we’ve got your back. Let us know what you need.
September 21, 2018 Message to Members
Traveling used to mean a complete disconnect from regular routines, and moving cities would often cue a closure of bonds to that previous life. Technology has changed the way that we think about distance and has proven that we are never really that far apart. My move to Vancouver has doubled my distance from my youngest daughter, but FaceTime and messaging has allowed us to connect meaningfully about each day’s events: with all my kids, the question “how was your day” now elicits chat, videos and photos rather than a simple “fine”.
I had the pleasure of attending the British Columbia Distributed Learning Administrators Association (BCDLAA) conference this week and, like most of the participants, I travelled a distance to get there. While there is a certain irony to this fact, it was clear that the opportunity to gather together in the same place brought strength to current relationships and helped to foster new collaborations.
These professionals are providing the much-needed access to quality education that is often limited by time and space. Students living in remote areas of BC can use distributed learning technologies to access learning opportunities and curriculum. During the meeting, a research expert in distributed learning trends across the globe used Zoom to share the progress of his research from Sonoma, California.
Distance encourages us to share our many stories about community work, staff engagement and student success. Distance draws us to strengthen our connections and be mindful of the quality of our interactions. And distance leads us to eagerly anticipate that first face-to-face contact with a remote colleague or the smile of a good friend at the end of a journey.
I really look forward to travelling across BC, listening to the stories of our members and sharing them with all of you along the way.
September 14, 2018 Message to Members
This week was marked by remembrance for many of us. The 17th anniversary of the 9/11 tragedy prompted conversations of “where were you when…?” and a fresh realization of how life can change without warning. It was my first week as a new VP in a middle school, and my youngest child had just turned one that summer. My memories of that morning and my arrival at school are shadowed by the realization that it was the first time that I would be the adult others turned to in a time of crisis and fear. Although we managed to get through the day and the ones that followed, I realized that having a plan for the unthinkable is an important part of our role.
On another sad note, the return to the ice of the Humboldt Broncos following April’s devastating bus crash prompted thoughts of my own youthful travel with teams across the northern territories as a youngster and BC during my days with the Trail Smokies. The sheer physical challenge Canadians face in connecting with teammates, colleagues and communities across vast distances is our reality. We want our own kids and students to have a chance to build memories — often their first experience of independence — by traveling with their friends and teammates and building their confidence. Many of our parents may need our support as they reflect on the tragedy with their children in mind. Think about the conversations that can help them to navigate the life-changing stories that have been related this week and underscore the resilience of the individuals and families affected.
It’s opportune that many of my recent interactions and meetings have centred on mental health and the need for mental health literacy and systemic supports across the province. We share a desire for action with our colleagues in the sector – this week I was in three meetings where Glen Hansman of the BCTF and Claire Guy of the BCSSA were also in attendance, and that sense of community will help us to advance projects related to mental health.
As leaders it’s important to remember to purposefully provide avenues of support but to also create the space for students and staff to share their feelings. And, don’t forget to take care of your own emotional support: the trigger of memory affects us all.
Enjoy your weekend, and opportunities to unplug and engage in the many activities that our wonderful province offers.
Take Care, David
September 7, 2018 Message to Members
Back to School
I am hopeful that this message finds you still excited and energized after the first week back to school. My experience has been that social media can present new challenges and opportunities to those of us in educational leadership roles, but this week it truly shines a positive light on the excitement of back to school! My Twitter feed is full of images and messages sharing the smiling faces of staffs, students, parents and our colleagues as they work together to ensure #backtoschoolBC or #back2schoolBC is a super positive experience for new and returning students and their families. The shiny gym floors, well-groomed grounds and brightly-coloured backpacks all play a part in the sense of optimism that prevails this week.
Although the majority of us are focused on our schools and back to school tasks, my thoughts are also with our colleagues that are engaged in the challenges related to the forest fires in our province, especially for the evacuated areas such as Vanderhoof and the potential for evacuations and challenges to transportation that continue in the Kamloops-Okanagan, Cariboo, Southeast-Kootenays and the Prince George Fire Centres among others. I have a family connection to these challenging circumstances: my son is currently on the front lines fighting the fires and is being re-positioned from the Quesnel area to Kimberley with his crew. Despite the enjoyment related to some September sunshine, we are all hoping for some sustained rain.
As we return to familiar routines and responsibilities requiring our time, I encourage you to be strategic with your time and your own personal health and well-being. The experts and gurus of health and wellness consistently remind us that we must take care of ourselves if we are to have the sustained energy to support our students, staffs and our own families. I have found that ‘tweaking the wheel’ is a more efficient practice than ‘re-inventing the wheel’. I encourage you to reach out or network with colleagues who are happy to share expertise and experience and when you have time, please share your own techniques!
Speaking of tweaking, we are well into the process of re-structuring our suite of communication tools and look forward to your feedback as we start to roll out the new look. I know in the context of your daily roles ‘busy’ typically does not quite suffice as the description for your days, but I am hopeful that you will be able to periodically let us know how we are doing through brief surveys — did I say ‘brief’? I meant really really brief!
In closing, please take some time for you and family and friends this weekend. I know that the successes of this week happened because you were in your schools well in advance, preparing for success rather than hoping for it. Remember: you are the BCPVPA and…
Take Care, David