November 2, 2018 Message to Members
I was fortunate to be part of an historic occasion last week, the birth of a new association with goals much like our own. The Public School Administrator’s Association of Nova Scotia (PSAANS) invited myself and our long-time Manager of Finance Carol Powell to join them for their inaugural conference and AGM, along with Allyson Otten and Joanne Robinson of the Ontario Principals’ Council (OPC), Carol Campbell of The Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, TedEx speaker and founder of Peace by Chocolate Tareq Hadhad.
The event took place at Pier 21 in Halifax and — by chance — led me to discover my own connection to that place: after WWII my father and his family embarked on an arduous journey from northern Italy, arriving in Halifax at Pier 21 to start a new life in Canada.
My family story gave me context that while a new beginning is a time for celebration, it is also a time of change that can present many challenges. Our colleagues in Nova Scotia have ‘landed’ on this new shore but now they are looking up at the hill ahead, uncertain of what may lie on the other side. We could sense their apprehension and their anticipation, those emotions that can be difficult to reconcile when so much is unknown.
Carol and I, along with Allyson and Joanne, were there to share the stories of the BCPVPA and the OPC. Both Carol and Joanne carry a vast institutional knowledge of our associations, each of which celebrate landmark anniversaries in 2018: 20 years for OPC and 30 years for BCPVPA. It was remarkable to have our three organizations together in one place with a focus on discussing new beginnings and the paths that we have followed, and to recognize that changes not chosen can take us out of our comfort zones, but that the results can be extraordinary.
The BCPVPA looks forward to growing our new relationship with PSAANS, and I invite you to follow their association on Twitter @PSAANS, to say hello or to send them a message of support.
October 26, 2018 Message to Members
Contemplating “Connecting Leaders”
I’m still thinking about the Connecting Leaders conference: there’s something very special about being in a room with members who have gathered from around the province to put aside the needs of the week for a short time. We had the opportunity to truly connect.
The three keynote speakers couldn’t have been more different: a researcher from Australia, an artist & storyteller from northern BC and a lawyer turned comedian & broadcaster from New Brunswick. Simon Breakspear engaged us with strong messaging about leadership and process. My greatest takeaways were about small steps that may not look like much, but are meaningful over time; about simplifying, reducing complexity and doing less better; and about having an awareness of the impact of our actions.
Roy Henry Vickers is a master storyteller: a leader, healer and teacher. He wove his stories of his life in a beautiful and peaceful way and left us with this: “when you speak from the head, others will hear you, but when you speak from your heart, others will connect with you.”
Candy Palmater’s honest and truthful messages were something we all needed to hear and believe. As principals and vice-principals, “You are enough, the role you need to fill is not perfection: it’s persistence, that’s what we need from you” and that we all need to accept that we’re going to fail, and that’s when we’ll get better.
The time we spent with these inspirational speakers were markers along the journey of the conference. We learned and shared with our colleagues in breakout sessions and table talk, and we spoke with members who were already formulating plans for integrating the new learning at their schools on Monday.
One experience that I haven’t yet mentioned will stay with me for a long time. Elder Lolly Good opened our conference and welcomed us along with Lawrence Mitchell. Lolly invited conference participants to choose an instrument from her travel bag, and to join her at the front of the room to greet the day in song. The sight and sound of so many of our colleagues coming together in open joy – with smiles that wouldn’t fade – was an incomparable start to a day of learning.
I hope that you were all able to experience something new and motivating as part of the Pro-D Day last week and if you did, please share your learning.
October 19, 2018 Message to Members
The Connecting Leaders conference this weekend is an opportunity for our colleagues to share and learn, to reconnect with peers and make new connections. The impetus behind Connecting Leaders is for participants to bring ideas, energy and inspiration back to their schools, and we look forward to seeing how that excitement is shared.
Each Connecting Leaders conference has a topical theme: this year’s theme is Changing Tides: Charting Our Course Together. I think we can all attest to the flow of change that we’ve experienced in recent years, and the increasing complexity of our roles. As the needs of our schools and the system require an enhanced skill set from school leaders, it’s natural to feel overwhelmed. The idea of working together to navigate change resonates, and through opportunities like Connecting Leaders we want to give our members the tools, resources and training that you need to be successful. We want you to know that there’s a community of peers who are ready to support you, and somewhere that you can turn for help.
Branching off from the theme of this conference are five points of focus: inclusion, resilience, change, leadership and wellness. I want to remind you of your immense capacity in all of these areas. Principals and vice-principals are on the leading edge in championing inclusion and making sure that everyone is welcome in BC schools. We model resilience as we move through the hundreds of demands on our daily path. We engage change, we learn from it and we anticipate it in our leadership journey. We have a heightened awareness of wellness in our schools, and we are becoming better at recognizing our own needs and challenges.
I encourage you to think about your current navigation of change and what might emerge if you applied a different perspective or drew upon the support of a peer. For one day, recognize change as your ally and not your adversary: invite change to the table, and see what happens.
I hope that our conference attendees enjoy their experience of learning and sharing, and that everyone has a great weekend.
Foundation Day Institute
November 5-6, 2018
This two-day institute to provides the tools to identify key takeaways from the Visible Learning research, learn about the five strands of Visible Learning, and identify the difference between influences that impact student achievement.
Executive Airport Plaza Hotel, Richmond
Members: register now and get your promo code
Understanding and Accessing Benefits Supports
Wednesday October 24, 4:00 pm
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.
BetterEducate – A Dynamic Tool for School Leaders
Tuesday October 23, 7:30 am
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.
October 12, 2018 Message to Members
The Board of Directors
A quick Google search or a casual “hey, Siri” – “hey, Alexa” will reveal a common list of the responsibilities of a Board of Directors:
- Set the Organization’s Mission and Purpose
- Support the Executive Director and Staff
- Ensure Effective Organizational Planning
- Approve the Budget
- Enhance the Organization’s Public Image
Your BCPVPA Board of Directors has similar responsibilities in supporting the association. When the Board meets October 12-13, those responsibilities will be woven into our conversations and decision-making over those two days. Your Board understands the work of principals and vice-principals because they walk in your shoes every day. They each bring to the role valuable and diverse perspectives that reflect their home communities, their personal experiences in the K-12 system, and a singular passion for innovative education.
The Board recognizes that their decisions can have a deep and lasting impact. Our decisions are guided by the BCPVPA Strategic Plan, and the four governing goals:
- Achieve contract provisions and total compensation that reflect the skills, responsibilities, and needs of principals and vice-principals
- Support principals and vice-principals in building their leadership capacity
- Support the efficacy of school leadership provided by principals and vice-principals
- Strengthen the engagement of members with the Association and each other
As we work through our agenda over the next two days, these four goals will frame our discussions and decisions. We will seek expertise to enhance our knowledge and we will share the regional stories of our members. We will find moments to laugh and reflect and, throughout our time together, the complex and changing needs of our students will always come first at the Board table.