The Practicum

The Working Plan | Where To Start?

This blog will chart the journey of working through my Principal’s Qualification Program practicum, focusing on using data to measure the impact of various activities on student achievement and wellness while building collaborative, professional relationships.

Summer dreaming is now becoming a reality as fall graces my neighbourhood.

The summer of brainstorming for my PQP practicum surrounded my activities in the arts. The biggest challenge was to think beyond my comfort zone of my individual department to consider the impact of school improvement plans on the entire school culture.

I mused with a variety of topics before landing on my final proposal. These topics ranged from leadership development with the heads’ group to implementation of a school wide assessment and evaluation policy.

But, if we are really looking at improving student achievement and wellness, and aligning the policies and procedures of the board with what’s happening at the school level, then what data needs to be gathered, analyzed and built upon. In the middle of leadership development and assessment and evaluation is instructional practice. At the core of that instructional practice is the learning relationship between the student and teacher.

Then I started thinking - how do we really know that we are making an impact? And if that impact is rooted in data, then which types of data are we gathering/observing, and how are we applying the lens of equity and ethics within the gathering/observing/implementing of that data?

So, what’s the plan?

Go back to the school improvement plan and go back to what’s happening in departments.

And, what if we could bounce off to the data that we gathered last spring in departments and merge that data with this fall’s urgent student needs?

And, what if we could encourage department members to champion this information. Instead of the voices that we usually hear at staff meetings and in committees, encourage voices of those teachers who are dealing with the students on a daily basis to champion the work being done in the departments? And what would that sharing look like in a way that would honour all voices in our building?

The reality in my practicum now is getting down to the work. Going to the data, engaging the voices, setting out a plan that will encourage engagement and honour what’s happening in our school community.

Below is a summary of what I submitted to the Ontario Principal’s Council in the fall. I’ll meet with the team, see what’s possible, and then go from there.

I also need to embed some clear monitoring strategies into planning. For, gathering data is the first step in building accountability, but having a plan of what to do with the data is the next step in securing accountability in an ethical manner.