Collaborating to improve student learning

In the year the newly formed Instructional Leadership Team has been in existence, vice-principal and team member Jen Findlay reports a lot has been accomplished!

“Members of this team have accomplished a lot in a very short period of time,” she commented, noting that there have been 86 different collaborations (some short and some ongoing) with 58 of those initiated by other educators.

The Instructional Leadership Team are a group of educators who are available to collaborate, mentor, share and coach other educators, mainly in the area of the new curriculum, but it has grown to include areas such as communicating student learning, report Findlay.

“We work together to explore purposeful learning for students through collaborative professional partnerships.”

Three of those collaborating gave a short summary of their work to the Board at its meeting on Tuesday at Pleasant Valley Secondary School.

ILT team member Megan Weir and Bastion teacher Ingrid Van Varseveld spoke on a project on helping students with personal narrative writing. ILT team member Laurel Larmand and Shuswap Middle School teacher Morgen MacDonald presented on middle years collaborative writing units including essay, memoir and choice writing. ILT team member Gloria Cox and teacher Julia Body of SAS discussed their work on new media studies for high school English. ILT team member Jessa Clark was also part of this project.

All noted how the collaboration, sharing of resources and experiences helps all involved, especially student learning. “There is power in collaboration and students are at the centre of that,” Findlay noted, adding that the ILT is collecting data and feedback as they go through this process.

Trustees had several questions for the presenters, including whether there was a stigma attached to asking for help from the ILT, and whether there was a timeframe attached to the ILT’s existence.

Findlay answered noting she thinks there is a shift in culture in education and teachers are opening their doors to collaboration. “It’s hard for some people to do.”

She said, for instance, at Shuswap Middle School there’s a huge uptake and buzz. “There is a culture of learning and wanting to improve.”

Superintendent Peter Jory answered the question about the duration to the ILT team saying that supporting the changes to teaching to support the new curriculum will be a fairly lengthy process. “We will continue to have the conversation but I don’t see collaboration and this type of support going out of style.”

Board Chair Marianne VanBuskirk said the level of enthusiasm in those presenting about their ILT collaborations is very evident. “I noticed the enthusiasm right away and this transfers to students.

ILT slide show