School leaders are committed to the continuous improvement of teaching and learning practices with a goal of increasing student performance in their schools. Improving school practices requires teaching staff to come together to create and implement a shared vision. Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) offer a model for carrying out a team’s shared vision through a collaborative process of acquiring knowledge, analysing the current situation and implementing changes.
The Network for Principals (NfP) has been created to provide school leaders from three small and rural school boards (Riverside, New Frontiers and Eastern Townships) with more opportunity than they would otherwise have, for joint learning, sharing of practices, and support in implementing PLCs and data teams in their high schools. The support and facilitation to implement PLCs is led by the NfP design team.
With the strong support and active involvement of the Evidence Based Practice (EBP) Project, the design team, made up of the directors and assistant directors of the three participating school boards, establish their own district level and cross board PLC. During this process, the design team are led by the EBP through the development of a collective vision, a shared goal and common learning opportunities to prepare them to support the NfP. Together with the EBP Project, the team plan the network, including the format for the sessions, instructional design and continued support to principals between sessions.The anticipated Duration of the network is two years starting in September 2016.
The main aim of the NfP is to create a professional learning community by fostering the acquisition of knowledge and the exchange of expertise between members, and the development of competencies. Because good practice is grounded in theory, the participants are expected to acquire new knowledge before and/or during the learning sessions to deepen their understanding.
Through a process of “learn together-apply in school-share”, school leaders can work together towards a shared goal of implementing a PLC in every high school as a means of improving student success for all.
Below is an outline of the design team meetings that took place for the initial planning of the network, and ahead of each learning session. Debriefing meetings were also held for the design team at the end of every learning session.