As discussed in Alberta Education’s document on the Principal Quality Standard, a principal that leads a learning community “nurtures and sustains a school culture that values and supports learning.”
There are four criteria that exist within this heading and during my short, but varied career I have been able to meet some of the stated specifics.
The first descriptor indicates that an administrator or leader promotes and models life-long learning for student, teachers and other staff. I would comment that I have achieved this in multiple formats and continue to do so.
- Changed my educational focus from teaching middle years and high school curriculum to teaching Division I (elementary) students. This required me to learn many new pedagogical approaches as well as, to modify many of my ideas, skills and methods, which I previously applied in other teaching assignments.
- I have eagerly asked questions and taken the advice of both, individuals and experts within my school and division, as well as of those network connections that I have made with other academic peers. In doing so I have increased my technological understanding and usage within the classroom. This is also evident, when I assist other staff and educators within my school with issues that may arise when using technology.
The second descriptor indicates that an administrator/principal displays actions that foster a culture of high expectations of all those that exist within the school environment. As I am currently, still an educator my ability to fully engage this area is limited. However, I can honestly state that although I teach in a unique and select environment that my expectations for my student remain the same.
- Students in my classroom and those I interact with are expected to take ownership and responsibility for their behaviors and actions. Students are often asked to reflect on incidents and occurrences both positive and negative. This is also an expectation that I have of myself when, reflecting on my lessons, interactions with students and conduct during negative interactions.
- I also expect my students to progress, to push themselves in respect to their education and to progress socially, as much as is possible in respect to the students that I teach.
Only recently have I had the ability to be an active member in the facilitation of professional development for teachers and other educational staff. I would consider that the third descriptor is an ongoing objective which I will be working on.
- As a member of the Special Education professional learning community in my school and sister schools. With the collaboration of other members developed and presented a section on Oppositional Defiance Disorder. This combined with a theoretical case study allowed for teachers as well as other educational staff to observe the process and understand the dynamics and objectives when developing Individual Program Plans (IPP’s) for students.
Facilitating meaningful parental involvement and ensuring that they are informed about their child’s learning and development is the final descriptor under the dimension of, Leading a Learning Community. In my opinion, the following will reveal how I have met the many of the objectives of the descriptor as an educator as well as, in some aspects as an administrator.
- I have developed, discussed, modified and evaluated Individual Program Plans (IPP’s) after making my observations and interpretations and discussing those with the parents or guardians of the student.
- I have interacted and communicated with other administrators in regards to the previous abilities, strengths, weaknesses and areas of concern in relation to new students who are enrolling in the school.
- I have communicated with parents and guardians, as well as advocated for them as to best practices, strategies and accommodations that are necessary for their child to transition and succeed after leaving my classroom and program.