A Successful Approach to Organizational Leadership at a First Nations School Authority
By Ryan Anderson
Anyway, this is an exciting time to be a member of the NEA team. There are great things happening in each of our schools and we are making inroads with both the federal and provincial governments in regards to improvements to funding improvements and enhancements to improve services offered by our district. And on top of it all, we are working with the other three bands in Maskwacis, through MESC, to amalgamate into one school district in approximately 30 months.
In the meantime, we are moving forward with some important work in the area of Literacy. As I wrote about in a previous post, we are nearing the end of our work on ELOs and finalizing them by the end of this school year. It is anticipated that we will have an official NEA set of Essential Learning Outcomes that will act as our new literacy curriculum for English language arts for K-9. Teachers will then be able to take those outcomes and begin to plan and prepare for how they will build their programs around them in the coming school year.
Once the ELO document is complete and finalized, the work will transition to a focus on teaching and best practice for Tier I and Tier II classroom instruction as it relates to RTI's Pyramid of Interventions. With the help of Kurtis Hewson, each of our schools will work on building and completing their pyramids in the next school year; and as such, there will be a focus on teaching and learning at the classroom level. We are going to be providing PD sessions related to The Art and Science of Teaching by Robert Marzano, which will help teachers reflect on and work to improve their own individual practices, thus helping their students learn and progress more successfully. So the work in Literacy will focus on how teachers can take best practice approaches to teaching and apply them to teaching the ELOs in ELA.
As teachers engage in the work of assessing their own teaching practice and looking for ways to grow professionally, we will also have to look at individual and collective understandings of assessment. Here is the basic progression of things:
Essential Learning Outcomes -> How to teach those ELOs (best practices) -> Assessment of the ELOs (mastery assessment)
So once we start looking at best practice approaches to teaching, we will have to look at our understanding of assessment. Most of our teachers use curriculum based measurements, like classroom quizzes on the material that is being taught and learned, as well as holistic assessment in the form of rubrics for writing in subject areas like ELA. But when we talk about teaching and assessing ELOs, we are going to have to look at "mastery assessment" - determining the extent to which a student has mastered a particular ELO.
Moving forward, I hope to be able to provide more writing on the work that is happening and how it is progressing. I hope that I can be more transparent so that the vision I have for Literacy, and how it fits into the bigger picture of RTI and the overall strategic plan of the district, can be seen and understand it the way that I do.
I am certainly passionate about this work and feel very privileged to be part of what is transpiring at NEA. We are getting to engage in work that other districts just don't get to do because of where they are, what their demographic is, or what limitations might be placed on them because their are provincial jurisdictions bound by either Alberta Education and/or the ATA. So... we have a great flexibility in our work and are going in some unique and exciting directions. I hope that all members of our NEA team share the same passion and excitement for this work as I do.
Please don't hesitate to contact me should anyone have interest in what I am doing to help this work move forward. I truly believe that this is a collective effort, which is why I always try and engage teachers in the process through grade level cohort meetings and other workshops.
I look forward to our upcoming PD session on April 29th and can't wait to finalize the ELOs.
Cheers and I will see you all then (if not before).