PSD70 Learning Coach Program

A Parkland School Division Blog Site

Show and Share and Bottom Lines

Here’s my SHOW   —-

very useful links to these awesome websites ….   tons of resources, research and strategies to try ,for struggling readers and writers.   resources , research and strategies for LD  and ADHD  but good for any student in the class (and the odd teacher too …..)   articles, research , etc. for literacy skills  grades 4 – 12   sign up … it’s free stuff – ready to use …. Need I say more ????


Here’s my SHARE  —- 

  Where do I start …. I am loving the collaboration, the problem solving; delving deeper into the skill development of individual students and group dynamics of a classroom; dialoguing and reflecting with teachers to assist with acknowledging and recognizing our reactions and actions to our students learning process and experiences; searching for motivators , being more flexible in the way we present information and assess student learning, creating  learning opportunities that will engage kids and get them to connect the present information and experiences to their past learning and experiences and then moving them forward in their life-long learning experiences.

It has been very rewarding being part of the solution based discussions in SBST (student based support team) meetings. The Learning Coach model fits so nicely with this process.  The pre-observations and follow through with strategies and resources discussed at our “meeting of the minds” is very beneficial for both students and staff.

I have also enjoyed being part of the Move your Mind initiative at our school this year – Integrating movement with curriculum for Kindergarten to grade 4 students.  Again, the opportunity for staff to observe students in action, in another setting, taking data on the high/middle/low rollers in class and how the instructor’s delivery and execution of the lesson affects their motivation, participation and overall learning is so valuable.  The staff reflection time again is key to the whole process and how it can applied in their classrooms and future teaching lessons and units ; and we at Ecole Broxton Park School are so fortunate to have an administrative TEAM that fully support this.

Lastly, I have been a part of another school initiative ; the FISH project , where we as a staff have identified, the students who we felt were more at risk and would eventually benefit from  being paired up with a staff member for some very anonymous and informal staff connections and attention.

I am definitely blessed to be placed in this position where I have an extremely flexible schedule, work in most of the five amazingly diverse school programs in this building, work with an amazing staff– who for the most part- are familiar with me and are willing to allow me into their classrooms. Don’t even get me started on the wonderful administrative team …. Not bad for a bunch of men………really I am kidding on most days J

And here’s my BOTTOM LINE —   The bottom line for me is … YES teaching has changed and will need to continue to change as long as kids  and society change , which is like ….. forever !!  How I handle that is up to me.  I feel that as long as the majority of teachers whom I work with feel heard ; have realistic and do-able options and choose to use those options; participate in more solution based rather than problem focused discussions ; if all the educators in our building keep the creative and flexible thinking model (being partially ADHD adults is really NOT a bad thing …. Now is it ??); work in an environment where trust and relationships are important and developed regularly …. Well then …. The sky is the limit !!

It will not be all smooth sailing but then …not much in life occurs  without it’s turbulence and the odd barf bag  and life preserver… just in case.  As long as I am willing to LEARN – CHANGE – GROW and come into my job from the perspective that every student and classroom teacher can ‘start where they stand’ and move forward …. I think some incredibly wonderful things will happen for kids and staff… so …hop on board Learning Coaches of PSD 70 …. It’s gonna be one heck of a ride !!!   And yes, keep that barf bag and life preserver close by …. You’re gonna need it … but NOT FOR LONG !

Seeing the Bigger Picture

I recently presented a mid-year review of my learning coach role to my staff.  Some of the trends that I noticed, and reported, I found to be quite interesting.

In terms of teacher/student needs, issues such as student anxiety, ELL, attention challenges and high/low academics have been forefront.  While some of these are of no surprise to me, the prevalence of some (such as anxiety) is quite shocking.  The teachers, however, have been amazing at recognizing and identifying these issues and seeking assistance.  Working together with these teachers (through several different grade levels), we were able to implement quite a variety of strategies.  Soon, it became evident that the strategies that we hoped would help our highly anxious students were actually helping many more in the class.  This was such a good example of teachers recognizing the need for improving environments, rather than ignoring the situation or becoming overwhelmed.

In my own self-reflection of this process, it was also exciting to note that not only these individual classes and teachers benefitted from this collaboration, but it also contributed to the recognition of this trend as being school-wide (which led to an anxiety-based school pd).   In my own mind, this opened up a whole new facet of my learning coach role:  to see the student and consider the bigger picture of the class, to see the class and consider the bigger picture of the school.  Sometimes when we work as individuals, that “bigger picture” may be lost.

Twyla Badry

Breaking Trail

I’m not sure when I realized that we as a Learning Coach Cohort were actually breaking trail in regards to change in our environments.  I think I had thought that we were a tool in a plan that already existed.  And I suppose we are in one sense.  I have however come to realize that we have a huge responsibility to our students and staff in that we are cultivating an environment where it isn’t just about making change, but about demonstrating it.

Collaborating with all stakeholders is vital to growth in our schools. It starts with a leadership role, facilitating change.  I am hopeful that it will grow into a reality where collaboration is second nature.

I am currently participating in a course where Collaboration and Mentorship is the focus.  A few points that have really struck home with me are:

1. Bad collaboration can be worse than no collaboration. Are we participating in collaboration with our colleagues or imposing our own opinions and interpretations upon them? The other extreme? Are we simply stroking egos rather than leading a fully reflective process?

2. Diversity can be very valuable in collaboration. Where we come from, our experiences provide our perspective. Recognizing that although We have the same goal, our methods and motivation may be different. Our understanding of the goal may be different.

3. Mentoring is a type of meaningful reciprocal collaboration (usually involves 2 people). We can all learn from each other.

4. You can learn to be better at collaborating.

Another strong theme has been that trust is crucial.  The following clip made me smile, and clarified for me what my role is today.  I am sure that will change, but for today I am going to dance.

Leadership and Dancing Guy

Marsie Fisk

Where are we going?

In this post I have embedded – or at least tried to embed – two videos.  These two videos really have me thinking about “where we are going” in education.  As Learning Coaches we need to have focus on “where are are we going” and build in a learning community how do we get there with respect and appreciation for “where are we coming from”.

.  Teaching for the success of a 21st Century Learner means becoming a 21st Century Teacher –  we need to break down the isolation that teachers are use to and support the building and work of PLC’s, engage in ongoing professional development, participate in professional conversations to support the development and sustaining of common vision and focus.

I would love it if you could take a few minutes and watch and reflect on these videos.  Both vidoes have me questioning, thinking, creating, researching, …getting excited about learning and progressing.




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