The Essential Eight: Creating Conditions for Learning

Sharing Our Stories:
Where are we now?
Summer Leadership Academy
Kelowna, BC
August 2014
Essential 8:
Systems Thinking and Planning on a
District Scale
School District No. 57 (Prince George)
Brian Pepper, Superintendent
Sp Ed
FI K-7
FI 8-12
A System in Action
Senior Learning Team:
Putting Learners First
Our Senior Learning Team consists of
representatives from across the organization
Student Support
Curriculum and
Our Work
• The Senior Learning Team is a think-tank
with an action-oriented approach to
innovation with a focus on improving
student learning. Our goal is to find
processes, on a systems level, to improve
the life chances of each student. The SLT is
tasked with challenging the status quo to
move our district from good to great.
Dream big for learners!
Catalyst for systemic change!
Change organizational culture!
• Continual feedback from students, parents,
teachers, business and community provided the
It started with a RANT!!!
. . . . . that grew, through collaboration, into
. . . . . that became a possible framework for
system change
Start with “WHY”
• In a learning organization, why we undertake a project
must align with a vision for learning.
• Why we undertake a project must acknowledge the
vast range in vulnerability in our school district so we
can better meet the needs of all learners.
• When gauging why, consider – does it improve the life
chances of each student?
• Once the merits for why have been considered, then
the how and the what can be determined.
Guiding thoughts
• Vision: Learning that enriches the life of each student
• Board Guiding Principle: Students have a right to have their
intellectual, emotional, physical and social needs met.
• Board Guiding Principle: Employees have a right and a
responsibility to explore, collaborate and develop to their
• Money is not an excuse for inaction!
Elements of an Effective Learning Plan
• Focus on student learning
• Provided flexibility and choice
• Improve use of technology in the fabric of learning
• Recognized learning needs of each student
• Demanded high standards - especially of staff
Assessment For Learning
The process of collecting evidence of student learning.
Assessments provide results to inform decisions.
Formative assessment, serves the purpose of tracking and
promoting learning along the way (assessment for learning).
Assessment for learning offers the greatest promise of helping all
students to succeed (helping students meet standards)
Educators need to be assessment literate, understanding the
principles of sound classroom assessment practice.
Data-Driven Evidence For Learning
Data as part of ongoing cycle of instructional improvement. The use of
data to inform instruction. The use of profiles and formative
assessment to provide evidence of learning.
Improve staff understanding, knowledge, skills re utilization of
data/evidence including:
a. Using data to modify teaching and learning practice
b. Using data to answer questions about student
c. Teacher collaboration
d. Fostering a culture of data based decision making
e. Data system utilization(AMS)
Cultural Competencies
Allows individuals (students and staff) to interact effectively
(understand, communicate with) with people of different
cultures and socio-economic backgrounds.
Four components:
a. Awareness of one’s own cultural worldview
b. Attitude towards cultural differences
c. Knowledge of different cultural practices and worldviews
d. Cross-cultural skills
Social and Emotional Learning
Develop ability for students to:
1. Understand emotional needs.
2. Respect self and others
3. Develop cooperative relationships.
Social and emotional learning enhances academic achievement,
helps students develop self-management and self-control,
improves relationships, reduces conflict, improves classroom
management, and helps young people’s health and success at
school and in life.
Poverty and Student Learning
Understand the culture of poverty. Assess
vulnerability. Equip staff with interventions
helpful in raising achievement for disadvantaged
1. Develop oral language skills.
2. Understand social conventions.
3. Develop respectful relationships.
Differentiation/Universal Designs for Learning
Development of flexible learning environments that can accommodate
individual learning differences. Increase learning by reducing physical,
cognitive, intellectual, and organizational barriers to learning – inclusion
Curriculum (instructional goals, methods, materials, assessment) created to
a. Multiple means of representation to give learners various ways of acquiring
information and knowledge
b. Multiple means of expression to provide learners alternatives for
demonstrating what they know
c. Multiple means of engagement to tap into learners’ interests, challenge and
Enhanced Learning through Technology
Develop the processes of integrating technology into the
learning environment (communication, research, graphic
organizers, presentation)
To enable more self-directed learning – students
construct their own understanding
Supervision of Instruction, Mentorship
and Training
Reinforce and enhance teaching practices that
contribute to improved student learning
Meaningful feedback and direction to teachers
Enhance programing and teaching strategies designed
to meet the diverse needs of all students.
Initiative Development
• Embedded: Budget Process, Superintendent’s
Report on Achievement, District Achievement
• District Principal Meetings
• School Plans
• Staff meeting learning focus
• Professional Development
• Key element District Strategic Planning
• Department Focus
• 2 Principals @ .5 each to support directions
and provide “at shoulder support” to P/VP
• 6 teachers @ .5 each to provide “at shoulder
support” and coordinate inservice
• Inservice Focus
Make a Connection
• Given your district’s context, how might you look
at one of the Essential Eight from a systems
o Data-Driven Evidence for Learning
o Cultural Competencies
o Social and Emotional Learning
o Poverty and Student Learning
o Differentiation and Universal Designs for Learning
o Enhancing Learning through Technology
o Supervision of Instruction and Mentorship / Training
Think. Pair. Share.
Thank You!
For more information:
Lisa Carson:
[email protected]
Cindy Heitman: [email protected]
Brian Pepper: [email protected]

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