Culture of Innovation

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Rationale

Canadian schools and school divisions are facing increasingly turbulent times in a fast changing global economy.  Changes in our economic environment, as well as the rapid growth and expansion in information and communication technologies (ICT), have made it increasingly necessary for Sun West schools to pursue innovation as they prepare students for a contemporary world (Shifting Minds – A 21st Century Vision of Public Education for Canada).

Implementation

Leadership

  • The Sun West Senior Executive Leadership Team (SWELT) in consultation with the Sun West School-Based Administrators  will co-create the vision for a division-wide implementation of Personalized electronic Personalized Learning (PeBL). PeBL will be a merging and continuation of previous innovative practices in Sun West such as the 21st Century learning competencies, blended learning, project based learning and distance learning.
  • A clear and concise definition of PeBL will be determined and shared with stakeholders.
  • A PeBL implementation framework will be developed to identify the rationale, implementation plan and recommendations/considerations in the implementation areas of strategy; design; curriculum, instruction and assessment; infrastructure, and support.
  • PebL rollout to begin May 2016.
  • Team members at all levels must recognize and be willing to make choices that are required to implement and supervise PeBL. School leaders must advocate for change and make opportunities to explain and promote PeBL.

Communication

  •  Clarity – definition of PeBL, associated terminology, procedures, and pedagogical processes provided.
  • Framing – Sun West School Division Board Policy 18 – 21st Century Competencies, early adopters and stakeholder buy-in.
  • Planning – Promotional video, website update, schools, parents/School Community Council (SCC), community educational community/partnerships.
  • Champion – Uncovering and showcasing those educators/schools who have a desire or capacity to act as champions of innovation. Identify a champion in every school. Promote model classrooms.Stories – Share stories early and often. (Website, Congress on Rural Education, Principals’ Short Course, PD, School-Based Administrator meetings, SCC Workshop, media).

Resources

  • Team – (SWELT), Learning/Technology Coaches, PLT groups, teacher-leaders, IT, early adopter schools, Sun West Distance Learning Centre (DLC), school family groups.
  • Time – School-based PD, Florida Educational Technology Conference (FETC), School-Based Administrator Meetings, Digital Math PLT groups, school family PLT collaboration time and site visits.
  • Dollars – PD, technology purchases, adaptive software.

Capacity

  • Mindset – Individuals must develop a tolerance for risk, comfort with the fear of failure and a “growth mindset” – Aspiring Leadership, School-Based Administrator meetings, PD, mentorship; school supervision; teacher supervision; Division PLTs.
  • Support – Ongoing monitoring, PD, human and digital resources, support new ideas and practices, school families PLT support.
  • Individual Skills – PLTs, co-teaching, team teaching, mentorship, PD (all levels), supervision at all levels.
  • Ability to Execute – Timetabling, devices and infrastructure, digital resources.

Structure and Process

  • Structure – SWSD Policy 18, technology, PD-rich, collaboration time.
  • Process – Tech requests, school visits, supported PLTs.
  • Reinforcement – PD opportunities.

Learning Agenda

  • Measuring Success – Connection to Education Sector Strategic Plan (ESSP), Viz Walls, Wall Walks, Tell Them From Me (TTFM), School Division Annual Report.
  • Managing Change – Focus on clear metrics and continuous improvement.

 

Considerations/Recommendations

 Culture

  • Lives both in the policies and procedures of an, but also in the specific, daily actions of individuals.
  • Represents the habits of individuals that get repeated as they work together. It is the context within which innovative either fail or succeed.
  • Must be explicitly valued and nurtured by all members of the learning community (School-Based Administrators, Learning Coaches, SWELT, Teachers).
  • Can be deliberately built and managed over time through sound instructional leadership (Admin, Tech Coaches, SWELT, Teachers).

Innovation

  • Means leveraging new or unproven methods or tools to improve practice or solve persistent problems.
  • Often represents an entirely new way of thinking.
  • Has no rules: There is no “right” or “wrong” way to innovate.
  • Always forces important choices and tradeoffs.
  • Involves risk-taking and learning from mistakes.