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Superintendents Report to the Halifax Regional School Board 33 Spectacle Lake Drive Dartmouth N.S. B3B 1X7 902.464.2000Join the conversation on Twitter Elwin_LeRoux HRSB_Official Providing high quality education for every student every day What does it take to be a transformational leader While courage wisdom and knowledge are critical vision is fundamental. Thats according to the Rev. Dr. Lennett J. Anderson Senior Pastor of EBC The MEETing Place in Upper Hammonds Plains. He says that vision is the essential ingredient for effective transformational leadership. I recently invited Dr. Anderson to speak to our 136 principals about vision. His inspirational keynote kicked off a day-long gathering to engage system leaders in critical discussion on one of our board-wide priorities which is raising the achievement of African Nova Scotian learners in our system. You can learn more about the day in its entirety under Goal 3. His message was especially poignant as it was given on February 4 the first week of African Heritage Month. Dr. Anderson is a graduate of Charles P. Allen High School Class of 1994 and currently he has three children in our system. In his dynamic and heartfelt presentation he shared his experiences with the Halifax Regional School Board as both a student and as a parent. He shared his love of and his belief in the strength of his community. While his message was grounded in hope for the future Dr. Anderson spoke his truth about the darkness he faced on his personal journey to success. Race is not a card I play he said its a life I live. I first heard Dr. Anderson in October at a Canadian Student Leadership Conference where he was speaking to a group of 1200 students about what it takes to rise above and be a strong and courageous leader. It was then that I knew he would be powerfully uplifting and inspiring for our principals. He did not disappoint I asked Dr. Anderson to tell his story as a way to inspire action to lead meaningful change in HRSB schools. Our principals are the transformational leaders who will help shape the future for our African Nova Scotian learners. Our principals have the ability and the responsibility to raise the expectations for all learners in our system. Our principals have the obligation to do so with great urgency. Dr. Anderson asked each and every one of us to never settle for less because our learners were created for greater. For two years now we have been committed to raising the achievement of African Nova Scotian learners. continued page 2 Important Dates March 14-18 March Break no classes March 25 Good Friday no classes March 28 Easter Monday no classes April 1 Elementary Junior High Assessment Evaluation Day no classes April 1 End of Second Term for Elementary Junior High February 2016 We know that the success of every student depends not only on our commitments but also on our combined action. Most importantly the success of every student depends on our willingness to celebrate and not tolerate diversity. While February is officially designated as a month to celebrate African Heritage in this province there are many examples of how we are celebrating this rich culture and history year-round including through our African Nova Scotian Student Support On February 16 the Technology Integration Lead Team TILT hosted HRSBs first ever Innovation in Teaching Day. One hundred and twenty teachers came together to learn about new and innovative ways to provide a high quality education for every student every day. It was a day to share ideas strategies tools and resources. It was a day to imagine The day started with an information harvest. I invited teachers to share their thoughts and ideas about our success to date and the highest leverage strategies to advance our work. Participants discussed three questions in a World Caf style session What does it take to be a transformational leader continued Goal 1 To improve student achievement Eyes that LOOK are common. Eyes that SEE are rare. - Rev. Dr. Lennett J. Anderson 2 Worker program. You can see a few of those examples under Goal 2 of this report. As I am sure you will see in the videos shared from the professional development with Dr. Anderson his messages are strong and motivating ever focused forward like our strategies to advance learning for the success of every student. I am struck by his illustration of our past as a place of reference not a place of residence. In this short turn of words he captures the importance of understanding history and respecting it while not being mired in it. It is for our reference as we advance forward and a place of lessons learned from which to grow. Finally I leave you with one more phrase that has stayed with me since I first met Dr. Anderson this past fall Dont be busy maintaining monuments when you can be advancing movements. A movement is about action. So too is our vision of improvement. I invite you to find out more about what he means in this video excerpt. Elwin LeRoux February 2016 1. What does innovation look like in your classroom school 2. When has being innovative resulted in improved student learning 3. What supports teachers to try new things in the classroom The information gathered from the engagement session will be used to guide future decisions around resources for innovation. The second part of the day included participant-led sessions that highlighted new ideas tools and strategies for innovative teaching. Following the formal sessions participants were invited to demonstrate innovative apps technologies and opportunities in a two-minute Demo Slam in front of the full group. The final part of the day included an open house where members of the Board staff and public could check out the innovative teaching thats happening in our schools. For highlights of the day watch the above video. 33 Spectacle Lake Drive Dartmouth N.S. B3B 1X7 902.464.2000 Goal 2 To strengthen safe and inclusive school environments 3 During February schools throughout the Halifax Regional School Board take the opportunity to celebrate African Heritage in various ways. However its important to share that the rich and vibrant African Nova Scotian culture is celebrated in many schools year round with the help of HRSBs African Nova Scotian Student Support Workers. In addition to acting as student advocates and liaisons between home and school African Nova Scotian Student Support Workers provide cultural programming for students of African descent. Programming is unique to each school but essentially students are learning about their history and heritage. At Oxford School African Nova Scotian Support Worker Cyndi Cain runs choir and Stomp groups for students each week. What does this cultural programming mean to the students who partake Hear from the Oxford Stompers themselves in the video below. Did you know The Ghanaian Andrinka Symbol teaches us that our past acts as a guide to prepare for the future. At Auburn Drive High School African Nova Scotian Student Support Worker Ian David runs a group called Youth of Today. Learn more about the purpose of the youth group in the video below. Oxford Choir Goal 3 To achieve equitable learning opportunities for all students 33 Spectacle Lake Drive Dartmouth N.S. B3B 1X7 902.464.2000 4 February 4 was an inspiring day in the Halifax Regional School Board. It was a time for principals to come together to share their experiences around cultural responsiveness in schools and the progress being made around achieving equitable learning opportunities. Essentially it was a continuation of our work with the priority of increasing the academic achievement results for our African Nova Scotian learners. The purpose of the day was to provide system leaders with an opportunity to participate in frank and open discussion about our successes and challenges to date. It was a day to check in to confirm where we are and to focus on where we are going. It was a day to pause reground ourselves in our priorities and share strategies of how we are working towards them. I introduced the day by reminding principals that our work is all part of a greater lesson plan and not a collection of random events. Two years ago we began this work with the expertise of Robert Upshaw who provided a local context. From there we engaged Dr. Kimberly McLeod to provide training around cultural responsiveness to central office staff coaches principals and vice-principals as well as staff in our 20 priority schools. As outlined in my opening article the meeting with principals began with an inspiring keynote speech by the Rev. Dr. Lennett J. Anderson. Following that principals broke into three groups and attended rotating sessions led by peers and supervisors. Each session focused on statements from Baruti K. Kafeles book Closing the Attitude Gap How to Fire Up Your Students to Strive for Success. You cannot effectively teach and inspire if you do not take into account who they are historically and culturally. You cannot effectively teach and inspire if you do not know them and care about them. You cannot effectively teach and inspire if you do not believe in them. Principals were encouraged to use discussion time to listen for key elements to help build the foundation of an individualized action plan to take back to their schools. The entire day was planned by a team of staff members who recently received training in participatory engagement. In April the Diversity Team will engage principals in professional learning around culturally relevant pedagogy to assist with developing skills and competencies to lead classroom instruction. 5 Goal 4 To build engagement support and confidence in HRSB Meet our newest Governing Board Member Its my pleasure to welcome Pamela Glode-Desrochers to the Halifax Regional School Board Pamela is our newly appointed Mikmaq Representative. She will take her Oath of Office on February 24 at our Regular Board Meeting. In this video Pamela shares a bit about herself and what she hopes to bring to the role. Newcomer Update To date HRSB schools have welcomed more than 200 new students from Syria. We expect to welcome an additional 100 to 150 newcomers to our classrooms this spring. Halifax West High School has long opened its doors and heart to newcomer students. In the video below Principal Tim Simony and others explain how Halifax West makes new students feel welcome from the moment they arrive. Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better do better. -Maya Angelou 33 Spectacle Lake Drive Dartmouth N.S. B3B 1X7 902.464.2000 6 Paula Danyluk-MacDonald of Caldwell Road Elementary and Isabelle Obeid of Portland Estates Elementary have each been named one of Canadas Outstanding Principals by The Learning Partnership Congratulations to both of them on the well-deserved recognition To hear what students and staff think of their respective leaders click on the above photos to watch two videos. Students and staff at Bedford South School celebrated Lunar New Year with a Parade of the Dragon. The schools YMCA School Settlement Staff Member Tilak Arora made the dragon himself. Click below to watch a video of the Parade. Celebrating Lunar New Year Faces of HRSB