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2019 Start Right Program for Beginning School Leaders

General Information

The College of Alberta School Superintendents 21th annual Start Right short course for newly appointed school principals, assistant/vice-principals and aspiring leaders will be offered at Olds College, located in the Town of Olds, beginning at 3:00 p.m. on Tuesday, July 2, 2019 and ending at noon on Friday, July 5. The registration fee is $899.99 (includes GST) or $599.99 (includes GST) if accommodation will not be required . Registration is limited to 110 participants.  The term “newly appointed” refers to individuals who are just finishing their first year in a school-based administrative position, or who will be in their first year during the 2019-2020 school year. “Aspiring” refers to any certified teacher who wishes to pursue school leadership during their career.

Start Right 2019 will be co-coordinated by the Directors of Leadership Learning for the College of Alberta School Superintendents (CASS), Dr. Del Litke and Elizabeth Gouthro. This will be Del’s 5th year serving as a coordinator of Start Right. This will be Liz’s 4rd year with the program. Her biography is included later in this program.

Participants will be accommodated in private rooms at Centennial Village, meals will be provided through campus food services, and all sessions will be held on the beautiful campus of Olds College. 

Over the past 20 years there have been more than 1,450 participants in the Start Right short course.  The feedback from participants has been very positive. 98% of the 2018 participants rated the learning experience as excellent, and 100% of the participants indicated they would recommend the program to other new administrators and leadership trainees in the future.  The following are representative comments from previous evaluation forms:

  • Each session was very informative and different. Lots of valuable tips and tricks and areas to focus on and learn.  I am impressed that we will continue to receive support from CASS during the next year.
  • It was truly amazing! Thank you so much for working to provide us with such a rich and rewarding experience! The knowledge I’ve gained and the connections I’ve made will certainly serve me very well.
  • Thank you so much for this incredible opportunity! I am taking home a wealth of resources – an excellent start to the summer!
  • What an amazing opportunity! I made so many connections and feel enriched, empowered and emboldened! Thank you!
  • It was a great week with excellent reference material to use as an administrator. I feel 100% more prepared for my new role than I did a week ago.
  • Incredibly well run! From registration to the conclusion of the conference, everything ran like clockwork. Thanks so much for the fabulous, informative and fun experience!
  • Well-organized! Even the registration process was excellent! Thank you for a great workshop and a great “start” to my administrative position! This was definitely the “right start”!

As part of the Start Right short course, you also receive monthly emails and short articles to provide support throughout the year. The following comment was received after Del’s Christmas 2018 video.

  • Thank you for your email and the ‘face for radio’ advice! The December priorities are priorities I have known in the past, but the reminder from a seasoned vet was well needed. Thank you for your ongoing support of our leadership. I’m not sure I’ve ever had a PD opportunity last as long or be as valuable.

The workshop is designed to bring participants together as a leadership learning community with a focus on providing opportunities for:

  • Reflecting, sharing ideas and building on school leadership experiences and best practices;
  • Gaining new ideas and resources through engaging presentations and interactive learning activities facilitated by educational leaders with a wealth of school and school system experience;
  • Meaningfully addressing issues and challenges encountered by school leaders and developing practical strategies for action;
  • Networking with colleagues from other school jurisdictions;
  • Establishing through participation in cohorts a forum for building relationships, learning with and from each other, and an opportunity for continuing to offer support and assistance as an extension of the workshop learning experience;
  • Extending the learning experience through university graduate coursework, if desired; and
  • Further developing a personal understanding and vision for successful school leadership.
  • Providing practical monthly support through email advice and short article.

Arrangements can be made through Alberta universities to extend the Start Right 2019 learning experience for graduate level course credit.  Participants will be required to pay a tuition fee to the university and to meet additional course requirements. Information regarding university credit for Start Right 2019 participants is available at the end of this document. Individuals who are interested in receiving more information in regarding university course credit may contact Dr. Del Litke at 780-293-3315 or del.litke@cass.ab.ca

Note: If you require additional information or have any questions regarding Start Right 2019, please do not hesitate to contact Del (contact info above) or Liz @ elizabeth.gouthro@cass.ab.ca

Program Information

Tuesday, July 2: Student Alumni Center
12:00 – 3:00 p.m. Registration at the Student Alumni Center

Please note: Arrangements have been made with Centennial Village for participants to check-in to their accommodations starting at 1:00 p.m.

3:00 p.m.                   Welcoming Remarks & Overview of the Start Right Program (Del Litke)
3:15 – 5:30 p.m.       Leading First Nations, Métis and Inuit Education for All Students
3:15 – 5:30 p.m.        Developing and Fostering a Braided Approach to Indigenous Education:  Moving beyond beads, bannock, feathers and books

During these sessions, you will learn and experience some of the latest professional development resources and workshops to support aspiring leaders and leaders with the Indigenous-focused competencies and indicators in the Leadership Quality Standard.  These sessions address and support:

Competency 1:  Fostering Effective Relationships, e) establishing relationships with First Nations, Métis, and Inuit parents/guardians, Elders/Knowledge Keepers, local leaders and community members
Competency 5:  Supporting the Application of Foundational Knowledge about First Nations, Métis, and Inuit for the benefit of all students, Achievement of this competency is demonstrated by indicators such as:

(a) understanding the historical, social, economic, and political implications of treaties and agreements with First Nations;
(b) aligning resources and building the capacity of the school community to support First Nations, Métis and Inuit student achievement;
(c) enabling all school staff and students to gain a knowledge and understanding of, and respect for, the histories, cultures, languages, contributions, perspectives, experiences and contemporary contexts of First Nations, Métis and Inuit; and
(d) pursuing opportunities and engaging in practices to facilitate reconciliation within the school community.

Section 1: Indigenous Education Resources:  Where do I start?
This session will support educators in using resources that accurately reflect and demonstrate the strength and diversity of First Nations, Métis, and Inuit.  You will learn about culturally responsive resources to increase your capacity in foundational knowledge about First Nations, Métis, and Inuit.  In addition, you will leave with tools to critically review First Nations, Métis, and Inuit resources for classroom and professional use. 

Section 2: Our Shared History, Our Shared Future:  A Brief Introduction to Treaties
This introductory workshop will explore historical and contemporary information and resources relating to numbered treaties within Alberta. Educators will build their understanding of the acknowledgment of land and people, as well as our shared responsibilities to the land and each other.   Participants will engage in dialogue and reflect on their professional learning in order to build capacity in treaty education.

All the resources and workshops were created in collaboration with local Elders, Knowledge Keepers and Cultural Advisors within Alberta. You will leave with lots of information to support your learning journey, as well as supporting others, as we move from inspiring to requiring in Indigenous education!

Note: This session is a combined session with the Leading for Learning 2019 short course participants.

Melissa Purcell is Denesuline and a member of Smith’s Landing First Nation in Treaty 8 territory. She is an Executive Staff Officer, Professional Development, Indigenous Education with the Alberta Teachers’ Association and is the team lead for the Walking Together: Education for Reconciliation project. Purcell has experience teaching in Alberta band, charter and public schools. At the district level with Edmonton Public Schools she held the positions of teacher consultant, program coordinator and supervisor of First Nations, Métis and Inuit education.

A graduate of Concordia University of Edmonton, Purcell has demonstrated commitment to supporting and building the capacity of her fellow teachers in the areas of First Nations, Métis and Inuit language, culture and education. In addition to her valuable learned and lived experiences, Purcell in passionate in collaborating with education partners to develop culturally responsible resources and practices.

5:30 – 6:30 p.m.  Dinner (First Nation traditional feast)
6:30 – 8:00 p.m.  Opening session continued
8:00 – 8:15 p.m.  Session evaluation and journal reflections
8:15 – 10:30 p.m.  Get-Acquainted Social Activity; Appetizers and punch hosted by CASS

Wednesday, July 3: Student Alumni Center

8:45 – 11:45 a.m. “Seeing the Big Picture: Leading Upward and Outward” (Presenters: Jody Dennis and Ray Hoppins)

Leadership Competency #9: Understanding and Responding to the Larger Societal Context suggests that if the principal is to be an effective leader, he/she must understand the “Big Picture” – i.e. how systems, both internal and external, interact.  

How does a leader advocate for his/her school and diverse community needs while responding to political, economic and legal realities/contexts, conditions?  How does a school leader manage the occasionally competing interests of school and community with the expectations of the jurisdiction or provincial ministry of education?  How does the principal balance time and energy in his/her role as instructional and educational leader with that of facilitator, manager, advocate?

Many experienced leaders have remarked that this leadership competency often presented the biggest challenges as they assumed the principalship, and that this competency was the one for which they were least prepared. This session will focus on understanding and responding to such contexts and examples of the dilemma’s that principals face in their leadership roles. Participants will be presented with actual case studies that beginning and experienced principals have faced and will be asked to work together to first identify and understand the systems at play and secondly, to respond in an effective manner.  Participants will also gain a perspective of the expectations of system leaders for principals and the principal for system leaders.

In preparation for this session, participants should be familiar with Competency 9 of the LQS and its descriptors and be prepared to share “Big Picture” examples of their own.

Jody Dennis is honored to have spent the past 30+ years in education.  She has had the opportunity to be an educator as a Pre-K – grade 9 teacher, vice-principal, and  principal. Presently, she is the principal of Penhold School and was previously the principal at Poplar Ridge School, which are both in Chinook’s Edge School Division.  She has a Master of Education degree in Leadership and School Improvement from the University of Alberta. Jody has had the opportunity to be involved with the Literacy Steering Committee and the Learning Commons Visioning Committee for Chinook’s Edge School Division. She has a passion for Instructional Leadership and enjoys working alongside teachers to improve teaching and learning. Jody resides in Red Deer and enjoys spending time with her husband, Wade, and her two boys. This is the 6th consecutive year that Jody will be presenting at the Start Right short course.

Ray Hoppins has spent the last 28 years as a teacher, vice-principal, principal, and central office leader in Vegreville, Innisfail, Sundre, and Olds.  Ray has a Master of Education degree in Educational Leadership from the University of Calgary and is currently an Associate Superintendent with Chinook’s Edge School Division No. 73.  His teaching and leadership experiences transcend all grade levels from pre-kindergarten to grade 12. Ray served on the executive of the CESD School Administrators’ Association for many years and has played leadership roles on local and provincial committees in the areas of communication, mathematics, assessment for learning, program evaluation, and teacher supervision & evaluation.   He has facilitated ATA and CASS professional development sessions for teachers and administrators on topics such as educational technology and school-based leadership.   As a teacher, he served as a Pure Math 30 marker and item-writer for Alberta Education, as well as a math consultant for Central Alberta Regional Consortium.  Ray is active in his community and enjoys playing and coaching a variety of sports. He was raised on a family farm in Central Alberta and currently resides in Olds with his wife Sandi and their four school-aged children.  Ray has also presented at the Start Right Short Course for the last 13 years.

11:45 – 12:00 noon     Session evaluation and journal reflections
12:00 – 1:15 p.m.         Lunch at the cafeteria

1:15 – 4:15 p.m.            Teaching Quality Standard: What School Leaders Need to Know (Presenter: Dr. Konni deGoeij, Alberta Teachers’ Association)

Description: In Alberta, teachers are expected to meet the Teaching Quality Standard (TQS), which is a Ministerial Order. Quality teaching occurs when the teacher’s ongoing analysis of the context, and the teacher’s decisions about which pedagogical knowledge and abilities to apply result in optimum learning by students. Principals are expected to provide ongoing supervision and evaluation of teachers on the basis of the TQS and certification in Alberta is also based on the TQS. This session takes a look at the TQS and helps principals better understand the expectations to be met by teachers and what their role is within the LQS framework and provincial policy.

Dr. Konsctancija (Konni) deGoeij has worked as schoolteacher, school based administrator, teacher educator, researcher, and policy advisor in Alberta.  Being an administrator and teacher in schools from K – 12 in four different school divisions has allowed her the opportunity to work with a variety of teachers, administrators and division personnel. In addition, she is a certified mediator and published author. Konni joined the Alberta Teachers’ Association as an executive staff officer in the Member Services program area in 2004 and in 2006 became the Associate Coordinator Member Services, Administrator Services with a responsibility for professional learning and support for Alberta’s school leaders. Her doctoral focus was on relationships of trust in school settings and how these are related to important outcomes such as teacher behavior and student outcomes. Her presentations help school and district leaders to develop effective and intentional leadership practices in learning communities, where leaders feel comfortable with taking risks to bring out the best in the teachers in their schools and districts.

4:15 – 4:30 p.m.        Session evaluation and journal reflections
6:00 p.m.                    Banquet and Social with Leading for Learning participants (Location: Student Alumni Center)
7:00 – 8:00 p.m.       The Bearpit with Dr. Konni deGoeij, Alberta Teachers’ Association

As a school based leader, you now have significantly more responsibilities than you did as a classroom teacher. This session will be a question and answer session allowing participants to ask a variety of questions of our ATA Member Services staff officer. Questions of a general nature will be answered with topics such as staffing, collective agreements, policies, difficult situations, and what to do when?… scenarios. Therefore, we encourage you to bring you questions – and ask any question – in an open and honest dialogue about your current position. Some of the answers may surprise you, but, more importantly, they will assist you in making good decisions

8:00 – 11:00 p.m.    Games, Socializing and Networking

Thursday, July 4:  Student Alumni Center

8:45 – 11:45 a.m.    “Where to ‘Begin’ When I Don’t Know What I Don’t Know”- Leadership in a Dynamic Educational World (Presenter: Pam Davidson)

The role of a school-based administrator is one of the most influential, complex, challenging and rewarding in education today and this session will dive right into some of the intricacies of fulfilling that role in the dynamic educational landscape. We will discuss, how as new administrators, you can begin to define yourself as a ‘formal leader’ in your school setting.   As leaders charged with the mandate of marrying literacy and numeracy foundations with contemporary competencies, and more ubiquitous and flexible access to courses and programs, combined with tight resources, each of us is confronted with blending the educational structures in which many of us learned, trained and have taught with new and emerging structures that are being created. We will share and exchange successful strategies that have been used in this ‘evolutionary’ process and discuss how to navigate some of the barriers to this ambitious and important work as new leaders. Participants will be provided with some specific tools that they can take back and use in their respective contexts. As Dr. Richard Moniouszko stated, “We need to prepare kids for their future, not our past.” and we will talk about how we can go about doing just that.

Pam Davidson remains excited about the invigorating and demanding times we currently inhabit in education.  She has just completed her thirty-fourth year in teaching and still declares, “There is never a dull moment.” Her commitment to student leadership throughout her career fueled her passion as a high school English teacher and as a school-based leader at both the middle and high school levels. Her time as president of the Alberta Association of Students’ Councils and Advisors, as well as her time as the Alberta representative for the Canadian Student Leadership Association created a professional network that impacts her work daily. At the provincial level, Pam’s work as the chair of the Alberta Excellence in Teaching Awards formal selection committee for seven years provided her the privilege of learning about amazing leadership and teaching practice occurring all across Alberta.  After an undeniably engaging sixteen years as an administrator, she is now the Director of Learning Services with Rocky View Schools. Pam is incredibly honoured to be presenting at Start Right for the 10th time.

11:45 – 12:00 noon    Session evaluation and journal reflections
12:00 – 1:00 p.m.       Lunch at the cafeteria

1:00 – 4:30 p.m.     “Creating Safe and Caring Schools” (Presenter: Dr. Scott Morrison)

Thoughtful administrators engage in routine activities every day to help ensure their schools are safe and caring. Scott will share some principles from both personal experience and research that empower administrators to create a safe and caring culture in a very intentional way. Scott’s focus will be on how the administrative team can create and promote a safe and caring culture by managing attention and by managing meaning.  

Dr. Scott Morrison is the Chief Superintendent of Christ the Redeemer (CTR) Catholic Schools, serving approximately 10,000 students in Okotoks, High River, Brooks, Strathmore, Canmore, Drumheller, and Oyen. Scott has been an educator for over 25 years, also serving in roles as a secondary classroom teacher, an elementary school principal, a high school principal, a division principal, and an associate superintendent. Scott also serves as a sessional instructor in educational psychology at St. Mary’s University in Calgary. Scott has a B.Ed. from the University of Lethbridge, an MA from Gonzaga University, and an Ed.D. from Taft University.  Scott has presented dozens of professional development workshops on the topics of academic achievement, creating safe and caring schools, classroom management, educational leadership, teacher supervision and evaluation, schools of hope, and student engagement. Scott’s research interests include formative assessment, curriculum alignment, distributed practice, student achievement, educational leadership, teacher efficacy, student efficacy, literacy, and organizational storytelling. This is the 14th consecutive year that Scott will be presenting at Start Right.

6:00 p.m.                 Banquet at the Student Alumni Center
8:00 – 11:00 p.m.   Socializing and Networking

Friday, July 5: – Student Alumni Center

Please check out of accommodations before the morning session.

8:30 – 11:30 a.m.  “The Keys to Surviving Year One” (Presenters: Del Litke and Kurt Sacher)

Del and Kurt will some practical suggestions and gems of wisdom for new school administrators.  Participants will be taken through a simulated role play exercise with respect to a dysfunctional staff. They will have participants reflect on personality types that typically make up a school staff and how to deal with the challenges. They intend to conclude with some practical words of advice, based on the literature surrounding successful assistant principals and principals, and based on their wide array of experiences both in the field and supervising the field. Participants will be challenged to think, have fun, and expand their skill set with respect to school-based leadership.

In his 30+ years in education, Dr. Del Litke has a total of 18 years of teaching and school-based administrative experience, including 16 years at the junior high school level. He has also served 17 years at the division office level. Following his career as a school-based administrator, Del served for 12 years on the superintendency team in Wolf Creek Public Schools. Del has presented at a number of major conferences including the Alberta Middle School Association Conference, the Alberta Beginning Teachers’ Conference, CASS/Alberta Education Curriculum Symposium, the Central Alberta Teachers’ Convention, Leading and Learning Conference, and the Greater Edmonton Teachers’ Convention. He has published articles for Educational Leadership, Phi Delta Kappa, Alberta Journal of Educational Research and Journal of Distance Education. He has also served as an instructor for the University of Alberta, University of Lethbridge, Gonzaga University and Red Deer College. In August of 2010, Del joined the central office team in Foothills School Division in the position of Deputy Superintendent of Schools. In the summer of 2014, Del completed his career in public education retiring as the Superintendent of Schools in Foothills School Division.  Currently, Del maintains his passion for education serving as the Director of Leadership Learning for the College of Alberta School Superintendents. To expand his horizons, Del also recently completed a short stint as principal of a high school in Kaifeng, China. This is the 16th consecutive year that Del will be presenting at the Start Right Short Course.

Kurt Sacher has served as Superintendent of Schools in Chinook’s Edge School Division for the past nine years. Prior to that, he served for 8 years as an Assistant Superintendent in charge of Human Resources for Wolf Creek Public Schools. He has 33 years of teaching and administrative experience, including 11 years as a school-based administrator. Kurt was Head Teacher for an Outreach School in Penticton, British Columbia, Assistant Principal and Principal at Trochu Valley School, and concluded his school-based administrative experience by serving as Principal of Lacombe Composite High School for 5 years.   Kurt has presented “The Story of Lester” at venues across Alberta for the past number of years which facilitates insight around the complexity of teacher performance issues. Kurt has also presented on several occasions to schools and various other groups on topics such as: “Building an Effective Team”; “The Big Little Things Great Teachers Do”; and “Dealing with Difficult Parents”.  This is the 16th consecutive year that Kurt will be presenting at the Start Right Short Course. Kurt was appointed the President for CASS for the 2018-19 school year effective July 1, 2018 , is currently the Past CASS President, and is also a member of the C21 CEO Academy of Canada.

11:30 – 11:45 a.m.               Session evaluation and journal reflections
11:45 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.     Presentation of certificates; “Home time” and the beginning of summer vacation!

About Program Co-coordinator Elizabeth Gouthro

Elizabeth Gouthro was an educator with the Calgary Board of Education (CBE) for forty-three years.  Since 2010 until her retirement, she has served as Director, Instructional Services, (Special Education, English Language learning, psychology, Early learning, Aboriginal Education, Outreach.). Prior to this, she served as Director for Diversity since September 2007 where she has responsibility for providing culturally and linguistically services and support to the CBE. Liz has also served in numerous other areas including Area Director, Principal and classroom teacher.

Elizabeth’s academic credentials include Doctoral Studies – Educational Leadership and a Master of Education, Human Resources and Organizational Behaviour from the University of Calgary; a Bachelor of Education Degree in Secondary Education, Math and Science from Acadia University; a Master of Science Degree in Endocrinology, Dalhousie University; and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology and English, St. Francis Xavier University. elizabeth.gouthro@cass.ab.ca

Olds College Information

PDF  Campus Map

Accommodations
Participants will stay in the residences at Centennial Village! Each private room is furnished with a double bed, desk plus chair, closet with shelving, a night stand, and private bath. All units are non-smoking. Free parking is available. For more information, go to http://oldscollege.ca/student-life/student-housing/centennial-village/index.

Meals
Participants will be provided with a cafeteria meal ticket for breakfast and lunch on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. There will be a catered-meals on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evening at 6:00 p.m. Except for Thursday evening, these will be joint functions with the Leading for Learning participants. Breakfast will be served from 7:00 a.m. to 8:15 a.m., lunch from 12:00 noon to 1:00 p.m. and dinner as scheduled. Refreshments will be available during session breaks.

Location of Sessions
All sessions will be held on the beautiful Olds College Campus.  Smoking is not permitted inside the Centre or any other building on campus.

University Graduate Coursework

Registration Procedures: Start Right 2019

University Credit: Arrangements have been made with Alberta universities to offer graduate coursework for participants who are interested in extending the Start Right 2019 short course learning experience. If you are interested in pursuing this option, you will be required to register with the university and to pay a tuition fee. If you plan to register, please contact the university at your earliest convenience in order to ensure that enrollment requirements are met. The contact information is as follows:

University of Alberta
Please e-mail Dr. José da Costa, Ed.D., Professor of Educational Administration and Leadership, Department of Educational Policy Studies, Faculty of Education at jdacosta@ualberta.ca. Dr. da Costa will provide information about both the registration procedures and the additional reading and assignment required.

University of Calgary/Werklund School of Education
Please e-mail Dr. Jim Brandon, Associate Dean, Professional and Community Engagement, Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary.  jbrandon@ucalgary.ca. Dr. Brandon will provide information about both the registration procedures and the additional assignment(s) required.

University of Lethbridge
In-program University of Lethbridge M.Ed. students and current M.Ed. applicants should contact Kevin Matis at matis@uleth.ca with regard to registration with a copy to Dr. Mombourquette at carmen.mombourquette@uleth.ca who will provide information about Independent Study and Open Studies Registration processes. (i.e. deadlines and additional expectations for academic work.)

Please note: The University of Lethbridge will only take applications from U of L current and former students.

Goal:

Establish a sense of efficacy and confidence in newly appointed school leaders by providing practical, grounded advice.

Date(s):

July 2 - 5, 2019

Location:

Olds College
Olds, Alberta

Accommodations: Participants will stay in the new residences at Centennial Village! Each room is furnished with a double bed, desk plus chair, closet with shelving, a night stand, and private bath. All units are non-smoking.

Meals are included in the registration fee.

Location of Sessions: All sessions will be held on the beautiful campus of Olds College.

Senior CASS members (supervisors) are welcome to drop in!