I had a fabulous day today with the folk from York Catholic District School Board in Toronto, Canada.
They are doing some great work and are recognised as one of the best performing districts in Canada. It is easy to see why when you listen to the director, Susan LaRosa.
She has a real passion for what she does, for her staff and the kids in schools. They have a well aligned system strategic focus. It is centred around a simple and clear statement of purpose which talks about strategic purposes and expected strategic. They’re really committed to “closing the gap” between their shared vision and the shared reality.
The system strategic framework involves deep collaboration with school leaders. I had the oportunity to meet with secondary and elementary school principals who spoke powerfully about their capacity to be heard and to have input into the system agenda.
They were meeting today, as they do once a month, with their superintendent who acts a coach and mentor to them and serves as a direct link into the senoir level system leadership. The level of professional respect and trust was a joy to see. It shows what can be done when you focus on issues, not personality; on purposes not regulations; and on good data not perceptions.
I will take back much wisdom and some good practices as well a good dose of common sense. We hope to start some inter-cultural collaboration between systems in the near future!