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Coaching Institute for Literacy and Numeracy Leaders Sharpening the Focus…Sustaining the Momentum Dr. Avis E. Glaze Chief Student Achievement Officer of Ontario August 21, 2006. Table of Contents. Slide Number Imagine… A Preferred Future 3

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Coaching Institute for Literacy and Numeracy Leaders

Sharpening the Focus…Sustaining the Momentum

Dr. Avis E. Glaze

Chief Student Achievement Officer of Ontario

August 21, 2006

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Table of Contents


  • Imagine… A Preferred Future 3

  • A Focus on Capacity Building 4

  • A Professional Learning Community 5

  • The Coaching Institute 8

  • The Literacy and Numeracy: A Rationale 9

  • The Importance of Literacy and Numeracy 11

  • The Secretariat: Key Areas of Focus 15

  • The Secretariat: Key Strategies 16

  • Our Journey to Date (22 months) 17

  • Sharpening Our Focus 19

  • Reasons For Optimism 23

  • Educating Children for Tomorrow’s World 26

  • Key Leadership Imperatives 27

  • Reaffirming Our Mission 31

  • Concluding Statements 35

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Imagine…A Preferred Future

“Imagine a time in the near future…when people speak matter-of-factly about how dropout rates and the achievement gap are inexorably shrinking, when record numbers of students are entering college, and when professors are noticing how much more intellectually fit each year’s freshmen (sic) have become. Imagine palpable, irrepressible hope emerging in our poor and urban schools.

All of these improvements result from a new candor that has emerged in education and a willingness to see that historic improvement isn’t about “reform” but something much simpler: a tough, honest self-examination of the prevailing culture and practices of public schools, and a dramatic turn toward a singular and straightforwardfocus on instruction.”

Schmoker (2006)

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A Focus on Capacity Building

“Capacity building is a set of strategies or actions that increase the collective efficacy of a group to improve student achievement…it consists of mobilizing three elements in synergy – new knowledge, competencies, skills; new and enhanced resources (materials, time, etc.); and new and enhanced motivation. The emphasis here is on collective efficacy.”

Fullan (2004)


“In a fast changing world, if you can’t learn, unlearn and relearn, you’re lost. Sustainable and continuous learning is a given of the twenty-first century. It it’s not about learning, what should it be about?”

Stoll, Fink and Earl (2003)

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A Professional Learning Community

A professional learning community is:

“…an inclusive group of people, motivated by a shared learning vision, who support and work with each other, finding ways inside and outside their immediate community, to enquire on their practice and together learn new and better approaches that will enhance all pupils’ learning.”

Stoll et al (2006)

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A Professional Learning Community

An effective professional learning community has an

impact on:

  • Students’ learning process, progress, attitudes and attendance

  • Individual teachers’ and other staff’s practice, morale, recruitment and retention

  • Leadership capacity for learning across the whole school

  • A school’s capacity to engage successfully in networks and partnerships beyond the school

    Bolam et al (2005)

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Professional Learning Communities

The main characteristics of professional learning communities are:

  • Shared values and vision

  • Collective responsibility for pupils’ learning

  • Collaboration focussed on learning

  • Group as well as individual professional learning

  • Reflective professional enquiry

  • Openness, networking and partnerships

  • Inclusive membership

  • Mutual trust, respect and support


    “An effective professional learning community has the capacity to promote and sustain the learning of all professionals in the school community with the collective purpose of enhancing pupil learning.”

    Bolam et al (2005)

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The Coaching Institute

  • Key purpose:

    • A focus on instructional effectiveness through job-embedded professional learning

  • Key components of job-embedded professional learning include:

    • Co-teaching

    • Coaching

    • Mentoring

    • Teacher inquiry, study and classroom-based research

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Literacy and Numeracy: A Rationale

  • Educating all children to the highest level is a moral imperative.

  • A country’s citizens are its best asset. Education is a top priority for the government because learning generally, and literacy and numeracy development specifically, provides the competitive edge.

  • Making public education the best education is the single most important thing that we can do together to build a bright and promising future for all of us.

  • Public education plays a key role in building a strong economy and a strong society. Ontarians can achieve this goal by strengthening the education and skills of our people.

  • A robust public education system is the best guarantee for realizing the future we all envision.

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Literacy and Numeracy: A Rationale

  • Literacy and Numeracy:

    • Are the most important outcomes of schooling

    • Are the foundation for learning, success in school, a better livelihood and later educational and social choices

    • Make possible full participation in society. Allow students to function in an information-rich, knowledge-based society requiring advanced levels of literacy

    • Are a primary means of empowerment

  • Literacy liberates!

  • The Goal

    “… every student in Ontario will develop reading, writing, math and comprehension skills at a higher level by the age of 12. Progress will be measured by ensuring that by 2008, 75 per cent of students reach the provincial standard.”

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The Importance of Literacy and Numeracy

Students today must function in an information -- rich, knowledge based society – one that requires advanced levels of literacy to perform their duties and obligations as citizens. They need literacy to cope with the flood of information. They need literacy to feed their imagination.

International Reading Association

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The Importance of Literacy and Numeracy

  • One in four Canadian adults struggle with language and literacy deficiencies every day (Canadian Language and Literacy Research Network).

  • World Literacy of Canada states that 22 per cent of Adult Canadians have serious problems dealing with printed materials.

  • Canadians with the lowest levels of literacy skills have an unemployment rate of 26 per cent compared with 4 per cent for Canadians with the highest literacy levels.

  • Too many boys are not realizing their potential.

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The Importance of Literacy and Numeracy

A Statistics Canada study found:

  • Compelling need for Canada to evolve its strategy for literacy

  • Literacy and numeracy skills have an impact on economic growth as measured by GDP and labour productivity

  • A mere 1 per cent gain in the average literacy and numeracy skill level in Canada would create a permanent increase of $18.4 billion per year in the country’s GDP

  • Investments in human capital, such as education and skills training, produce three times more economic growth than do investments in physical capital

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The Importance of Literacy and Numeracy

The Cost to a Nation of Inadequate Education:

  • Foregone national income

  • Foregone tax revenues for the support of government services

  • Increased demand on social services

  • Increased crime

  • Reduced political participation

  • Reduced intergovernmental mobility

  • Poorer levels of health

    Levin (1972)

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The Literacy and Numeracy Secretariat:Key Areas of Focus

Theprimary focus of the Secretariat is on:

  • Assisting boards in setting ambitious student achievement targets and developing improvement plans with clearly-defined strategies

  • Engaging boards in identifying initiatives they consider necessary to improve student achievement and providing financial, material and human resources necessary to implement precise improvement strategies

  • Building capacity among supervisory officers, principals and teachers

  • Providing professional development to improve instructional effectiveness

  • Conducting research into effective instructional and improvement practices

  • Collaborating with principals’ councils, teacher federations, faculties of education and other agencies to build system capacity

  • Sharing successful practices within and among school districts

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The Secretariat: Key Strategies

  • Work with district school boards to set ambitious targets

  • Identify teams at all levels to drive continuous improvement in literacy and numeracy

  • Reduce class sizes in the primary grades to a maximum of 20 students per class by 2007-08

  • Mobilize the system to provide equity in student outcome for selected groups

  • Allocate resources to support target setting and improvement plans

  • Build capacity to support student learning and achievement

  • Demonstrate a commitment to research and evidence-based inquiry and decision making

  • Establish a growing presence on the national and international scene

  • Embark on a process of community outreach and engagement to build support for the literacy and numeracy initiative

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Phase 1

November 2004 – April 2005

Building Consensus

Reaffirming our

common purpose

and conveying a

sense of urgency

Phase 2

May 2005 – March 2006

Capacity Building

Providing leadership

development and

increasing instructional


Our Journey to Date (22 months)

Phase 3

April 2006 – August 2007

Sharpening our Focus

Developing greater

precision and

intentionality with a focus

on high-yield strategies

and equity of outcome to reach every student

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Phase 2: Building Capacity (May 2005 - March 2006)

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Phase 3: Sharpening Our Focus(April 2006 - August 2007)

Sharpening Our Focus

Improved Student Achievement

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Phase 3: Sharpening Our Focus(April 2006 - August 2007)


Isolated events Goal-oriented and strategic

Disparate goals and priorities Alignment with student achievement goal

Multiple initiatives Selected high-yield strategies

Isolated ad hoc professional development Team focussed and job embedded

Limited reliance on research and data Research-based and data-driven

Getting people’s attention Focussing on results

Building motivation and commitment to sustain the gains and to reach even higher

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During Phase 3, The Secretariat will:

Build capacity to improve low-performing schools and boards through the Ontario Focussed Intervention Partnership (OFIP)

Utilize Statistical Neighbours analyses to address the capacity building needs of schools in challenging circumstances

Implement the Schools on the Move: Lighthouse Program in which we will identify schools and implement strategies to promote inter-school and inter-board sharing of successful practices

Move towards greater precision in working with the field by ensuring that SAOs utilize a more consistent approach towards capacity building

Be more explicit in working with boards in utilizing research-based, high-yield strategies, for example:

Literacy and numeracy blocks

Literacy and numeracy coaches

Differentiating instruction

Supporting the equity agenda in order to raise the bar and close the achievement gap for students in all communities

Establishing a more clearly defined implementation chain to ensure support for classroom teachers

Sharpening Our Focus

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Reasons for Optimism(Improvement in EQAO Scores Over Time In English Language Schools)

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Reasons for Optimism(Improvement in EQAO Scores Over Time In French Language Schools)

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Improvement in Student Achievement:

The 2004/05 EQAO results are the highest achieved since the start of provincial assessments. For the first time in one year, there is improvement demonstrated in all subjects at Grade 3 and Grade 6

The gender gap is closing. There remain, however, significant gaps in performance for students in ESL/ELD programs and students with special needs

There has been substantial improvement in board results. Comparing Grade 6 2004/05 results to 2003/04, 92 per cent of boards improved in Writing, 87 per cent improved in Reading and 72 per cent in Mathematics. Within this overall improvement, there has also been a narrowing of the gap between the highest and lowest achieving boards

A significant number of boards have already met their 2005/06 targets (32 per cent for Writing, 29 per cent for Reading and 25 per cent for Math at Grade 6). The Secretariat is reviewing target setting with school boards


Observations by Student Achievement Officers:

A clearer focus on student achievement

Effective use of student data

More team planning

More books and resources

Smaller class sizes and more teachers

More effective use of research-based instructional practice

More professional development for teachers

Increased confidence, optimism, motivation and morale

Reasons for Optimism

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Educating Children for Tomorrow’s World

Ten Trends

  • For the first time in history, the old will outnumber the young.

  • The United States and Canada will become nations of minorities.

  • Societal and intellectual capital will become the primary economic value in society.

  • Education will shift from averages to individuals.

  • The Millennial Generation will insist on solutions to accumulated problems and injustices.

  • Continuous improvement and collaboration will replace quick fixes and defense of the status quo.

  • Technology will increase the speed of communication and the pace of advancement or decline.

  • Knowledge creation and breakthrough thinking will stir a new era of enlightenment.

  • Scientific discoveries and societal realities will force difficult ethical choices.

  • Competition will increase as industries and professions intensify their efforts to attract and keep talented people.

    “One thing is sure--any organization that ignores or even makes an effort to fend off the outside world is taking a giant leap toward insularity and obsolescence”

    Gary Marx (2006)

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Key Leadership Imperatives

  • Recognize that the nature, practice and expectations of leaders have changed over the years

  • Get in touch with your own theory of human nature

  • Recognize the importance of distributed leadership, inclusive decision-making and teamwork (Story)

  • Ensure that the arrangements and practices related to diversity and inclusivity are embedded in the programs, practices and interactions within your school

  • Recognize the importance of meaningful parental involvement in the life of your school and in the success of students

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Leadership Imperatives

Leaders will be judged on:

  • their achievements (results)

  • how lives (especially the disadvantaged) have been changed as a result of their leadership, and

  • how well they meet the needs of the various groups they serve

    • Glaze (1994)

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Leadership Imperatives

  • Provide a literacy/numeracy guarantee

  • Focus on student achievement

  • Ensure that program priorities dictate budgets

  • Be accountable for results

  • Focus on instructional leadership

  • Utilize data to influence decision making

  • Ensure that diversity works for the benefit of all Canadians

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Leadership Imperatives

  • Provide equity of outcome for all learners

    • Embed an anti-discriminatory/anti-racist perspective

    • Ensure that diversity of students in your classrooms is reflected in the curriculum and pedagogy

    • Ensure that your school district is an equitable one

  • Engage parents and school councils in meaningful ways

    • Forge partnerships, alliances and coalitions to support learning

  • Hone your public relations skills

    • The public has a right to know

    • Good public relations includes dialogue, access and involvement

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Reaffirming Our Mission

“We respect our ancestors’ achievements by standing on their shoulders and seeing farther, not by crouching in their shadows and seeing less.”Creighton

“Excellence is never an accident. It is always the result of focussed attention, sincere effort, intelligent and skilful execution. It represents wise choices among many alternatives.” Einsten

“Schooling will no longer be what schools do. It will certainly be a joint venture in which schools are partners rather than monopolists.”

Drucker (1993)

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Reaffirming Our Mission

“We can, whenever and wherever we choose, teach all children whose schooling is of interest to us. We already know more than we need to know to do that. Whether we do so or not will ultimately depend upon how we feel about the fact that we haven’t done so thus far.”

Edmonds (1979)

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Reaffirming Our Mission

  • Our quest for educational equity and excellence must be relentless within publicly funded education

  • Building Ontario and developing a robust education system is a challenge we have all embraced

  • This is our best guarantee for realizing the future we envision

  • The quest for equity and excellence must be relentless

  • We have accepted the call for focussed action and intentionality of purpose

  • We are called to educate a generation of students who will raise our communities and country to new heights of attainment

  • The quest to maximize student achievement must therefore be pursued with a sense of urgency

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Reaffirming Our Mission

The Canada we want:

  • Democracy and education are inextricably intertwined

  • Democracy is strongest where education is strongest

  • Democracy is not a machine that would go of itself but must be consciously reproduced one generation after another

  • There is a rich legacy that we must uphold

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Concluding Statements

  • We are in the life-changing and life-saving business. We alter destinies!

  • The question is not, Is it possible to educate all children well? But rather, Do we want to do it badly enough? (Deborah Meier)

  • Instruction, itself, has the largest influence on achievement (Schmoker)

  • Educational change depends on what teachers do and think. It is as simple and complex as that. (Sarason)

  • Teachers often teach in ways they were taught. (Britzman)

  • Blessed are the flexible…for they will not be bent out of shape!

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Concluding Statements

Leadership is about:

  • Taking people to places that they would not have gone without you

  • The ability to influence people and outcomes

  • Mobilizing the internal functioning of your organization to fulfil its mission

  • Transforming your organization

  • Motivating people towards inspired performance

  • “…persuading other people to set aside for a period of time their individual concerns and to pursue a common goal that is important for the responsibilities and welfare of the group.”

    (Avolio and Lock, 2002)

  • Ensuring that schools meet the needs of students

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Concluding Statements

  • “Teachers are heroes!”

    (Report of the Royal Commission on Learning)

  • The Hero’s Journey

  • POEM - Teachers

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Enjoy the conference!

Let’s stay the course!

Thank you!