ISABC Leadership and Collaboration Group Highlights for February 2020

Eleven productive collaborative ISABC Leadership Groups met over the past few weeks to share expertise and to learn from one another.  Please read the highlights from some of these meetings below.  

Ed Tech and System Administration Group
On January 17, Glenlyon Norfolk School hosted the ISABC Ed Tech and System Administration group. Ten ISABC schools attended in person and another four joined through a video call. After a brief introduction summarizing the latest challenges and successes of each school, Brad Carter, Educational Program Manager from Apple Canada, lead the group in a discussion around Privacy and Security. This discussion touched on the structural, cultural, and financial implications of ISABC schools supporting student and faculty data retention. Individual schools brought up several issues for discussion that were of particular interest for all in attendance. These topics included student use of mobile phones, device management, managing copyrighted multimedia, and Student Information Systems. The group wrapped up the meeting working on the ISABC Curriculum Builder Site that was launched last year. Individual skills groupings were divided among the schools and will be presented to the group when we next meet in March.
The article was written by Geoff Jones.

ISAA Athletic Directors
Athletic Directors from more than a dozen ISABC schools gathered on Friday, February 14, at York House School to share best practices and discuss current issues. Guest speaker Mr. Jordan Abney, Executive Director of BC School Sports (BCSS), presented on the work being done by the Governance Committee and the Competitive Fairness Committee. Both groups will issue reports in the coming weeks for the BCSS AGM on April 19. This year, the BCSS AGM is being held in conjunction with the National Athletic Directors Conference (NADC), hosted by the Canadian Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (CIAAA) on April 16, 17 & 18 in downtown Vancouver. Our next meeting is set for 9:30 am Wednesday, March 11 at the Coast Tsawwassen Inn. Please contact Chris Blackman ([email protected]) for more information.
The article was written by Chris Blackman.

Social Studies
The recent ISABC Social Studies meeting was held on a beautiful day in January at WPGA. There was great discussion by all regarding the new curriculum, as well as the adoption of the First People’s Principles of Learning into our programs. Additionally, some fantastic resources were shared. The final part of the morning session included a sharing-out regarding details of the Literacy 10 Assessment, courtesy of Tara Grant from York House. The latter part of the day involved looking at ways that ISABC Social Studies departments might collaborate. Finally, the group is looking for someone to host a shorter Vancouver meeting in late May and an “Island” host for October of the new year.
The article was written by Andrew Bendl.

Vice Principals
On January 27, ISABC Vice Principals from across the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island gathered at York House School to discuss the challenges and opportunities of their diverse roles, and share critical initiatives across their independent school settings. Breakout sessions included discussions on core competency integration, student leadership development, social-emotional learning, and community well-being.  The next Vice Principals’ meeting will occur in the fall of 2020, hosted by Stratford Hall. The primary focus of this meeting will be restorative justice.
The article was written by Katrina O’Connor.

Controller’s Group
Mulgrave School hosted 16 members of the ISABC on February 14 for the Controller’s meeting.  A representative from BDO Canada presented on NPO aspects of the new Employee Health Tax and stayed for a Q&A with the group.   The group used the remaining time to discuss issues related to international students, daycare fees, daily bus service subsidy, Blackbaud enrollment, and the full transition to electronic purchase orders, expenses reimbursements, and invoices.  The group values these meetings to share and gain insights from each other. 
The article was written by Rosemary Lai.

Junior School Principals 
Dr. Deborah MacNamara spoke to an engaged group of Junior School principals on Feb 24 at West Point Grey Academy. Her presentation, entitled “Why Relationships Matter: Cultivating a Culture of Connection in Schools,” challenged school leaders to look critically at the prevailing behavioural approach to education and discipline. Combining neuroscience, developmental psychology, and anthropological studies, Dr. MacNamara made a compelling case for returning to the roots of human relationship and attachment in creating connected schools that thrive.
She explained the fundamental role of emotion in human maturation and how emotion, not cognition, lies at the root of all human behaviours. When students are under stress, disconnected from their teachers, or missing vital attachment with trusted adults, their nervous systems render them less available to learning and to the maturation process that is meant to unfold in healthy development. Trust and close relationships between student and teacher are the only viable answers to this problem and cannot be carried out through a behavioural approach. With this in mind, Dr. MacNamara challenged the group to re-think the type of practices that threaten connection and elicit opposition and counter-will in students. She listed many alternatives that resonated with intuition and common sense.
Dr. MacNamara offered many rituals of attachment (collecting, bridging, matchmaking) which are essential, not only in building more positive communities, but in maximizing a teacher’s ability to have influence over their students, and thereby have the natural power to lead and teach.
The article was written by Kirsten Bowles.

On February 24, thirteen English heads of department gathered at Shawnigan Lake School. Participants discussed a variety of topics including ways schools are promoting and teaching reading, ways to deliver Indigenous content in the classroom, the different course options at the grade 10 and 11 levels, rubric design for assessment, and how schools are reporting student learning. Teachers were most interested in learning how to use standards-based assessment and how best to communicate student learning. Participants learned how schools are approaching reporting in various ways and shared their struggles and desire to find solutions to the challenges many are facing. Due to the large interest in learning more, the group committed to reading two books on the topic and meeting twice more before the end of the current school year to support each other in the face of the new curriculum.
The article was written by Carmen Boudreau. 

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