Bradford, Magnusson are among principals recognized nationally
Being a school principal entails so much more than just what happens within the halls of the school itself.
It is one of the common traits shared by those in the profession and it is particularly evident in the cases of Michael Bradford and David Magnusson.
The two Saskatchewan educators, from Saskatoon and Regina respectively, were among 40 principals from across the country who were recognized by the Canada’s Outstanding Principals program.
Bradford, who is in his fifth year at École College Park in Saskatoon Public Schools, is committed to building family within his school community.
It is a similar scenario for Magnusson who is Principal at Sacred Heart Community School in inner-city Regina. Much of his focus has been on building parental engagement as a key part in working with First Nations and Métis students in particular.
Bradford said while it’s exciting to be honoured for his work, “it’s really an award that our whole school and community has worked for,” adding that he is filled with gratitude for all of the work our teachers and families put into supporting students.”
A published author, Bradford has been instrumental in the school division’s Literacy for Life program. He is keenly interested in increasing learning outcomes in literacy for all students, but especially for First Nations and Métis students, who form 13 percent of École College Park’s population.
Elders are an important component and frequent visitors to the school in an effort to help Indigenous students reconnect with their culture, while also striving to make sure each student has a positive relationship with a trusted adult.
All students learn pow wow dancing, drumming, jigging, singing, art, fiddle and beadwork. Moreover, staff participate in interactive workshops conducted by partnerships with provincial First Nations, Métis and Inuit organizations.
“One thing that I always talk about with our staff, our students and our families is how we put family first at our school,” Bradford said. He added that means going the extra mile to really get to know people in the community.
“When I think about my colleagues, there are a lot of people in our school division who would be deserving of this award. One of the things I have learned from my colleagues is how important the principal is in setting the tone in a school building,” Bradford added.
Magnusson and his team are committed to using data to inform decision making at Sacred Heart when it comes to improving student achievement, which they found had plateaued.
When contemplating structural change, Magnusson sought advice from staff and school leaders to build consensus. Among the tangible decisions was altering the timetable, thereby providing uninterrupted learning blocks for K-4 students.
In addition, new literacy programs were adopted and math resources and approaches were also updated as part of the overall strategy.
A key component in this work was to pay particular attention to improving student attendance by building trusting relationships with parents and the greater school community and emphasizing to parents why regular attendance is of the utmost importance. Attendance at the school is at an unprecedented level of 95 percent, which is an example of Magnusson’s innate desire to learn and a drive for continual growth and improvement.
The two Saskatchewan educators will be attending a gala later this month in Toronto in which they will participate in a five-day leadership-training program at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management.
Each year, the winners of Canada’s Outstanding Principals program become members of the National Academy of Canada’s Outstanding Principals. The Learning Partnership, a national charity that supports public education and students through partnerships with government, education and business, operates the program. The award winners are recognized for innovation, leadership and creativity in finding solutions and opportunities within their school communities.