Saskatchewan Bulletin Columns
Friday, June 25, 2021
There has been a lot of commentary about the extraordinary nature of this past school year and sitting back in June 2021, we hope principals and vice-principals around the province are feeling a sense of pride and accomplishment for the successful administration and management of what must have at times felt like a very long school year. To each of you, we say, “Well done and thank you!”
Over the past few months, school leaders have shared their stories in national webinars and provincial networks. A couple of themes and/or excerpts stand out and warrant recognition and a sincere thank you.
Friday, October 2, 2020
Using a metaphor to describe educational leadership is not necessarily a new idea. Most of us can recall comparing school leaders to an orchestra conductor, a gardener or a parent in our university graduate classes.
A metaphor, aptly stated, is powerful. Novelist Stephen King says that metaphors enable us to “see an old thing in a new and vivid way.” We use metaphors to process the unfamiliar. A well-placed metaphor enables us to connect and look at, and make sense of, new information and experiences with something familiar. Researchers Maguire and Braun (2019) tell us that metaphors can offer a new way of thinking about leadership and that school leaders in particular use metaphors to paint a story as they process and envision changing and anxious times.
Thursday, June 25, 2020
Offering suggestions or hints about how to end another school year seems almost perverse when the end to this particular year is like no other. There are no research articles, definitive guidebooks or YouTube how-to videos to assist school leaders in June 2020.
Monday, May 25, 2020
Of the many factors that facilitate the leader and staff member relationship, credibility stands out as significant. Leadership development experts Kouzes and Posner assert, “Leadership is in the eye of the beholder.” In other words, successful leadership is just as much about what followers perceive as it is about what the leader does.
Monday, March 30, 2020
An abundance of research produced over the past decade demonstrates unequivocally the causal relationship between the intensification of teacher workload and the undermining of teacher well-being, broadly defined. Equally, survey after survey shows that in the face of this reality, both teachers and school leaders remain thoroughly committed to the goals of their profession, their students, their colleagues, their parents, their community and to public education writ large.
However, recent research also suggests that teachers have a tipping point when it comes to maximizing the variables of workload and commitment. Consequently, principals today are asking themselves, what can I do to assure teachers that their visionary, passionate and monumentally important work is making a difference in a world of ever-tightening restraints and ever-expanding responsibilities within the professional environment?
Tuesday, November 26, 2019
Instructional leadership is a ubiquitous term. There are no end to the number of books, journal articles, websites and blogs dedicated to this topic, each underscoring the critical importance of the instructional leader’s role and offering tips and hints for today’s busy school principals. Easier said than done I suspect.
Saturday, October 19, 2019
Reading the recently released report, Alberta School Leadership Within the Teaching Profession 2019: Seismic Shifts and Fault Lines: Experiencing the Highs, Lows and Shadows, worked to confirm my hopes and my fears for principals as instructional leaders in schools today. The research, sponsored by the Alberta Teachers’ Association and conducted by researchers from the University of Alberta, shares findings from a 2019 study of school leaders across publicly funded schools in Alberta.
Monday, June 25, 2018
How best to describe the leadership life of a teaching principal in rural Saskatchewan today? Given the number and diversity of rural communities across Saskatchewan, metaphors range from hero to workhorse, to street entertainer to fully charged batteries! And according to recent research out of the University of Saskatchewan, each of these aptly describes the unique and complex role of a large percentage of principals in western Canada’s rural and remote schools (Wallin & Newton, 2014; 2013).
Principals, as the recognized formal leader of the school, provide a vital link between the school and community. Across Canada, rural principals often have a deep “personal-historical link to the school community” (Foster & Goddard, 2003), a fact that contributes to their sense of ownership and/or responsibility as a local leader.