Advancing personal and professional leadership development in Ontario Schools
Don Marshall, Lumina Learning Practitioner
I have worked with several independent educational projects in public and separate school boards over a number of years. I have worked with people from superintendents to school administrators to leadership teams. What started as a single professional leadership programme intervention has now progressed to implementation at a number of jurisdictional school boards, schools, and educational settings. Programmes involve large groups of district and school-based staff and personnel, and have now extended to the student level. Implementation models include one-on-one mediation, pair-coaching, and small and large group facilitations of individuals and identified teams, both locally and provincially formed.
Lumina Learning has received the support of the two Provincial Principal Leadership Organisations as well as the largest Teacher Federation:
- Ontario Principals Council (OPC)
- Catholic Principals’ Council, Ontario (CPCO)
- Elementary Teachers of Ontario (ETFO)
The Ontario Leadership Framework (OLF) was published by the Ontario Ministry of Education and placed into regulation in 2014. It provides a roadmap for school boards to develop and put advanced leadership concepts to work daily to meet educational goals and achieve concrete results. The framework provides principals, vice-principals, system leaders, and aspiring leaders with a clear leadership overview. It also sets out behaviours and expectations meeting the standards of provincial accountability. These are established as professional domains at both the “Personal Resources” and the “Professional Practices” level.
There was a need to create awareness and to provide school boards with a comprehensive tool that allowed for self-reflection and growth both in personal and professional leadership, while providing a means to meet the accountability standards established by the OLF.
Lumina Learning Solution
A meeting with the Ontario Principals’ Council (OPC) Director of Professional Learning garnered acknowledgement of the benefits of Lumina Learning and the establishment of an internally certified Lumina Practitioner site. A document was developed that aligned the components of Lumina Spark and Lumina Leader to the practices and expectations outlined within the OLF.
The typical programme involves the leader and their coach working through a Lumina Spark facilitation and then having their learning attached to a series of structured programme modules. As they approach the end of the programme and/or are promoted to the next level of administration, they go through a Lumina Leader facilitation with their newly assigned mentor and continue a similar pattern of modular learning and direct experience. In some project sites, a Leader 360 is completed as they approach their formal performance evaluation. The 360 review is used to build a leadership growth plan that is shared made functional within the establishment of the performance expectations. Lumina Learning is utilised as a primary resource and the delivery is customised to connect with jurisdictional programme structures and implementation models.
Over 4000 individual Lumina portraits have been produced, and counting, and Lumina Learning materials continue to be integrated at many levels.
Customised programmes using Lumina Learning materials are now embedded at multiple levels within the districts from senior level district administration down to the student level. Both the provincial professional organisations (OPC and CPCO) maintain active and internal Lumina Learning practitioner sites. Several of the public school boards have also implemented internal practitioner sites and service their constituency through the trained Lumina practitioners and monitor through the staff and leadership development departments of their school board.
“We used the Lumina Spark extensively with our leadership team. We spent five part or full days with a designated facilitator working with our team and have revisited the work periodically at our regular leadership team meetings. On a personal level it has made me a much more reflective leader and helped me to approach people and situations in a more strategic way. It has also helped me to understand our leadership team much better and has provided me with insight into how to best facilitate the work of the group to maximise our effectiveness as a leadership team.” – Secondary School Principal