Last week, 18 of a possible 23 principals, vice-principals and district management staff from School District 20 had a two-day, professional development session at the Hilton Doubletree in Spokane, WA.
In an email, superintendent Greg Luterbach explained that these sessions have been held for the past eight years in various cities as a way to ensure the group is “fully immersed” in the topics of discussion.
Some staff were unable to attend due to school renovations and an annual audit. According to the superintendent the total cost of the meetings was under $5,000.
“This year we spent the two days discussing how we can support the transformation of education as described in the BC Education Plan,” wrote Luterbach.
He added the sessions are held in August in order to save money by not requiring substitutes for those attending.
Sessions have also been held in Penticton, Whatshan Lake, Retallack (a helicopter and cat-skiing operation in the Selkirk mountains) and Rossland.
“This year we held our workshop in Spokane after looking for a suitable location in the Okanagan, West and East Kootenays, Northern Idaho and Northern Washington,” said Luterbach.
“We have people car pool, share rooms and pay for their own supper in order to stay within our existing professional development budget. We invest in our teachers and support staff through professional development and we need to invest in our leadership team in order to do the very best for our students.”
On day one, a review of the BC Education plan took place as well as looking at how students are changing. Groups then did an “appreciative inquiry exercise” where they described how schools could be structured to support both the BC Education plan and students. Leadership skills required to help lead people through that transformation rounded out the day.
Luterbach said that on day two they revisited previous professional development sessions related to having productive workplace conversations. Time was then spent building goals, strategies and action plans to move schools and departments forward with an eye to either the BC Education plan and/or their local vision.
Lastly, a business meeting was held discussing school startup issues.