Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Website to create Recipes ASD

Website called yourspecialchef for creating visual recipes  

SymbolWorld.org visual recipes

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Principal Legal Duties and Liabilities

I am just wrapping up module 1 of the Principal's Development Course offered through OPC and would like to highlight my learning.

Module 1 covered Principal Legal Duties and Liabilities

When you hear "liable" and "lawsuit" as a principal your heart sinks to your stomach or mine did before gaining the information in this module. I have gained confidence in my role as an administrator and the importance of acting as an agent of the board.

As a principal you have a duty to act as defined by the acts and regulations established by the Provincial Government. It is of utmost importance that you make decisions rooted in your school board's policies and procedures. Any person of the public can hold you accountable to uphold your professional duties.

What does that mean to me? 

Very few decisions need to be made in the snap of a finger which means you have time to ensure that you have checked board policy, called a friend and/or your SuperIntendent. When you document consultation with an appointed official ie. SO it provides evidence of due diligence if there was a lawsuit in the future. 

Document Document and Document some more!! 

I'm still working on the most effective way to keep notes on student behaviour and parent phone calls. I have come to realize through this module that it is something that can not be overlooked. Moving forward, I am going to be even more diligent at recording conversations with parents, staff, students and board personnel. 

My next step is to find a better tool to keep records of the conversations. You never know when a statement of claim will be filed. Anyone can file a lawsuit if there is a loss and they feel they are due compensation. 

What I have also learned is that even though a lawsuit can be filed at anytime by anyone the claim needs to have merit and be reasonable. As long as you make decisions rooted in board policy you are protected by indemification.

Indemification- a clause that provides legal support to a principal at the board's cost whenever a complaint arises that pertains to the principal's duties. 

As a principal we are not protected from a complaint or an investigation. But this is not something to be afraid of it is bound to happen in our career because the decisions we make are not always favourable by all parties involved. However, a complaint is not the same as a finding. If you act in accordance with board policy and the education act you do not have to live in fear. 

Are you going to make a mistake? of course. But a mistake is just that! It is only when you breach a duty that you are liable of misconduct. 

It is important to be able to distinguish between legal obligation and political management.

Legal obligations are non-negotiables and include:
  • Legal imperatives (reporting to F&CS)
  • Confidentiality of student information
  • Board policy and procedure
  • Health and safety of students
Political Management involves making choices and decisions, delivering key messages, conflict management and resolution approaches. 

The tools that are important for political management include: 
  • active listening
  •  accurate documentation
  •  consultation with peer/mentor
  • the development of mediation, negotiation, and political management skills, 
  • intervene and respond in a timely fashion
  • learn the cultural proficiencies appropriate to your community. 
Going forward I am going to look at every situation with the following three questions in mind:
  1. What are my next steps?
  2. What are my legal obligations
  3. What political management tools should I implement?

The resource that I discovered throughout this course was the Handbook for administrators on the OPC website. What I wish is that the format for the handbook was easier to access. For example, if there was a separate website to bookmark and the document was interactive.

Sunday, 20 November 2016

The Duties and Liabilities of a Principal

The role of the principal is in constant flux and the number one external influence is change to school regulations that alter the duties of the principal. According to the "The Future of Principalship in Canada," over 70 percent of principals who participated in a Canada-wide study felt that the changes in school regulation had made a significant impact on their school. With new accountability policies and the standardized evaluation of students, principals have more and more demands on their plate. The general duties of the Principal are outlined in the Education Act that can be found in the OPC Handbook or www.e-laws.on.ca.  However, it is essential that board policies are followed to avoid corporate liability. 

Corporate Liability: Court, tribunal, or other body with oversight determines that there was a failure of some sort, the "fault" may deemed to be that of the corporation, that is, the district school board.  It may be that the principal carried out duties in good faith, even if imperfectly, or that the board direction was seen to be insufficient or somehow flawed.  The board, therefore, would bear any costs arising out of such a finding, usually through an insurance policy.  Common examples of corporate liability can include lawsuits, complaints to the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal, and grievance/arbitration.

The employment contract of a principal contains an indemnification clause that provides legal support to a principal at the board's cost whenever a complaint arises that pertains to the principal's professional duties.  This support also provides  the payment of any monetary penalties. It is important to remember that a complaint is just that until the claim is determined to have merit. Anyone can file a lawsuit if they feel that they have suffered a loss. The "Statement of Claim" describes that person's view of the cause/effect of the alleged actions or inactions. An investigation will determine merit. This is why documentation is a crucial expectation of the principal. Documentation showing that the principal called the appropriate board personal to seek advice shows due diligence in an investigation. As indicated in OPC’s Handbook: A Practical Guide for Principals and Vice-principals, “develop the documentation habit [by] ensuring that forms, reports, records (detailed) are objective and make sure that tracking, filing and retention of information is precise and up-to-date”. Communication with the SO is also very important to determine clarity when making important decisions. 

So what happens when a principal fails to comply with board policy or acts unprofessional? When a principal is “in trouble”, it is deemed that his/her behaviour/actions have been negligent, unprofessional, irresponsible, and having “failed to comply with the board’s policies and procedures”. The Principal is held accountable by the school board and is liable for their actions.

Personal Liability:  A principal is responsible for their own actions.  A principal who is alleged to have deliberately violated board policy or to have committed professional misconduct could be found personally liable if those allegations were found to be true. In that case, the principal would bear the consequences of those actions such as discipline, demotion, dismissal.  Common examples of personal liability are complaints to the Ontario College of Teachers, complaints to the employer-board of misconduct, or criminal charges.  A Member of the Ontario Principals' Council is entitled to the support of the Protective Services Team for assistance in responding to such allegations. The indemnification clause does not pertain to wilful acts of negligence or misconduct. 

How do we make time to thoroughly acquire the knowledge and skills while covering all the bases expected in the role of the principal?

There are so many resources that a principal must be familiar with and take into account when making decisions:

  • Board Policies and Procedures
  • Collective Agreements, Labour Laws
  • Ontario Human Rights Code and Legislation
  • Safe Schools Act
  •  Health and Safety
  • Family Child Services, VTRA, First Aid Training
Those are just a few I'm sure you could think of more to add to the list. It is absurd to think that the average principal would be able to cite policy and regulation related to every decision that they make. What is important is that unless it comes to immediate safety of students or staff a decision does not have to made immediately. Take your time, rely on your colleagues and supervisor for advice and act in good faith and put the student first. Remember that you are part of a team even if you are a sole principal you are not alone!!

Sunday, 10 April 2016

Demo Slam - Google Summit 2016

Google slam

Speech Recognition to translate words
Imagechef.com to create a word cloud
Tagxedo does not work with goodle docs

Google Tools - In a google search type in the following and watch what happens on your screen
Do a bear roll
zerg rush
Super mario bros (find the question mark)
Atari breakout (image search)
Youtube.ca - use the force luke

App - the no procrastination app for writing

Google Calendar
-Repeat every week, day
-class scheduler for google calendar with cycle days

Create a beat and add your rap use screencast and post to youtube

Control A - will select all

Saturday, 9 April 2016

Google Summit 2016

Here were the best parts of the day:

Breakout EDU
Dr. Johnson’s Lab

  • In the room is the antidote to save the world from a zombie apocalypse you must get the antidote from the box. 
  • So much fun - The cost of the box and locks protocol is $200 shipping and tax included. 
  • There are numerous games online and available for free
  • Great for collaborative learning, team building, innovation, problem solving, learning skills

Edpuzzle - allows you to create questions throughout a video, you can crop a video, audio track allows you to replace the video with your voice, audio notes allows you to insert your voice to ask students a question, you can add a question that students have to answer, the video won’t play unless student is on tab avoids two tabs open at the same time, you can assign to google classroom, you

Peardeck - allows for interactive classroom
Go to google drive and connect more apps “pear deck” this is how the teacher would create a pear deck. Looks like a google presentation

Quizizz (like kahoot but even better)
You can assign as homework (unlike kahoot that is live)
Students don’t have to play at the same time
Fun way to give a quiz

Google Cardboard

Google  Cardboard - can buy from amazon, makes virtual reality

Friday, 24 April 2015

Professional Development Day - Small group instruction

Here is my journey towards learning more about small group instruction in both language and math.

Math Rotations in Grade 8: BUILD (Mrs. Glenda Reilly)

Both partner work
Use manipulatives
Independent Practice
Let's do some Mental Math
Device Friendly

Student Groups are formed after the pre-assessment


Math Rotations are shown on the blackboard so that students know which activity they are at


Students play jeopardy together this is an activity where they are working with a partner.

Using manipulatives students were asked to create a video to prove a theory (students could use WeVideo, Explain Everything) 

Independent Work looks more like the traditional math work with a text book however this work counts towards the student's assessment

 Device Friendly Activity is Prodigy 
Let's do Mental Math - students practice their mental math skills no calculator is allowed at this centre.

Language Rotations - Grade 2 Classroom (Ms. Lori Turk)

 Student rotation board 15 minute intervals, 7 groups, 5 centres a day

The IPad is used as an alarm so that students know when to change centres without the teacher having to stop and get their attention.

 Centres include: Chromebook work station

Guided reading station (students struggling in reading receive guided reading each day)

Read to self: Books in their book bin are at students independent reading level. These are levelled readers as well as the guided reading book for additional practice.

 Use RAZ kids for Read to Self

Writer's Workshop to practice the lesson learned from the week. Forgot to mention that the guided reading centres are only on day 2-5 because on day 1 there is whole group instruction in writing.

 Word Work station - each group has a drawer with activities at their level of understanding.

Shaping Up Reflection on the PD Day

3 Important or Interesting Points

1. The board has put together an IEP writing guide for teachers. This is an excellent tool to use when writing an IEP. The online version has an interactive table of contents so you don't have to flip through all the pages. There is a sample IEP for a grade 8 students that can be used as an exemplar when writing the annual goal, accommodations and transition plan. 

2. "The Math Cheat Book" this sounds so much better than what I remember when I was in school. The difference between then and now. The book is used as a reference for students to go back to and remember the lesson. Then you copied the lesson and then did the work and went through many books so I never went back to see an old lesson. 

What about putting the cheat book on the wall - with a math map that illustrates the journey throughout the unit. 

Even better combine the two ideas - The math cheat book could become an online tool whereby the picture of the math wall is taken and through the use of programs such as thinglink students could add notes to themselves and export the picture to google presentation. The google presentation could become the cheat book and be shared with all!


3. I learned today that I am tenacious (and that I don't know how to spell it!)

tenacious: not readily relinquishing a position, principle, or course of action; determined.

As I helped a co-worker to restore a blog that had not been written on since last year she called me tenacious. It is true I would not give up I promised to restore her blog and that was what I was going to do!

One thing that Squares my Thinking

1. What I saw today that I completely agree with is small group instruction!

One thing still Circling in my Head
How can we come together as a school to create consistency across grades, divisions and even bigger amongst the board.