From Obstacles to Opportunities

Day 30

2015-05-30_1003 From Obstacles to Opportunities is not a new or earth  shattering notion and it’s one that I’ve written about in  the past, but this morning during my morning Twitter  scroll, I came upon this graphic retweeted by Justin  Tarte (courtesy of and it provided an  effective visual as an anchor for a few of my musings  from the past couple of days.



As a result of current labour unrest, elementary teachers will no longer be administering the Provincial EQAO test to our students in grade 3 and grade 6.  Many of our schools (especially our OFIP and low performing schools) have had an intensive support system wrapped around them this year. They were anticipating an increase in their results as a tangible measurement of how hard they have worked.


I’m wondering if in the absence of a Provincial test, which is only administered to grade 3 and grade 6 students, schools take this opportunity to create a more school based measurement of their success. Is there a way for them to measure how teachers feel about the change in their practice?  Is there something that, as a school, they create to measure students’ attitudes towards learning? In some instances, educators felt that EQAO did not adequately measure what they felt was important. Now is their opportunity to personalize it to meet the needs of their individual school community. Schools know what is important to them and they can control how they will measure that success. That’s where their focus should be.


As a result of high profile media story about dress codes, secondary administrators are more leery than ever about social media and therefore a session that I facilitated on Friday, with TVSSAC, needed to be responsive (in the moment) to their assumptions.


Whenever we are provided with the opportunity to take our “canned presentation” and modify it to meet the needs of the group, we grow as presenters and educators.  But in this particular instance, I had not anticipated the opportunity to stress the importance of populating social media with as much positive press as possible, so that when the outside world “Googles” your name or your school’s name, they will see the school shows, the Track and Field results, educators winning awards, outstanding examples of student and educator work before they see the negative press about exposed undergarments.  Friday was an opportunity to jump on my soapbox and share that school administrators can control the positives that they share on social media and they can share those things that matter to them and their school community.  That’s where their focus should be.



As a result of the recent Provincial and Board focus on mathematics, not many of our elementary schools have a literacy goal and schools need to ensure that their professional learning is in alignment with their goal.


The new landscape within our board has provided us with the opportunity to modify, refine and evolve our practice. No longer are we in a position to have to worry about turning school teams away. Our new goal is to create professional learning series where all schools will see value in the learning regardless of their school goal.  We are extending the learning beyond reading and writing.  This new world has also created opportunities for the literacy team to more purposefully work within other portfolios. We all know that “Literacy Matters” and that without the ability to read and write students will not be successful in any other subject areas, but we are now provided with more opportunities to articulate that and when those opportunities present themselves, we can have a stronger impact. We can control how responsive we will be to learning needs of the system and embrace how our learners are changing as they incorporate the world of mathematics  and we know that literacy matters, so that is where our focus will continue to be.


What recent obstacles have you turned into opportunities?

Come write with me….

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