Gisella Scalia joined the Ministère de l’Éducation et de l’Enseignement supérieur (MEES) resource team which was assembled in the fall of 2017 to assist with the implementation of the Academic and Career Guidance Content (ACGCs) across Québec. Her title is almost as long as her career in education: Regional Resource Person for the Academic and Career Guidance Content (ACGC), Anglophone Sector, Direction de l’adaptation scolaire (DAS) at MEES. In addition, Gisella works with the Direction des services à la communauté anglophone (DSCA).
The MEES put together a team of seven “regional resource” personnel whose mandate is to assist with the implementation with the ACGCs from 2017 to 2020. While the other six people on the team are assigned a regional grouping of French school boards, Gisella is responsible for the Anglophone sector’s nine English school boards and the bilingual Littoral School Board. “We all have our regional mandates, but we work as a team.”
Student learning that is meaningful and profound
First and foremost, Gisella wants to emphasize that she is available, eager, and willing to help education professionals with content and implementation. The biggest challenge for Gisella is time: time to meet with all the professionals and build relationships, to help them optimize their existing GOAL-related activities, and to assure them that she knows they have the talent to create effective ACGC activities. “We must invest the time necessary for student learning that is meaningful and profound,” says Gisella. Last fall her priority for her “first 90 days” was to make contact with the GOAL consultants and other professionals to disseminate the information coming from MEES to the schools. That meant creating links with people so that they were comfortable with sharing their ideas and aligning their activities with the “expected student learning outcomes.”
I’m a real human person here to help.
Multiple experiences in education to draw upon
Gisella has worked as a behavioural technician, an Elementary Cycle Three teacher, a Secondary math teacher, and as a vice-principal at both elementary and secondary schools. She is well familiar with the realities and challenges of teachers and administrators, especially in implementing change. “Change is never easy,” says Gisella, “but to implement the ACGCs, we don’t have to change everything we are doing! Activities now need to be directly linked to expected student learning outcomes to have the greatest impact, and students must understand what they are learning and why.”
Virtual meeting format
While the other regional resource team members have an obvious geographical boundary, Gisella is responsible for all of Québec. It would be impossible for her to travel to every English school board because of budgetary restrictions. Although she is physically located in Montreal, the telephone, email, online meeting platforms such as VIA, and other cost-effective technologies can mediate the physical distance between her and her school board contacts.
Community of Practice in a nutshell
The ACGC Community of Practice (CoP) for professionals is a specifically targeted “platform where we can share knowledge, expertise, and best practices in the implementation of the ACGCs so that students reap the greatest benefit,” says Gisella. The CoP is an opt-in group comprised of members from the ten school boards who will be working together to share and develop activities. Completed activities and learning situations will be made available through MEES channels.
Final words: instruct, socialize, and qualify
Gisella adds that, “the ACGCs are directly tied to the school’s three-fold mission to instruct, socialize, and qualify. They are research-based, so their foundation is solid. We are here to help, ultimately to maximize student learning.”
Gisella can be reached at Gisella.Scalia@education.gouv.qc.ca or 514-483-7200 x 5255.