Education news round-up: February

Recognizing outstanding principals

Being a principal can be tricky: it’s a balancing act of instructional leadership, administrative functions and human resources. In recognition of this tough job that fewer people want, the Globe and Mail profiled five principals from public-funded schools in Canada. The five were among those honoured by The Learning Partnership yesterday. Although the problems they face are particular to their school areas, some challenges are universal. For example: Sheldon Barry of Holy Heart of Mary High School in St. John’s says he has to motivate students just to stay in school. The high demand for skilled labour in Newfoundland means students see unfilled, well-paying jobs in their area that don’t require higher education.  Meanwhile, Andrea McAuley of R.H. Cornish Public School, Port Perry, Ont. explained that her school must now prepare students for a workforce they are unfamiliar with.

The newspaper is soliciting comments on what makes a good principal. We want to know your thoughts on the matter. What qualities do you see in great principals? How have they made a difference in your life?

First Nations to get more control over education

Under the retooled First Nations control of First Nations education act, to be tabled in the coming months, First Nations would have “control of their education system and enables the incorporation of language and culture programming in the curriculum,” the CBC reported this month.

Computer science ed in Canada

To mark the occasion of the second annual Canadian Computing Education Day, CanCompEd created a crowd-sourced video project which showed how schools and students across Canada are using computer science to innovative ends.

Intergenerational project celebrates Heart Month and Valentine’s Day


The month of February lent itself to an opportunity to connect Valentine’s Day with Heart Month, the fundraising campaign organized by the Canadian Heart and Stroke Foundation.

To celebrate these two events, the Grosse-Ile and Entry Island CLC organized workshops where students crafted valentines and put messages inside promoting healthy hearts. The valentines were then delivered to local seniors, along with a heart-friendly cookie or muffin baked by the students. Each student-made valentine promoted the Heart and Stroke Foundation website, where seniors could find more healthy heart tips and recipes.

Grosse-Ile and Entry Island CLC coordinator Nancy Clark said someone approached her about hosting a card-making activity.

“I noticed the mini-grants–Heart Month in February and Valentine’s Day–so it was an idea to do the card making and healthy heart combined,” she said.

Participants included 15 students, plus their parents or grandparents. On Entry Island, the activity was a full day event. In Grosse-Ile, two sessions were held, along with a baking session. Participants also were involved in delivering the valentines and treats to seniors.

“Here, we are still a very traditional community,” said Nancy Clark. “We’re kind of stuck in the middle of modern and traditional life. For students to have a sense of belonging and understanding of who they are and their community, they have to have that connection with the elderly folk.”




CLC Teachers on Edmodo

edmodoFacebook turns 10!  But we are aware that facebook, the social network revolution and schools don’t really mix easily.

An alternative for teachers has been created called Edmodo.  It’s a free and safe way for students and teachers to connect and collaborate.250px-Edmodo_logo.svg

I’ve created a CLC Teacher Institute space that I hope will allow us to share resources and tips.  Teachers can join the group by clicking


CLC Teacher Institute- Framing Films

Reflecting on the way I learn, it becomes evident that I am an auditory and visual learner.  This probably explains why I love using movies to explain Community Learning Centres (CLC) and Community Based Learning projects.

At the CLC Teacher Institute I used 3 short films to frame the 2 days.  Interested in an encore presentation?

Short Introduction to CLCs

Project Based Learning: Explained

Collective Impact: A New Model For Social Change

Funding Community Based or Service Learning Projects

I’ll go out on a limb here and say that finding funding to support community based learning projects is not a priority role of the teacher.   Part of sharing roles and responsibilities is collaborating with your CLC coordinator or community partners to pull together financial and human resources to meet the needs of the school and community.

Often a big question to ask is, what is the goal of the project?  Often, school boards and community partners share those goals and CBSL projects can contribute to achieving them.  Is it student perseverance?  Is it a safe and healthy community?

Over the last few years, we have observed a niche role of some CLC coordinator is sitting on local and regional Table de Concertation.  The efforts of the coordinator ensures the school is literally at the table when discussions take place about how funds supporting healthy communities (Québec en Forme) or student perseverance (Réunir Réussir (R2) should be used.   In the spirit of collective impact, speak to your CLC coordinator about the type of services available and what criteria must be met.  Services could dovetail with community based learning or service learning projects.

All that being said.  Below are some examples of grants that a school can easily apply for;