1. I’m not sure how you have concluded the traits of a great leader have changed since 1985. Certainly the application of the leadership traits are different, however, I’m convinced the core elements of effective leadership are unchanging. Maybe the turmoil in education is the notion that as times change so do basic principles. Otherwise very thought provoking.

  2. Is it not strange that the leader is responsible to build a “shared vision”. “The principal builds a shared vision, fosters the acceptance of group goals and sets and communicates high performance expectations.” It seems unlikely there will be a shared vision or acceptance of goals until the organization develops the voice of individuals. One of the reasons many educators look at their leaders as “tyrants” is because their voice has been marginalized or has become marginalized.

  3. Hi George,
    First, I’m glad to see that as someone who is speaking a lot in Ontario, you are taking the time to look over our Leadership Framework. Peter Skillen and I have hired many keynoters from outside Ontario and it’s been very hard (despite us sending them Curriculum Documents, monographs and publications from our Ministry, such as the framework) for them to understand that we are on the leading edge of pedagogy and policy in Education. I’m not sure if you’ve read The Global Fourth Way, but I’d recommend that, if you want to read more about how Ontario is exemplary in student and system success. I am always sharing this fact with teachers as well (and most recently my own staff) as they don’t get the same impression from most media reports and they are very appreciative when they get to hear experts like Andy Hargreaves commend them for their outstanding work. This was only brought to my attention about 3 years ago when Peter Skillen and I began working with the Ontario Teachers’ Federation and their fantastic Teacher Learning and Leading Program (TLLP) where Andy Hargreaves and Annie Kidder (People for Education) were very uplifting keynote speakers.

    Secondly, as a new administrator who has been delving into the Leadership Framework really closely over the past 3 years, it’s never been presented to me as strands that occur in chronological order, so no worries about ‘Setting Directions’ coming before the relationships piece. It’s only ever been presented to me as 5 strands that work simultaneously in our complex work as school leaders. In creating my first Annual Growth plan this month, I find that there is (fortunately) a lot of overlap and the key competencies allow me to pull out goals which can then be unpacked into action statements.

    Lastly, I don’t mind seeing technology lumped in with creativity and innovation because I see technology to mean anything we adopt as a tool for thinking and improving. Coaching, protocols, systems thinking techniques all fall into the category of tools we adopt to do things more efficiently. Perhaps thinking about the word ‘technology’ to mean something digital is what’s limiting there.

    Thanks for giving time to the Ontario Leadership Framework – I’m sure you’ll find it helpful for your work in schools!

  4. Hi George;

    I was really drawn to the connections you made with the previous version of the ‘Ontario Leadership Framework’ in your blog today. It’s very helpful to have people from outside our province analyze the ideas we have about our work, and how leadership needs to evolve in our schools. I don’t think that we (in Ontario) look at the OLF often enough (unless we are facing a Principal Performance Appraisal!).

    Really digging into the document is a valuable exercise. In my work with OSSEMOOC, we need to align our practices with the OLF, so I try to spend time thinking about how the work we are doing to connect education leaders fits in with the expected roles of school and system leaders in our province.

    What interests me about your blog post is how many of the strengths you have identified seem to be left out of the newer 2013 version of the Ontario Leadership Framework for School-Level Leadership.

    Ontario Leadership Framework (revised 2013)

    For example, the section on creativity, innovation and technology is now missing from “Setting Directions”.

    Creativity and Innovation

    It is great to see a document where ‘creativity and innovation’ are considered an important part of what we do as leaders. It is outlined in this statement:

    “ensures creativity, innovation and the use of appropriate technologies to achieve excellence”

    The only reference to ‘innovation’ I can find in the new framework is to ensure that staff are innovative in making sure students meet expectations.

    The section on being aware of trends outside of education seems to be entirely missing as well.

    Where does your vision come from?

    One of my favourite parts of the first strand is having an understanding of what is happening in the world, and building a “vision” based on that understanding. This outlined in the following knowledge descriptor:

    “The principal has knowledge and understanding of local, national and global trends.”

    This was a very popular idea on twitter this morning, but it isn’t in the current document.

    After seeing the reaction to your post in social media today, and after seeing the recent University of Western Ontario study on the role of the Principal in Ontario, there appears to be a real need for a deeper discussion of the role of school leaders in this province.

    OPC – Principals Work Report (Ontario, UWO)

    How does this recent work by Michael Fullan align with the OLF, and the reality of the role in Ontario?

    Michael Fullan at BLC14 – The Principal: Three Keys to Maximizing Impact

    I look forward to reading more of your analysis of the Ontario Leadership Framework,  and to the continuing conversation.

    Thanks for working with us!
    Donna Fry, co-Lead, #OSSEMOOC

    Ontario School and System Leaders Edtech Massive Open Online Community.


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