October 2012: Leading Student Achievement: Networks for Learning

In October 2012, Elementary and Secondary school principals and system leaders gathered to kick-off year 8 of the Leading Student Achievement project. The symposium began with a brief introduction from a representative from each of the Ontario principals' associations.

Mary Jean Gallagher, Assistant Deputy Minister, Student Achievement Division at the Ontario Ministry of Education then spoke, and began by paying tribute to principals and vice principals for their work in schools and their participation in the LSA project. She then went on to speak about the role of system leaders in improving student achievement, and listed three components of the role of the leader.

Dr. Steven Katz, from the Department of Applied Psychology and Human Development at O.I.S.E./UT followed with a presentation on intentional interruption.

In the afternoon, a video titled, "LSA: Reflecting Back/Moving Forward" was shown which included the thoughts and insights of a number of participants who have been involved in the LSA project.

Dr. Ken Leithwood then presented spoke about the purpose of the LSA project and described six important recommendations for school and system leaders.

Supporting Student Achievement: The Role of the Principal and System Leadership

Mary Jean Gallagher – Assistant Deputy Minister, Student Achievement Division, Ontario Minister of Education

Mary Jean Gallagher began by paying tribute to principals and vice principals for their work in schools and their participation in the LSA project. She pointed out that one major reason for the success of education in Ontario stems from the significant leadership from the middle, namely, the work of the principals' associations and their participants.

She then went on the describe the role of system leaders in improving student achievement, and described the components of their role, which were:

  1. Building School Culture and Maximizing Student Learning
  2. Engaging Students, Staff, Parents and Community Members in Improving Student Learning
  3. Leadership Capacity

She concluded her presentation with some updates from the Ontario Ministry of Education.

Video Segments:

Comments on Effective Instruction


Comments on Applied Strategy

  Intentional Interruption: Breaking down learning barriers to transform professional practice

Dr. Steven Katz – Department of Applied Psychology and Human Development, O.I.S.E./UT

Dr. Katz's presentation on intentional interruption involved a detailed discussion that progressed through the following headings:

  • The path of school improvement
  • Building capacity for focused professional learning
  • What is learning?
  • Real learning is very hard
  • The problem with professional learning
  • The challenge with alternate forms of PD
  • What is a PLC?
  • Creating the conditions for focused professional learning
  • Five dimensions of effective leadership
  • The barriers to professional learning
  • What we need to interrupt
  • Before we talk strategies
  • Strategies as heuristics
  • Strategies for "Intentional Interruption"

Video Segments:


Confirmation Bias


Creating Demand for Learning


Illusory Superiority


Imposter Syndrome


Intentional Interruptions


Professional Development vs. Professional Learning


Professional Learning


Vividness Bias


What Influences Student Achievement


What is Learning

  LSA: Reflecting Back/Moving Forward (video presentation)

This video demonstrates the impact that LSA is having in schools and in classrooms. Representatives from the three principals' associations and from both elementary and secondary schools presented a number of common themes (e.g., use of evidence, inquiry habit of mind, parent voice, etc.).

Video Segment:

Reflecting Back/Moving Forward


participating groups

A project developed by the provincial principals' associations (ADFO, CPCO and OPC)
in partnership with and funded by the Student Achievement Division, Ontario Ministry of Education, and supported by Learnography.