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Celebrating the collective contributions of VSB Administrators: Principals exemplify commitment to continuous learning through cross-continental learning exchange

| Categories: Curriculum & Learning, Our People, Programs

This past October, a group of District administrators hosted 19 school leaders from Australia as part of the Leading Educators Around the Planet (LEAP) study tour organized by the BC Principals and Vice Principals Association. The Australian leaders visited several schools throughout the District, including Norquay Elementary, Weir Elementary, Britannia Secondary and Windermere Secondary. 

During the study, the leaders shared their school experiences from Australia and had collaborative discussions with the administrators about the culture and nature of their school communities. At the end of the visit, administrators left the study with a renewed appreciation for cross-continental collaboration and felt excited to share ideas for building exemplary educational communities.  

To celebrate Administrators Appreciation Day this year, we’re sharing special reflections from Riley McMitchell, principal at Weir Elementary and Rose MacKenzie, principal at Britannia Secondary during their participation in the LEAP study tour. Administrators play a key role in providing safe, welcoming and engaging learning environments for students and school staff. The LEAP study tour is one example of their commitment to continuous learning and improvement. Their dedication is always admirable, and on this Administrators Appreciation Day at the VSB, we want to acknowledge and celebrate their dedication. 

LEAP study tour at Weir Elementary | Written by Riley McMitchell, principal

“As part of the LEAP study tour, I had the privilege of welcoming a group of Australian school leaders into our new seismically safe school. While it was incredibly exciting to show off some of the unique features and creative decisions we’ve made for our new learning spaces, what lay at the core of all our discussions was a focus on creating caring, innovative spaces where learners can thrive. A building is only concrete, wood and glass unless we create meaningful learning experiences within it. We discussed ideas both large and small from our structures and approaches for nurturing professional learning in our schools, to how best to support students with exceptional needs. It was also interesting to see the connections with their [Australian school leaders] increased focus on weaving Indigenous cultures into their school systems—a practice we also like to include in our school. 

At the end of our time together, they gifted our school library with a set of wonderful children's books from a variety of Australian authors that are used widely within their schools. Our continents may be separated by thousands of kilometers, but our focus on nurturing and serving our learning communities remains the same. Upon reflection, my biggest takeaway is the transformational learning that can happen when school leaders create space to share our diverse stories.” 

LEAP study tour at Britannia Secondary | Written by: Rose Mackenzie, principal

“Recently, the LEAP study tour provided an opportunity for Australian principals to meet with their BC and Ontario counterparts. They had many questions about our BC curriculum, the varied programs offered in our schools and the collaborative frameworks educators engage in regarding student learning. Although there were some differences when discussing the Canadian and Australian school systems, it was not a surprise that the same challenges that we as BC principals experience, are also experienced by principals in Australia. What was heartening was the acknowledgement that whether in Canada or Australia, the focus is always on student learning. It was a real pleasure to meet the Australian principals and I hope they found their visit to our BC schools worthwhile and informative. In turn, I would love the opportunity to visit some Australian schools. Several business cards were shared should a visit down under happen in the future!” 

To honour administrators and the vital role they play in students’ success, the District will once again offer two $2,500 student scholarships at the end of the school year. Read about last year’s scholarship winners. 

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