Principal Connections Editor’s Message




Collaboration is all about building partnerships

Deirdre Kinsella Biss


By Deirdre Kinsella Biss
Editor, Principal Connections

Welcome to the fresh new face of Principal Connections. It is our hope that you learn from our magazine and regularly make us one of your professional reads. We make an honest effort to explore topical issues that Catholic school leaders face. It is our mission to provide different perspectives through sharing insights from our members, our Catholic partners, our global connections, as well as current research and ministry initiatives. We are in constant search for information and strategies that support best practice in order to help you learn and grow.

Collaboration is all about building partnerships

This fall publication focuses on Collaborative Professionalism. Dr. Carol Campbell aptly points out that collaboration is an attitude, behaviour and practice that needs to be learned and modelled. This is a departure from what many of us learned when we first became principals. A shift in mindset is necessary. We are now tasked with the job of creating school cultures where authentic collaboration thrives.

A key way to move the Ontario education agenda ahead is by developing collaborative, professional relationships that are open, trusting, careful, respectful and long-lasting. Cathy Montreuil highlights the spirit and intention of the new PPM 159 in her article Realizing the Vision Through Collaborative Professionalism.

Trust is the foundation

We need to build trust with our partners, too. Trust opens the doors to learning. If relational trust exists, a willingness to take a chance follows. Trust fosters genuine open dialogue and discussion between people. As Jim Knight points out in his article on Better Conversations, “Our schools are only as good as the conversations in them.” Have you reflected lately on the types of conversations that happen in your school?

Create ways for people to collaborate

What we do as school leaders is important and how we go about doing it matters. When we lead learning, it must reflect collaboration. As principals and vice-principals, we have the opportunity to design ways for educators to come together, collaborate and learn for, from and on behalf of each other. Creating impactful professional learning in our schools is vital. In Setting the Table for Collaboration, Dr. Lyn Sharratt shares her ideas for ways we can incorporate collaborative practices into our daily work. Steven Katz and Lisa Ain Dack discuss the true drivers of impactful professional learning in their article Learning about Leadership One Small Move at a Time.

Collaboration between schools

Ontario’s Leading Student Achievement (LSA) offers an opportunity for schools to collaborate and network with each other. The success of Ontario’s LSA network has gained international attention. In our feature article, Steve Munby talks about five cities in the world that have made a marked improvement in student achievement. Like LSA, these cities demonstrate that collaboration between schools is a strategy that deepens collaboration and learning.

Collaboration is a global affair and it happens in every industry in the world. Technology has enabled the efficient sharing of practice and information. Collaborative Professionalism in Ontario schools is the ticket to school improvement. Schools become better places when we share our ideas and practices. School systems become more effective and coherent when schools share their learning and practices. Individual schools become more impactful when collaborative efforts are implemented to meet students’ learning needs.

Collaborative Professionalism is the way of the future. As principals and vice-principals, it is our job to fully understand what collaboration looks and sounds like in daily practice and during the more formal aspects of professional development. The articles in this fall publication are designed to give you a fuller and deeper understanding of the different aspects and elements of collaboration.

When we collaborate effectively, we help our students to grow. And when we get it right, we grow alongside them, too.