Category Archives: Guest writers

We Are Not Living an Era of Change but a Change of Era


“We Are Not Living an Era of Change but a Change of Era”

By Chris Lowney

Chris Lowney is a keynote speaker at the upcoming CPCO Conference 2018. To register for the conference, visit our website.

Pope Francis said, “We are not living an era of change but a change of era.”

One could engage in intellectual debate about his claim: is it really a change of “era”? But this much is beyond debate: we’re living through a complex, volatile moment in history. One that is challenging leaders in Politics, Business, Religion, and not least, Education.

To thrive in this new environment we must all pick up some new skills and abilities, including this one: to become comfortable with the reality of being uncomfortable. It feels deeply uncomfortable, for example, to have to plan for the future when one can’t predict the future with any confidence. It feels deeply uncomfortable to have to make decisions amidst circumstances that seem to change constantly. Faced with such realities, some leaders shrink from the task. They step back, hoping that things will go back to “normal.”

But I’m afraid that volatility and complexity are here to stay. Therefore, we will all have to learn to step up and lead amidst such challenging circumstances. Put differently, we’ll have to get comfortable with being uncomfortable.

I’m looking forward to discussing this and other ideas during my keynote presentation at the CPCO Conference. It will be my great privilege to present to educators who are making a powerful difference in our society.

Chris Lowney
Chris Lowney

Chris Lowney is the author of seven books, including the award-winning Make Today Matter: 10 Habits for a Better Life (and World). He founded Pilgrimage for Our Children’s Future, which supports education and healthcare projects among severely impoverished, marginalized communities, and also co-founded Contemplative Leaders in Action, an emerging leader formation program now active in a half-dozen cities.

Coding at your school

Kindergarten students at St. William School

Kindergarten students at St. William School, WECDSB, dive into their inaugural coding experience.

Coding with Kinderkids!

By Carl Bull, Principal, St. Williams School

Sandwiched among the many responsibilities of administrators is the hope that innovation can be fostered at your site. Technology innovation can be a challenging minefield with multiple platforms (Apple, Microsoft, Google, etc), a formidable number of applications and wildly varying staff skill levels. My goal with this blog is to foster a conversation and provide some starter points for those elementary administrators who hope to push their school along the continuum of enriched technology experiences for their students.

There has been a significant amount of discussion in regards to coding. Jurisdictions as diverse as Estonia, Great Britain and here in Canada, British Columbia, have mandated the inclusion of this process in their curriculums. Although it can be very challenging to discern between what is a fad and what is “mission critical” for our students, I believe coding represents the latter. I love how it mimics the logic of STEM subjects, especially math, but in a fun and cleverly “masked” fashion for our pupils.

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How to make those difficult conversations a little bit easier



How to make those difficult conversations a little bit easier

By Michael Bungay Stanier

Michael Bungay Stanier is a keynote speaker at the upcoming CPCO Conference 2017. To register for the conference, visit our website.

As a Principal, you’re likely used to having conversations of all kinds with students and fellow employees, but having to tackle a difficult discussion with a parent is another feat altogether.

I’m sure many Principals can recall a difficult conversation (or two, or three) they’ve had to have with a parent. Maybe the parent was unwilling to listen, maybe they weren’t supportive, maybe they were overly concerned or all around confused. We’ve all been there — in that awkward, difficult-conversation twilight zone, where everything seems to spiral downwards.

Luckily, there are a few ways to make your next difficult conversation a little easier, and it all essentially comes down to improving communication.

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Authentic Recognition of Catholic Values

Catholic Values

Authentic Recognition of Catholic Values

By Carla Collier, Vice-Principal
Our Lady of Grace Catholic School
Angus, Ontario, SMCDSB

Catholic values are at the very root of the tree of life. If the roots are strong, the tree will blossom. As Catholic leaders, we have been given the awesome opportunity to grow together in our faith as members of a Catholic school community. And it is through the teaching of Catholic values that we will create a healthy, strong and blossoming tree that will demonstrate who we are. As said in the Gospel of John; “I am the vine, you are the branches.” (John 5:15)

Effective modelling and authentic recognition of our Catholic values are essential for the spiritual and emotional growth of our students as well as ourselves. Living out our Catholic values is a lifelong journey wherein we are always learning from our own actions as well as those around us; both young and old.

There are plenty of examples of love, service and compassion that surround us throughout our daily encounters with the people in our lives. However, at times, we can get inundated with daily tasks and chores and those ‘feel good’ stories of truth, courage and kindness may get lost amid the day’s responsibilities. We may get so caught up in our own work that we lose sight of the small yet important actions that make us all caring and helpful human beings.

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Mental health series, part 5


CPCO Associates and their experience with Starling Minds

By Andrew Miki

Andrew Miki

In late 2015, CPCO and Starling Minds’ founder and CEO Dr. Andrew Miki launched an online mental health initiative supporting our Practising Associates. Starling is an online program available to all CPCO members. The program includes an example of an administrator named Virginia to help explain mental health concepts and how to increase resiliency to stress. To learn more about Starling Minds, please read our earlier blog posts.

The Starling program was developed by Dr. Andrew Miki. Andrew is a registered psychologist with over 10 years of experience working with patients to treat depression, anxiety and other mental health issues using Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT).

This is the fifth of several posts Andrew is contributing to our blog.

It has already been one year since CPCO and Starling Minds began working together! I would like to thank the 100+ Practicing Associates who have become Starling members and CPCO for their progressive commitment to mental health. We believe that healthier and more resilient educators will lead to a better education for all.

Over the past year, your feedback has been invaluable. We have learned that Virginia’s stressors have resonated with CPCO Associates and helped many of them feel that they are not alone. Also, personal testimonials and data analyses have proven that the Starling program has improved the quality of many CPCO Associates’ lives. For example, Practicing Associates who have used Starling, have experienced statistically significant improvements in their anxiety and depression symptoms by 10-15%. Similar improvements were found in their everyday lives including work productivity, relationships and participation in hobbies.

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