President’s Message by Sue Elliott

June 2013

Collaborative Conversations Using Data? Are you hearing any?


As this school year ends I would like to take the opportunity to thank members of the Learning Forward BC Board for their dedicated work over the past year.  As a cross role group we bring varied perspectives to our purpose of enhancing networks of quality professional learning. At our recent AGM we were pleased to welcome Dr. Sharon Cohen as a member at large. Sharon brings a wealth of experience from the leadership role she held as assistant superintendent in Surrey.


Much of our focus this year has been on developing our website, and in supporting learning teams in their work with data – using information to inform decisions about instruction and professional learning. The district teams that engaged in facilitated touchback sessions following the January session on Got Data, Now What? Building and Sustaining Collaborative Cultures with Bruce Wellman, have been excited about the shift in their thinking, and the need for more colleagues to be engaged in their conversations.  We are pleased that he is returning for more work with Got Data? Now What? on Oct 4.


The success of these sessions created questions for our board members:  “What is the state of collaborative cultures in BC? What are characteristics of a truly collaborative team? Under what conditions might they most effectively develop?”


Learning Forward BC is excited to be offering Network Conversations to explore this issue. Participants will leave with their thinking challenged, stories from successful cross role collaborative teams, and with tools to use.


Over the past months I have been listening to conversations about IEP and school based team meetings, and staff meetings. Inevitably, the issue of tracking student learning and monitoring successes and challenges has arisen, as has the issue of whether conversations and decisions have been truly collaborative. I have been listening for evidence using data to make informed decisions about student progress, reporting, and decisions regarding a focus for growth – in the realms of academic, social emotional and behavioural goals.  I have also listened for questions arising about what professional learning is required to address student needs. I wonder – have YOUR conversations and decisions been focused on using data to inform decisions? Have your conversation and decisions been truly collaborative?


To continue with the success and build on the success of this year, we are excited that Bruce Wellman will be offering a session on Got Data, Now What? Building and Sustaining Collaborative Cultures on Oct 4. LFBC will also be hosting Network Conversation exploring collaborative cultures. Please see the website for more information

I leave you with food for thought as you reflect upon your year, and think about working in a ‘moving school’ and enhancing your professional learning next year:


“Providing data, both qualitative and quantitative, in a variety of forms, allows group members to develop collective understanding from their work”  [Unlocking Group Potential to Improve Schools, Garmston and von Frank. p. 87].










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