Supporting Northern Professionals
According to research, educators (teachers of different kinds and principals) have the greatest influence on student achievement. That is why properly supporting the growth and wellbeing of our educators is sure to improve learning in schools. By working together, educators share their expertise and feel part of the bigger team of teachers in the NWT. Teachers new to the NWT need a proper orientation to the North and to the community where they will be living and working. This will help them develop important relationships with their students and the community. School principals have a particularly important job. They are key in supporting students and their families, their staff, and the school-community relationship. Principals also need opportunities to learn, with better supports to help them manage their many different responsibilities.
The work of Education Renewal in this area focuses on supporting conditions for excellence in teaching. This will be done by improving professional supports and conditions. In the last number of years, the role of teachers is changing due to access to information through the internet and to research about how people learn best. So how does that change the type of learning done in today’s classrooms? Research is being done through Education Renewal to find out how educators around the world are given time and opportunities to work together and develop their skills. This research will likely lead to piloting new approaches within different school day, school week, and school year structures.
Immediate actions from this area of focus include improving the Educational Leadership Program (ELP); this is mandatory summer training for principals in the NWT. As well, a New to the NWT Educators’ Conference (N2NEC) was piloted in August 2015 and will be offered again in 2016. Improvements to the current educator mentorship program will be made and supports specific to small school principals will be put in place. Finally, a new online space for NWT educators to access ongoing learning opportunities, collaborate and share their expertise with each other will also come out of this work.