April 2018
Newsletter of the Center for Educational Improvement
Global Views on Dynamic School Leadership & Mindfulness
Dear Educators,

Some of you may remember Ken Leithwood's research on how school leadership impacts school learning. In this month's Wow!, Dr. Joanne Robinson, CEI Board member and staff at the Ontario Principals Council, provides an update on his latest work in Ontario. Dr. Robinson also summarizes key points on leadership from several other international giants. We follow this with an article by another CEI Board member, Dr. Koncha Pinós-Pey. Dr. Pinós-Pey who is also Director of Estudio Contemplativo in Spain, provides us with an insightful look into the value and importance of mindfulness in education. 

Our third article this month, by CEI Intern, Morgan Grant, while focused on America, provides cultural insights that are important for expanding inclusion in the US as she examines how to incorporate Native American literature into our schools.
Extraordinary Leadership for Extraordinary Times
By Dr. Joanne Robinson, Director of Professional Learning, Education Leadership Canada, CEO, International School Leadership, ONTARIO PRINCIPALS' COUNCIL

Universally, we are having a lot of discussion about the needs of our 21st Century graduates in order for them to survive and thrive in changing global societies. According to Dr Michael Fullan from Ontario, Canada, and one of the world’s leaders on student achievement and change, our graduates need to go beyond the basics. He describes the ‘the six C’s of student achievement’ as: character, citizenship, communication, critical thinking and problem-solving, collaboration, and creativity and imagination (Fullan, 2013, p. 9). These six C’s are attributes that parents and the public value, and employers seek. It prompts us to ask ourselves how leaders can nurture such curiosity, creativity and authentic learning if educators are focused on covering the curriculum and preparing for ‘the test’?

Developing Compassion, Transforming Our Lives and the World
By Koncha Pin ó s Pey, Ph.D., Co-Founder of Contemplative Studies, Estudio Contemplativo, Spain, and CEI Board Member

Our world today is filled with insecurity, global competition and volatility. As a species, we seem to have perfected countless ways and means to harm and terrorize one another, ways that reveal our base instincts. In our attempt to find security, we have resorted to military "solutions" to more and more global problems. To defend our financial and social interests, we have reverted to rigid boundaries based on religion, ethnicity, and nationality.

Within our societies, communities, and families, we have fallen into divisive extremes of ideology, racial and gender identity, and narrow personal self-interest. In troubled times like these, how can anyone put much faith in humanity's potential for compassion?

Teaching Patience, Kindness, and Identity through Native American Children’s Books
By Morgan Grant, CEI Intern

“So I don’t worry anymore when the kids call me a Lake Rat. I know who I am, and I know about the lake, that we are part of it and it’s part of us”  - Jeanne of Muskrat Will Be Swimming

Incorporating Native American picture books such as Muskrat Will Be Swimming by Cheryl Savageau, can be one way of introducing multi-cultural literature to the classroom. (Kid World Citizen, 2018; Pragmatic Mom, 2017). Native American children tend to be portrayed less frequently in contemporary children’s stories than their Caucasian counterparts. However, multi-cultural literature can help to promote an inclusive environment, where more students are being represented and understood (Kid World Citizen, 2018; Pittman, 2017)

Transforming Our Lives, Transforming the World
Human connection is important. Whether you are a leader or a teacher, grounding your work with trust, considering student needs and interests, fostering collaboration, and expressing empathy and compassion will bring us a step closer to one another - something that is gaining in importance in this digital age.

Christine Mason
Center for Educational Improvement