a CASSA-ACGCS Conference 2023 Presentations

Conference Presentations

2023 Conference Presentations

Updated August 1, 2023.

Thursday July 6, 2023 Presentations
1:45 PM - 2:45 PM

Session 1

System Leadership

Anna Villalta

Mirrors, Windows, and Equity: A Reflective Workshop on Courageously Shifting Practices

This conference session will provide educational leaders with a unique opportunity to reflect on the impact of their personal identity on their leadership practices. Through guided discussions and reflective exercises, participants will examine their own biases and assumptions, and develop strategies for promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion within their educational systems. This reflective session will encourage participants to challenge traditional power structures that perpetuate inequality and explore how race, class, and gender impact student achievement. By taking an identity-conscious perspective, leaders will gain the skills and knowledge needed to build more inclusive learning environments that benefit all students and staff.

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Session 2


Douglas Stewart, Colleen Galley

Beyond Donuts; Tools and Strategies for Connecting With Your School Community

The role of school administrator is one of the most complex and demanding tasks in the field of education. Most experienced leaders in the latter stages of their careers would agree with the aphorism,“ I wish I knew, then, what I know now”. Through the lens of social-emotional learning (SEL), we have drawn from the collective wisdom and best practices of a broad cross range of experienced school administrators to provide new administrators with a head start on their careers in school leadership. Whether it’s a big idea, or a fun, effort-saving tip, as you embark upon your administrative career, we will show how forging strong relationships with all members of our school communities will serve the best interests of our staff, our students, their families as well as our own.

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Session 3

Mental Health/Wellbeing

Andrea Snyder, Judy Merkel

Year One of Trauma Informed Mental Health Leadership Implementation at Waterloo Catholic District School Board

Early in 2022, The Waterloo Catholic District School Board (WCDSB) administered the Middle Years Development Instrument (MDI) as a School Climate measure requirement by the Ontario Ministry of Education. The 2022 data suggests that our students have experienced an overall decline in positive wellbeing since our pre-covid survey in 2019. Two primary mental health practices and approaches that can be linked to MDI measures such as Social and Emotional Well-being, Connectedness, and School Experiences are Trauma Informed Classroom Practices, and Social Emotional Skill Building. These two practices are complementary and both essential for classrooms in terms of student mental health and wellbeing. Trauma Informed Practices are ‘Good for All’ Classroom approaches that focus on how we understand how students’ brains are impacted by stress, how we see and relate to them with curiosity and compassion. Social Emotional Learning are skills that we support students in building, ideally in everyday classroom interactions. Embedding both of these practices and approaches in classrooms while supporting Staff Wellbeing are a primary focus of the WCDSB’s Mental Health Plan for 2022-2023.

In this one hour session Judy Merkle, Superintendent of Learning, and Andrea Snyder, Mental Health Lead, will provide an overview of the importance of focusing on Trauma Informed Leadership, Social Emotional Skill Development, and Staff Wellbeing at a Board-

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Session 4

System Leadership

Mike Tobin, Kirk Smith

Riding the Waves of Leader-Ship

Leadership is learning. In this 60 minute interactive session, facilitators will engage educators in collaborative breakout discussions around leadership with an infinite mindset. We will use Newfoundland and Labrador’s School Development Model as a framework for discussions. System leaders will reflect on their own leadership practices. Who am I as a leader? How can I continue to learn as a leader? What is the impact of my leadership?

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Thursday July 6, 2023 Presentations
3:00 PM - 4:00 PM

Session 5

System Leadership

Karen Shipka, Allan Beckingham, Mike Bowden, Claire Guy

First Steps in the Spirit of Leadership

This session will introduce the recently launched innovative “Spirit of Leadership” competencies for system leaders in BC. These competencies are in the first year of implementation and a panel of educational leaders will share early implementation strategies of how they are applying the constructs of “leading self, leading others and leading systems” to their unique contexts. The panel will also reflect upon lessons learned, plans going forward and how they are adapting their leadership to reflect the Indigenous perspectives that are embedded throughout the competencies.

Participants will have an opportunity to examine the new competencies and to discuss the unique features of the competencies and ask questions of the panel.

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Session 6

Recruitment and Retention

Reg Klassen

Trials and Tribulations of Teacher Recruitment

The presentation will focus on our recent two-year journey as we have increased our efforts to recruit and retain teachers in Frontier School Division. In the 21/22 school year we were 7-10 teachers short all year and in 22/23 we have been 20 teachers short. I will share, from a system leader perspective, the numerous strategies we have invoked (some working better than others) to eliminate barriers that prevent teachers from choosing to work in northern and remote communities. Housing, internet, collective agreement, financial incentives, recruitment officer, etc. are a few of the many strategies.

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Session 7

System Leadership

Maria Vasanelli, Kerry Desjardins, Rima Mounayer & Paul Tsekouras

System Leadership & Educators’ Perspectives on Relationships During Covid-19

The Superior North Catholic District School Board initiated research about the impact of "Educators’ perspectives on their relationships with students, colleagues, and their own professional development during the COVID-19 pandemic" with our research partners at Lakehead University. The research was published in March 2022.

Session 8


Peter Smith, Matthew Martin, Therese Trofimencoff

Antiracism: One District’s Journey

Anglophone South School District, with its main office in Saint John, serves 23,000 students in urban, suburban, and rural settings in southern New Brunswick. The district has seen significant changes in demographics in recent years in terms of race, ethnicity, and culture. In 2020, district leadership made a decision to move beyond traditional diversity approaches and embrace an antiracism approach to supporting students in the district. Since that time, Anglophone South has been recognized as taking a leadership role in antiracism, and was identified as an exemplar for other school districts in the provincialSystemic Racism Commissioner’s Final Report in 2022. This workshop will share the challenges and successes of the district as it has started its antiracism journey, with perspectives from Peter T. Smith, the director responsible for the antiracism initiatives, Therese Trofimencoff, the district’s antiracism and equity coach, and Matthew Martin, district education council member and executive director of Black Lives Matter New Brunswick.

Session 9

Indigenous Education

Daniel Stargratt

The Answers Lie in the Community

In this session, participants will examine strategies to build relationships with the First Nation communities they serve. They will have an opportunity to see, hear and better understand the differences between the provincial school system and a community schools- which will highlight the importance of student voice, family/community involvement and most importantly language and cultural revitalization. I will also share some practices within Durham Catholic District School Board.

Friday July 7, 2023 Presentations
9:20 PM - 10:20 PM

Session 10

Mental Health/Wellbeing

Heather Gerber

Get out of Judgement and Into Curiosity

A component of Mental Health and Wellbeing includes supporting student dysregulation in a way that maintains each individual’s dignity. This workshop will describe what developmental trauma is, how it might present in the classroom, what educators can do to support students who become dysregulated and how leaders in education can have an impact by bringing this important learning to their boards and schools. What we as leaders shine a light on grows and as we navigate our “new normal” this learning is more important than ever!

Session 11

System Leadership

Kathleen Lane

Systems and Cultures that Support Wellbeing

Education leaders across the country know that employee wellbeing is important. When employees experience wellbeing, they can do their best work, create positive work and school environments, and are better able to adapt to shifting priorities. Investments in employee wellbeing have typically focused on supports for individual employees. In this session, we will move beyond the individual to explore systems and cultures that support workplace wellbeing.

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Session 12

System Leadership

Michaelle Jean-Paul

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Anti-Racism: Faking It or Making It?

DEI. EDI. JEDI. ABAR. These are all acronyms that have surfaced in institutions across the continent, education included. But what do these words mean? What do they look like when put into practice? How do we meaningfully engage with those concepts as leaders to ensure systems change? Who determines the efficacy of our strategies?

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Session 13

Inclusive Practice

Ward Streuby

Innovation, Inclusion and Student Success: Post-Graduation Community Transition

The Holy Trinity Catholic School Division Board of Education received the 2022 Saskatchewan Premier’s Board of Education Award for Innovation and Excellence in Education for our submission entitled, "Post-Graduation Community Transition: Holy Trinity Catholic School Division, Moose Jaw Kinsmen Inclusion Centre Partnership." This presentation will highlight the development of the partnership and how it has benefited students, as they transition from High School to the community.

Session 14

Inclusive Practice

Jeannie Armstrong, Joan Carragher, Sean Heuchert, Steve O’Sullivan, Jonathan Di Ianni, Sheila Piggott, Julie Selby, Laura DiIanni

A Transformative Approach: Building Brave, Equitable, and Accessible Spaces

The Peterborough, Victoria, Northumberland and Clarington Catholic District School Board’s Strategic Plan 2021-2025 is rooted in Being Well, Being Community, and Being Creative with belonging, inclusivity, and engagement at its core. Using funding for supporting students with disabilities, granted by the Ontario Ministry of Education, PVNCCDSB engaged in post-pandemic system transformation representative of what Michael Fullan, in his book, Principal 2.0, calls this the “‘humanity paradigm’ - a deep care and commitment to all living things including equity and equality in the service of helping all humans cope in complex societies in the twenty-first century” (michael fullan.ca). Using Dr. David Tranter et al.’s The Third Path as a frame, PVNCCDSB facilitated deep and collaborative thinking and learning in a three phased approach: Awareness (considering social location and challenging perspectives via learning in equity, trauma-informed practices, and regulation); Preparation (training in universal design and restorative pedagogy); and, Implementation (school specific responses evolving from the learning and thinking). Here, PVNCCDSB engaged “education as a journey of human development, not just for the student, but for the educator too” (thirdpath.ca).

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