Heartfelt  Thanks to Dan Brown


Dan Brown is a familiar face at PDK events in Vancouver.  He was a professor at UBC in the Faculty of Education for 29 years and on the PDK executive for the past 10 years. Students and colleagues are always delighted to see Dan at PDK and he has recruited many to the PDK UBC Chapter over the years.  The Executive values his extensive background knowledge, diplomacy and grace when it comes to planning and facilitating our yearly events.  I have personally benefitted from his mentoring and friendship, as I know have many of you.

Dan has decided to scale back on his volunteer activities.  Although he will continue attend PDK Events, he will no longer be serving as an executive committee member.  His role as board member of University Canada West, rental business in Kits, role as president in The Independent Immigrant Aid Association and his active travel life will continue to keep him busy.   Please joining me in a heartfelt thank you to Dan for his contribution to PDK- UBC Chapter.

Posted in Chapter News | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Happy Summer PDK Members

Our start to the year was unusual but the 2014-2015 school year was professionally very rewarding for the UBC chapter of PDK.  Our meetings at The Arbutus Club bring together a unique mix of educators, and sometimes parents, from the Kindergarten to Post Secondary level.  Teacher leaders come together with principals, vice principals, faculty and consultants to engage in thought provoking and inspirational dialogue.  Of course, it is the speakers that come with a willingness to share their expertise and participate in the dialogue that makes PDK dinner sessions particularly rewarding.

Our panel discussion with Chris Kennedy, Kit Kreiger and Dr. Blye Frank filled the room for our first dinner meeting:  Building Community in Times of Change.  Their collective background experiences and perceptions about the educational context in B.C. helped us to consider future directions in light of our history.  Their ability to interact fluidly with each other and the audience captivated everyone in the room.

Jordan Tinney generously offered his time and talent and access to George Couros, when School District #36 brought him to participate in Surrey professional development.  This was our first session was sold out that was also followed from outside the room via social media.  Never underestimate the power of blogging and Twitter.  The discussion of innovation sparked with energy in the room.  They were able to share many stories of teachers in Surrey and Alberta working to engaging parents and students in assessment and evaluation using online tools such as APPS like FreshGrade, digital portfolios and other innovative teaching practices.

I would also like to take this time to thank the executive committee of the UBC chapter of PDK.  These volunteers come together with busy lives but a fundamental commitment to service, leadership and research.  Thanks for your time, commitment and energy Brian Leonard, Eileen Phillips, Dan Brown, Kathryn Jung,  Karen Addie, David Hope,  Rose Pillay, Tricia Stobbe and Selma Smith.  Your efforts have made all the difference.

The executive will continue to meet during the summer.  Please feel free to contact me @CarrieFroese on Twitter or Facebook or via email with dinner meeting ideas for next year.

I hope your summer includes the rest, relaxation or adventure you desire.  Enjoy.

Posted in Chapter News | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Listen to Teachers” Tinney & Couros @ PDK April 22, 2015

Report Cards and Communicating Student Learning: Leadership & Learning in a Changing World

Jordan Tinney, Superintendent of Surrey, and George Couros, Division Principal of Parkland School Division (Alberta), made a dynamic presentation and then responded to questions on assessment and report cards from a large audience at the Arbutus Club.  Initially, they provided many observations and examples of how students, teachers, and others are connected today.  Connections between people and educational leadership have both changed greatly in the last 20 years.  Our speakers raised serious questions of how school reporting is done, its costs, and most importantly, its effectiveness for learning and student engagement.  They offered three electronic alternatives and commented on their reception by teachers, parents, and students in Surrey, noting that 1500 teachers had adopted them – elementary and secondary. The audience was invited to follow reactions to the talk on Twitter at #pdkedchat, to explore the topics further at jordantinney.org and georgecouros.ca/blog, and especially, to “listen to teachers.”

by Dan Brown

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Jordan Tinney and George Couros speaking at PDK Dinner Meeting: Wed., Apr. 22 : Report Cards and Communicating Student Learning: Leadership and Learning in a Changing World

PDK Dinner, Wednesday, April 22:  Report Cards and Communicating Student Learning–Leadership and Learning in a Changing World

The UBC Chapter of Phi Delta Kappa will convene on Wednesday, April 22 to visit with colleagues and discuss “Leadership and Learning in a Changing World,” led by two distinguished educators.  They will be Jordan Tinney, Superintendent and CEO of Surrey Schools and George Couros, Division Principal of Innovative Teaching and Learning, Parkland School Division, Alberta.

There is little doubt that the changes we have seen in society over the past 20 years have been dramatic. The forces impacting classrooms are requiring us to revisit some of our core beliefs about learning. Questions arise such as, “Do our current reporting and assessment structures support the learning we want?” or, “If we believe that change is accelerating, then what do the changes mean for our expectations of system leaders both formal and informal?”

Over the past two years, Surrey School district has embarked on a district-wide strategy to reconsider our reporting practices in a way that fundamentally changes the conversations we are having with teachers and parents about learning. We believe that traditional report cards place an enormous burden on teacher time and do not adequately communicate the complexity of the learning process or the classroom. We are looking to a future where ongoing communication about learning results in no formal report cards during the year. At this point, we have over 1000 teachers involved in this work. In turn, as we “Make Learning Visible” for our students, we are also considering what it looks like to “Make Leadership Visible” in new ways for our school and district leaders. If we are moving in fundamentally different directions, what leadership from all levels will be required to get us there?

Our two prominent educational leaders are well suited to address this important topic.  Jordan Tinney is a frequent presenter on the use of technology for learning.  He has addressed issues concerning report cards in his blog, Ed Praxis, and has investigated electronic profiles as an alternative to them.  George Couros is a leader on the effective use of social media to improve student engagement and learning.  His focus is to help create optimal learning environments for innovation within schools.  You will have the opportunity to engage our two discussion leaders.

Mark your calendar for Wednesday, April 22 at 5:00 to 8:00 p.m.!

Place: The Arbutus Club — 2001 Nanton Avenue, Vancouver, corner of Nanton and Arbutus Street, just south of King Edward Avenue.  Parking is available in the parkade on the right-hand side after you enter the Arbutus Club lot.

Program price: $55 for PDK members, $75 for nonmembers.  Pay at the door.  Cash and cheques are accepted.  We issue professional development receipts.

Please contact Eileen Phillips, our Registrar, at ephillips555@gmail.com no later than noon on Friday, April 17, for a reservation.  An early response is recommended. You will be sent a confirmation.*

Arrivals 5:005:30. Bring your team! “We are Pro D.”  We hope to see you there.

*All participants register beforehand for our dinner programs.  The Arbutus Club requires PDK to commit to payment ahead of the event.  If you register and learn that you are not able to attend, please inform our registrar before the deadline above and your name will be removed from the list.  If you do not attend the dinner and are unable to cancel beforehand, please send a cheque to David Hope (payable to PDK UBC) at 8884 Russell Drive, Delta BC  V4C 4P8.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Dinner Session Postponed

Due to circumstances beyond our control, the “Working with the Media” PDK dinner meeting with Janet Steffenhagen and Kurt Heinrich will be postponed.  We look forward to hosting this session at a later date.

Please note that our next scheduled dinner meeting is on April 22, 2015:  “Innovation in Our Midst” with guest speakers, George Couros and Jordan Tinney.

We hope to see you then!

Sincerely, Carrie Froese (PDK President)

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Working with the Media

The UBC Chapter of Phi Delta Kappa will convene on

Thursday, February 26, 2105

to connect with colleagues and discuss

“WORKING WITH THE MEDIA

led by our engaging panelists:

Janet Steffenhagen, formerly a Vancouver Sun news reporter &

Kurt Heinrich, Public Relations Manager for the Vancouver School Board 

People care greatly about how their children are educated; schools and districts are often under media scrutiny.  Getting your message across can be tricky and lead to misunderstandings.  Educators need to know reporters’ objectives.  They also need to prepare for bad news and to identify good news in their schools and districts.  But what constitutes good news?  What do journalists really want to know?  How can educators stay on message to avoid errors?  How does a story get publicity?  The speakers will address these questions and you will have the opportunity to engage with them.

Our two panelists are well suited to help educators to be more effective in their engagements with all members of the media….

Janet Steffanhagen has been a parliamentary reporter, a news editor, a city editor, and a     news reporter covering elementary-secondary education.  She developed and wrote the popular Sun blog called Education Report.  Now semi-retired, she is an editorial board member for Education Canada magazine.

Kurt Heinrich manages communications for the VSB.  Previously, he provided strategic public relations counsel with a variety of organizations.  He currently serves on communications committees of the Dr. Peter AIDS Foundation and the STAND Foundation and is active in other community organizations.

Mark your calendar for: Thursday, February 26 at 5:00 to 8:00 pm

Flyer: PDK Feb 2015 Dinner Invite Flyer

Place: The Arbutus Club – 2001 Nanton Avenue, Vancouver (corner of Nanton and Arbutus Street, just south of King Edward Avenue).  Parking is available in the parkade on the right-hand side after you enter the Arbutus Club lot.

Program Cost: $55 for PDK members, $75 for nonmembers – this includes your buffet dinner. Pay at the door. Cash and cheques are accepted.  We issue professional development receipts.

Contact RegistrarEileen Phillips at ephillips555@gmail.com no later than noon on Feb. 23, for a reservation.  An early response is recommended. * You will be sent an e-confirmation.

Arrivals: 5:00-5:30 pm       Bring your team! “We are Pro D.”  We hope to have you join us!

*All participants register beforehand for our dinner programs.  The Arbutus Club requires PDK to commit to payment ahead of the event.  If you register and learn that you are not able to attend, please inform our registrar before the deadline above and your name will be removed from the list.  If you do not attend the dinner and are unable to cancel beforehand, please send a cheque to David Hope (payable to PDK UBC) at 8884 Russell Drive, Delta BC  V4C 4P8.

PDK-UBC Communication Coordinator: Karen Addie

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Summary: Pro-D Dinner Meeting – Nov. 26

PDK Dinner on Assessment and Reporting

 The dynamic team of Jordan Tinney and Jan Unwin led the discussion on how teachers assess and report on student progress.  He is the Superintendent/CEO of the Surrey School District; she is Superintendent of Graduation and Student Transitions for the Ministry.  They articulated the need for educators to identify their values and for their assessment to reflect what they value, such as the important human connection between teacher and student.  The new curriculum with its focus on competencies and mastery learning no longer emphasizes the minutae of content.  Instead, educators have the space to pursue new ideas such as continuous reporting instead of letter grades.  These shifts require considerable “up front” deliberations in order for teachers to have the social licence to pursue changes to reporting systems that have worked well for some people in the past.

by Dan Brown

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment