The Ottawa Catholic School Board became a model case study for the Canadian Education Association’s examination into what makes a school system an innovation leader. OCSB was ultimately selected among 35 school districts to participate in CEA’s program and received a $10,000 contribution courtesy of State Farm Canada to support their ongoing innovation.
OCSB leaders communicated their plan clearly and effectively to achieve critical support from all partners. They customized the pace of professional learning for each teacher. They also secured a budget commitment from trustees to convert all libraries to Learning Commons. The OSCB also made WiFi universally available to support Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) programs so that social media could be used a learning tool among all students, teachers and administrators. Gradually, the prevailing culture of caution and control gave way to curiosity and innovation.
“This case study research confirms that there is no magic bullet to transforming classrooms,” says CEA President and CEO Ron Canuel. “This Board built a master plan that focused on learning and teacher support first, then the technology, and they recognized that one PD model does not fit all teachers – all crucial elements to growing innovative practice beyond one classroom or school.”
Teacher and administration at OCSB are dedicated to giving their students the best educational and community experience possible. Ontario is recognized as having one of the best education systems in the world, and it is efforts from school boards like OCSB that distinguish Ontario’s Catholic education system from others.
“OCSB leaders support risk and encourage early adopters to take the lead. Their progress demonstrates that innovation by nature is disruptive and happens before everyone agrees to it. Buy-in is truly established with a long-term consistent plan to shift attitudes and behaviours in supporting of innovation. That is why early adopters exist – they try something new even if they know that it might not work,” says Canuel.