On April 22nd and 23rd, 2015, the Algoma District School Board (ADSB) hosted 39 representatives from the majority of the school boards in Northeastern Ontario, as well as several school boards from Southern Ontario, for a two-day conference called “Instructional Rounds: An Ontario Context.” The conference featured prominent speakers, interactive simulations and collaborative conversations about the Algoma District School Board’s learning to date on Instructional Rounds.
Instructional Rounds is a practice modeled after medical rounds designed to improve student learning. With the goal of ongoing, continuous improvement, schools identify a focused Problem of Practice, colleagues collect descriptive data through observing classroom learning, an observation debrief is held to carefully analyze the collected data, and the group brainstorms suggestions to address the Problem of Practice at the school and district levels.
Stefanie Reinhorn, a Faculty Member of the Harvard Graduate School of Education who designs, develops and facilitates Instructional Rounds workshops for educational professionals, was the keynote speaker at “Instructional Rounds: An Ontario Context.” The recent conference continued to build on the partnership between the Algoma District School Board and Reinhorn which began in 2013 when she led hands-on training for ADSB principals, vice-principals and program staff. Since 2013, the Algoma District School Board has continued to collaborate with Reinhorn to implement Instructional Rounds across the district.
On April 22nd, as well as a presentation by Reinhorn via Adobe Connect from Boston, “Instructional Rounds: An Ontario Context” featured Carousel Presentations facilitated by ADSB staff who had previously participated in Instructional Rounds. They shared topics that had resonated with them during their rounds process including “Developing a Problem of Practice,” “Facilitation Skills,” and “Hosting an Instructional Rounds Visit.” Following the Carousel Presentations, a Panel Presentation was led by individuals with various experiences with Instructional Rounds visits, including teachers, principals, Superintendents of Education and the OSSTF President of District 2. On April 23rd, attendees also participated in virtual Instructional Rounds visits through video simulations developed in ADSB’s classrooms.
Attendees, including representatives from the Literacy and Numeracy Secretariat of the Ministry of Education, Halton Catholic DSB, York Region DSB, Nipissing-Parry Sound Catholic DSB, Near North DSB, Rainbow DSB, Sudbury Catholic DSB, Northeastern Catholic DSB and Huron-Superior Catholic DSB, had very positive feedback. An attendee stated: “You and your team at ADSB did a SUPERB job in putting the IR event together! . . . I think your board is the closest to what we aspire to be in our work with rounds. I hope you can continue to be critical friends to [our board] as we progress in our work.”