User Guide for Ontario Leadership Framework (OLF) Stories

The User Guide for OLF Stories provides an annotated description of stories written by Ontario school leaders and offers suggestions on how other leaders and educators can use them to support their leadership learning and development. Some stories were written as part of the Leading Student Achievement (LSA) project. Other stories were written by principals to describe how they are meeting leadership challenges in their schools every day and in telling their stories shine a light on the leadership practices and Personal Leadership Resources (PLRs) of the OLF.

These stories have details that include context and descriptions about the moves school leaders made to address their challenges over time and what happened as a result. They provide honest reflections about their journeys to improvement and the impact of their leadership on students, staff, families and their school communities.  They stand the test of time given that the challenges these leaders faced in their improvement efforts continue to be relevant. They are intended to inspire others to reflect on their own leadership and consider implications for how they enact  the leadership practices and draw support from their Personal Leadership Resources (PLRs) as described in the OLF. 

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Ontario Leadership Framework (OLF) Stories 

The purpose of the stories is to promote dialogue and discussion of the leadership practices and PLRs as a way of reflecting on and strengthening your own practice as an ethical leader.

  1. Unleashing the Learning at Pelmo Park Public School by Ainsworth Morgan (principal of a K – 5 school)

Ainsworth is principal of Pelmo Park Elementary School which is situated in the North end of Toronto. This school has 300 students. There are over 20 languages spoken, over 75% of parents were born outside of Canada, and over 90% of Pelmo’s students are identified as racialized. His story illustrates how he drew on his Personal Leadership Resources (PLRs) to ensure student learning, engagement, equity and well-being.

  1. A Journey into Inquiry – A Principal’s Real Story by Laurie Reid

Laurie is principal of a dual track French Immersion school located in an urban, low socio-economic area. Her story focuses on building staff capacity to bring about improved student achievement.

  1. Leading in a Crisis: COVID-19, School Closure by Christy Radbourne

Christy is principal of a K-8 elementary school located in rural northern Ontario. In this story she reflects on her first months leading staff, students and community in the uncharted waters of the COVID-19 pandemic.

4. Leading in a Crisis: COVID-19, September School Reopening by Christy Radbourne

Christy is principal of a K-8 elementary school located in rural northern Ontario. In this story she reflects on her first months leading staff, students and community in September reopening following school closure.

5. Leadership Style and Personal Leadership Resources (PLRs) by Gilles Rodrigues (principal) et Gina Kozak (principal)

Gilles and Gina are elementary school principals. In this story, they describe how they used their personal leadership resources to promote student well-being and student success.

6. Turning the Ship Around by Christy Radbourne (elementary principal)

Christy is principal of a K-8 elementary school located in rural northern Ontario. Her story is about leading staff and its community on an improvement journey to raise EQAO scores in math and literacy.

7. Welcome, Engagement and Learning: The Importance of Emotional Learning at School by Lucien Chaput

Lucien is principal of a grades 7 to 12 secondary school located in an urban area. His story describes how his French-language secondary school integrated well-being and engagement of students in its school improvement plan with an emphasis on student emotion and empathy.

8. Collaborative Inquiry in Literacy: Primary Grades by Crystal Côté-Poulin

Crystal is principal of a Catholic elementary school in a rural area of Northern Ontario. Her story describes a French-language school district’s inquiry into how to improve student achievement in reading in the primary grades. What resulted was improvement in Mathematics and a significant increase in the collective staff efficacy.

9. The Little School that Could – Even Against the Odds! by Joanna Crapsi-Cascioli

Joanna is principal of a small elementary school serving a large proportion of students from economically disadvantaged families. Her story illustrates the potential leverage for student learning that exists in a school’s strong relationships with families and the wider community.

10. Empowering ELL Students to Excel in Mathematics by Debby Culotta and Miranda Kus

Debbie is principal of a Catholic K-8 urban elementary school and Miranda works with her as math consultant. Together they describe a three-year journey to improvements in mathematics in a school where most of the students were born in the Middle East, Nigeria and Ghana and many are refugees with limited schooling.

11. Reflections on Successful Leadership Practices by Secondary Principal Edward DeDecker

Edward is principal of a Catholic secondary school in the London area. His story describes how a handful of practices in the OLF were successfully enacted.   These practices included “…recognizing the importance of building relationships, setting direction collaboratively with staff, creating organizational structures to focus on intentional and purposeful teaching to improve instruction and securing accountability through shared leadership and joint ownership in the direction setting for the school.”

12. Using Collaborative Inquiry Processes to Build Capacity on the Family Path in One Elementary School by Robert Iannuzzi

Robert is vice-principal of a high needs urban elementary school. The focus of his story is on the collaborative processes and structures used to bring the staff together for their shared instructional improvement work. The story also illustrates productive ways of engaging parents, keeping all staff focused on a shared set of very specific goals, as well as using data effectively to pinpoint next steps in the school improvement process.

13. Improving Student Achievement in an Elementary School by Creating a Culture of Appreciation by Brenda Moen

Brenda is principal of a small elementary school located in a rural area. Her story   provides a good illustration of building trusting collaborative relationships with and among staff with the goal of accomplishing a clearly identified set of shared goals for student achievement.

14. Leadership in Action – Leading for Inclusion, Anti-racism and Anti-Oppression by Salima Kassam

Salima is principal of Amesbury Middle School which is located within the Black Creek and Lawrence Avenue area in Toronto. Her story describes her journey in an urban middle school where she created a safe, equitable and inclusive environment for students, families and community. 

15. Leading for Equity and Excellence at Kipling Collegiate Institute by Mohammed Adil Askary

Kipling Collegiate Institute is a small, multicultural secondary school located in central Etobicoke in the city of Toronto.  When principal Mohammed Adil Askary moved to Kipling in 2017, the once-celebrated school was in jeopardy of closing due to its declining enrolment. This story documents Adil’s journey as he leads the school in a multi-faceted, complex and dramatic transformation that has resulted in equity and inclusion and has enhanced Kipling’s reputation by ensuring that Kipling Collegiate Institute offers what all other high schools offer their students and families. 

*Deepen your understanding: This story offers a presentation with notes. It was designed to be self-directed and used by school and system leaders to suit their schedules and learning needs.