Kids Want to Go to School

As a life-long educator, there is one thing I know: kids want to go to school.  Sadly, thousands of Haitian children never have the opportunity to attend to school because they cannot afford it. To this day, children of Haiti live lives of complete impoverishment.  With little to no way to help themselves recover from this poverty, hope arises from Education. Talented, smart Haitian children want to go to school.


Friends of Haiti provided this girl with school supplies and tuiton

School opportunities in Haiti are different.  The government provides no funding whatsoever to rural schools.  Any rural schools are private and run on student tuition fees only.  This means children who want to go to school, often cannot simply because they cannot afford it.

This and other social issues need our attention.  Over the past five years, a small group of Canadians have been working to ease some of the suffering of Haitians and support them in achieving a more fulfilling life.  This has lead to the creation of Friends of Haiti (Canada), started in 2015

Friends of Haiti is a small group of Canadians  who want to help our friends in Haiti with education, healthcare, sports, housing, entrepreneurship, and dreams.  Living in Canada, we have so many opportunities and an abundance of support to achieve goals.  To see others living in desperation is so difficult.  We now have a way to send direct help and support.  Living a life that is productive and meaningful all starts with education.

Along with 4 other Canadians, I feel privileged to be a part of this grass-roots, organization.


Lori and Yvrons in Lavanneau Haiti 2015


Besides education we help our friends in Haiti with  healthcare, sports, housing, entrepreneurship, and dreams.  Living in Canada, we have so many opportunities and an abundance of support to achieve goals.  To see others living in desperation is so difficult.  We now have a way to send direct help and support.  Living a life that is productive and meaningful all starts with education

Homes in Lavanneau, Haiti

Children of rural Haiti, they dream of going to school

Sadly, many families cannot afford to send their children to school.  Our initiative aims to provide funds to the poorest, most under privileged children of Haiti in order to attend school.  We know that by supporting youth in reaching their dreams of becoming nurses, teachers and lawyers we must get them to school.

The future of Haiti

A new home for Ednor, with Friends of Haiti Team members and sponsors Carolin, Dave and Mr. Gabe

Over the past five years, extensive humanitarian work has been done to develop Friends of Haiti (Canada).  Friends of Haiti is a small group of Canadians who want to help our friends in Haiti with education, healthcare, sports, housing, entrepreneurship and dreams.


The main team of five are based out of Alberta and B.C.  The team travels to Haiti once a year to achieve our mission.  During the year however, the focus is on fund raising.

Heading to the goat market to purchase goats for schools.

Maxeau, our Haitian Coordinator brings school supplies to the children of Marbial

We are very privileged to have a Haitian coordinator who works tirelessly to bring hope to Haitians.  Maxeau Pierre, a law student living in Jacmel, coordinates our efforts from Haiti.


We are pleased to report that to date, 98% of all our funding goes directly to our cause.   Minimal Administration fee of 2% is used to send funds and support Maxeau in administrative work in Haiti.  We do this work because we care.  Help Haitians help themselves. Please join our Facebook page Friends of Haiti (Canada).

Mission accomplished, all ready for Sept 7, 2015. First day of school.

Friends of Haiti endeavors to support children in achieving their goals by sending them to school.  Your donations will help a child by:

Paying school tuition; tuition varies depending on the age of the student

                  $25 USD per year for ages K-6

                   $50 USD per year for ages 7-9

                   $30 USD per month for high school

                   $100 USD per month for university

Purchasing required school uniforms;

                  $25 – $50 USD per year depending on the age of the student

Purchasing required backpacks and school supplies

up to  $25 USD per year

98% of all our funding goes directly to our cause.   Minimal Administration fee of 2% is used to send funds and support Maxeau in administrative work in Haiti (gas, bank fees).

100% of our humanitarian trips and costs in Canada are directly paid for by our team members.
Donating is easy!  Please go to and click “give online”  In the paypal notes please direct your donation the Friends of Haiti.


Teachers as Guides

This summer I had the amazing opportunity to summit the 2650m high Mt. Nimbus in the Purcell Mountain Range in BC. Now, not being a mountain climber in any way I was only able to attain this amazing feat with the support of my guide. Guides are teachers in a special sort of way, a sort of way that could be used in the classroom everyday.Here is how:
1. They set a clear goal – we are going to the top!
2. They frequently stop and ask how everyone is doing. They let everyone answer.
3. If you are not doing so well, they help solve whatever problem it is.
4. They go first, they show the way.
5. They encourage, demonstrate,explain, then sit nearby and enjoy watching you do it.
6. When it gets super hard they lend a hand.
7. They marvel in your accomplishment, just as much as you have.

Tomorrow I challenge you to guide your students. To guide them in achieving their dreams and doing more than they thought they could. I think you will be amazed at the wonders that will occur.


Photo taken by my guide. As I came to the top of this ledge he said “you did it!”, and snapped my photo!

Lori Cullen (@lorilynnecullen) has been with CBE since 2000 as a teacher, learning leader, assistant principal, principal and now teacher recruitment consultant. She believes in the power of teams and challenges herself and colleagues to maximize their potentials and reach for their goals.

This post was originally featured on CBE182 – 182 Days of Learning- See more at:

Substitute Teachers – Go From a Supply Teacher to a Contract

This month I had the absolute priviledge of working with 45 substitute teachers at the ATA Substitute Teachers Conference in Calgary.  The session I facilitated focussed on moving from a substitute / supply teacher position into a contract.  One of the best ways to do this, is to be a brilliant substitue teacher!  Be noticed, wow them, do an amazing job and the Principal of the school will want you on their staff.  But, let’s face it, some substitute teachers are better than others.

What does a brilliant substitue teacher do to stand out from the rest?

With large school boards employing hundreds and hundreds of substitute teachers, what can you do to stand out, to make an impression, to be the one who gets the contract?  Together at the conference, we answered this question.

To prepare for the session, I did some reading and thinking about what makes an excellent teacher.  Really, an excellent substitute teacher needs to have the same skills and values that an excellent teacher has.  The main difference being, a substitute teacher demonstrates their skills differently give the different role they fill.  You can read more about excellence in teaching by clicking  here.

Eventually, I categorized the skills and values of excellence in teaching into four main categories:

  • Communication
  • Flexibility
  • Agreeableness
  • Conscientousness

Agreeablness and Conscientousness come from The Big Five Personality studies.  Click here for more on Big Five.  Essentially out of the five personality traits identified in the studies, a combination of aggreeablness and conscientousness are essential qualities in highly successfull employees,

The group looked at these four categories and began generating ideas and examples.

For a substitute teacher, what does each of these categories look like in a day to day basis in the classroom?

Through answering this question, the following guide was developed.

sub teacher


 With this one page guide, substitute teachers are encouraged to read it, understand it, and live it.  Take it with you each day as a guideline for excellence.  This guide represents the work of 45 educators.  Although it is comprehensive, it can always be added to.  Additionally, as your work as a substitute teacher moves into longer contract work, the main headings of this document will remain the same but you can add in any adjustments you have made.  For example, under communication, a contracted teacher would need to add “Clear and concise report card comments.”

Thank you to the ATA for the opportunity to engage in this work.

The 1 Thing You Must Do In Every Job Interview

Following is a Guest Post from Dave Kerpen.  Dave Kerpen loves interviewing great candidates for his companies. Dave is the founder and CEO of Likeable Local. He is also the cofounder and Chairman of Likeable Media, and the New York Times bestselling author of Likeable Social Media and Likeable Business.

The original article found here resulted in over 1,100 comments both pro and con and 526,000 views.  What do you think?

I recently interviewed an excellent candidate for a position at our growing startup,Likeable Local. The woman had an incredible resume, an infectious personality, and, seemingly, a great work ethic. She was dressed for success, with a style fitting our culture. She answered all of my questions well, and seemed like a potential excellent fit for our company. Yet, despite all of this, she didn’t receive another interview, and I absolutely couldn’t seriously consider hiring her. What went wrong?

P question

When I asked her what questions she had for me, the job candidate replied, “None, really. I’ve been following you guys online for awhile and feel like I know everything already.”

That was a fatal error, of course. By not asking questions, she told me she wasn’t truly interested in learning more, in creating value, and in our company. I couldn’t hire an otherwise very-well-qualified candidate because, in her lack of questions, she displayed a lack of passion for, interest in, and curiosity about our company and the position.

The most important thing you must do in every interview is to ask great questions.

The key is to ask great questions- not to ask questions that you should know the answers to already (“What does the position entail?) or questions that make it all about you (“What is your vacation policy?”)

Here are 9 great questions you can use or make your own on your next job interview. Obviously they’re generic and should be tailored based on circumstances:

1) Who would make the ideal candidate for this position?

2) How will the work I’ll be doing contribute to the organization’s mission?

3) What were the best things about the last person who held this position?

4) What are three ways I can contribute to the company beyond the job description?

5) How can I best contribute to the department’s goals?

6) How do you see me best contributing to the corporate culture and morale?

7) What do you see as the biggest challenges of working here and how can I overcome those challenges?

8) What is your vision for where the company or department will be in one year? In 3-5 years?

9) How can I best help you and the team succeed?

Of course, the more research you do in advance, the more you can ask specific questions about the company’s recent news, blog posts, product launches, plans, etc. But here’s the bottom line:

Ask questions that demonstrate genuine interest in the organization and how you can fit in to their success.

Remember, also, job interviewing is a two-way-street! By asking questions, you can get a much better sense of the organization you’re interviewing at, and the extent to which you’d even want to work there.

An interview is just like a date. A date is a two way street– where both parties are seeing if tis a right fit. The dater who talks and talks, even if they’re a good match, seems disinterested in the other person. It’s the same with interviewing. Show that you are invested and interested in the person, by asking questions.

When job seekers come in to Likeable not only with great answers, but with great questions, I get excited about the prospects of hiring them. And hopefully, they can get some great answers from us, and get excited about the prospects of working there as well.


Now it’s my turn to ask you some questions. What questions have you asked in job interviews? If you’re a manager, a recruiter, or in human resources, what questions doyou recommend that job seekers ask? What questions shouldn’t you ask in interviews? Let me know your answers in the Comments section below, and please do share this article with your network if you think it’s helpful.

For a FREE collection of Dave’s best stories on inspiration, marketing and more clickhere.

If you liked this article, you will like:

How to Dress for Success Today

7 Simple Steps to Reinventing You

College Grads: Master These 15 Simple Skills

Dave Kerpen loves interviewing great candidates for his companies. Dave is the founder and CEO of Likeable Local. He is also the cofounder and Chairman of Likeable Media, and the New York Times bestselling author of Likeable Social Media and Likeable Business.


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The Power of Goal Setting in Elementary Classrooms

Influenced by the work of John Hattie in his book Visible Learning, this year we moved our work on student goal setting forward.  The Calgary Board of Education was piloting their new IRIS platform in which we participated.  IRIS is a web-hosted platform where each student has their own page called “Understanding Myself as a Learner.”  Teachers were expected to work with students to support them in developing Learning Goals, Learning Strategies and Artifacts of Learning.  Through this work our goal was for students to understand themselves as a learner, own their learning, develop agency, and develop clarity about what they needed to learn, how they were going to learn it, and what it was going to look like when they learned it.

On April 8, 2013 a group of 9 students ranging from grade 3 to grade 6 gathered over lunch to share their experiences around work with Iris. Although we had a few questions in mind, the conversation was generative as students responded to each other.


Students articulated that the process of working in Iris helps them to see clearly what they could accomplish, and how they could accomplish their learning goals. Many students testified that Iris helps them to ‘remember (their) goals and keep working on them,’ and ‘set goals and then set next goals.’ Consistency of student voice around the way in which the organization of space not only supported initial goal writing, but also consistent re-thinking and adjusting of present goals to form ‘next’ goals was evident. While students were initially unsure as to whether they engaged in the goal setting/strategy thinking/understanding myself as a learner process prior to Iris, they realized they had been engaging in this work previously; however, Iris made it ‘easier’, ‘more simple’, ‘not too hard’ and ‘not messy.’ ‘It is easy to pull up and you don’t have to look through paper.’ The ‘layout is more organised’ and ‘helps us to progress’ and ‘see our timeline for achievement.’ Students were sure they were engaging in this work in the Iris space. Teacher support and presence in the work was consistently spoken of. When asked why they set goals, students responded with such comments as, ‘so you can accomplish them,’ ‘so you know what to do,’ so you don’t forget’ and ‘so things don’t get lost.’

IRIS When discussing artifacts, most students said they use them to show ‘how (they) are as learners’ and ‘what strengths and weaknesses’ they have.  ‘Say, if I show a Math test, it shows I am interested in Math and proud of my high marks.’ Some students didn’t feel they would/should show work they were not proud of, and one student believed it was not an artifact if it didn’t show you were ‘good at something.’ Further, student voice suggested that the artifact should be something that was important to a particular student and something the student was ‘proud of.’ Some students responded by saying that they might show an artifact that is ‘not good, but doing well in’ so that a teacher could help them. Students felt it was important to comment on why they chose particular artifacts, and how these particular artifacts connected to their goals, strategies and understanding of themselves as learners. Since students normally connect goals to strategies, one student suggested that a tab might be helpful to link the strategies to goals and avoid closing goals each time you want to add a strategy. On whether it might be valuable to group artifacts, some students shook their heads while others said maybe this would be a good idea to show work you were good at and work that you were not so good at, or to show a series of artifacts about the same topic as this might be helpful for a teacher. An album with several photos was suggested. Students wondered about the possibility of sharing artifacts that showed their ‘own stuff’ – photographs and videos from out of school activities. These artifacts could be separate – on the right hand side of the page. A conversation ensued around why students might share certain artifacts to illustrate who they are as learners.

IRISDuring our discussion on sharing, most students felt it was natural to share their learning plans with teachers since ‘they’ know how to ‘help you get better,’ and this sharing would only help them further. Teachers could see what you were struggling with and think of better ways to teach you. Students suggested that teachers should let students ‘think first,’ and one young man said that sharing the work with teachers could be difficult as teachers could move you away from a goal you were focusing on. This might ‘distract’ you – ‘flipping mind’ was a term used by one of the students. This space is ‘private’ to you. Most students thought it would be a good idea to share their work with their parents so that parents would know what they were doing in school. A number of students shook their heads quite profusely when the topic of sharing plans with friends came up, although one student thought it might be helpful as you would want to make it better if this was the case, and that friends could also help with strategies. Subsequently, a couple of students began to acknowledge this might be a good idea. However, parents would be more ‘trustable.’ Students said that they could just sit next to friends and parents if they chose to share work with them. A tab to enable the possibility of sharing particular items, or whole pages was discussed, and many students thought this would be a good idea to limit the sharing.

A couple of more technical questions/concerns were raised near the end of the conversation.  There had been some audio file ‘troubles’ with Garage Band, and students thought better instructions were needed for audio uploading. Some artifacts had disappeared, and there was a problem with the page moving up when students clicked the space bar. Students felt that 150 characters were too few to write what they needed to say and 450 might be more reasonable, and the capability of sizing photographs would be helpful. A couple of students said that occasionally a window pops up to say that iris can’t open at this time.’

Students were positive and excited about their work, and eager to share their learning before we left.

Authored by: Mandy Hambidge, Calgary Board of Education



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The 2 Most Important Skills Every Teacher Needs

Over the past nine years I have had the pleasure of hiring (and the displeasure of firing) new hires into their teaching careers.  In watching teachers come into the profession some just “have it.”  Some seem to be innately programmed to be teachers.  For others, it is a much more difficult road to travel.  Additionally, there has been much awareness brought up about “teacher burn-out” and teachers not being able to survive this profession.

It has taken nine years of watching, listening, and observing to come to understand that there are two distinct differences between teachers that excel and love the profession, and those that do not excel and are prone to burn-out.

1.  Reflective Practice

The power of a reflective teacher is unstoppable.  What I have noticed about reflective teachers is through their abilities to analyze, clarify, pinpoint and adjust their practice they move into a distinct zone of improvement.  The improvement becomes noticeable each week.

The reflective teacher knows how to:

  • Create lessons designed for specific purposes and to meet specific outcomes;
  • Adjust these lessons to the needs of different students;
  • Observe students;
  • Talk about and share successful and unsuccessful features of the lesson;
  • Create a better lesson based on this information;

When a teacher is able to get into this reflective flow, they become intellectually engaged and oriented to supporting the learning of their students.  With this engagement their practice becomes energizing, goal oriented, and challenging.

2.  Coachability

Hand in hand with reflective practice is coachability.  Coachability speaks to the teachers capacity to:

  • hear feedback;
  • analyze and understand the feedback;
  • implement the feedback into their teaching.

Without this, it is unlikely a teacher will be successful in growing and learning themselves. They become closed and rigid to ideas and suggestions and feel there is no other way to do things; what they do now is good because they have always done it.  Unfortunately, a teacher who is not reflective or coachable has difficulty adjusting their practice to the needs of different learners.  This leads to frustration with their students, and often a mindset of changing others rather than changing themselves.  We all know changing others is a futile task, and here comes teacher burn-out.

English: A teacher and young pupils at The Bri...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What can I do now?

The good part is it can be easy to develop the skills of reflectiveness and coachability if you don’t already have them.

  • Be open-minded; you need to learn something new everyday;
  • Listen;
  • Take notes; what are you doing and what are others doing that is successful or unsuccessful (we learn from our mistakes);
  • Work with colleagues; in all ways – open up your practice;
  • Ask questions.

We know that teaching is a demanding, busy, spontaneous profession.  Thriving in it is possible when we understand that those who thrive are reflective and coachable.

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Be a Principal With No Regrets

…On losing a student

When I decided to start a blog I never ever thought I would be compelled to write a post about the death of a student.  However, this week six year old Astha who is in grade one at our school died.

It has been a complicated week emotionally.  So many questions, who will go to the funeral, how will the school honor Astha, how will we tell the students and other parents, how will we support her grade 4 sister when she returns, what do we do with her file and student records, how long do we keep her desk in the classroom…. all sorts of things.

Its my nature to go into efficient mode when faced with a traumatic event.  Make decisions, get things done, keep busy, keep out of my head and although I did do that to some degree, as the hours went by I found there was only one thing I really needed to do,

Be there to listen to any staff or students who needed me.

Don’t make decisions now, deal with what is most important now; the feelings, and emotions of those affected.

People have asked me, “What are we going to do for Astha?” and I just keep replying, “I’m not sure yet.” I just feel like we need time to grieve, process and understand the intense loss our school has suffered.

I am most thankful that I knew Astha well.  Last year when she was in kindergarten I got to know her, I saw her most everyday and said “hi” to her.  She was scared and timid at the beginning of kindergarten so her and I went for a few walks around the school.  We would go and visit her sister.  This year in grade 1, i continued to say “hi” to Astha, I would greet her at the door in the mornings when she came to school.  It made me think about my role at school and one of the most important things I do and can do more of:

Get to know every student, be visible, be friendly.

How horrible would it have been if Astha had died and as principal I had never taken the time to say hi to her or get to know her a little bit?

Although Astha has not even been gone a week, and although she was only six years old, she has taught me a powerful lesson…. we are here for each other, the relationship the principal has with staff, students, and families is crucial and critical and needs to be attended to every day.

I will never forget Astha.  For such a little girl, she has left a big mark on our hearts.

Be A Better Principal Through Collegiality

Who Was Your Teacher Today? Teachers Learning From Teachers.

I recently shared a TwitPic I had found online.  To my surprise (sort of) the picture resulted in about 40 retweets and 30 new followers.  For me, this amount of response is unusually high so the picture obviously struck a chord.notes

As you can see, the picture depicts what looks like high school students taking pictures of information on the screen.  It is titled Note Taking in 2012 which leads us to believe and imply that students are using their own devices (BRING YOUR OWN DEVICE BYOD) to take pictures of notes rather than using the paper pencil method.

The twitter post resulted in some interesting comments:

@lorilynnecullen No BYOD policy & no phones in class in my district. Post notes on my website & use remind101 for my 6th graders & families.

I only have one response to this, “WHY?”  When students use their own devices to communicate, find information, and store information what  we are essentially telling them in schools that ban BYOD is, “We are not going to be efficient and current and engage you in ways of thinking and learning that you automatically and intuitively use outside of the classroom.”  Schools are supposed to be current, relevant and engaging so why are you banning BYOD?  I’m glad @ChristinaMLuce is making the best of it and doing what she can.

@lorilynnecullen any other form of note taking is a complete waste of time.

I like this.  Life is too short for long hand.  We can gather and store static information in an instant.  What are you using your classroom time for?

Stephen Turner ‏@SteveT_AU @lorilynnecullen Great, but even quicker would just be getting digital copy straight to device. Taking pic of board is pretty analogue…

@SteveT_AU should work for the district that has banned BYOD.  He obviously has a strong understanding of efficiency and using  classroom time as efficiently as possible.

R.T. Chidiac ‏@RChids@lorilynnecullen one more way to differentiate instruction also builds capacity for the ethical use of technology #edchat #edtech


I love twitter most for this reason; educators analyzing, understanding and describing authentic practice.  I would love to see this picture as the answer to “Show me one way you differentiate for students who struggle with written output.”  Also, @R.T.Chidiac could influence the No BYOD district with his point here about ethical use.
Michael Dushel ‏@MichaelDushel@lorilynnecullen Better would be for the teacher to email it or EVEN better would be to build the notes together in shared electronic form
Shelly Vee ‏@raspberryberet3 @MichaelDushel @lorilynnecullen this is awesome butI agree Michael; more effective if build notes together to #constructknowledge

I love how @MichaelDushel replied to the picture and as he was replying took his understanding of constructing knowledge together even one step further.  He makes a great point, that if this is a picture of a teacher writing or delivering information to students who listen, surely we can do better by constructing and creating understanding together.

The above are examples of critical dialogue amongst teachers that improves practice.  As Michael Fullan states:

For teachers to improve their practice they learn best from other teachers provided that these teachers are also working on improvement. These exchanges are thus purposeful, and based on evidence.

Thank you to my colleagues for creating purposeful dialogue and exchanges designed to improve our thinking and our practice.  Where would we be without each other?

Maximize Your Impact as a School Principal

So many things happen at school around Christmas time.  We are busy with concerts, activities, food drives, helping families with gift baskets and gift cards, making presents for parents and learning Christmas traditions.  We get all wound up with all this business and typically its a race against the clock to get everything done.

This year, a Christmas card showed up in mailbox.  It was from a grade 5 student who had come to our school last year from a different city.  He had had a rocky school history, battling with behavioral and attentional issues.  There had been good days and bad, but here is what the card said,

Dear Mrs. Cullen,

Thank you for taking care of our school and helping this school to be an awesome place.  I think you run this school really good.  Thank you for helping me when I am angry and supporting me and encouraging me to do awesome.  Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

After I read the card a few times, I really started thinking about his message and the things he had taken the time to mention.  I want all students in the school this way so maybe if I focus on:

  • “this school”  –  having a whole school presence. Being around the school and visible every day and in all aspects of school life.  Dropping in to classrooms, clubs, and intramurals.  Being visible during entry and exit both inside and out.
  • “helping me when I am angry” – let’s face it, I’m here to help.  In the good times and the bad.  When students are having a bad moment, when they are angry, or frustrated, or mad I am here to help students cope with those emotions, not punish them for having these emotions.  The best part about each new day is that it is a new day.  Everyone gets to start over without yesterday hanging over them.
  • “supporting and encouraging me to do awesome” – all kids, all the time.  What can I do to create the conditions where children are successful?  HIMG-20121220-00008ow can I manipulate or change the conditions or routines to support children?


Ending the year with this message that reminded me of my true work as a school principal was a delightful gift.  Funny how our students are able to identify what is important to them and for school leaders.




Get the Most Out of Your Next Parent Teacher Interview; Tips for Success

Parent/Teacher/Child Interview

Parent/Teacher/Child Interview (Photo credit: Kathy Cassidy)

Parent teacher interviews can often be a time of extreme stress for teachers and parents.  Teachers are often concerned about what they will say to parents, how they will say it and how parents will respond.  Parents often dread hearing news from teachers that their children are not perforning well or about a myriad of other problems linked to their children.  Parent-teacher interviews are short (usually 15 minutes) and can leave both teachers and parents feeling a little stressed.

To support teachers and parents, one way around the traditional ” how is my child doing?, why are their marks low?, and they aren’t like this at home” interview is to plan and structure the conversation around the learning beliefs and practices of the school.

For example, one of the main focus areas over the past year in our school has been goal setting.  We have adopted goal setting as an effective learning strategy based on research.  With the shift over the past several years to including formative assessment, student goal setting has been found to be highly effective in supporting students in academic achievement.  In  his book Visible Learning (p. 164) John Hattie summarizes that the right kind of student goal setting can have a positive affect on student learning;

“… goals inform individuals as to what type or level of performance is to be attained so that they can direct and evaluate their actions and efforts accordingly.” pp.164

Student goal setting works best when the parent, the teacher and the student work together to develop goals.  Thought is given as to:

  • where the student is currently functioning;
  • what level of achievement would challenge the student;
  • who would support the student in what way;
  • when progress toward the goal would be tracked or monitored.

As Goal Setting has been a significant part of our daily work, structuring our parent teacher interview around goal setting seemed a perfect fit.

Together, with the amazing staff and collegiality at Erin Woods School, our discussions around using parent teacher interviews to support our work on student goals developed.  We created a protocol for the interview, for teachers to follow, to focus the interview around the critical essence of our goal setting focus.

Parent / Teacher Interview

Name:                                                                                   Date:


Purpose: The purpose of this Parent Teacher interview is to look at the term ahead and consider goals and areas of growth for the student.  Additionally, teachers and parents will define and articulate their planto support the learner.



         Right now in IRIS you have set the goal of :

How are you doing with that goal?

What is helping you to achieve that goal?

Are you still working on that goal or should we adjust or change it in any way?




How can parents help you?

How can teachers help you?

How can you help yourself?



           I have also identified this area of growth for you (on your report card or IPP):

I will be helping you by:

What ways will you be working on this goal?


With a structured conversation for the Parent Teacher Interview the following results are expected:

  • Teachers can plan and prepare for the conversation based on the purpose and the outline;
  • Students can be prepared to share the necessary information with their parents (no surprises);
  • Parents become partners in our work, rather than stand bys who we report to causing everyone to be focussing on our beliefs and direction;
  • In this particular protcol, the focus is forward looking, “here is what your child will be doing and here is how I will help.” Leaving parents with a sense of hope and achievement for the next term.
  • We have clear documentation of each parent teacher interview.

 With this process, we are noticing teachers looking forward to their parent interviews,  There is no ambiguity or surprises,  thus leaving teachers confident and prepared, and parents hopeful and happy with things to come. 



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