The Need for Leadership Competencies
It is well known that teachers are role models and hold a position of privilege in our society. They care for our children and as an extension, they educate society. All educators in BC have descriptions of standards for their work published by the BC Teachers’ Council. As an extension of that work, it is necessary to also describe our aspirations for leadership beyond the school to include those who work at the district level.
The competencies document the work of leaders and, most importantly, provide a template for the development of professional learning. Every leader should be engaged in ongoing intentional personal professional learning and the competencies can be used as a supportive framework to design such opportunities.
The competencies are not a recipe for leadership, nor are they a checklist targeted for completion. These are aspirational statements designed to capture the work of leaders who work to support the development and growth of leaders across schools and districts in BC. There is a need for common ground and a documentation of shared values. There are things that all leaders should have in common. These competencies affirm our shared commitment to Truth and Reconciliation and to eliminating the barriers as we work to create equitable and engaging learning opportunities for all children.
Our Leadership Story – Students at the Heart
Our leadership story begins with students at the heart of our work. All those who lead at the district level do so with the best interests of students in mind. The leadership competencies are designed to support, challenge, and extend the work of creating engaging learning environments for all children. There are essential learnings as students progress in their learning journey and the BC curriculum speaks to what students are intended to Know, Do, and Understand. At the heart of the curriculum are the Core Competencies which describe the social and emotional capabilities that students need to thrive in life and learning. These Competencies include critical and creative thinking, communications, and Personal and Social Identity and Responsibility. We want confident and courageous children who have a strong sense of personal identity, who are inquiry minded, skilled communicators, and who care for self, others, and the world beyond.
To nurture, grow and sustain schools as places of belonging where all children can thrive requires strong and effective leadership. Our leadership story has evolved over decades, beginning with the Dimensions of Leadership which was the first set of leadership competencies for BCSSA members. The Spirit of Leadership is a refresh and update of Dimensions of Practice and is designed to reflect the needs of our current challenges and to provide a path toward a promising future. Our intent of these competencies is that they provide a guide for our own learning and growth as we all pursue both our own and our collective professional learning plans and journeys.
The Importance of Co-Creation
The development of the competencies has been supported by four specific structures. The Leadership Competencies Advisory Committee and the BC Indigenous Leaders’ Group have provided invaluable guidance. In addition to these committees, a small group of international critical friends have provided advice and perspectives from research and practice around the globe. Finally, there have been several presentations and opportunities for input from chapters across BC. The competencies have been broadly shared, collaboratively constructed, and internationally informed.
Guiding Principles for Creation
The creation of the competencies was designed to be collaborative and consultative. Led by two committees, the Leadership Competency Advisory Committee, and the BC Indigenous Leaders’ Group several opportunities were built in for chapters to provide feedback, guidance, and suggestions during the writing. The initial stages of the creation began with a literature review examining trends and promising practices from around the world.
The competencies were also enhanced by a small team of internationally respected critical friends. On regular intervals, these friends brought both research and practice from numerous prominent jurisdictions to BC’s leadership framework.
Finally, through regular updates, members and chapters were given repeated opportunities to provide input through resources such as videos where chapters could respond to questions about the development of the competencies.