• describes what good leadership looks like, based on evidence of what makes the most difference to student achievement and well-being
• identifies the practices of successful school and system leaders, as well as the organizational practices of successful schools and districts
• includes a small but critical number of Personal Leadership
Resources (leadership traits and dispositions) that have been found to increase the effectiveness of leadership practices
The goals of the OLF are to:
• provide a robust research foundation on which to base the elements of the Ontario Leadership
• help ensure that Ontario leadership practices and personal leadership resources support the key goals of improving student achievement and well-being
• provide a common language and understanding for leaders to engage in discussions about effective practice
• OLF designed in 2006
• IEL provided workshops to districts in 2008
• Leithwood research report informed revisions to
OLF in 2012:
– No longer included competencies, now includes the addition of Personal Leadership Resources
– Revised practices
– Introduction of District Effectiveness Framework (DEF)
– Connection to Student Effectiveness Framework (SEF)
• Strong Districts and their Leadership (Leithwood
• Nine characteristics of strong districts and related practices
• Two new personal leadership resources
• Revised DEF and System-level Leadership placemats
• Context is important
• Leadership and Management are integrated
• Formal leaders enact practices directly and indirectly
• Leadership is best shared in a planned and coordinated way
• System leaders and districts add significant value to the learning of students beyond the contribution of schools and classrooms
• Cognitive resources:
• problem-solving expertise
• knowledge of school and classroom conditions that directly affect student learning
• Social resources:
• perceive emotions
• manage emotions
• act in emotionally appropriate ways
• Psychological resources:
The Institute for Education Leadership (IEL) and the
Council of Ontario Directors of Education (CODE) commissioned Ken Leithwood to do a research study on the role of the district leader
Result: “Strong Districts and Their Leadership”
Impact: Changes to the system-level leadership placemat, addition of two new PLRs to school and system level placemats; and changes to the DEF
• It’s September, and you have just learned that because of declining enrolment you will have to cut two teachers from your staff and re-timetable the school (and you have 4 days to do it!)
• Look at the bolded leadership practices in the
School-level Leadership placemat and pick out several that you think are the most critical to solving this problem effectively
• Highlight these practices and be prepared to defend your choices and explain your thinking
Scenario 2 :
• You are a candidate in a principal interview.
You are asked to state what your entry plan would be if you were appointed to a specific school in your district.
• How would you apply the idea of “contingent leadership” to this question?
• What are the look-fors in your answer?
Scenario 3 :
Think of a principal for whom you have worked who
Demonstrated excellent “shared leadership” practices.
• Find a few practices in the framework that reflect what this principal did to be so effective.
• What were this principal’s strongest personal leadership resources and how did he/she demonstrate these?
• As a teacher in this school, why was this important?
• Have you made mistakes or witnessed mistakes in sharing leadership that you have learned from?
• System leaders start with the school level practices
• System-Level leadership practices organized by the 9 characteristics of strong districts
• Note the use of verbs to describe the practices (what leaders do)
• Sub-bullets provide more detail of how these practices are carried out
– Ability to stimulate and manage change on a large scale under complex circumstances
– Show initiative and perseverance in bringing about change
– Ability to understand dense, complex and reciprocal connections among different elements of the organization
– Foresight to engage others in likely futures and consequences for action
* proactivity and systems thinking are important for all leaders but especially useful for district leaders
Referencing one of the highlighted practices in the System-Level leadership placemat, unpack the practice:
– What does it mean?
– How would it be enacted?
– What are the look-fors?
How will proactivity and/or systems thinking be helpful in carrying out your role as a system leader?
How can you foster proactivity and systems thinking in other leaders?
Characteristics of Strong Districts:
1. Shared mission, vision and goals
2. Coherent instructional guidance system
3. Multiple sources of evidence to inform decisions
4. Learning-oriented organizational improvement
5. Job-embedded professional learning
6. Resources and structures aligned with mission
7. Comprehensive leadership development
8. Policy-oriented board of trustees
9. Productive working relationships
• 9 characteristics of strong districts
• Note the use nouns to describe these characteristics
– e.g. mission, guidance system, use of evidence, etc.
• Sub-bullets provide more detail about what the characteristic looks like in practice
• Coherent approach to improvement, small number of goals, consistently pursued over sustained time
• Integration of new initiatives into existing routines
• Professional learning networks to share, assess and refine
• How can you influence the discussions in your district to support the characteristic, “Learning-oriented organizational improvement processes”?
– Advocacy for leaders in carrying out the district mission and vision
– Leadership development needs organizationally and individually
What is your role as system leader?
How do you connect with other district leaders?
• How do you exert your influence?
• What does it look like when you do so?
• Are there ways that you could strengthen this influence?
• Who else should you talk to in your district?
• What are the vehicles and venues through which one can influence? (Adm.
Council meetings, BIPSA meetings, PPA, principals’ meetings)
• What is the impact on organizational leadership if you are not at some of the district tables – how would you connect with other district leaders?
What Fullan calls “coherence making” involves seeking a balance between letting go and even encouraging “disturbance” on the one hand and on the other hand building coherence, sense and direction.