On September 13-14, 2010, more than 600 education leaders gathered in Toronto to participate in Building Blocks for Education: Whole System Reform. The two-day international summit included delegates from the United States, Great Britain, Finland, Norway, Singapore, Australia, Russia and Puerto Rico, as well as senior education officials from six Canadian provinces and every school board in Ontario. Teacher federations, school trustee associations and student organizations were also among the attendees.
Co-chaired by renowned education experts Sir Michael Barber and Michael Fullan, the summit featured keynote addresses by senior representatives from the governments of Singapore, Finland, Australia, the U.S. and Ontario, each offering their views on the challenges, innovations and successes they have experienced implementing education reform in their respective jurisdictions. The summit also heard from Andreas Schleicher, one of the world's foremost authorities on education research as head of indicators and analysis programs for the Paris-based Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
In addition to the keynote addresses, delegates participated in a series of four workshops – led by expert facilitators and panelists – dealing with areas crucial to whole system reform: Assessment and Use of Data; Standards and Targets; Capacity Building and the Development of the Teaching Profession; and Leadership Development and Sustainability.
To highlight Ontario's education initiatives and progress, the summit also featured an Ontario Showcase. Staffed by Ministry of Education representatives throughout the conference, the Ontario Showcase included materials on eight key areas: Early Learning, Literacy and Numeracy, Student Success, Aboriginal Education, French-Language Education, Research, Teaching Success and Leadership Development.
Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty opened the summit, telling the delegates that “the single most important thing we can do to pursue this magnificent enterprise called education is to find and create opportunities for us to come together, to share, to better understand and to find ways to move forward.”