Leadership Development: Ontario Leadership Congress/Symposium

The Ontario Leadership Congress (OLC) is part of the Ontario Leadership Strategy. This event brings together a team of school and system leaders from each school district in Ontario for a facilitated conference focused on enhancing student achievement and well-being. Congress provides an opportunity to learn about current research and evidence-based practice from leading thinkers and researchers in the field, and to share knowledge and exchange strategies and ideas. Leaders apply the knowledge they gain as they work towards meeting provincial priorities and local needs.

From 2009 to 2011, this event was known as the “Principal Congress”. It was geared to school-level leaders and focused on ways to close achievement gaps. The knowledge shared by principals who participated in these early Congresses was compiled in the resource guide Closing the Achievement Gap: Advice from Expert Ontario Principals, 2012. The Congress broadened its scope in 2012 to include system leaders, and was renamed the Ontario Leadership Congress.

Ontario Leadership Congress / Spring Symposium 2015 (OLC/SS 2015)

In 2015 the Ontario Leadership Congress was combined with a Spring Provincial Symposium on the theme “Realizing the Renewed Vision through Transformational Leadership”. Discussion focused on developing the kind of leadership that transforms culture in order to implement the vision outlined in Achieving Excellence: A Renewed Vision for Education in Ontario. Highlights of the OLC/SS 2015 included:

    • A keynote address on “agile leadership” by Simon Breakspear, founder of Learn Labs Global;
    • A panel discussion with education advisors Dr. Carol Campbell, Dr. Jean Clinton, Dr. Michael Fullan and Dr. Andy Hargreaves, based on questions submitted by district teams;
    • Exploration of the concepts of leadership for learning, innovation, and congruence, alignment, coherence and cohesion, using a PechaKucha style of presentation;
    • Exchange of innovative ideas and strategies, as well as team discussions on next steps for incorporating new approaches to supporting student achievement and well-being.

Highlights from previous Congresses:

May 2014: System-level Leadership: Building Strong Districts Together

    • Focus: The nine characteristics of strong districts and the system-level leadership practices in the Ontario Leadership Framework.
    • Keynote Address: Dr. Andy Hargreaves, the Thomas More Brennan Chair in Education at the Lynch School of Education, Boston College, on “Strong Districts and their Leadership; Uplifting Education Together”.
    • Speaker: Dr. Kenneth Leithwood, Professor Emeritus, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto.

April 2013: Leadership as the Exercise of Influence: Improving Math Outcomes for Students – the Leader’s Role

    • Focus: Leadership as the exercise of influence, specifically with regard to leadership practices that bring about improvements in mathematics outcomes for students.
    • Keynote Address: Dr. Megan Tschannen-Moran, College of William and Mary School of Education, on “Focusing on Success: Transforming Schools One Conversation at a Time”.
    • Speaker: Dr. Kenneth Leithwood, Professor Emeritus, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto.

April 2012: Mobilizing Leaders' Knowledge to Strengthen the Board Leadership Development Strategy (BLDS)

    • Focus: Building knowledge about leadership practices and personal leadership resources that contribute to positive and improved student achievement and well-being.
    • Keynote Address: Mawi Asgedom, author of Of Beetles and Angels: A Boy's Remarkable Journey from a Refugee Camp to Harvard.
    • Speakers: Dr. Kenneth Leithwood, Professor Emeritus, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto; Dr. Michael Fullan, Professor Emeritus, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto, and education advisor to the Premier of Ontario.

February 2011: Fostering Student Engagement: Mobilizing Leaders' Knowledge to Close Achievement Gaps in Ontario Schools

    • Focus: Student Engagement
    • Keynote Address: Dr. J. Douglas Willms, Director, Canadian Research Institute for Social Policy, University of New Brunswick, on “Fostering Student Engagement in Learning”.
    • Speaker: Dr. Kenneth Leithwood, Professor Emeritus, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto.

February 2010: Mobilizing Leaders' Knowledge to Close Achievement Gaps in Ontario Schools

    • Focus: Theories of Action
    • Keynote Address: Dr. Richard Elmore, Gregory R. Anrig Professor of Education Leadership, Harvard University, on “Theories of Action – Pathways to Instructional Improvement”.
    • Speaker: Dr. Kenneth Leithwood, Professor Emeritus, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto.

February 2009: Sustaining the Momentum: Closing the Achievement Gap

    • Focus: Practices and challenges to reaching every student
    • Keynote Address: Dr. Roger Martin, Dean, Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto, on “The Opposable Mind – How Successful Leaders Win through Integrative Thinking”.
    • Speaker: Dr. Avis Glaze, former Chief Student Achievement Officer of Ontario.

For further information and resources, contact ldb@ontario.ca