York Region District School Board staff members are leaders in cutting-edge learning. Throughout the past 10 years, the district's priority has been the literacy achievement of its 130 000 students. With a focus on assessment that drives instruction, the district has not only increased student achievement, but has consistently ranked number one in Ontario's provincial assessments.

Bill Hogarth, Director of Education, has provided inspirational and purposeful leadership to accomplish this task; at the same time, Board Chair Bill Crothers ranked student achievement as the first goal during his stable, influential, and capable political leadership. The district’s success must be attributed, in part, to the successful practice of Literacy and Reading Recovery® teachers, and to classroom teachers and school administrators who work diligently to support the learning of all students. More on YRDSB.

Lyn Sharratt   is   lead  author  in  the  research  with  Michael  Fullan  that  identified  the 13 Parameters, the basis of this Toolkit. As Superintendent of Curriculum and Instructional Services in York Region, Lyn has focused system leaders, administrators, and teachers on increased literacy achievement for all students. Her knowledge of instruction and of school/system implementation, and her steadfast resolve to generate and use research, has strengthened the commitment to student literacy achievement throughout the district.

Michael Fullan   is   co-author  of  the   research   with   Lyn  Sharratt  that  identified  the 13 Parameters, the basis of this Toolkit. Professor Emeritus, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto (OISE/UT), and special advisor to the Premier of Ontario, Michael has achieved acclaim as an international researcher, author, and presenter. His work adds to the change, leadership, and school reform research literature that moves forward tri-level reform. Relevant titles include The Six Secrets of Change (2008), What's Worth Fighting For in the Principalship?, and Breakthrough, with P. Hill and C. Crévola.
Michael has worked alongside York Region leaders to model what aligned, coherent, and precise practice can accomplish. More on Michael Fullan.

Jane Paterson is the Coordinator of Resource Development in the York Region District School Board. Her knowledge of students' learning, instruction, and precise literacy practice has been inspirational in helping to move literacy reform forward in the district. Her work with Carol Rolheiser in co-developing this Toolkit contributes to literacy knowledge-sharing more broadly. Jane's earlier professional experience at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation is evident in the quality of media resources that she develops; these include the videos that she and colleague Steve Rutledge produced to illustrate and deepen understanding of each parameter in this Toolkit.

Carol Rolheiser is Associate Dean, Teacher Education and Professor at OISE/UT. Her deep knowledge of professional learning, teaching, and research is evident in her work with educators internationally. Carol's involvement with the 13 Parameters is multifaceted. In addition to co-developing the Toolkit with Jane Paterson, Carol was principal and co-investigator with an OISE team that carried out research on school and system reform both within York Region and in other contexts. In collaboration with district staff and the OISE team over several years, Carol led the design of the Literacy Collaborative Change Management sessions. These sessions, held three times a year with all schools, bring together performance data, research, and management of change and leadership theory in a practical hands-on approach that supports implementation planning for every school team. More on Carol Rolheiser.

Hazel Dick and the late Janie Moore developed and implemented the Literacy Mentor Teacher project from which the 13 Parameters research was gathered. Their knowledgeable, strategic, and unflagging literacy leadership provided the foundation on which the Literacy Collaborative was built. Hazel and Janie achieved system-wide implementation of Reading Recovery®: one focused and powerful instructional approach behind the district’s literacy success.

Critical friends, in addition to those noted above, have been many. Their commitment to research and improved practice informs our work in many ways and has contributed to focused and aligned leadership. Among our critical friends are these researchers and practitioners:

  • Barrie Bennett, Associate Professor, OISE/UT
  • Carmel Crévola, International Literacy consultant
  • Ken Leithwood, Professor, OISE/UT
  • Blair Mascall, Assistant Professor, OISE/UT
  • Joanne Quinn, International Educational consultant
  • Miriam Trehearne, International Literacy consultant
  • Deb Wallace, Managing Director, Curriculum and Information Research, Harvard Business School

The district fully appreciates the recommendations they have made to us in our literacy and leadership work over many years.