Mentoring Matters’ End of Year Meeting

Report to LCEEQ

Re: Mentoring Matters’ End of Year Meeting

Date: Friday, May 8, 2015

Head Office, Lester B. Pearson School Board,
1925 Brookdale, Dorval, Q. C.

LBPSB Mentoring Coordinators and guests met in the Board Room at LBPSB Head Office in Dorval on Friday, May 8, 2015 for an afternoon meeting focused on mentoring in the board. Over ninety educators were present.

LBPSB owes a major thanks to the PD Committee of LCEEQ for their generous financial support. Without that support, the afternoon gathering would not have happened. LBPSB is profoundly grateful.

Mr. Robert T. Mills, Director General of LBPSB, addressed the assembled group as did Suanne Stein Day, the Chairman of the board. The school board has supported on-site mentoring programs for the past ten years. Staff in schools owes a debt of gratitude to Mr. Mills for his unfailing support.

The afternoon started with Beacon Hill Elementary School Mentoring Coordinator Cheryl La France and Terry Fox Elementary School Mentoring Coordinator Natalie La France who introduced the keynote speaker, former Associate Minister of Education, their father Leo La France. It was Leo La France who initiated mentoring in the school board in the fall of 2005. The initiative has grown since its inception due to the commitment of educators in schools who have embraced the concept of official mentoring programs. They have been majorly instrumental in its growth.

Leo La France’s message focused on the comparison between the Aloha Spirit of Hawaii and the concept of mentoring. He identified the basic tenets of the Aloha Spirit: alertness, working with unity, truthful honesty, humility and patient perseverance.

He then spoke of his Personal Vision re: education:

  1. The student must be at the centre of all decisions.

  2. Use the past to move towards the future.

  3. Surround yourself with competent and positive people.

  4. Remember to appreciate what people do for you (and remember to tell them.)

  5. Remember the importance of family and friends.

  6. Don’t forget to laugh.

  7. Don’t get caught up in the hierarchy.

  8. Don’t be afraid to take risks.

  9. Education is about relationships and looking out for each other.

  10. Believe in yourself and in those with whom you work. Believe in your own integrity, take the time to listen, and treat people with dignity and respect.

Jim MacKinnon thanked Leo for his presentation to a wonderful, heartfelt round of applause.

The second part of the afternoon was devoted to a workshop conducted by Betty and Jim MacKinnon. Workshop participants were thanked for their participation in the board-wide mentoring programs, for taking on the role initially of mentoring coordinator and for staying on in that role. The audience responded favourably and emotionally to a video “Don’t Give Up” which was dedicated to them, their commitment and their perseverance.

Then Mentoring Coordinators were then encouraged to take a “step up” from the work they are presently doing in their schools in terms of mentoring, to establish stretch goals as they move forward. Betty introduced the concept of positive psychology as a possible way to increased productivity and Jim MacKinnon inspired workshop participants to aim for the highest level of leadership which he referred to as the “Pinnacle” in a quest for optimal functioning as teacher leaders.

Unsolicited feedback from the workshop:

Thank you very much for an inspiring afternoon. We are very spoiled by all your attention and care. Thanks for touching our hearts and for giving us wind under our wings.”

Thank you for a fantastic afternoon. Without a doubt, I always walk away from mentoring events with a renewed sense of commitment to teaching and learning and helping others. Thank you for that.”

Thank you for a wonderful Friday afternoon. It was nice to listen to Leo La France speak. I have heard nothing but wonderful things about him from previous colleagues so I was thrilled to have the opportunity to hear him. You created a warm and friendly environment and I was happy to be part of it. I really enjoyed the Shawn Achor clip from Ted Talks. I feel that we all need to watch it and digest it and maybe use it to kick off our year next year.

Thank you so much for a wonderful day, as always. You created a great ambience. The day was just what the doctor ordered. I left feeling energized and blessed to have listened to the presentations.

Thank you for such a wonderful mentoring afternoon. Leo La France was so entertaining. I always come away from mentoring get-togethers with so many good ideas, happy feelings and new sources of information.

In closing, I would like to express my very deep gratitude to LCEEQ. Your support does not for a minute go unnoticed or unappreciated. I am indebted to you.

Respectfully submitted,
Elizabeth MacKinnon
LBPSB Mentoring Program