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SECTION 3 Teaching

April 21, 2021
Education Review main art Web

Executive Summary
SECTION 1: Long Term Vision
SECTION 2: Student Learning

SECTION 3: Teaching
SECTION 4: Accountability for Student Learning
SECTION 5: Governance
SECTION 6: Funding
Winnipeg School Division’s Recommendations

Appendix A
Appendix B

Teaching in the 21st century requires teachers to be constantly advancing their personal and professional knowledge. To attract and develop educators, the education system needs to continue transforming leadership. Since the quality of teaching is at the heart of student learning outcomes, it is necessary for education to keep pace with societal shifts and changes.

This section responds to the focus area of teaching and illustrates how Winnipeg School Division is already addressing the MB Provincial Summit Report for Literacy and Numeracy recommendations.

  • Winnipeg School Division has established a culture of continuous learning among all staff, with an emphasis on leadership, mentoring and professional development.
  • Winnipeg School Division is always assessing the efficacy of our programs to narrow what is being offered to the most efficient and evidence-based programs.
  • Winnipeg School Division continues to build leaders in the community.

The following areas are reviewed in detail within this section:

  • Aligning K to 12 teacher pre-service education with evolving demands in schools.
  • Addressing recruitment challenges.
  • Language programming (French, Ojibwe, Cree).
  • Reviewing teacher and leader roles and responsibilities in the 21st century.
  • Building leadership capacity in the K to 12 education system.
  • Home and school relationships.
  • Role of pedagogy, clinical and social supports in education.
  • Role of technology in teaching and leadership.


Many teachers say their first year of teaching is, by far, the hardest of their career. The experience of new teachers in WSD is not unique. Teachers face issues for which they have not been adequately prepared and struggle to address them in the classroom.
Manitoba’s teacher training program should emphasize fidelity and preparation about the reality of the diverse learning needs in schools. For example, information about emotional behavioral disorders and needs in the classroom, how to work with FASD, Autism, Down Syndrome and more. Currently, these areas are only emphasized for specialization in Post Baccalaureate programs.

Beginning in university, and continuing throughout their careers, teachers require a 21st century skill set (ie. the four Cs: Collaboration, Communication Critical thinking and Creativity), fostered through continued professional development.

WSD is currently establishing a cohort in the Master of Education - Language Literacy Stream. This will build capacity of educators.

Some educators are calling for an overhaul of the traditional model of teacher training. The new version of teacher training is a more holistic approach to teacher development through mentorship and subject-matter mastery, or more of a clinical focus. The new model would recognize teaching as a professional skill and would seek to elevate it as a profession through rigorous selection and training of candidates.32

Some areas of focus for this new model of teacher training include: an emphasis on practice and learning in the classroom, accomplished teachers serving as models/coaches/mentors, programs and success in the program dependent on performance in the classroom.33

Recommendation 10: That the Province of Manitoba require the process of becoming a teacher to be more rigorous. 

Recommendation 11: That the Province of Manitoba, in collaboration with CMEC, develop a more robust approach for transferring credentials and qualifications for educators across Canada. 


In 2002, the Manitoba Department of Education, Training and Youth called for a review of teacher recruitment and retention. The document provided background information, provincial, regional and national trends, factors influencing supply and demand and future recommendations.34

Areas of importance reviewed were:

  • Manitoba’s teaching force is aging. In 2002, there were three times as many teachers eligible to retire than there were new teachers from ages 20 to 24.
  • Manitoba’s annual teacher retirements were increasing from 1990 to 2000. Metro-Winnipeg, with the highest number of teachers, had the highest proportion of teaching force eligible to retire within the next decade.
  • Manitoba graduates more new teachers than it hires: annually less than one-half of graduates obtain employment as a regular teacher within Manitoba’s public-school system.
  • Northern and rural divisions have greater difficulties in recruiting and retaining teachers than urban divisions.
  • At the time of the report, the demand for new teachers varied across divisions and seemed to be based on certain subject areas or required positions.

Some recommendations from this report have been put into practice, such as formally recognizing teaching excellence via awards, and providing financial support for rural practice — areas which should be continued. Long-term recommendations, however, looked at a Provincial Strategic Plan to address teacher recruitment and retention, which does not appear to have been put into practice.35

Winnipeg School Division offered the first New Grad Recruitment Program. Most other urban school divisions in Winnipeg attend career fairs at the universities. The WSD New Grad Recruitment Program invites all new graduates to attend a one-week long event. Administration conducts interviews, with an average turnout of 200 new graduates.
WSD has launched a new program, the first in Canada, to develop Indigenous teachers for the future of education. The Build from Within-Ozhitoon Onji Peenjiiee program brings together WSD, the Faculty of Education at University of Winnipeg and Indspire in developing a path for Indigenous High School students.

“The Build from Within program is a unique approach to transitioning Indigenous students through high school and into University … Our intention is clear – to provide the pathway and opportunities for Indigenous students within the division to become education leaders within our community.” Pauline Clarke, Chief Superintendent and CEO, Winnipeg School Division.

Recommendation 12: That the Province of Manitoba conduct a current provincial scan to review teacher supply and demand in Manitoba. Additionally, that the province assist in recruiting and retaining staff for urban, rural and northern divisions.

Recommendation 13: That the Province of Manitoba establish clear pathways for non-teaching professionals to enter teaching with consideration that these career-changes are often obstructed by economic barriers.


The need for language programming is growing as students and parents recognize the importance of language proficiency in the global marketplace and for personal development. Each province is facing the need to provide language programs in many languages for small numbers of students. Therefore, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta have undertaken several joint projects in international languages under the Western and Northern Canadian Protocol.36

According to MacDonald the mounting teacher shortage is impacting faculties of education country-wide (i.e. British Columbia, Ontario and Nova Scotia) with especially strong demand for teachers specializing in French, French as a second language, math and science. Substitute teacher lists are also waning as new teachers find more opportunities for permanent work.37

Winnipeg School Division has a vibrant history of providing French immersion and bilingual language programming based on community support. Since 2008/2009, French Immersion enrolment has increased from 3,353 students to 4,560 in 2017/2018. WSD is addressing the continued growth in French immersion enrolment with additional sites including re-opening École Sir William Osler as a French Milieu school and École Luxton School as a French Dual Track school in 2017. In addition, the new school being built in the division’s north west corner will be a French Dual Track school for Kindergarten to Grade 8.

WSD Bilingual Language Programming added three new language offerings in 2016 to the existing Ukrainian and Hebrew programs already in place. Cree, Ojibwe and Spanish are all now available for 2018/2019 students enrolling in Kindergarten, Grade 1 and Grade 2.  For the 2019/20 school year, Grade 3 is being added for these language programs.

Heritage and ancestral languages are also taught as single subject courses in the following languages and locations:

  • Cree – Children of the Earth, Niji Mahkwa
  • Filipino – Daniel McIntyre
  • Latin – Sisler High School
  • Ojibwe – Children of the Earth, Niji Mahkwa
  • Spanish – Churchill High School, College Churchill, Grant Park High School, École secondaire Kelvin High School, École River Heights School

Due to teacher shortages in language areas, WSD has had to hire non-teachers with a language specialty to be accompanied by a teacher in the classroom, an expensive alternative. Winnipeg School Division is not alone in having difficulties with teacher recruitment and retention strategies. There is a provincial and federal shortage for language teachers.38

Recommendation 14: That the Province of Manitoba develop clear and attainable pathways for professionals with language expertise to enter the field of teaching. In addition, that a provincial incentive program be created and implemented to assist in recruitment and retention of language teachers. 


In the experience of WSD teachers, roles have changed significantly over the decades. Not only are they carrying out their role as educators, but also taking on various other responsibilities such as mediating family matters, children’s nutrition, toilet training, providing weather appropriate clothing and more.

In 2018/2019, Winnipeg School Division revamped its support system to staff. Previously, WSD had subject specific consultants.

Following the advice of and work with Dr. Laura Lipton and Dr. Francine Morin, through job embedded learning, leadership and collaboration the Professional Support Services (PSS) model became a new support model for WSD teachers, with Program Leads and Program/School Support Teachers.

Ten Program Leads: responsible for leading the development, implementation, data collection and reporting of various WSD initiatives and programs.

Twenty Program/School Support Teachers: as part of a service team, responsible for supporting and coordinating the delivery of program services and supporting teachers, Principals and Vice-Principals in a group of designated schools to enhance students’ academic achievement and support school/division learning targets particularly within literacy and numeracy.


As schools are more diverse with increased needs, the traditional view of the Principal as the head responsible for teaching and learning has evolved immensely. The Principal is required to provide strategic direction in the school system through assessing teaching methods, monitoring student achievement, encouraging parental/guardian involvement, revising policies and procedures as required, administering the budget, hiring and evaluating staff and overseeing the facility. The Principal’s role has become more focused on the management of teaching and learning within the school consistent with local school board and provincial policies and directions.

Recent research identifies a number of changes influencing the work of Principals in Canada. These are grouped as follows: school regulation changes, pedagogical changes, budgetary cuts, changes in parents’ perception regarding their role in education, social changes, demographic changes, marketization of education and technological advancements.39

The same research identifies a number of changes influencing the work of Principals in Canada. The literature review identified 10 areas of change in workload: increased workload, increased complexity of the job, increased focus on instructional and transformational leadership, development of new skills, increased focus on external relationships, changes in leadership approach, changes in autonomy, increased levels of stress and decreased family/personal time.40


Teachers are the change agents in education and their education, classroom training, competencies and ongoing professional development are key to improving student outcomes. Leadership, second to teaching, is among school-related influences on learning. How leaders are trained, hired, mentored, evaluated and developed on the job profoundly shapes the education system.

School leadership significantly influences student learning. Principals are viewed as champions of change and innovation and as leaders of teaching and learning, rather than solely administrators or managers. Recently developed leadership frameworks (i.e. British Columbia, Alberta and Ontario) show recent emphasis on transformational, instructional and distributed forms of leadership.41

Recommendation 15: That the Province of Manitoba review teacher instructional time and assigned working times with consideration for alternative models that exist and can be explored. 


Since 2010, WSD has focused on leadership development through programs including its Professional Development Program for those interested in developing leadership capacity and the New Vice-Principal Professional Learning Group (formerly New Administrators’ Group – NAG) which serves to meet the needs of newly appointed Vice-Principals for two years.

In addition, WSD has also delivered the Custodial Leadership Development Program (1999-2012) and Clerical Development Program (1999-2014) to develop leadership skills for supervisory roles within WSD.

The Professional Learning and Leadership Program (2008-2013) supported both teacher and school leader development through mentorship, professional learning sessions and networks involving community connections with a view to understanding the strengths and challenges faced by families and students in low income neighbourhoods.

The former districts also engaged in district professional development that focused on topics including assessment and data analysis, literacy and numeracy development. The development of a Divisional Leadership Plan was addressed in 2003, 2004 and again in 2008. More recently a Leadership Essentials series has been coordinated by the Human Resources Department involving professional facilitation from Manitoba Teachers’ Society’s Staff Officers.

Winnipeg School Division Principals’ and Vice-Principals’ Association hosts an annual fall conference featuring various topics and speakers from local, national and international organizations.

Other professional learning for leaders and prospective leaders has been sought by individuals through organizations such as Council of School Leaders and the Manitoba Teachers’ Society. Staff also attend National and International Educators’ Conferences and enroll in Post Baccalaureate Diploma Programs and Master of Education Programs at the University of Manitoba.

Based on current offerings and experience, an integrated approach for Leadership Development in Winnipeg School Division will best serve emerging leadership that will meet the needs of students, teachers, schools and communities. As a learning organization, a reimagined leadership development program will offer Winnipeg School Division employees learning pathways for all employment sectors in the school division including teachers, school leaders, caretakers, clerical staff, trades, managers and supervisors.

The Winnipeg School Division Core Leadership series is unique to Winnipeg School Division and instrumental in the success of the division.

The theoretical underpinning is that an employee should be able to self-identify as potentially assuming a leadership position and should be able to enter a training trajectory prior to assuming that role.

Part one is a non-instructional component, to provide opportunities for building leadership capacity in communication, organization, workplace safety and health and governance.
Part two, still in development – is the instructional component. Even if they don’t end up in a leadership position, they are still acquiring valuable skills.


In addition to the Leadership series, Winnipeg School Division also has a Professional Learning and Leadership Centre (PLLC) based on both Canadian and international research. PLLC helps early-service teachers build peer support networks and best practices under the guidance of experienced teacher-mentors. Due to much experience with newly hired teachers, WSD already has this program in place to provide the necessary supports for mentorship and leadership.

PLLC also provides training for mentors so they can meet the needs of their mentees. Some of the common areas where early-service teachers request further assistance include creating a classroom culture for learning, classroom management, and inquiry/project-based learning.

The PLLC program began in 2008 with 21 schools. Mentors were trained over two years in how to conduct learning-focused conversations. In 2013, the program was extended to include all WSD schools as a two-year mentorship program for early service teachers with two-years or less of term teaching experience. External colleagues were invited from the Faculty of Education at the University of Manitoba to review the program and engage in participatory action research.

Dr. Francine Morin, Professor of Curriculum, Teaching and Learning with the U of M’s Faculty of Education, has been a key external partner with the program for research, review and evaluation. Dr. Morin notes the PLLC Teacher Induction and Mentoring Program has integrated annual evaluation to ensure continuous improvement.

In her review of the PLLC Teacher and Mentoring Induction Program, Dr. Morin has found benefits for new teachers and mentors alike. Mentors were able to build their mentorship skills over time through the program. A French Immersion cohort was introduced to the program in 2013.

The mentors and early-service teachers continue their own professional development and learning through action research and participating in job-embedded learning. Teachers are eligible for release time to participate in these aspects of the program.

Representatives from PLLC have presented at national conferences like the Canadian Society for Studies in Education, as well as participating in a Pan-Canadian panel on teacher mentorship and induction. Through the sharing of ideas, the goal is always to find the best practices possible.

Recommendation 16: That Winnipeg School Division with support of the Province of Manitoba take the lead in developing a leadership institute for all Manitoba school divisions.



Winnipeg School Division provides staff with professional development at the school and divisional level. Currently, educators participate in professional development and learning opportunities through their school divisions and the Province of Manitoba. Funding, however, is still needed to enable teachers to access and participate in a variety of learning.

WSD partners with organizations from across North America to provide relevant and timely professional development for educators. These sessions include The Innovator’s Mindset with George Couros; Spirals of Inquiry with Linda Kaser and Judy Halbert; Healthy Minds Learning Series; Mental Health Literacy workshops; and the Visible Learning Foundation series with John Hattie and Dave Nagel.

Recommendation 17: That the Province of Manitoba identify clear professional development pathways, both in post-secondary training and through continuous learning, to allow educators and school leaders to gain the knowledge and expertise required for ongoing student success. 


Inclusion Support Services is dedicated to assisting schools in the development of sustainable, inclusive environments that increase capacity to foster academic, physical, social and emotional growth for all students through a continuum of support. WSD is home to a host of special education programs including:

  • Positive Behaviour Intervention Strategy (PBIS)
  • Special Education Centres
  • Behaviour Support Programming
  • Early Intervention Autism Support Team
  • Community Access Programs (CAP)
  • Community Transition Program
  • Language Disorders Centres
  • Adaptive Skills
  • Students who are Deaf/Hard of Hearing
  • Students with Autism
  • Students with very profound emotional or behavioural disorders (learning assistance centres)
  • Students with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD)
  • Community Transition Program
  • Early Years Transition
  • Life skills Programs


Clinical Support Services within Winnipeg School Division is a school-based support service that provides clinical services to students, parents and teachers in our division and other metro school divisions in Winnipeg. The services of Clinical Support Services (CSS) are provided at no charge to children and their families. CSS is organized on a team basis which include Speech-Language Pathologists, Reading Clinicians, Social Workers, School Psychologists, Psychiatrists and Audiologists.

Winnipeg School Division provides a wide variety of supports and/or special programs for students with exceptional needs in order that they may have appropriate educational opportunities and participate fully as members of their school communities.

The need for inclusive education supports and the level of specialized programming required is based on evidence provided by the teachers, the parents, and others familiar with the students’ abilities, achievements, and learning needs; previous school records and informal and formal assessment results.

The referral procedure for Inclusion Support Services involves a collaborative process including school personnel, the parents, Clinical Support Services, and/or community agency. For children new to WSD, referrals can be made by parents or community agencies.

The need for inclusive education supports may be identified by the school team (teacher, resource teacher, principal, clinician, parent and/or community agency personnel) following a lack of progress despite intervention strategies tried at the school level. Parental approval must be obtained prior to referral for supports.

Every student who receives inclusive education supports and services must have an individual education plan (IEP). IEP is a global term referring to a written document developed and implemented by a team, outlining a plan to address the unique learning needs of students. The first IEP is written soon after entry into the program. It is completely reviewed by parents and the school team a minimum of twice a year.

Recommendation 18: That the Province of Manitoba provide sufficient and equitable resource allocation to support the diverse needs for student-focussed learning. 

Recommendation 19: That the Province of Manitoba ensure that the necessary supports are put in place to assist in assessments of students with various learning needs. These supports include credentialed programs in universities and more streamlined services between the province and school divisions. 

Recommendation 20: That equivalent measurement tools be used by school divisions and Manitoba Education and Training to determine adequate financial support for students with exceptional needs.

WSD has piloted and implemented programming that targets students with various learning needs. These programs bring the school community together, focus on collaboration and team work and have delivered positive results.

Some examples are:

  • COACH Program (General Wolfe and Mulvey School): The COACH Program is an innovative inter-disciplinary program managed by Winnipeg School Division, Healthy Child Manitoba and Macdonald Youth Services. At the COACH Program, students are empowered to see themselves as academic learners. They are given opportunities to learn about who they are and to find the good within themselves. Students with emotional behavioural disorders learn about themselves and the needs that drive their behaviours. Social skills training is an important component of the COACH Program, evidenced based practices and programs are utilized by staff to promote increased social skills resulting in positive behavior outcomes. The Second Step, Roots of Empathy, PAX are some of the programs used.
  • Morningstar Initiative: R.B. Russell Vocational High School provides an integrated, wraparound support system for all students, which includes academic counselling, addictions housing and other supports to students to promote academic achievement, overall well-being and a successful high school experience and transition to post-secondary education and the workplace. These types of partnerships with the province are very successful and supports are delivered directly to the student through the education system.


Social support is the physical and emotional comfort given by family, friends, coworkers and others. Being a part of a community is always important, especially in times of a crisis. Research shows that social support has important benefits to our physical and emotional health. Social support plays an important role in mental health and mental illness. Mental health and mental illness directly impact classroom learning and social interactions both of which are critical to the success of students.47

Recently there has been an increased emphasis on data for social-emotional learning (SEL) competencies and social skills and the link to mental health. Winnipeg School Division collects social emotional data for Nursery to Grade 3 students and is currently working on expanding to Grades 4 through 6.

Role of Technology in teaching and leadership

As technology advances, it is being purchased for schools at a rapid pace. While many districts/divisions have successfully integrated a mobile (bring-your-own-device initiative), the device shall not drive instruction. Adopting a pedagogical mindset first and technology second when integrating devices asserts a focus on learning. “How will this tool support learning and allow students to demonstrate construction of new knowledge leading to authentic application, and the development/enhancement of essential skills.”42

School Principals and teachers see both opportunities and social costs in the growth of information and communication technologies. Three ways forward with technology are recommended:43

  • Recognize and assume a significant leadership role in teaching children and young people to use technology responsibly and thoughtfully.
  • Continue professional development for school leaders and staff regarding technology in the classroom.
  • Balance technical skills with sensitivity to the pedagogical and social consequences of technology for students’ learning, social development and well-being.

Winnipeg School Division is utilizing Seesaw as a unique way to engage parents/guardians and foster the home-school connection. Seesaw is a learning journal that displays evidence of a learning/process portfolio and supports students in Nursery through Grade 6. This platform allows students and teachers to capture and share learning in real time on any device. With an easy to use interface that is scalable for many age groups, learners are able to capture and upload classroom learning in the form of notes, links, images, and video. With built-in screen-casting abilities students are able to capture and narrate their learning. Teachers utilizing the app have said that it improves home and school relationships because the students are excited to share daily and get immediate feedback on school work.

Recommendation 21: That the Province of Manitoba integrate technology training for educators into initial teacher training and supplemental professional development for educators to ensure their knowledge and understanding of technology and its applications are kept current with the continuous evolution of technology and the learning needs of students. 

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