Supporting Principals


Virtual and physical learning partnerships extend collaboration to include all members of a school's community.

   At the school level, the principal is key in establishing and encouraging working partnerships among staff and students. The principal must provide the climate for co-operation, experimentation and growth. The Learning Commons has great potential, but only when everyone participates.
Together for Learning p. 40 (OSLA 2010)

Building School Leadership Capacity with Together for Learning: Linking the Learning Commons to Leadership Framework for Principals and Vice-Principals (Ontario Ministry of Education, 2007)

Ontario Leadership Framework: Building Capacity with Together for Learning
 Leader Practices
   Together for Learning and the Learning Commons Model
Setting Directions
  • movitates and works with others to create a shared culture and positive climate
  • Everyone is a learner in the Learning Commons: both  students and teachers strive to improve
  • Focus on learning to learn develops metacognition as well as skills for collaboration, responsibility, and engagement in the learning community
  • ensures creativity, innovation and the use of appropriate technologies to achieve excellence
  • Rich variety of resources and technologies as well as flexible physical and virtual spaces enhance differentiated instructional opportunities in the information to knowledge creation process
  • School library program has a central role to play in nurturing the Learning Commons' culture of imagination, discovery and creativity
  • ensures that strategic planning takes account of diversity, values, and experience of the school community
  • Culture of inquiry fosters imagination and creativity, confidence and self-esteem
  • Library program and resources foster individual growth, cultural awareness, embracing diversity, and the value of social contribution
Building Relationships and Developing People
  • engages staff in professional learning
  • Teachers, teacher-librarians, principals, technical staff, students can all collaborate in learning partnerships
  • Changes emphasis from teaching to learning. Teachers modeling the learning process stimulates student engagement
  • Assessment for learning throughout inquiry process makes professional learning directly relevant to instructional practice
  • develops and implements effective strategies for leadership development
  • Participation in professional learning communities means shared leadership, power and decision-making
  • Leadership and social contribution are values integral to the Learning Commons approach
  • encourages colleagues to take intellectual risk
  • The Learning Commons liberates the exploration of ideas and concepts, encouraging inquiry, imagination, discovery and creativity for all learners, including teachers and administrators
Developing the Organization
  • builds a collaborative learning culture within the school and actively engages with other schools to build effective learning communities
  • Inquiry approach leverages collaboration for enhancing learning opportunities
  • Online learning spaces enhance opportunities for collaboration across the school, district, and community
  • Technology-enabled personal learning networks connect participants beyond their local areas
  • develops a school culture which promotes shared knowledge and shared responsibility for outcomes
  • The Learning Commons creates a network of information, people and programs for learning within a school and beyond
  • Instructional approaches incorporate evidence-based practice into the design of learning experiences
Leading the Instructional Program
  • ensures that learning is at the centre of planning and resource management
  • Inquiry learning that is challenging and authentic is enjoyable and creates and environment where individuals flourish
  • True inquiry requires access to diverse resources in a variety of formats. The school library program connects resource selection, management and access to the learning goals of the school
  • develops professional learning communities to support school improvement
  • Professional Learning Communities provide a framework for tapping into collective creativity in developing learning approaches to support school improvement plan
Securing Accountability
  • makes connections to ministry goals to strengthen commitment to school improvement efforts
  • Many direct correlations between Together for Learning approach and strategies and School Effectiveness Framework 
  • Discovery and Guided Inquiry model effectively incorporates diverse assessment strategies for, as and of learning, embracing guidelines in Growing Success
Download the PDF version of this chart: LeadershipFramework_T4L.pdf

Suggested Starting Points

T4L Vision Document
The Emergence of the Learning Commons
Making the Learning Commons Happen

The Learning Commons Team
School Improvement
Measuring Success


Further Reading

Bondi, G. (2011). Our learning commons: One "how to" for 21st century learning. Learning the Now.

Brooks Kirkland, A. (2011). Imagine your library. YouTube.

Brooks Kirkland, A. (2011). Nurturing our digital literacy. School Libraries in Canada 29(1).

Brooks Kirkland, A. (2012). Inquiry untethered. By the Brooks.

Crompton, M. (2013). Much to learn from Vancouver, BC. Teacher Librarian 40(3).

D’Amico, D. (2011). Learning commons transformation – ten steps. 21st Century learning/teaching.  

Fullan, M. (2013). Great to excellent: Launching the next stage of Ontario’s education agenda. Toronto: Queen’s Printer for Ontario.

Greater Essex County DSB Teacher-Librarians (2011). Collaborative inquiry: Teachers creating knowledge and improving learning for students. Reports: Teacher-Librarians 2011-12(1). Windsor: Greater Essex County DSB.

Haycock, K. (2013). School libraries and student achievement. Ken Haycock and Associates.  

Koechlin, C., Rosenfeld, E. & Loertscher, D. (2010). Building a learning commons: A guide for school administrators and learning leadership teams. Salt Lake City UT:  Hi Willow Research and Publishing.

Loertscher, D. & Koechlin, C.. The school learning commons knowledge building center.  

Loertscher, D. & Koechlin, C. (2012). The virtual learning commons and school improvement. Teacher Librarian 39(6).

Loertscher, D., Koechlin, C. & Rosenfeld, E. (2012). The virtual learning commons: Building a participatory school learning community. Salt Lake City UT:  Hi Willow Research and Publishing.

Loertscher, D., Koechlin, C., Rosenfeld, E. & Zwaan, S. (2011). The new learning commons: Where learners win (2nd Edition). Salt Lake City UT: Hi Willow Research and Publishing.

Mitchell, T. & Potvin-Schafer, F. (2012). The creation of the Edgewood experiential lab and learning commons for the 21st century. Teacher Librarian 39(4).  

Oberg, D. (2012). Ignoring the evidence: Another decade of decline for school libraries. Education Canada 52(2).

Ontario Ministry of Education (2007). Leadership frameworks for principals and vice-principals. Toronto: Queen’s Printer for Ontario.

Ontario Ministry of Education (2013). School effectiveness framework: A support for school improvement and student success. Toronto: Queen’s Printer for Ontario.

Ontario Ministry of Education (2012). The third teacher: Designing the learning environment for math and literacy, K to 8. Capacity Building Series. Toronto: Queen’s Printer for Ontario.