A Learning Commons provides boundless opportunity for growth. It is based on a cross-curricular perspective that recognizes literacy, numeracy, knowledge, thinking, communication, and application as foundations for learning how to learn.

A Learning Commons becomes the physical and virtual catalyst where inquiry, imagination, discover, and creativity come alive and become central to growth – personal, academic, social and cultural.

Together for Learning, p. 3 (OSLA 2010)

Explore the T4L vision for Making the Learning Commons Happen on pages 40-43 of the print document, or on the corresponding page in this website: Making the Learning Commons Happen

How does the Learning Commons philosophy and practice relate to standards for school improvement?

Connections to the School Effectiveness Framework (Ontario Ministry of Education)
Ideas   Examples & Resources
  • Engage in planning to meet the needs of learners that considers the unique contribution of the Learning Commons.
  Planning to Address the Needs of Learners Worksheet
  • Create an action plan for leading transitions in the Learning Commons to boost student achievement.
  Action Plan Template
  • Connect the School Effectiveness Self Assessment Tool (given out annually prior to drafting the School Improvement Plan) to the practices/resources/facility in the school library learning commons.
  • Attend (possibly host) School Improvement meetings to ensure that library initiatives and resources support school goals and needs. Take a leadership role at these meetings and offer concrete ideas and action plans to support goals, e.g., Collaboratively develop a unit of instruction to address bullying making use of best resources and technologies.
  • Host new teacher orientation in the library and offer a series of focused seminars on topics of interest that link to school improvement, e.g., questioning skills to support student inquiry.
  • Attend division/department/ or focus group meeting regularly to keep up with issues, changes and needs at your school. Take a lead and offer to prepare a collaborative virtual space as a resource for meetings, e.g., create a Google site to archive the literacy team agendas, calendar, resource links, action plans, PD videos, etc..
  • Create a library blog to extend collaboration beyond the physical walls of the school. Encourage and welcome discussion and comments – teacher, student, parent, community, e.g., create a student survey asking what they would do to improve the library.
  • Make connections between assessment for, as and of learning and the guided inquiry model.
  • Build a collection of professional resources (print and virtual) to support SIP, e.g., dedicate a section on the Virtual Learning Commons to assessment and link articles, videos, and best assessment tools to support Growing Success.
  • Collaborate with a teaching partner and hold a working session on assessment of stages in the inquiry process.
  TM Canada 2010 Papers: See Getting to the Heart of Assessment and Evaluation, by Jo-Anne LaForty and Usha James.
  • Provide easy access to links for school improvement from the library learning commons website. Link Ministry documents such as the School Effectiveness Framework, Growing Success, as well as links to important articles, websites and videos.

Connections to the School Improvement Plans
Ideas   Examples & Resources
  • Use the Supporting Principals page of this website to see the strong relationships between Together for Learning and Ontario's Leadership Framework for Principals and Vice-Principals. Use the chart to guide discussions with your school's administration.
  • Make the case for collaborative leadership for achieving school goals.
  The Trillium (ASCD Ontario, 2014). Collaborative Leadership: A Learning Commons Model (See p. 5)

Connections to the Assessment Policy: Growing Success (Ontario Ministry of Education)
Ideas   Examples & Resources
  • Make connections between the T4L Inquiry Process and assessment practices described in Growing Success (assessment for, of and as learning).
  T4L, Growing Success & System Success, WRDSB 2012 (pdf)
  • Use appropriate assessment strategies in the inquiry process and in teacher guided inquiries. Understand assessment as a tool for learning, metacognition and growth.
  Defining New Metrics for Library Success: School Libraries. UofT iSchool Symposium 2014. 

  Use Leading Learning standard, Advancing the Learning Community to Achieve School Goals (page 13) to guide program improvement and make strong connections to school priorities.
  Use Leading Learning standard, Cultivating Effective Instructional Design to Co-plan, Teach and Assess Learning (page 15) to guide program growth.