From Waterdown to Italy: Allan A. Greenleaf principal shares exchange experience

News Apr 11, 2016 Flamborough Review

Allan A. Greenleaf principal Susanna Costa-Popovich travelled to Italy during the March Break as a part of an international exchange.

The Waterdown educator, who was in Italy from March 11-18, said the week was amazing.

“The warmth and welcome of the principals, the parents, the teachers and the students, it was overwhelming,” she said of the experience. “I was moved to tears at times.

“Every school I went to did a presentation of sorts – they were eager to share what they were doing, but they also had a number of questions about how we operate (in Ontario).”

She noted the week, which was a mix of cultural and educational activities, started Friday evening with a welcome dinner hosted by the school’s parents.

“The weekend was all cultural, seeing the countryside,” she said, noting she spent the weekend doing a boat tour, a bicycle tour and visiting a summer house on Lake Iseo.

In addition, she sampled some authentic northern Italian cuisine – including polenta and rabbit.

“The week was spent touring schools, principals meetings – I was getting a sense of where they’re at for next year’s planning and school improvement,” she said. “One of them was one where I presented on teacher performance appraisal – which they don’t have.”

Costa-Popovich was hosted by her Italian counterpart Rosalia Natalizi-Baldi, whom the Greenleaf principal had hosted in December. She visited Natalizi-Baldi’s school, I.C. Villasanta, located 20 kilometres northeast of Milan.

She noted the exchange experience, which she funded herself, was extremely rewarding from a personal and professional standpoint.

Among the other cultural attractions she experienced was a Roman bath, a tour of the fashion district in Milan and an opera production.

She noted part of what made her experience particularly rich is her understanding of the Italian language.

“I understood the traditions and the cultures and I was really well-received because I was a Canadian-born Italian that still valued the traditions of an Italian upbringing,” she said, “but also had the education and knowledge to support teacher leadership and principal leadership.”

She added Ontario teachers and principals are recognized, even in Italy, as being leaders.

“There was a real level of respect every time I went somewhere.”

Costa-Popovich noted there were a number of differences between her role as a principal in Ontario and that of an Italian principal.

“She has five different schools,” she said of Natalizi-Baldi. “Each of those schools is in their own building.

“She supports 1,400 students and over 100 staff in five separate buildings.”

Costa-Popovich explained that in each building, one of the teachers acts as a vice principal to take care of the day-to-day operations. The five schools included two kindergarten schools, two primary-junior schools and a middle school.

“She acts more as a manager, she deals with all the operations,” she said. “She has less contact with kids, more with the adults in the building, whereas I’m circulating in classrooms – I’m more in the weeds.

“I think all principals in Canadian schools are.”

Another difference is the principal receives her budget numbers from the community. In fact, Costa-Popovich went along to meet the mayor, as Natalizi-Baldi had to show how the funding was being used.

Costa-Popovich noted that teachers in Italy work 18-hour weeks, and a community hot lunch is provided for students at the cost of 4 Euros per day.

As a result of the exchange, Costa-Popovich said she could see future collaborations between Allan A. Greenleaf and I.C. Villasanta in the middle school grades.

She said while she’s excited about the possibilities of doing something – particularly in relation to language or technology, there are some logistical challenges – including the time change from Italy to Ontario.

“We’d have to do something from 9-10 a.m. in Ontario,” she said. “That would be 3-4 p.m. in Italy.”

Costa-Popovich noted a program could get underway next year, but it would be up to each teacher to decide whether they want to take part.

From Waterdown to Italy: Allan A. Greenleaf principal shares exchange experience

News Apr 11, 2016 Flamborough Review

Allan A. Greenleaf principal Susanna Costa-Popovich travelled to Italy during the March Break as a part of an international exchange.

The Waterdown educator, who was in Italy from March 11-18, said the week was amazing.

“The warmth and welcome of the principals, the parents, the teachers and the students, it was overwhelming,” she said of the experience. “I was moved to tears at times.

“Every school I went to did a presentation of sorts – they were eager to share what they were doing, but they also had a number of questions about how we operate (in Ontario).”

She noted the week, which was a mix of cultural and educational activities, started Friday evening with a welcome dinner hosted by the school’s parents.

“The weekend was all cultural, seeing the countryside,” she said, noting she spent the weekend doing a boat tour, a bicycle tour and visiting a summer house on Lake Iseo.

In addition, she sampled some authentic northern Italian cuisine – including polenta and rabbit.

“The week was spent touring schools, principals meetings – I was getting a sense of where they’re at for next year’s planning and school improvement,” she said. “One of them was one where I presented on teacher performance appraisal – which they don’t have.”

Costa-Popovich was hosted by her Italian counterpart Rosalia Natalizi-Baldi, whom the Greenleaf principal had hosted in December. She visited Natalizi-Baldi’s school, I.C. Villasanta, located 20 kilometres northeast of Milan.

She noted the exchange experience, which she funded herself, was extremely rewarding from a personal and professional standpoint.

Among the other cultural attractions she experienced was a Roman bath, a tour of the fashion district in Milan and an opera production.

She noted part of what made her experience particularly rich is her understanding of the Italian language.

“I understood the traditions and the cultures and I was really well-received because I was a Canadian-born Italian that still valued the traditions of an Italian upbringing,” she said, “but also had the education and knowledge to support teacher leadership and principal leadership.”

She added Ontario teachers and principals are recognized, even in Italy, as being leaders.

“There was a real level of respect every time I went somewhere.”

Costa-Popovich noted there were a number of differences between her role as a principal in Ontario and that of an Italian principal.

“She has five different schools,” she said of Natalizi-Baldi. “Each of those schools is in their own building.

“She supports 1,400 students and over 100 staff in five separate buildings.”

Costa-Popovich explained that in each building, one of the teachers acts as a vice principal to take care of the day-to-day operations. The five schools included two kindergarten schools, two primary-junior schools and a middle school.

“She acts more as a manager, she deals with all the operations,” she said. “She has less contact with kids, more with the adults in the building, whereas I’m circulating in classrooms – I’m more in the weeds.

“I think all principals in Canadian schools are.”

Another difference is the principal receives her budget numbers from the community. In fact, Costa-Popovich went along to meet the mayor, as Natalizi-Baldi had to show how the funding was being used.

Costa-Popovich noted that teachers in Italy work 18-hour weeks, and a community hot lunch is provided for students at the cost of 4 Euros per day.

As a result of the exchange, Costa-Popovich said she could see future collaborations between Allan A. Greenleaf and I.C. Villasanta in the middle school grades.

She said while she’s excited about the possibilities of doing something – particularly in relation to language or technology, there are some logistical challenges – including the time change from Italy to Ontario.

“We’d have to do something from 9-10 a.m. in Ontario,” she said. “That would be 3-4 p.m. in Italy.”

Costa-Popovich noted a program could get underway next year, but it would be up to each teacher to decide whether they want to take part.

From Waterdown to Italy: Allan A. Greenleaf principal shares exchange experience

News Apr 11, 2016 Flamborough Review

Allan A. Greenleaf principal Susanna Costa-Popovich travelled to Italy during the March Break as a part of an international exchange.

The Waterdown educator, who was in Italy from March 11-18, said the week was amazing.

“The warmth and welcome of the principals, the parents, the teachers and the students, it was overwhelming,” she said of the experience. “I was moved to tears at times.

“Every school I went to did a presentation of sorts – they were eager to share what they were doing, but they also had a number of questions about how we operate (in Ontario).”

She noted the week, which was a mix of cultural and educational activities, started Friday evening with a welcome dinner hosted by the school’s parents.

“The weekend was all cultural, seeing the countryside,” she said, noting she spent the weekend doing a boat tour, a bicycle tour and visiting a summer house on Lake Iseo.

In addition, she sampled some authentic northern Italian cuisine – including polenta and rabbit.

“The week was spent touring schools, principals meetings – I was getting a sense of where they’re at for next year’s planning and school improvement,” she said. “One of them was one where I presented on teacher performance appraisal – which they don’t have.”

Costa-Popovich was hosted by her Italian counterpart Rosalia Natalizi-Baldi, whom the Greenleaf principal had hosted in December. She visited Natalizi-Baldi’s school, I.C. Villasanta, located 20 kilometres northeast of Milan.

She noted the exchange experience, which she funded herself, was extremely rewarding from a personal and professional standpoint.

Among the other cultural attractions she experienced was a Roman bath, a tour of the fashion district in Milan and an opera production.

She noted part of what made her experience particularly rich is her understanding of the Italian language.

“I understood the traditions and the cultures and I was really well-received because I was a Canadian-born Italian that still valued the traditions of an Italian upbringing,” she said, “but also had the education and knowledge to support teacher leadership and principal leadership.”

She added Ontario teachers and principals are recognized, even in Italy, as being leaders.

“There was a real level of respect every time I went somewhere.”

Costa-Popovich noted there were a number of differences between her role as a principal in Ontario and that of an Italian principal.

“She has five different schools,” she said of Natalizi-Baldi. “Each of those schools is in their own building.

“She supports 1,400 students and over 100 staff in five separate buildings.”

Costa-Popovich explained that in each building, one of the teachers acts as a vice principal to take care of the day-to-day operations. The five schools included two kindergarten schools, two primary-junior schools and a middle school.

“She acts more as a manager, she deals with all the operations,” she said. “She has less contact with kids, more with the adults in the building, whereas I’m circulating in classrooms – I’m more in the weeds.

“I think all principals in Canadian schools are.”

Another difference is the principal receives her budget numbers from the community. In fact, Costa-Popovich went along to meet the mayor, as Natalizi-Baldi had to show how the funding was being used.

Costa-Popovich noted that teachers in Italy work 18-hour weeks, and a community hot lunch is provided for students at the cost of 4 Euros per day.

As a result of the exchange, Costa-Popovich said she could see future collaborations between Allan A. Greenleaf and I.C. Villasanta in the middle school grades.

She said while she’s excited about the possibilities of doing something – particularly in relation to language or technology, there are some logistical challenges – including the time change from Italy to Ontario.

“We’d have to do something from 9-10 a.m. in Ontario,” she said. “That would be 3-4 p.m. in Italy.”

Costa-Popovich noted a program could get underway next year, but it would be up to each teacher to decide whether they want to take part.