Annual Review 2023-24

Empowering Education Through Global Connectivity

Over the past fiscal year, CPL has been dedicated to fostering meaningful connections with learners, colleagues, and clients worldwide.

Welcome to the 2023-2024 Annual Review of OISE Continuing & Professional Learning (CPL), where the theme of “Connections” permeates our reflections, achievements, and aspirations.

As we navigate a landscape of global education, our commitment to connectivity has been instrumental in shaping our initiatives and guiding our progress. Through collaborative endeavors and innovative programs, CPL has not only addressed challenges but has also seized opportunities to enrich educational experiences and build capacity within diverse communities. In this review, we invite you to explore the significant events, developments, and achievements that have marked our journey, reflecting on the strides we’ve made and the connections we’ve forged.

From innovative programs like Education Leaders and Professional Learning Fellowships to international collaborations and strategic partnerships, CPL continues to exemplify its dedication to empowering education professionals from all sectors and backgrounds. Join us as we delve into the highlights of the past year, celebrating our collective efforts in advancing education and fostering connections that transcend boundaries.


Work-Integrated Learning for Leaders

Confident smiling school leader with students in background

Reimagining Principal Qualifications: A New, Inclusive Approach for Aspiring K-12 Education Leaders

Effective educational leaders are necessary for building resourceful and instructive school systems. The Education Leaders Program (ELP) was designed to cater to the dynamic needs of aspiring school leaders from around the globe, and offers a fresh, online approach to leadership training, crafted to fulfill both local and international requirements. The program is rooted in OISE’s evidence-based Ontario Leadership Framework (first introduced by OISE Prof. Kenneth Leithwood, 2006), and focuses on enhancing and supporting essential practices of successful education leaders. We were pleased to pilot and launch this exiting new program over the past year.

The ELP’s curriculum is divided into two distinct phases. The first, Building the Foundations of Leadership, offers three comprehensive courses ocreating a personal leadership philosophy, mastering community engagement, and acquiring practical management tools. Upon successful completion of these three foundational courses, learners earn an OISE Certificate, while Ontario Certified Teachers also earn their PQP1 qualification from the Ontario College of Teachers.

Phase two, Nurturing Sustainable Leadership, introduces the Professional Learning Fellowship (PLF) model. This advanced segment allows learners to engage in self-guided study, supported by expert facilitators. They refine their professional inquiries,

facilitate seminars, and build comprehensive leadership toolboxes, essential for their future leadership roles. Successful completion of this phase awards a Master Certificate and, for Ontario teachers, their PQP2 qualification.

The pilot run (August 2023-June 2024) included ten diverse participants from various educational sectors and geographical regions. Feedback from the pilot run has been instrumental in refining the program’s approach, with real-time adjustments made to administrative processes and content.

In February, our first full cohort launched with 21 educators from different parts of Canada and around the world. As the program moves forward, we will continue to expand our domestic and international reach to include organizations who will benefit from a team approach to leadership learning. We’ve just begun our first team-based run of the Education Leaders program with the Peel District School Board based on their specific organizational needs.

The feedback loop from current and past participants will continue to shape the ELP, ensuring it remains at the cutting edge of educational leadership learning.

With its innovative design and adaptive approach, the Education Leaders Program is not just training school leaders; it’s shaping the future of education itself.

“The program’s orientation to solving a ‘problem of practice’ within one’s own professional context presented great opportunities for professional growth as well as to apply course content within one’s own professional context.”

Education Leaders Pilot Participant

Professional Learning Fellowships: Piloting a Professional Community of Practice for Solving Workplace Challenges

Last year, OISE CPL piloted the Professional Learning Fellowship program as an innovative approach to professional development

Distinct from traditional professional learning approaches, OISE CPL’s Professional Learning Fellowship program emphasizes a self-guided learning experience where participants, supported by process facilitators and experts-in-residence, take centre stage in their own development.

The program uniquely combines personal leadership growth with practical project execution, pushing learners “from idea to action” in a 14-week intensive format. Key components of the fellowship include one-on-one coaching, community collaboration, and reflective practice. These elements foster self-awareness, confidence, and the skills necessary to navigate and lead complex workplace challenges.

In early 2024 we invited a cohort of twelve professionals from diverse sectors to take part in a
pilot run of the fellowship, who were each committed to implementing a specific change in their workplace. Throughout the 14-weeks, regular feedback was gathered from the cohort, enabling us to make real-time adjustments to the delivery model while planning for the next run.

HIghlights from participating fellows included the opportunity to work with experts while collaborating wtih peers from different sectors, despite working on very different work-based projects. By the end of the program, a number of fellows had succeeded in getting their innovative training programs approved by their organizations, demonstrating the tangible impact of the fellowship in real-world professional settings.

Insights from the pilot cohort has also informed future program enhancements including plans to standardize the coaching model and strengthen the ongoing community network among fellowship participants.

Thanks to the collaboration with these participants, our facilitators, experts-in-residence, and program design and administration teams, it is clear this unique approach not only builds community and enhances leadership skills but also empowers professionals to effectively drive change within their organizations, making it an ideal model for transformative professional development.

“I highly valued the opportunities for collaboration. I always valued the insights of fellows – regardless of industry and background – and this was valuable learning for me (that we don’t necessarily need to have the same workplace experience or understanding in order to support each other with our inquiries) the common thread between us all was workplace learning and development.”

Joyet Chakungal, Past Fellow


Expanding Horizons

OISE EduTours: A Global Learning Experience

Toronto Skyline with purple light – Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Back by popular demand, OISE EduTours resumed in 2023, offering unique professional development opportunities for groups visiting us from different countries around the world.

OISE EduTours provide overseas education professionals a deep dive into Ontario’s acclaimed education system, tailored to reflect the participants’ specific challenges and learning objectives.

With one or more immersive days in Toronto, EduTours participants engage in a mix of seminars, field visits to local schools, and interactive workshops. These experiences are designed to showcase innovative teaching methods, leadership strategies, and the practical application of educational theories that match the visiting cohort’s specific needs.

Popular themes have included equity, diversity, inclusion, and accessibility (EDIA) classroom management, School Leadership, Education Systems Reform, and embedding experiential learning / global competencies within curriculum design and delivery.

The primary benefit of the EduTours is the tailored learning experience, which not only broadens participants’ perspectives but also helps build an international network of educators. Feedback from participants highlights the value of this rich educational experience, with one group from South Korea noting the tour’s “wonderful hospitality” and “meaningful” activities that offered plenty to reflect upon and implement back home.

Hosted biannually in Spring and Autumn, OISE EduTours are more than just educational events; they are a celebration of global educational collaboration and innovation. Educators worldwide are invited to participate in these tours to enhance their professional growth and contribute to educational reform in their own countries.

“Everything from the moment we first met on the first floor to the beautiful night at CN Tower including your considerate photo present was perfect and meaningful. The tour was short but powerful enough to give us so much to think about and work on.“

Ms. Balgeun Chang, Daegu Metropolitan Office of Education, South Korea

A Milestone in Educational Collaboration: The Saudi Education Minister’s Visit to the University of Toronto

In a significant development in international educational cooperation, the University of Toronto hosted a high-profile delegation from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), led by His Excellency Yousef Al-Benyan, the Saudi Minister of Education. This visit marked the first state-level interaction since 2018 and led to a series of engaging and strategic discussions aimed at forging partnerships in education.

Following preliminary engagements at Queen’s Park, the delegation commenced their visit at Simcoe Hall, where they were received by University President Merick Gertler. The delegation then joined a meeting hosted by the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE), to discuss the Kingdom’s goals for education reform. The discussions highlighted potential avenues for collaboration, aligning closely with Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 educational goals.

The visit also included specialized field trips to the Jackman Institute for Child Studies and the MaRS Discovery District, orchestrated in collaboration with the Canada Arab Business Council. These sessions showcased Ontario’s pioneering work in early childhood education and offered a platform for discussing investment opportunities with various Canadian educational and research institutions. These discussions underscored the mutual interest in research, innovation, and the application of educational strategies to foster significant societal advancements.

Prominent figures in these meetings included Dr. Erica Walker, Dean of OISE, and Dr. Elisabeth Rees-Johnstone, Executive Director of Continuing and Professional Learning at OISE, who presented compelling overviews of OISE’s influential role in shaping the Ontario’s Education System. Their insights, coupled with the strategic guidance of Dr. Alex Mihailidis, Associate Vice-President for International Partnerships, and Illan Kramer, Director of International Research Partnerships, underscored the University of Toronto’s preparedness and commitment to fostering international educational partnerships.

A notable highlight was the commendation by Minister Al-Benyan, who, impressed by OISE’s impact on Ontario’s education reforms, expressed a desire for a similar institution in Saudi Arabia. This acknowledgment not only emphasized the global relevance of Ontario’s educational models but also highlighted the potential for significant educational exchange and cooperation between the two regions.

The visit not only underscored the University of Toronto’s reputation as a hub for educational innovation and collaboration but also opened doors for future partnerships that promise to enhance educational frameworks in both Saudi Arabia and Ontario. As these discussions continue to evolve, they pave the way for transformative educational practices that resonate around the world.

“Everything was so impressively executed … the Arabic name cards, the presentation with Arabic, the lapel pins the wonderful materials – all so brilliant and so thoughtful. All of these details mean so much. Thank you.”

Global Affairs Cananda, Trade Commissioner (Riyadh)


Connected Educators

Educators in Residence – tie to connecting and innovation

An Educator-in-Residence refers to an experienced educator, whose significant expertise in a specific area of education, contributes to our OISE CPL commitment to create the conditions for exceptional professional learning. Their role involves sharing their knowledge and experience, often through workshops, mentoring, or consulting on educational projects. They bring real-world perspectives and practices into our learning environment, bridging the gap between theoretical and practical aspects of education, and enriching the learning experience for our teaching and learning community. 

Learning Experince Designers – contextualizing courses for international audiences 

An LX Designer, or Learning Experience Designer, combines principles of instructional design, educational theory, and user experience to create effective and engaging learning environments. At OISE CPL, our LXD team focuses on understanding how education professionals learn and they design experiences that facilitate this process.

LX Designers shape teaching and learning by incorporating technology, interactive elements, and innovative strategies to make learning more personalized and impactful. Their expertise leads to learner-centric environments, where the needs and preferences of learners guide the creation of content and the choice of teaching methodologies, resulting in more effective and enjoyable learning experiences. 

Gelareh Keshavarz

2023-2024 OISE CPL Award of Excellence

Congratulations to Gelareh Keshavarz, this year’s recipient of the OISE Continuing & Professional Learning (CPL) Award of Excellence.

Since joining the University of Toronto in 2009 and the CPL team in 2019, Gelareh has been a pivotal force in designing, developing, and facilitating CPL courses.

Gelareh Keshavarz
Gelareh Keshavarz

Her proactive collaborations extend across Canada and internationally, enhancing learner engagement and connecting educational communities beyond borders.

As a Learning Consultant, Gelareh is meticulously tailors learning solutions to meet the diverse needs, interests, and cultural backgrounds of learners, ensuring maximum engagement and effectiveness. She is committed to expanding CPL’s community reach and supporting education mobility, and applies Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) principles and Universal Design for Learning (UDL) guidelines to her work, ensuring student-centered relevancy.

Recently, she began co-developing CPL’s inaugural Occupation-Specific Language Program, further testament to her dedication and innovative approach in the field of professional learning.

Read more about the 2023-24 OISE Teaching Excellence Awards Recipients

Over the 2023-24 fiscal year, we welcomed 15 new sessional facilitators to the OISE CPL community and welcomed back 155 facilitators to support the delivery of our courses.  

Our administrative team had the pleasure of hiring 4 work-study students through the University’s Career Learning Network (CLN) who helped support our operations throughout the year. 


Community Collaboration

Building a Future Through Collaboration: Building a Community of Practice for USN International Baccalaureate Educators

In an era where education demands both flexibility and deep, integrative practices, the collaboration between the University of South-Eastern Norway (USN) and the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) stands out as a beacon of progressive development. Over the past four years, this partnership has thrived through a series of annual facilitated sessions, designed to fortify a professional learning community among 14 private schools within the Norwegian International Baccalaureate (IB) Network. This initiative has expanded to include up to 22 schools, highlighting a commitment to broadening its impact.

The primary goal of this collaboration is to foster a vibrant community of practice for K-12 IB educators. This community aims to create a collaborative space where educators can engage in inquiry to address their schools’ specific International Baccalaureate Program Development Plans. The essence of these sessions is to apply practical insights into their educational contexts and reflect on the outcomes, to cultivate a culture of shared knowledge and continuous improvement.

An important milestone in this ongoing journey was the adaptation of the program’s methodology from a traditional Plan/Act/Observe/Reflect sequence to a more dynamic Act/Plan structure. This shift acknowledges the real-time needs and stages of

educators within the academic year, allowing them to immediately implement learnings and subsequently plan for future applications. This adjustment not only aligns with the academic calendar but also enhances the practical impact of the sessions on educational practices.

The impact of this collaboration is most notably seen in its “adaptive, continuous improvement methodology,” which effectively addresses the specific, practical needs of educators. This approach has allowed the program to be highly responsive and relevant, ensuring that the insights and strategies developed are immediately applicable and beneficial.

Reported satisfaction and success stories from participants underscore the value and effectiveness of this collaborative effort. Educators have expressed appreciation for the practical framework and the opportunity to engage in meaningful, reflective practice that directly influences their teaching and their students’ learning outcomes.

Looking ahead, the partnership is poised for its next phase, with plans already underway for a follow-up session in Norway in October 2024. This session aims to further the dialogue and deepen the practice-based insights that have characterized the collaboration so far.

“Is there a quote from one of the USN Participants we can use here? And a photo too if possible?”

Anna Wong, Volunteer

Building Bridges for the Future: Our Partnership with the Peel District School Board

In an era where education is rapidly evolving to meet the demands of a global economy, our organization has been at the forefront of this transformation. We’ve been collaborating closely with the Peel District School Board (PDSB) to foster an environment that not only nurtures but also challenges the status quo in educational standards.

The Peel District School Board has been a beacon of progressive educational reforms, striving to create a nurturing and inclusive learning environment that caters to the diverse needs of its students. Their commitment to fostering global competencies among students makes them an ideal partner for us. Together, we have embarked on a journey to revolutionize the educational landscape through specialized training and innovative educational tours.

Over the past year, our partnership has blossomed into a multifaceted collaboration. It began with a pivotal meeting focused on enhancing teacher skills, particularly in Educational Leadership. This led to a tailored version of our Education Leaders program, designed specifically to meet the nuanced needs of PDSB educators. However, this was just the beginning.

We have tapped into a wealth of opportunities thanks to Bernadette Smith from PDSB, who has facilitated numerous research partnerships and innovation initiatives. Through her, our paths crossed with Paul Deets, a Distinguished Engineer in Residence at the University of Toronto, who introduced us to cutting-edge animatronics projects now being trialed in PDSB classrooms. Additionally, Eunice Jang from OISE presented her groundbreaking Balance AI technology to PDSB, setting the stage for the development of AI guidelines and policies within their schools.

These initiatives are a testament to the symbiotic relationship we’ve nurtured, where each success opens new doors and lays the groundwork for future collaborations. The partnership is not just about individual projects but a comprehensive engagement model that has become a blueprint for interacting with other educational boards.

Looking forward, we are excited about the potential of deepening this relationship. In June, we plan to meet with PDSB leadership to align our strategic objectives and identify areas for further collaboration. This meeting will be pivotal in setting a roadmap that aligns with PDSB’s strategic planning, ensuring that our future initiatives are both impactful and aligned with their educational goals.

Moreover, an event focused on technological advancements is on the horizon, where we aim to showcase the innovative work of Eunice and Paul. This will not only highlight our achievements but also reinforce the practical applications of our research and its benefits to the educational community.

This partnership is a vivid example of how collaborative efforts can bridge the gap between research and practical application in education. It highlights the importance of being responsive to the evolving needs of educational boards and adapting in ways that significantly impact the community. Through our ongoing collaboration with PDSB, we are not just witnessing but actively participating in the shaping of future educational paradigms. This is a journey of mutual growth, learning, and an unwavering commitment to excellence in education.

“Add quote here if a relevant quote exists- maybe something from Joe, ERJ, or Bernadette?”

Attribution goes here

University of Toronto Entrepreneurship Accelerator Summit: Fostering Collaboration and Innovation

In January 2023, the University of Toronto Entrepreneurship (UTE) community held its inaugural Accelerator Summit, a landmark event designed to fortify the bonds and synergies among its 12+ campus-linked accelerators. As a beacon of global recognition in academic innovation, UTE’s first summit focused on empowering and uniting its network of innovative leaders to address some of society’s most pressing challenges and spur economic prosperity both locally and globally.

The UTE Accelerator Summit took place under a canopy of high expectations and excitement, providing a rare opportunity for accelerator leads to congregate, collaborate, and share insights. With activities crafted to balance enjoyment, introspection, and inventive thinking, the event was not just a meeting but a crucible for future-forward strategies in entrepreneurship.

The summit featured a series of engaging activities including team-building icebreakers and strategic exercises like the “Stop, Start, Continue” session, where participants reflected on past operations and envisioned new paths to leverage their diverse strengths. This retrospection and forecasting set the tone for an event deeply rooted in community and mutual growth.

Keynote presentations from distinguished speakers added a layer of depth and inspiration. Thara Pillai, Director of Alumni Engagement at Harvard Innovation Labs, and Leah Cowen, VP of Research and Innovation at the University of Toronto, delivered impactful talks. Pillai discussed extending support to entrepreneurial alumni, while Cowen shared insights into fostering innovation in research and the management of evolving fungal pathogens, highlighting the intersection of academia and real-world impact.

A standout session, “True Blue Sky Thinking,” exemplified the summit’s commitment to tangible outcomes. This rapid collaboration exercise focused on community engagement, pushing participants to not only ideate but also evaluate the implementation feasibility of new initiatives. The session reflected the summit’s overarching goal: to transform ideas into actions that sustain momentum across the UTE ecosystem.

The summit wasn’t just a gathering but a proactive arena for professional development, with participants actively discussing improvements for future events and expressing a keen interest in more frequent collaborative engagements. Feedback was overwhelmingly positive, with suggestions for increasing community engagements and sharing resources more effectively across the network.

As the first event of its kind for UTE, the Accelerator Summit set a high bar for future iterations. Following its success, UTE launched the CLA Community Roundtable, a pilot series aimed at providing regular opportunities for collaboration and discussion among accelerator leads. This initiative is a direct response to the community’s desire for a more interconnected and supportive ecosystem.

The UTE Accelerator Summit marked a significant milestone in fostering a collaborative spirit among Toronto’s innovators. As this annual summit evolves, it promises to continue being a catalyst for impactful entrepreneurship that not only envisions change but actively drives it.

Jenna Marinucci Cebo

“Add a quote here from Jenna perhaps – will add next week”

Jenna Marinucci, OISE CPL


Operational Highlights

The following 2023-24 statistics provide a brief overview of our performance across five key areas: 

Professional Growth:Availability:Relevance:Satisfaction:Financial Sustainability:
Supporting educators’ career pathways and professional growth Widening opportunities and making participation easier Making learning engagements relevant to current and emerging education domains and needs Improving educators’ professional learning experience Sustaining operations to ensure cost recovery and revenue generation 

These performance indicators are aligned to Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and highlight how our work is grounded in equity, diversity, and inclusion while working to improve educator well-being, education quality, education work environments and operations, and education partnerships. 

Professional Growth 

Supporting educators’ career pathways and professional growth 

During our 2023-24 fiscal year, X,XXX learners participated in CPL courses, customized programs, and services. X,XXX enrolled directly in our courses, while XXX participated in closed enrolment (customised programs & services).

Over the course of the fiscal year, XXX certificates of completion were issued to our learners. 

We issued 2,394 Records of Learning for learners to apply earned professional development (PD) credits toward further accreditation from various organisations, including the Ontario College of Teachers (OCT), the International Baccalaureate Organisation (IBO), the Canadian Council of Professional Certification (CCPC), and the Canadian Counselling & Psychotherapy Association (CCPA), and the Institute for Performance & Learning (I4PL) to name a few.



Widening opportunities & making participation easier

Top 10 locations by number of learners

  • Canada
  • USA
  • China
  • United Arab Emirates
  • Republic of Korea
  • Australia
  • India
  • Japan
  • United Kingdom
  • Germany


Making learning engagements relevant to current and emerging education domains / needs