← Back to Conferences/Professional Learning

Start Right Program for Beginning School Leaders


PDF  Program Description PDF  Campus Map

The College of Alberta School Superintendents 20th annual Start Right short course for newly appointed school principals, assistant/vice-principals and aspiring leaders will be offered at Olds College, located in the Town of Olds, beginning at 3:00 p.m. on Tuesday, July 3, 2018 and ending at noon on Friday, July 6. The registration fee is $895.00 (includes GST) or $595.00 if accommodation isn’t required (includes GST). Registration is limited to 110 participants. The term “newly appointed” refers to individuals who are just finishing their first year in a school-based administrative position, or will be in their first year during the 2017-18 school year.

Start Right 2018 will be co-coordinated by the Directors of Leadership Learning for the College of Alberta School Superintendents (CASS), Dr. Del Litke and Elizabeth Gouthro. This will be Del’s 4th year serving as a coordinator of Start Right. This will be Liz’s 3rd year with the program.

Over the past 19 years there have been more than 1,400 participants in the Start Right short course. The feedback from participants has traditionally been very positive; however, the 2017 feedback was likely the best of all time. 100% of the 2017 participants rated the learning experience as very good or excellent with 93% giving the program the highest possible rating. Additionally, 100% of the participants indicated they would recommend the program to other new administrators and leadership trainees in the future.

The program continues to evolve. This year with the projected changes to the Leadership Quality Standard, we will be opening with a session on First Nations Métis and Inuit Education. Additionally, we are pleased to welcome back the participation of the Alberta Teachers’ Association. Finally, we are pleased to bring back all our most highly rated presenters from 2017: Dr. Scott Morrison, Kurt Sacher, Pam Davidson, Ray Hoppins, and Jody Dennis.

The program is designed to bring participants together as a leadership learning community with a focus on providing opportunities for:

  • Reflecting, sharing ideas and building on school leadership experiences and best practices;
  • Gaining new ideas and resources through engaging presentations and interactive learning activities facilitated by educational leaders with a wealth of school and school system experience;
  • Meaningfully addressing issues and challenges encountered by school leaders and developing practical strategies for action;
  • Networking with colleagues from other school jurisdictions;
  • Establishing through participation in cohorts a forum for building relationships, learning with and from each other, and an opportunity for continuing to offer support and assistance as an extension of the workshop learning experience;
  • Extending the learning experience through university graduate coursework, if desired; and
  • Further developing a personal understanding and vision for successful school leadership.

University Graduate Level Credit: Arrangements can be made through Alberta universities: U of Alberta (Dr. José da Costa, email: jdacosta@ualberta.ca), U of Lethbridge, (Kevin Matis, email: matis@uleth.ca), and Werklund School of Education, (Dr. Jim Brandon, email: jbrandon@ucalgary.ca) to extend the Start Right 2018 learning experience for graduate level course credit. Participants will be required to pay a tuition fee to the university and to meet additional course requirements.

If you have further questions, please contact:

Del Litke @ 780-293-3315 or del.litke@cass.ab.ca

Elizabeth Gouthro @ 587-226-8256 or elizabeth.gouthro@cass.ab.ca

Conference Reading and Resource Materials

PDF  Instructional Tool Kit

Session 1: Tuesday, 3:15 – 5:30 p.m. Leading First Nations, Métis and Inuit Education for All Students

Session 2: Wednesday, 8:45 – 11:45 a.m. Seeing the Big Picture: Leading Upward and Outward (Presenters: Jody Dennis and Ray Hoppins)

Principal Quality Practice: Seeing the Big Picture (Presentation by Jody Dennis & Ray Hoppins)


Session 3: Wednesday, 1:00 – 4:30 p.m. Teaching Quality Standard: What Administrators Need to Know (Presenter: Robert Mazzotta, the Alberta Teachers’ Association)

Session 4: Thursday, 8:45 – 11:45 a.m. “Where to ‘Begin’ When I Don’t Know What I Don’t Know”- Leadership in a Dynamic Educational World” (Presenter: Pam Davidson)

Session 5: Thursday, 1:00 – 4:30 p.m. “Creating Safe and Caring Schools” (Presenter: Dr. Scott Morrison)

Session 6: Friday, 8:30 – 12:00 a.m. “The Keys to Surviving Year One” (Presenters: Del Litke and Kurt Sacher)


Establish a sense of efficacy and confidence in newly appointed school leaders by providing practical, grounded advice


July 3-6, 2018


Olds College
Olds, Alberta


Participants will stay in the new residences at Centennial Village! Each room is furnished with a double bed, desk plus chair, closet with shelving, a night stand, and private bath. All units are non-smoking.

Meals – are included in the registration fee

Location of Sessions:

All sessions will be held on the beautiful campus of Olds College. Senior CASS members (supervisors) are welcome to drop in!