EP 15 – Special Education 6-week Co-learning and Instructional Cycle

EP 15 – Special Education 6-week Co-learning and Instructional Cycle

This conversation is with Dinusha Gunasingham and Samantha Stephen, who join us as representatives of the Transformational Administrators’ Network; a group of administrators and educators invested in championing change management. With a focus on whole school implementation (for the benefit of ALL students), this group co-created the Transformative Administrators’ Toolkit (TAT), an administrative toolkit that includes resources, materials, tools and frameworks that can be utilized by administrators to shift white supremacy culture by deprivatizing practice, employing evidence-based processes, setting direction through high expectations, centering and affirming students’ intersecting identities and fostering a climate of collaboration, responsibility and accountability that includes students, families and staff as active agents. 
Dinusha and Samantha highlight for listeners how they have used the 6-week Co-learning and Instructional Cycle, included in the TAT toolkit, to foster positive student outcomes. It is a proactive, responsive and intentional tool created to action a transformative process to address disproportionalities in special education. The framework provides scaffolded support for educators to work in community with students, families and colleagues using critical discourse to complete an evidence-based process with a focus on problematizing practice and not students, as well as encouraging ongoing and purposeful critical reflection of current pedagogy.  
Dinusha and Samantha were not able to consolidate all 6-weeks of the cycle for us in the podcast episode due to time constraints, however, they wanted to express for listeners that Weeks 4 – 6 continue with the collection of student and staff driven dialogue and data. Then analysis of the specific goals and intentional teaching strategies for when, in Week 6, a review team comes together to assess if the cycle should:

  • (a) Continue.
  • (b) If a referral to ISSP for a more intensive evaluation of supports (both school and / or community based) is required.
  • (c) Discontinue with monitoring.  

The purpose of the 6-week Co-learning and Instructional Cycle is to action, in the most effective and intentional way, an individualized program to meet students’ specific academic and socio-emotional needs using informed instruction. 
To further benefit students and support colleagues the Transformational Administrators’ Network is open to sharing more information* on the TAT toolkit. Contact Dinusha at sharlene.gunasingham@peelsb.com or Samantha at samantha.stephen@peelsb.com.
*Note, the tool will only be shared with support in understanding the conceptualization. This allows the creators to ensure that the elements, use and framework are not used in a manner that operates outside of their original vision. They welcome inquires from anyone who is interested and open to a conversation and/or learning session.


  • Dinusha Gunasingham, Peel District School Board
  • Samantha Stephen, Peel District School Board


  • Lawrence DeMaeyer – Professional Learning Consultant, Ontario Principals’ Council
  • Susie Lee-Fernandes – Director of Professional Learning and Engagement, Ontario Principals’ Council

Episode 15 Transcript PDF

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