Last evening, I returned from the Blueprints Conference. Blueprints is an annual conference organized by the Alberta Catholic School Trustees’ Assocation and held at the Delta Lodge in Kananaskis for Catholic administrators, trustees and clergy. Its unique format provides a powerful retreat setting that leaves participants spiritually uplifted. Our division sees the Blueprint experience has a critical process for the continued faith formation of our leaders. This year, 15 people attended this conference including trustee Bosco Baptista, parish priests, Father Vincent from St. Augustine in Taber and Father Gary from Ss. Peter & Paul here in Lethbridge and school staff. One of the many highlights of Blueprints is the presentation of the Excellence in Catholic Education Awards. This year, our representative for Holy Spirit Catholic Schools was Anita Lethbridge-Gross. Anita is a teacher/counsellor at St. Francis School and is very deserving of this honor!
The Board of Trustees held their regular monthly meeting on April 24th. The Board recognized some further excellence in the Division with a presentation to Kelly Roth. Kelly, who teaches at St. Francis, is Holy Spirit Catholic Schools’ recipient of the Edwin Parr Award. The Edwin Parr Award recognizes excellence in first year teaching. Kelly will be furthered honored on May 8th in Taber at the ASBA Zone meeting. In other news from the meeting, the Board voted to support the Provincial Framework Agreement negotiated between the Government of Alberta and the provincial Alberta Teachers’ Association. Local teachers also voted in favour of the agreement that evening. Although the Board did not agree with the process of the negotations, they were certainly in favour of a number of positive attributes of the deal including the length of the deal (4 years) and cost certainty. For more information on the board meeting, please check out the Board Briefs.
This coming weekend, two of our high schools will be hosting their graduation ceremonies. Both Catholic Central High School in Lethbridge and St. Michael School in Pincher Creek celebrate the important accomplishment of high school graduation. It is a special time for our students, their families and our schools and a cause for celebration, reflection and prayer. It is always an honor for me to attend the ceremonies and address the graduates and I again look forward to that opportunity this year. My thanks goes out to the staff (both present and past) who have worked with our students during their schooling and to our parents and families for their continued support. Thank you for the honor of allowing us to teach your children and share in their wondrous growth and development. Please pray for our graduates this coming week and keep them safe.
Budget, staffing and educational planning are on the minds of trustees and administration this month of May. Some school divisions around the province are struggling and are being forced to make significant cuts to balance budgets. Although our division is not immune to having to make some tough decisions, we believe we will remain strong for the 2013-14 school year with minimal staffing adjustments and a projected enrolment increase. Holy Spirit Catholic Schools continues to be recognized as a leader in educational delivery and transformative practices throughout the province and this will not only be maintained but further enhanced in the coming years.
This month (May 14th), the Board of Trustees and Senior Administration will meet with all of our school council chairs. The board recognizes the importance of these meetings to ensure ongoing and transparent conversations and engagement. Later this month, I will be hosting the inaugural meeting of a Student Advisory Committee to the Superintendent. Students from grade 8-11 will be nominated by their school administrators and invited to attend a supper meeting to discuss a variety of educational topics. This initiative, will allow me an opportunity to hear directly from our students and provide increasing value to student voice. I’m looking forward to this conversation with our students.
Have a blessed May!