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Nov 02

Chris Smeaton

From the Desk of the Superintendent- November 2013

I’m writing this blog post from my hotel room in Edmonton. I’ve been here for the last three days involved in meetings and professional learning and travel back to Lethbridge tomorrow. The first couple of days of meetings were for international education. As many of you are aware, we entered the foray of international education this year and currently have students attending our schools from Colombia. Another group of students will be arriving for short-term (1 month) stays again later this month. Being around experienced divisions involved in international education was a great learning experience. Any time that you are entering into new territory, it is always helpful to learn from those who have been previously involved. We have been cautious with our approach to ensure that we have the capacity before we “jump” into the deep water. Unfortunately, due to a number of reasons, all of our students are not able to travel internationally and therefore, our program, especially the home stay portion allows students and families to experience a student exchange without leaving home. Eventually we will be looking at long-term stays but at present this is where we need to begin. I would highly encourage our Holy Spirit community to consider becoming involved in our international education program through a home stay. For further information, check out our link here.  

Today, I spent the day in a learning opportunity known as edcamp. In the truest sense, the edcamp philosophy is one that is held on a non-work day, usually Saturday, is free and has no set agenda. While some professional development may be directed, the edcamp model is completely directed by the participant. You register, if you want, and you select (with your feet) what topics you want to discuss and be involved in. The participants, based on their own needs and desires build the agenda. At #edcampyeg, I engaged with other educators on the following topics:

  1. Project based learning
  2. Google docs
  3. Leading in the 21st century
  4. High School Flexibility

In the edcamp model, there is no presenter only a facilitator to keep the conversation going. This open spaces or unconference allows people to become truly engaged and therefore significantly accountable for their own learning. Another advantage of the edcamp model is that there is no learning hierarchy; everyone is a learner regardless of position. The experience will serve me well in my role but also assist in the organizing of #Lethcamp coming to Lethbridge on January 25th at the University of Lethbridge. Many thanks and congratulations to the #edcampyeg organizing committee.

Returning to October, the first board meeting of this term was held on October 30th. Congratulations to our new Board Chair, Mr. Terry O’Donnell and new Vice Chair, Mr. Bob Spitzig. For a complete list of all the committee memberships and an update on the entire meeting, please read the Board Meeting Briefs. I again want to reiterate my gratitude to our former board members, Sandra Dufresne, Nadine King, Bosco Baptista, David DeCock and Connie Gross who decided not to run this term. Your commitment to Holy Spirit Catholic Schools is much appreciated. I’m looking forward to working with our board during this next 4-year term and welcome both our incumbent  and new trustees. The role that trustees play in our educational system (although often not recognized) is extremely important to both the local and the provincial context. The trustees (especially our new) will be extremely busy both from the learning curve but also the fall general meetings that they will be attending in Edmonton for Alberta Catholic School Trustees’ Association (ACSTA) and Alberta School Boards’ Association (ASBA).

Tomorrow I will return to Lethbridge to celebrate Catholic Education Sunday. During each weekend mass, trustees and administrators will be providing a brief message about Catholic Education. The message highlights our new 3-year faith plan for the division, “Taking Our Place at the Table.” We recognize that taking our place at the table must be a partnership between home, parish and school to be fully realized. Each partner, must be strong in the nurturing of faith in our children. Please continue to pray for each partner as they too take their place at the table.

Finally, I would like to leave you with some educational articles that I’ve read during this past month. They may cause you to be reflective or simply solidify your own beliefs. Regardless, have a read and share them when you can!

Enjoy your November!

2 comments

1 ping

  1. L. Mitchell

    Thanks for sharing the articles Chris. I always enjoy that. I have not read Art Costa for a while so I printed off the Habits of Mind to share with students as habits to aim for while busy being students.

    1. Chris Smeaton
      Chris Smeaton

      Thanks for reading and taking the time to reply! There are excellent resources/articles/research out there for educators- we just need to find ways of continually sharing that information and expertise! Enjoy your week!

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