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Nov 10

Chris Smeaton

From the Desk of the Superintendent- November 10, 2013

Since my days as a principal, I have always provided a weekly update to my staff. Initially, it was a word document that was photocopied and placed in every staff member’s mailbox, then through e-mail with an additional copy posted in the staffroom to finally by e-mail only. I’ve continued that practice as a Superintendent, by communicating through an e-mail my weekly schedule and highlights upcoming to members of the Learning Leadership Team (LLT), trustees and St. Basil Catholic Education Centre staff.  When George Couros was in our division, he challenged me to take the next step and publish my weekly update in a blog to communicate not only to the above aforementioned but for all staff, parents and community stakeholders. Some initial feedback from members of the LLT suggested that I needed to continue with my weekly updates to them. However, the once a month From the Desk of the Superintendent that I currently send to all staff, does not seem to be sufficient for communications purposes for our Division. Therefore, I’m going to endeavour to send updates at a minimum of  twice a month that will communicate some aspects of my schedule, highlights around the division and timely articles that I’ve read and would like to share. This will be the only time that I send this update to staff by e-mail. It will be made available through Twitter, be on our website and can be accessed through a RSS feed.

Last week I travelled to St. Catherine School and Father Leonard van Tighem schools for their Remembrance Day Services. Unlike Brian Macauley, our Deputy Superintendent who has two brothers who served in the military, I have no direct connection. However, my yearly attendance at our services, reminds me of the importance of recognizing the past and current men and women who have so courageously served our country in war and peace keeping missions. While our country may not be perfect, much of what we have today, the many blessings that we often take for granted are attributed to women and men of yesterday (many of whom have fallen) and those currently serving today. On November 11th, I would ask that we as families and as community gather in a moment of silence and recognize the sacrifices made by many so that we may enjoy the life we have here in Canada today.

On Tuesday, I have invited Mark Bevan and Karen Shipka from the Workforce Planning Branch to lead a facilitated conversation on the Educated Albertan. Members of the LLT, trustees, ATA Executive, C2 committee members and PD Chairs have all been invited to attend. The conversation will be based on the Ministerial Order on Student Learning passed on May 6, 2013, Inspiring Education and some draft documents of the parent, teacher, principal, superintendent and school trustee of 2016.

On Wednesday after a meeting with senior administration (SALT) and a zone 6 ASBA meeting, I will begin my trek to Edmonton for almost a week of meetings. My first set of meetings will be held on Thursday and Friday with other Catholic superintendents from around the province. We meet four times a year with a format that includes hot topic issues, business and faith formation. From Friday evening until Sunday afternoon, Alberta Catholic School Trustees’ Association (ACSTA) hosts its fall general meeting. The keynote speaker will be Reverend Raymond Carey from Oregon. Reverend Carey presented at Blueprints a couple of years ago. Two of our former trustees, Nadine King and Bosco Baptista will also be in attendance to receive their nine-year award. Alberta School Boards’ Association (ASBA) fall general meeting begins on Sunday evening and concludes late Tuesday afternoon. George Couros will keynote at ASBA. I will be back in the office on Wednesday, November 20th.

The links that I would like to share with you are as follows:

  1. This first link is a short video on the importance of trades as a career. With our focus on off campus education this year, this is an excellent video to show to students and parents alike. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Ql5exNa8wQ&list=PLF14E8E21F2829126&index=3 
  2. A favorite blogger of mine is Tom Whitby. In his blog he talks about 20th century vs. 21st century teaching http://tomwhitby.wordpress.com/2013/11/08/20th-vs-21st-century-teaching/ 
  3. Grades, incentives and rewards seem to be in the news a fair amount lately. Here’s an article from the Washington Post entitled, “Grades aren’t the point of school; learning is” http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/grades-arent-the-point-of-school-learning-is/2013/11/05/c652cb30-39cc-11e3-a94f-b58017bfee6c_story.html 
  4. And finally, we are learning so much about brain development. This short video is very powerful! http://www.albertafamilywellness.org/resources/video/how-brains-are-built-core-story-brain-development 

Have a great week!

 

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