From the Desk of the Superintendent- April 24, 2014

With the date of the regular board meeting falling during Easter vacation, the Board voted to move it to a week earlier. Considerable action items were debated and motions passed at the April meeting. The monthly Board Briefs prepared by my Executive Assistant, Anisha Gatner, provide an excellent synopsis of the meeting.  However, there are two items that I want to address specifically in my message to staff, parents and community.

The first, is the willingness of our board to bring St. Michael’s School and the entire Bow Island community into our Holy Spirit fold. It is rare for a ward to wish (and legally vote) to disenfranchise from one school division and join another. From my contacts in Alberta Education, this has happened only one time previously.  St. Michael’s School is a natural fit for our school division. We are a “rurban” division, serving the city of Lethbridge and towns of Coaldale, Picture Butte, Pincher Creek and Taber and therefore understand both urban and rural education. Since regionalization, our Division has excelled in developing a regional focus while still maintaining local context in all of our communities.

There is no doubt that proximity and an understanding of rural education led the Bow Island ward to request joining our division. However, our provincial recognition of being a high performing and innovative division also played a part in their decision. It is this fact that I also want to comment on. Our leadership in Inspiring Education cannot be understated and should be highlighted and celebrated throughout our communities. There is good reason we are sought after to present provincially and held up as a model for what education can be! I am constantly humbled by the work occurring in our division; the innovative practice and engaging pedagogy in our schools are examples of our commitment to providing the highest quality of education for ALL students in our care. I continue to be grateful for all who are a part of the Holy Spirit family and feel blessed to be surrounded by such excellence!

Speaking of excellence, I’m looking forward to our long service awards being held on Monday, April 28th. There never seems to be a perfect time to host these awards and this year is an anomaly due to beginning the year with our Spiritual Development Day that featured David Wells. Regardless of the timing, it is an important part of our culture to recognize our staffs’ service from 5 years to 40 years. This year’s event will begin at 5:00 PM with a mass led by Fr. Roque. For all those receiving long service awards, please accept my sincere thanks for your dedication to Catholic Education in Holy Spirit.

During the first full week of May, I will be in Kananaskis for meetings with other Catholic Superintendents and Bishop Henry and then attending the Blueprints Conference. At last count, we have 21 participants for Blueprints and an additional 10 staff for SPICE. The high level of participation on a yearly basis at these conferences speaks well to our continued focus on our Catholic identity.  I’m looking forward to hearing David Wells again. He was remarkable at our opening and the opportunity to engage with him for an additional 3 1/2 days will be spiritually uplifting. In reference to being spiritually uplifted, this Easter version of the song Hallelujah is incredible. Although Easter is over, it is definitely something to bookmark for future years.

May should bring some wonderful weather and will likely fly by with the bedlam of activities throughout the division.  Schools are preparing their budgets, staffing is a focus and plans for the modernization of St. Michael’s School and the visioning for the new elementary school in north Lethbridge will keep everybody busy! Before you know it, we will be heading into June, final exams and then a well deserved summer vacation.

We will also celebrate two graduation classes of 2014 in May- Catholic Central High School in Lethbridge and St. Michael’s School in Pincher Creek. It is always an honor to attend these ceremonies, address our graduates and witness the pride of their families and friends as they walk across the stage, diploma in hand. Please keep our graduates in your prayers as they prepare to enter into another phase of their lives.

Enjoy and celebrate the month of Mary and have a blessed May!  


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