Over the weekend, I had some time to reflect on our 2013-14 school year. It is hard to believe that we are in the last days of the 2013-14 school year as it seems like only yesterday we opened the year at the Enmax with David Wells. What a great start! And that great start translated into another great year. I highlight “another” because that is what high performing school divisions do, year after year and Holy Spirit Catholic School Division certainly fits that bill. While individually we create our own legacy, as a Division we create a dynasty! We expect to be high performing because that is our culture, it is simply the way we do business.
In preparation for the last board meeting of the year, the senior administration team put together the year-end review for our continuous improvement plan. Although I think I have a good handle on the work occurring in the Division, I was still amazed at what we’ve accomplished this past year. Though the document is comprehensive, it pales in comparison to what has happened in our schools throughout the year. While it may be the leader’s responsibility to create a culture of innovation and encourage “different”, it is only fully realized within the schools and inside the classrooms. Maintaining the status quo is not a common attribute in our schools. We continue to be innovative and creative, to challenge our own practices and in the end, serve our students better. And isn’t that what it is all about, in education…to serve our students better!
No system is perfect, but I am extremely proud of our desire to provide an improved learning experience for all of our students. We seek continuous improvement not because of a deficit model but because we are professionals who care deeply about the children entrusted to our care. The compassion we share and the high expectations we set, creates the atmosphere where our students can be successful. We are relational and this is expressed even more in our faith filled environment. It is why we exist, why parents continue to choose our system and why our enrolment continues to increase. We may not be perfect but we do so many things right!
At this time of year, we wish our students a fun-filled and safe holiday and say goodbye to those moving schools or graduating. But we also say farewell to a number of staff who are completing a journey or beginning a new journey. To each of our retirees and those taking on new challenges, I wish you nothing but the very best in your future. The memories you’ve made and the impacts you’ve had on our students and Holy Spirit in general will not soon be forgotten. Thank you for your dedication and commitment to our Division.
Although fatigued like all of you and anxiously awaiting some time away from the work, I’m already looking forward to the next school year. We will be expanding our boundaries and welcoming St. Michael’s Bow Island into our Holy Spirit community. Our enrolment is projected to increase by 200+ students and we’ve budgeted for an increase of over 15 full-time equivalent teachers. We continue with the modernization plans for St. Michael’s School in Pincher Creek and the designs for our new north side elementary school in Lethbridge with both scheduled for completion by September 2016. We will expand our off campus and international education programs, initiate a new grad coach program, further develop project based learning and continue to make curriculum relevant and inspired through new course offerings and options.
Even with all the excitement for the coming year, it is now time to rest. It is your opportunity to relax, rejuvenate and reconnect or for some of us…disconnect! Students have been well served through your hard work this past year and you deserve many accolades and some vacation time. Rest well this summer! Travel safe! God Bless!