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Nov 23

Chris Smeaton

From the Desk of the Superintendent- November 23, 2014

Happy Sunday! I hope you’ve enjoyed your weekend and the feast of Christ the King. To help celebrate, here’s a great YouTube clip from the band Newsboys singing one of my favorite songs Blessed Be Your Name. Next week, we begin the season of Advent in preparation for the birth of the Christ child.

It is great to be back home after a rather grueling week away in Edmonton. The highlight of our Catholic superintendents meeting was the unanimous support for our Inclusive Communities Commitment document. This document will be our guide to ensure that all of our students, no matter their sexual orientation, will always be well supported in our schools. It will be shared with our trustees at our next meeting and then our Learning Leadership Team in December. Look forward to more information about this document and accompanying administrative procedure in the new year.

Part of the ACSTA annual general meeting is a faith formation component. This year we were treated to a couple of keynote addresses from Sister Miriam James. Her Twitter handle is @onegroovynun and I would concur with the name. She was outstanding to say the least with faith story that was filled with great emotion. I’m hopeful that she will be able to come to our school division in the future and speak with our students and staff. She is a wonderful faith role model with a powerful message.

The annual general meeting for ASBA, was as expected, a little more political. Education Minister Gordon Dirks spoke at the MLA breakfast.   Our trustees were able to connect with three of our local MLAs- Greg Weadick, Ian Donovan and Gary Bikman, who sat with us for breakfast. A couple of central themes articulated by trustees were the importance of passing the new Education Act and ensuring that our education system moves forward with the ideals of Inspiring EducationOur division has provided many strong examples of better preparing our students for their future and we cannot afford to be held back or worse, step backwards! In terms of motions passed, the most significant I believe, was the recommendation to adjust the weighting of the diploma examinations down from 50% to 30%. Our trustees were in full support of this motion. It is now up to Alberta Education to respond positively to this motion and support  the overwhelming feeling of many parents, students and teachers.

The November board meeting is always the longest of the year. The combined 3-Year Education Plan and Annual Education Results Report will be presented to the board for approval. . In addition, the updated budget and audited financial statements will be presented. Once these documents are approved, they will be submitted to Alberta Education to meet the November 30th deadline. You can find all of these documents within the board package. The board will also hear about the China Leadership Exchange, through a presentation from our participants: Brian Macauley, Lorelie Lenaour, Val Leahy and Kevin Kinahan. This was an exciting endeavour  for those involved and I’m certainly excited to hear about their trip. Another update to the board will be on our capital projects. We will be hosting an open house at St. Michael’s on December 9th to showcase the modernization design, the construction team for the new school should soon be announced and we are just finalizing dates for a value management scoping for St. Patrick School in Taber.

On December 1 & 2, the inaugural Curriculum Prototyping Symposium will be held in Calgary. As one of the 18 partners, we have been well involved in this process and are looking forward to the event. There are a number of our teachers who will be attending this two-day event. I have been invited to sit on the opening panel and provide comment on the big “why” of redesigning curriculum. I’ll be unable to attend the full two days because of other important events in the division: Council of School Council Chair/Board Meeting on December 1st and our yearly Advent Liturgy and Dinner hosted by our ATA Local on December 2nd. From December 3-5, SALT members will be back in schools reviewing the continuous improvement plans with school administration. I value this opportunity to be  meeting with our leaders as they share their school’s incredible work.

In closing, I want to highlight some great blog posts that I’ve picked up over the last month. I also want to encourage all of our staff utilizing Twitter to continue to showcase your work using the #hs4 hashtag.

Enjoy the remainder of November and welcome to December!!!

 

 

 

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