Happy Catholic Education Sunday! I hope you appreciated the message that was read at masses in our local parishes today. It was written to inform our parishioners, many of whom have no direct connection with education, of the many successes of our division but, it also carried a slightly political message. While I do not believe that Catholic Education will cease to exist in my time in education, I’m not as confident in what will be offered for my future grandson! Both apathy of Catholics and government legislation has led to the demise of Catholic Education in all provinces that once offered publicly funded education. Using a little play on words I would suggest that Catholic Education has not been handed down from past generations but rather has been borrowed from our future generations. In other words, it is up to all of us today to ensure the gift continues for our future children and grandchildren.
Stepping off my soapbox, I would like to share some decisions made at the organizational meeting of the board in October. Every October, this meeting is held to select the positions of board chair and vice chair as well as other committee appointments. Please join me in congratulating our new Board Chair, Bryan Kranzler and new Vice Chair, Pat Bremner. Both of these individuals will continue to serve the Board well and build on the successes of our previous Chair Terry O’Donnell and Vice Chair Bob Spitzig. While our trustees may not be in the spotlight like some other Boards, rest assured they continue their governance, fiduciary and strategic functions with great tact and success. The culture of learning that permeates our division and our ability to be creative and innovative in our practice is a direct result of their vision and direction. Furthermore the capital projects provided to Holy Spirit are due to strong relationships they’ve developed with government and associated stakeholders in addition to well designed strategic and capital plans. While the role of trustee can often be a thankless job, it should be remembered that when things go well as they most often do in Holy Spirit, it is because of this committed group of elected officials standing in the background doing their jobs! For more information on the latest board meeting and committee representatives, please click here.
Coming from an outstanding division wide professional development day last week, schools will be engaging in further learning this coming month. These days, are essential in our overall desire to “get to excellent.” We need to share the importance of these days with our parents and public, as too often they are only seen as “days off.” Nothing could be farther from the truth! The work being done in our schools as described by school administrators in meetings last week to review continuous improvement plans highlighted the desire to “get to excellent.” While literacy and numeracy remain foundational for today’s learners, the required focus on competencies can rarely be taught as we’ve taught before. This is why ongoing and high quality professional learning (which occurs through PD Days) are critical to getting to excellent.
I close off my November comments with my continual gratitude. Our most recent Accountability Pillar Results demonstrated our many strengths. The feedback I receive from internal and external stakeholders are testaments that we are on the right track and that the work we do in our schools and throughout our division is very good! Each of us, no matter the role in the division, contribute to these results. I thank you for your continued work, your continued journey to excellence and your continued commitment to Holy Spirit!