From the Desk of the Superintendent- March 2016

Last week, we hosted 10 school divisions from across the province, who form the Learning and Technology Policy Framework Community of Practice. This was a great honour, as it allowed us to showcase our work as well as learn from other innovative divisions around the province. I had the privilege of presenting to the group on our journey and my focus was on changing culture. One of the slides I shared addressed my belief as superintendent regarding relationships and asked the question, “Do they know you or do they fear you?” Although I understand there will always be some trepidation when I visit schools, it is of critical importance that I’m out in schools simply getting to know our staff and students. The photo below shows me “playing” in the early learning program at St. Catherine School last week. While I fully understand my role as Chief Educational Officer of the Division, it is the opportunity to get into schools and interact with staff and students that I cherish the most. And while I have fully committed to going out to schools every single week for a morning or afternoon, it is so much easier because of the welcome I receive in each of our schools. As I stated to our support staff during their PD day, I am grateful for the warm reception I receive visiting our schools.

The month of March brings us into full swing of planning for 2016-17. The Board of Trustees will finalize the strategic priorities at their March meeting and principals will begin looking at how they will incorporate them into their own school continuous improvement plans. It is the intent to be even tighter and more precise for next year while still encouraging individual school autonomy and maximizing creativity and innovation in the pursuit of those priorities. This loose/tight style has served us well in our continuous improvement journey!

Capital projects were highlighted at the board meeting in February. The draft 3-Year Capital Plan  was presented for review and will be finalized at the March meeting. We are excited about the opening of Blessed Mother Teresa School this fall and the modernization of St. Michael’s School in Pincher Creek continues to progress well. We also had a start-up meeting for our modernization of St. Patrick’s School in Taber. I don’t think most people recognize the magnitude of our small Catholic Division tucked away in south-west Alberta having three major capital projects. While it certainly points to outstanding planning from central office, it also speaks to the work of our current and former Board of Trustees in their tremendous advocacy role. Often these individuals go unnoticed in their work and yet results like this demonstrate the importance of their role.

Our annual Spiritual Development Day is on March 7th. While faith development should always be an ongoing process, this day reminds us of the importance of nurturing ourselves spiritually. I always look forward to this day as not only is it refreshing but it is also very challenging. Our personal faith journey is complicated and should include both challenges and revelations. I will be speaking about these challenges as it pertains to inclusive communities from the vantage point of both a Catholic Superintendent and father. It should be a great day especially with our special guest Steve Bell.

Enjoy this next month as we continue our Lenten Journey in preparation for Easter. God Bless!

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