From the Desk of the Superintendent- Opening Comments for our Literacy & Numeracy Day

Good Morning. I’m always grateful for our Division PD days where we all come together as one Catholic School Division to learn. But I know that we don’t have days like this without some tremendous work in the background. And so I would like to thank our Director Learning, Lorelie Lenaour and her support at central office and our PD committee for setting up a great day of learning.

A school division must be a learning organization and we, all of us in this room must always be learners, looking at our own methods, reflecting on our own practices, sharing our insights with one another, and ultimately being the best version of ourselves.  It is why we have days like this for the system and within our schools…to be the best versions of ourselves.

Over the next three years, we have set our focus, our learning on three strategic priorities: Our faith, which is always a constant, literacy and numeracy and First Nations, Metis and Inuit learning. Every time we gather as individual schools or as a Division, we should not deviate our learning from those three priorities. Today our focus will be on literacy and numeracy.

So what are literacy and numeracy? As part of our registration, we were asked what those terms meant. To most people out there literacy and numeracy are likely funnelled down to reading, writing and arithmetic. In many ways, there is truth to that because that is how literacy and numeracy are measured most often. And while those foundational skills are essential, we need to go beyond those simple definitions of literacy and numeracy.

In a just recently released document from Alberta Education, literacy is defined as, “the ability, confidence and willingness to engage with language to acquire, construct and communicate meaning in all aspects of daily life.” And numeracy is defined as, “the ability, confidence and willingness to engage with quantitative and spatial information to make informed decisions in all aspects of daily living.”

When I read those definitions, I was struck by the consistency of both. Each started with “the ability, confidence and willingness to engage” and finished with “in all aspects of daily life.” Why is this important? Because if we only keep literacy and numeracy as reading, writing and arithmetic, then only are Language Arts and Math teachers are responsible. “The ability, confidence and willingness to engage…in all aspects of daily life” is for all of us. It is our collective responsibility and with that broadened definition, we can all play a part in helping our students become strong, confident and willing to engage in literacy and numeracy.

As you participate in the day, I would ask that you reflect on how you, personally can assist in developing literacy and numeracy in our students and children. What learning will you take away that will impact literacy and numeracy in our schools? All of us play a part in this journey in these next three years. So enjoy the day and enjoy the learning. God Bless!

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