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Apr 03

Chris Smeaton

From the Desk of the Superintendent- April 2017

I’m writing this message as I’m on my flight to Halifax to attend my biannual Education Development, Research and Innovation (ERDI) Conference. For those unaware of ERDI, the conference brings together 50 superintendents from across Canada to meet with corporate companies and review new innovations. Beyond the obvious advantage of connecting with senior educational leaders from across the country, I’m able to bring back to Holy Spirit some innovative ideas and solutions that support the work in our division. The national exposure for Holy Spirit is also beneficial as large corporate organizations know who and where we are and desire to partner with us because of our ability to implement quickly and respond rapidly.

Speaking of work, we just completed our third Continuous Improvement Plan Reviews in our schools. This review was characterized by senior educators visiting classrooms, observing instructional practices and then meeting with school administration to discuss successes and challenges on realizing our three priorities of faith development, literacy and numeracy and First Nations, Metis and Inuit learning. We know from research the importance of senior administration being in schools and in particular in classrooms to keep current and provide support. Getting out of my office, into schools and classrooms and visiting with staff and students is still the highlight of my job.

If you’ve been keeping up with our Here in Spirit newsletter, you’ll know that we are beginning to see the face of our leaders changing. Over the next 3-5 years, we will experience considerable change around the Learning Leadership Team table. This is not unique to Holy Spirit as many divisions across the province are facing similar challenges. I think we are well positioned in many ways because of the strength of our associate principal pool and Catholic leadership program but, I would be naïve to believe that we will be able to fill all of our senior and school administration positions (potentially 22 in the next 5-8 years) internally. I’m always on the lookout for leaders and if you are considering a transition into formal leadership, I would invite you to set up a meeting with me to discuss your future plans. My door is always open!

Minister of Education David Eggen was in town on Friday to meet with the Board of Trustees. As part of his visit he toured our newest school, St. Teresa of Calcutta since he was unable to attend the grand opening back in October. The innovative design and creative learning space of the school has caught the attention of Alberta Infrastructure and is currently being highlighted. Capital projects continue to be a priority in the division. St. Michael’s School in Pincher Creek modernization will be completed for September 2017. We are close to tendering our St. Patrick’s Taber modernization which is expected to be completed for September 2018. The Board continues to be hopeful that a new elementary school for west Lethbridge is announced next budget cycle and continues to advocate for the modernization of St. Francis. The complete capital plan which was passed at the March Board meeting can be found here. For more details about the March Board meeting, please check out the Board Briefs.   

We were blessed again this year with a wonderful Spiritual Development Day and a big thanks to Joann Bartley and the entire planning committee. Fr. Cristino set the tone with a great message around prayer in his opening keynote and I certainly appreciated his willingness to provide two Q & A sessions. Not many of us have the confidence or conviction to just stand up in front of a crowd and take questions, especially when those questions revolve around controversial issues. I knew Fr. Cristino when he was a student in Medicine Hat and his faith was great back then and so my admiration for him continues. Spiritual Development Day provided all of us some great faith development during this time of Lent. Now, with Easter just around the corner, we bear down in our preparation for the death and resurrection of Christ.

And so as I close off this message, I want to wish all a very blessed Easter. May the hope of the resurrection and the passion of our Lord be in your heart! God Bless!

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