On Friday, we had our staff retreat here at St. Basil Catholic Education Centre. Like all of our schools, we believe in the importance as a Catholic/Christian community to come together in a religious retreat format. It was a powerful day and reminded me again of the beauty to bring God into our public institutions. While many of us may take our ability to pray for granted, it is essential that we celebrate our uniqueness and continually stand up and tell our story.
In my latest article that I wrote for the Lethbridge Herald, I focused on the engagement of our stakeholders through the online process of ThoughtExchange. Participants (almost 75% being parents) described prayer, mass and liturgical celebrations and the visible signs of our faith as some key aspects that demonstrate Catholic Identity. We also asked in what ways might we strengthen our Catholic Identity? One thought that was highlighted was:
More personal example of to live as a Catholic in a challenging world. Kids are always observing and learning. Modeling from teachers, coaches, admin is important for students to see how others handle challenges.
While that comment may seem negative, we need to respond as a further call to action given the continued and even more intentional threat to Catholic Education in Alberta. Telling our story is not just about what we say but more importantly in what we do! David Wells at Blueprints challenged us all to be proud in our actions and vocal in our words that we work in publicly funded Catholic Education. A storm is brewing throughout the province and even though we are strong here in Holy Spirit Catholic Schools, we must speak with one voice and model the way!
I can’t believe that we are in June already. It seems like we just implemented the first year of our Three-Year Education Plan and we are now planning for year 2. Our school leaders reviewed their continuous improvement plans with senior administration last week and there were many successes shared in supporting our three priorities. But the honesty of the challenges shared illustrated not only a great trust amongst all members of the Learning Leadership Team but a commitment to continuous improvement. While our priorities will remain constant for the next two years, there is always a focus on how we can shift or course correct or simply change what is not working. Change to improve in many ways is standard practice within our division.
June will pass quickly with a bedlam of activities and a focus on final exams and projects. But even in this very busy time, I would ask that you step back and reflect on the many successes of the year. You’ve done good Holy Spirit staff…very good and you should be proud. Enjoy the rest of the month and soon a well deserved holiday.