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Jun 29

Chris Smeaton

From the Desk of the Superintendent- Year End Message

June 29th…only two more official tie days! What a year it has been. We opened a new school, St. Teresa of Calcutta; we are in the final months of our modernization of St. Michael’s in Pincher Creek and we are in the beginning stages of our modernization of St. Patrick’s in Taber. And that is just our capital projects!

We still have two more grade 12 graduations this week and so I ask for your prayers for our students at St. Mary’s Taber and St. Michael’s Bow Island. As we say good luck to our graduating students we also say goodbye to our retirees. I always love to hear their stories at the Board’s Retirement Dinner. It is a wonderful testament of deep commitment these individuals had for the students in our system. What a difference each of them made!

2016-17 was the first year of both our Three Year Education Plan and our Three Year Faith Plan. Limiting and really aligning our system to three goals for an entire three year period (as opposed to a 3-year plan done every year) has already shown great promise in our schools. The ability to focus on our faith, literacy/numeracy and First Nations, Metis and Inuit learning over a three year period allows us to really deepen our work in those areas. I felt much pride in the system when listening to our school leaders present on their continuous improvement plan progress for this year. While never perfect, the work in our schools is incredible. Some might suggest that I say that because I’m the superintendent but the evidence from our May 2017 Accountability Pillar Report confirms our excellence.

This year I’m completing my fourth year of a five year contract with the Division. Although my work is reviewed annually by the Board, their practice (and it is a good practice) is to ensure a full evaluation before going into the last year of my contract. It is part of the evidence that they use to decide on whether to offer a further contract and could be required by the Minister who actually has final authority on whether I continue as a superintendent or not. From Section 114 of the School Act:

  • If a board intends to reappoint a superintendent named in a contract referred to in subsection (1), the board shall, not less than 6 months before the contract ends, give to the Minister, in the form and containing the information required by the Minister, notice of its intention to reappoint the superintendent.
  • A reappointment of a superintendent must be for a period of not more than 5 years.
  • The Minister may approve or refuse to approve a reappointment under subsection (2), in any form the Minister considers appropriate, not more than one month after the Minister is notified under subsection (2).
  • If the Minister refuses to approve a reappointment under subsection (2), the Minister shall give the board reasons in writing for the refusal.

Since it is my intention to stay for at least a few more years this evaluation is pretty important. The evaluation includes evidence related to my job description that I collect and present to the Board of Trustees, reflections on each dimension of my work and the results of anonymous interviews with all senior and school leaders (40) by an independent consultant. Although the result was a very good evaluation, it really speaks to our system, to the people who make up Holy Spirit. We don’t continue to grow and improve because of me but rather because of us. No matter what position you hold in our system, you contribute to the excellence that is recognized locally, provincially and nationally. I extend my gratitude to our Board of Trustees, to our system and school leaders and all of our staff, students, parents and community. It continues to be an honour to work alongside all of you and I am blessed to serve Holy Spirit as Superintendent of Schools.

It is just about summer holiday time folks and so I would like to wish you the very best! Please rest and relax, visit with family and friends and don’t forget to save time for prayer and reflection. Enjoy your time away. May God continue to bless you during these next two months!

2 comments

  1. Paula Mastel Vallely

    Since this Holy Spirit likes to send out surveys, it would be interesting to send out one that asks the parents and students.
    What are your thoughts on the quarter system?
    What are your thoughts on the duel campus?

    1. Chris Smeaton
      Chris Smeaton

      I know that over the years, CCH has asked questions about the quarter system and has received positive results. Although I recognize that neither the quarter system nor the dual campus is pleasing to all.

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