Welcome to April and the winter that never seems to end! I hope that everyone had a most blessed Easter and those who could were able to spend the time with family and friends.
March was certainly a full month of learning and activities in schools and throughout the division. Highlighting the learning was our Division Wide Professional Development Day with the entire focus on our First Nations, Metis and Inuit priority. We were fortunate to have the new Assistant Deputy Minister in charge of this portfolio from Alberta Education in attendance and she was very impressed with the work we are doing to support our aboriginal students. While there is still much work to do to ensure the highest levels of learning for all, we are certainly on the right track.
At the March Board Meeting, we introduced Mrs. Sandra Cormican, a kindergarten teacher at Children of St. Martha School as our Excellence in Catholic Education Award Winner. This is an award that has been established by the Council of Catholic School Superintendents of Alberta. During my 10 years here at Holy Spirit, we’ve recognized some excellent teachers/administrators for this award and Sandra now is part of this exceptional class. We also selected our Edwin Parr winner, an award which celebrates first year teaching. Ms. Erica Barr, from Father Leonard van Tighem is our Holy Spirit representative. She will be introduced to our trustees at the April board meeting. The decision for any of these awards is most difficult because of the high quality of candidates we have in our system. Our last divisional award the Share the Mission Award, has just come out and as in past years, I’m sure we will have another strong group of candidates. For more information on the March board meeting, please click here.
The provincial budget was released at the end of March and the budget assumptions were presented to the Board of Trustees at their March meeting. The good news is that the government is committed to funding enrollment growth. Our initial forecasts show the division growing by another 2% at minimum with the majority of the increase in Lethbridge. Disappointing news from the budget however, was the lack of an announcement of a new elementary school in west Lethbridge which is the Board’s first priority in their Three Year Capital Plan. The Board has requested a meeting with our local MLA for west Lethbridge for an explanation as to why Holy Spirit was not part of the capital announcements. There was also no mention of the classroom improvement fund which provided an additional $636,000 for schools this year. We are hopeful that through provincial negotiations, that money will be allocated once again.
April will be another full month with some great professional development opportunities. A number of our staff will be attending the Agile Schools Network in Calgary, uLead conference in Banff, the First Nations, Metis and Inuit symposium in Edmonton and SPICE and Blueprints in Kananaskis. All of these events either strengthen our educational practice in our classrooms and schools or further develop our faith. Regardless of the event, the need to be a constant learner in today’s world must always be emphasized. Personally, I’ve just finished reading the book, “Coherence” by Michael Fullan and Joanne Quinn and note that much of what is espoused in the book is already taking place at various levels in our schools. The Learning Leadership Team will begin to dive deeper into these concepts through the lens of the new leadership standards in the coming months.
Three more months in this school year! While this winter hasn’t seemed to want to end, here we are with less than 12 weeks of school remaining. This next stretch will fly by quickly but it can also be emotionally and physically draining. Make sure that you continue to keep your three priorities (faith, family, job) in the right order during these next three months. Enjoy the coming of spring (hopefully) and may God continue to bless you and the work you do!