The school year in Alberta is coming to a close and it will coincide with my first year of blogging anniversary. What began as a desire to simply communicate from the my office has developed into an almost weekly personal education reflection. Upon reviewing my yearly blog posts, I would suggest that the vast majority talk about the need to transform our educational system. Leaders in education speak of educational reform and continuous improvement plans because a good portion of their job is to push the status quo. We don’t want to be seen as complacent and satisfied with the current state. It is always our desire to reach the vision of our systems.
I was reminded this past week about the importance to celebrate and affirm instead of just pushing the transformation envelope. When we talk about education reform or school improvement plans there is a tendency for us to fall into the trap of deficiency. There is no doubt that education needs to make some significant changes to meet the needs of the 21st century learners but education, especially in Alberta provides some pretty amazing pride moments too!
One of the things that I’ve started every year during our last meeting with our Learning Leadership Team (senior and school based administrators) is a circle activity. We pull our chairs into the middle of the room and circle up for discussion. This year, I modified the discussion to include a Think, Pair Share activity to highlight our successes. With their partner I had them respond to three questions:
- What have you personally done this year to make the division the best division in the province? What will you do next year to continue that work?
- What has your school done this year to make the division the best division in the province? What will your school do next year to continue that work?
- What has the system done this year to make the division the best division in the province? What does the system need do next year to continue that work?
It was an extremely rich discussion because it not only highlighted our successes and affirmed our direction but also allowed all of us to build for next year. I’m not one for status quo and I become frustrated when we don’t move forward quick enough, but there has to be a time to quietly sit and “smell the roses.” When you reflect on your work this year, don’t forget to celebrate. There are a lot of results that we should all be proud of!!!