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!

From the Desk of the Superintendent- June 2017

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.

God Bless!


Stakeholder Engagement

The following article was written for and published in the Lethbridge Herald on May 31, 2017.

One of the four strategic priorities for our division is, “Stakeholders will be well engaged in the educational system.” We would like to believe that school newsletters, blogs or other social media options, press releases and school council meetings would serve the purpose and allow us to “put a check in that box.” While all of these communication strategies may be effective in delivering messages and information, they generally lack the ability to truly hear from stakeholders. We recognize the importance of teacher feedback to students yet, especially in the past, have been more reticent to open ourselves up to honest and constructive feedback from our stakeholders.

Open houses still have a place in gathering feedback, especially from our parents, and public consultations can bring together diverse voices in the community. However, in a very busy world, it is difficult for many of our stakeholders to free their schedules to participate in-person. In our division, with both urban and rural school populations, this issue is further exacerbated. Recognizing this challenge, Holy Spirit Catholic School Division has utilized an online solution called ThoughtExchange that provides our Board, senior administration and school leaders with tremendous feedback and ensures both government accountability and public assurance.

The ThoughtExchange process is simple and allows for parents, staff, students and community members to contribute. The result is that key ideas emerge that either affirm our work or indicate a need for course correction. To begin with, we ask three open ended questions:

  1. What aspects of our school life best demonstrate that we are authentically Catholic schools?
  2. What are some ways our division and school can strengthen our Catholic identity?
  3. What are some ways we might better prepare our students for a changing future?

Participants are asked to share their answers to these questions during the “Share” phase of the process. This year, a total of 1,474 distinct thoughts were generated by 778 participants. Almost 75% of these respondents were parents.

The second phase allows participants to add stars to the thoughts shared by others. Each thought can receive between one to five stars, depending on the individual’s belief in the importance of a particular thought. Over 42,500 stars were assigned during this year’s process. This “Star” phase allows the division and each school to easily see what is most important to their stakeholders. The software analyzes the starring patterns and reveals areas of interest and concern.

Final results can be viewed from both the division and individual school levels. At the public Board meeting held in May, these results were presented to the Board of Trustees. They have also been shared with our schools with an expectation that they will be reviewed at school council meetings. But, to increase the level of transparency, the final “Discover” phase, makes all of the results public and accessible through this link.

ThoughtExchange has been a tremendous resource for obtaining open and honest feedback from our stakeholders. It has allowed us to move forward, confident that our stakeholders are well engaged and supportive of the priorities of our school division.

Take the road less travelled- St. Michael’s Pincher Creek Graduation Address

Good afternoon Ladies and Gentlemen and a warm welcome to our St. Michael’s Graduates of 2017.

I always enjoy bringing greetings on behalf of the school division to all of our graduating classes, and today marks the first two of our four high school graduations in the division. In both of these graduations here at St. Michael’s and earlier this morning at CCH, their principals will make their final principal address. At the end of this school year, we will say good bye to Mr. Kuchison as principal of St. Michael’s. I would be hard pressed to find a stronger advocate for students than Mr. K. He cares deeply for his students and consistently strives to build positive relationships with them. This is one of his greatest gifts. And so before I bring my remarks, I offer my sincere congratulations and best wishes to Mr. Kuchison.

Take the road less travelled is a powerful grad theme and an excellent model of how to take on life. It does provide a dilemma though since often it is easier to follow the road more travelled. It is easier to go along with the crowd, to be silent when you should be heard and to step away instead of stepping forward. In other words, the road most travelled is safe!

It is not that your parents or your educators want you to be unsafe and reckless, but they did not raise you or educate you and God certainly didn’t create you to live a mundane existence. There has always been a challenge to you to go beyond and push yourself. We all want you to be the best versions of yourselves and that cannot come about by taking the road most travelled.

But taking the road less travelled does not mean going forward with your eyes closed in reckless abandon. It is not without thought or practice, but it is always with action. And it is this action rather than any word you speak that will demonstrate you are on the road less travelled.

The road less travelled is not about fame or fortune, an award you want or a position you covet. It is much simpler than that but also much more difficult in today’s society because the road less travelled is counter cultural. It is about making big changes in our world with small gestures; the gestures of friendship, of kindness, of compassion and of forgiveness; the giving of time and of one’s self; the act of standing up for the marginalized and lifting up the downtrodden. While we would like to believe that is common in our world, the fact is, it is a lonely road where few travel often.

In Catholic Education we are fortunate to acknowledge that Jesus is our best example of taking the road less travelled. He consistently spoke against injustice and intolerance and lived with faith and passion. And he calls us each and every day to come along on that road.

When you walk out of the doors of St. Michael’s for the last time this year, commit to taking the road less travelled. Challenge yourself to go against the flow; to speak when it is easier to be silent; to stand up when it is easier to sit down; and to give when it is easier to take. Be open and proud of your faith because that is a road less travelled! In the end, live your life so that you are a shining example for your parents, your peers and your future generations! Take the road less travelled because it is always the right road to the right destination.

On behalf of the entire school division, I wish you congratulations and God’s blessings! Thank you!


Super Human Gifts- Catholic Central High School Graduation Address

Oki, Bonjour Mesdames et Monsieurs and Good Morning Ladies and Gentlemen and especially to our CCH Graduates of 2017.

I always enjoy bringing greetings on behalf of the school division to all of our graduating classes, and today marks the first of four high school graduations in our division and the first of two which are held today, one in Lethbridge and one in Pincher Creek. And in both of these graduations here at Catholic Central and later this afternoon at St. Michael’s, their principals will make their last principal address. At the end of this school year, we will say good bye to Mrs. Koran as principal of CCH. She is extremely bright, has a sly sense of humour and one of the best instructional leaders that I have ever worked with. Mrs. Koran is one of the greatest advocates for CCH and to say that she bleeds Cougar blue and white would be an understatement. And so on behalf of the entire school division, I would offer my sincere congratulations and best wishes to Mrs. Koran.

Super Human Gifts is your grad theme this year. At first glance, with all of the super hero and science fiction movies out there, one might equate super human gifts to supernatural powers. But we all know that none of us have x-ray vision, can fly unassisted or simply disappear. There are no Green Lanterns, Wonder Woman or Silver Surfers around…they don’t exist. And while those are all fiction, super human gifts are quite real and live in each of us. What makes them super is our ability to use them to the fullest. In my address I want to focus on three gifts that we have inside of us, the gift to learn, the gift to love and the gift of faith.

All of us were given the gift to learn albeit at different rates and through various ways and methods. Some are book smart, some are street smart, while others can build or design and others can dream, imagine and create. We are all unique. The gift to learn does not come to an end since you are graduating high school, or once you finished post-secondary. It is a life gift and it becomes super when you use it to become the best version of yourself, be it single or married, parent or not, novice or elder. Be a learner forever in all things.

The gift of love as super human is best described in 1 Corinthians, “Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.” Make love a super human gift, by sharing your compassion, showing mercy and building relationships.

And finally, you have been given the super human gift of faith. This may be the hardest to understand at your age and it will continue to be the most difficult to live in our secular culture. Faith in one God or Creator, belief in a higher power and acceptance that the Holy Spirit lives within you will be your greatest ally in life. Your ability to have faith will be a game changer. Your desire to live a faith filled life even through all your struggles and disappointments is a super human gift that will always protect you and lead you home.  

Take your grad theme to heart. These gifts are not supernatural; they live within you and so find your own super human gifts and grow and share them.

On behalf of the school division, I wish you the best of luck in your future and wish you God’s blessings. Thank you!

Let the celebrations begin!

Last week’s From the Desk of the Superintendent had an almost exclusive focus on Catholic Education. The threat is still very real but after returning from another successful Blueprints Retreat, there is renewed hope because of the quality of Catholic educators throughout the province. It doesn’t hurt to spend some quality time with David Wells, who always lifts your spirits. He will be with us here in Holy Spirit to start off our 2017-18 school year and for those who have not had the pleasure to hear him, you are in for a real treat.

What I neglected in my last post, I want to address today and it centers on celebration. While we have ample opportunities to celebrate throughout the year, it seems that from the month of May forward, we ramp it up! On Monday we begin with our traditional First Nations Feather Blessing and Metis Sash Presentation Ceremony at Catholic Central High School. It is always a highlight for me to share in this tremendous honor with our aboriginal students and families. We are so blessed in our Division to have the guidance of Elder Peter Strikes With A Gun who leads this special ceremony.

Image result for peter strikes with a gun

The Feather Blessing and Metis Sash Presentation Ceremony lead into our first two high school graduations of the year. Both Catholic Central High School in Lethbridge and St. Michael’s School in Pincher Creek host their graduation masses, ceremonies and banquets this weekend. It is a little bit of driving to attend both but, so important for me to be able to bring greetings and celebrate with our graduating students and families. Please keep our students and their families in your prayers this coming week.

Last week we honored our latest Excellence in Catholic Education Award winner, Lorelie Lenaour and this week we celebrate our Edwin Parr Award nominee at a banquet in Taber. The Edwin Parr Award recognizes outstanding first year teaching. This year, Holy Spirit Catholic School Division is pleased to support Caitlyn Kasprick as our representative. Ms. Kasprick, a teacher at Father Leonard Van Tighem School  will be the toast of the evening along with other nominees from Zone 6.

On Tuesday evening, the Board of Trustees host their annual Long Service Awards. The evening begins with a mass (our Catholic tradition), followed by the awards and concludes with a social. Beginning at the 5-year mark, all staff are recognized for continuous service on five year intervals. In my travels, I’ve not witnessed a more robust long service program and so I want to congratulate the Board for their commitment to this recognition. I highlight this fact because often we believe that our norm (how we do things in Holy Spirit) is “the norm” around the province and country. I understand that not all recipients are able to attend and so for those who won’t be there I just want to thank you for your years of service and commitment to Holy Spirit Catholic School Division.

Finally, the last celebration I want to acknowledge is Mother’s Day. To my own mom, to my wife, the mother of our two grown children and to all the mothers in our communities, I want to wish you the very best. There is nothing closer to God’s unconditional love than that of the love of a mother. And so from all the daughters and sons out there we ask for God’s blessing on our mothers. May we always love them deeply, cherish their life and honor their memory.

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From the Desk of the Superintendent- May 2017

Blueprints starts on Tuesday evening but today and tomorrow morning, Catholic senior administrators are attending our regular meeting. We always begin with mass and today we were honoured to have Bishop McGrattan celebrate the Eucharist with us. He then joined us in our meeting to give all of us a better understanding of his leadership and direction for Catholic Education. While his approaches may be categorically different from his predecessor Bishop Henry, his commitment and support of Catholic Education is similarly, unwavering.

So let’s begin with a conversation about Catholic Education as it certainly has dominated the news of late. The rhetoric of only one publicly funded system is again becoming popular. The news out of Theodore, Saskatchewan where non-Catholic students will not be funded if attending Catholic schools beginning in 2018 adds fuel to the fire. But let us not push the panic button just this yet. The Theodore case has been in the courts for 12 years and already the Saskatchewan government is arguing it. Appeals are probable and so the question of non-Catholic families needing to leave Catholic schools is premature to say the least.

But with Catholic Education under such scrutiny, merely applying the “wait and see” strategy is likely ill-advised. Lawyers will be involved, so let them handle the legal dilemma and quite honestly we need to let the politicians deal in that arena. Our role, for those of us in the system, is simply to do what we should be doing all the time- offering the highest quality of Catholic Education in our schools each and every day! Demonstrate our uniqueness! Showcase how our faith is permeated in all that we do! Find the face of Christ in every child we serve, and in every parent and adult we meet. Be proud of how Catholic schools are fabrics of our communities and how all of us in Catholic Education play a part in God’s plan. This is not a wait and see approach but rather an intentional practice to solidify not just our constitutional right but more importantly our responsibility to the children entrusted to our care. If there is ever a time for our Catholic community to come together, it is now!

I’ve served in Catholic Education since I began my career in 1985 and there has always been a perceived threat. Maybe this threat is the same as always or maybe it is more intense. Regardless, all of us in Catholic Education, regardless of denomination need to be prepared to stand up if required. I’ve long argued that Alberta has one of the best education systems in the world in part because of publicly funded school choice and because of that, it is worth protecting!

Enjoy some spring weather and have a great May!


Foundational Knowledge of First Nations, Métis and Inuit

The following article was published in the Lethbridge Herald on April 19, 2017.

In the coming months, new standards will be unveiled for teachers, as well as school and system leaders. The current Teaching Quality Standard came into effect in 1997 and, although it has served the education system well, it certainly requires an update. Principals have been governed by the Principal Quality Practice and superintendents have operated under the CASS Practice Standard. The new legislated quality standards will be described in terms of competencies and indicators and should further enhance the professional practice of all. All Alberta teachers, and school and system leaders will be expected to meet their unique quality standard throughout their careers.

An area that has been added to all three standards is foundational knowledge about First Nations, Métis and Inuit people for the benefit of all students. Teachers will be required to develop and apply this foundational knowledge, principals will support the school community in acquiring and applying this knowledge, and superintendents will establish structures and provide necessary resources. A key understanding is that this foundational knowledge is for the benefit of all Alberta students. It is not localized to areas where a high population of indigenous people exist. Regardless of the numbers of self-identified First Nations, Métis or Inuit students, this is the common standard.

Canada celebrates its 150th anniversary this year and there is no better time to fundamentally shift our thinking and attitudes towards our aboriginal people. The treatment of our indigenous people has left a black mark on our Canadian history and unfortunately most of us have little knowledge about the origin of that treatment. Would any of us agree with our own children being forcibly removed from our homes? Would we accept having our language, culture, and traditions eliminated? Would we tolerate the prevalent attitude of former government officials like Duncan Campbell Scott, head of the Department of Indian Affairs from 1913 – 1932, when he suggested, “I want to get rid of the Indian problem.”

It is an ugly truth that should be no longer hidden from our students or simply glossed over. The new standards will provide our Alberta students with an opportunity to accurately reflect and demonstrate the strength and diversity of First Nations, Métis and Inuit people. Societal change can only occur through a true understanding of the historical, social, economic, and political implications of the treaties and agreements with First Nations, the legislation and agreements negotiated with Métis, and of residential schools and their legacy.

School systems have the task of ensuring we move in the right direction; toward reconciliation, truth and understanding. We can no longer accept lagging achievement results. It is time to raise the bar and close the gap. We must stop making excuses and start finding solutions to build capacity amongst our First Nations, Métis and Inuit students. Without confronting some of our brutal history, we will not achieve the societal change required to make Canada truly great and, as in most cases, it needs to start with education.

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!

Let’s Innovate!

Let’s innovate! We need an education system that provides us with students who are innovative and creative. To be successful in the future, students need to be adaptable and flexible. They need to be great communicators, collaborators and let’s throw in that they can get along with everybody they meet! That is exactly what our division, province/state or country really needs from the education system. We need students who are globally competitive! Sound familiar?

Oh, did I forget to mention that we need all of those skills and competencies developed but let’s not really change anything. Instead of doing what is best for students, we should continue to listen to a very loud minority who complain excessively about the current system but heaven forbid, reject any sort of change. They still want letter grades, percentages, rankings, back to the basics and anything that was the norm when they went to school because you know… it worked for them. To be honest, I’m not sure it worked for them when I listen to some of their rhetoric!!!

If we want to create a system of education that engages students, prepares them for a future that we can only imagine, then don’t shackle educators with arbitrary or worse ancient and irrelevant rules. Allow education to move away from only an accountability system to an assurance model where stakeholders understand the difference between high quality learning and compliant testing. That doesn’t mean we don’t need standardized tests to maintain and check on standards but let’s look for assessments that can illustrate the competencies learned by our students and not evaluations that simply require a regurgitation of knowledge. Let’s look for ways where students can demonstrate their learning beyond a paper and pencil test because most of us, as I’ve said before, are evaluated on our performance and not simply our test taking skills. Employers have little use for employees who know their stuff but can’t apply it!

A couple of weeks ago I met with my C21 Canada Leadership Academy colleagues. We are a group of K-12 leaders from across the country focused on setting national direction so Canada doesn’t just remain good in the world but transforms to great. Each of us has examples of greatness in our own systems and when I engage with my colleagues I learn a tremendous amount. I gain multiple perspectives, I witness various strategies and I come back to my division ready to share my learning. But I also am affirmed in those visits with colleagues and from tours of their schools. I see so many examples of high quality learning and innovative practice that I also witness in our own division. Learn and affirm are required to move us away from the status quo and to shake off those naysayers who want us to go back to the “good old days.” Whether I write this as a superintendent, a dad or now a grandpa, I can’t ever imagine believing that the status quo is good enough! The education system that every child deserves moves forward, challenges what school ought to be and pushes the boundaries outward.

So just because the system worked for “them” doesn’t mean it will or can work for the students in our classrooms today. The world is too different, too complex to “do it like we’ve always done it and expect different results.” Bold leaders in government, (not those who pander to loud minorities), collaborative and forward thinking system and school leaders (not those who rule with an iron fist) and, fearless and passionate teachers (not those who make excuses) are required. Building better systems that can engage young minds and activate a love of learning intrinsically cannot ever be accomplished by doing more of the same. It is time to break the mold of what school was and create what school needs to be. Our students deserve it and our society needs it!