Welcome back! I hope everyone had the opportunity to enjoy some well-deserved time off with family and friends as well as making some new memories during the holiday season. We had a very rewarding and productive year for PSD in 2012, and I know we have much to look forward to across the division in 2013.
Over the Christmas season I had the opportunity to spend some quality time with my family. On one of those occasions we watched the movie “Stepmom” with Julia Roberts and Susan Sarandon. A scene from the movie really did stick with me, and I began to think how it applied to what we are doing in PSD. It is the scene where Susan Sarandon meets with Julia Roberts in a restaurant. They are talking about Susan’s daughter getting married some day and how Susan’s character will not have the opportunity to be there as she will have passed away of cancer. Julia, as the stepmom, talks candidly about how she is afraid all her stepdaughter will ask for is Susan, her mom. Sarandon, on the other hand, is afraid her daughter will not ask for her at her wedding. At this point, Susan makes a statement that has really stood out for me. She talks about Julia as the stepmom having her daughter’s future and Susan having her past. They talk about how their daughter will have the best of both worlds because she will have the past and the future.
This has stuck with me as I have often spoken about how as we continue to move forward in the 21st century meeting the needs of our children, we have to balance our established practices with future-focused goals and competencies. In many ways, we must respect the past, while continuing to strive for a better future – just as Julia Roberts and Susan Sarandon captured so eloquently in Stepmom. I continue to say we will not throw the baby out with the bath water. This approach of respecting past-practice is particularly evident in the current transition in Alberta Education from accountability pillars to an assurance model of education. Additionally, Alberta Education’s competency wheel still has literacy and numeracy in the centre, focused on the child. We, in PSD, do too! As we look to the future and embrace our vision of exploration, creativity, and imagination making learning exciting, where all learners aspire to reach their dreams; we must never forget the past.
We are focused on engaging our students, staff and community as we prepare our students for a world that is fast paced, connected and global. To do this, we will continue to teach what many of us call the “basics”, including literacy and numeracy. We will also focus on the competencies outlined by Alberta Education; engaged thinkers and ethical citizens with an entrepreneurial spirit.
We are in exciting times, where together we can ensure our children are well prepared for a future many of us couldn’t imagine 10 or 20 years ago. But imagine we do! Whether it is project-based learning, authentic assessment or ensuring our students do well on provincial exams, it is about ensuring our children are ready for a global community with a commitment to life-long learning.
Wishing each of you a Happy New Year and all the best in 2013.