Wow – TGIF! It is the end of another great week and I have just landed up in my office. It’s 6:00 PM Friday evening and I am catching my breath from a very busy few days away working with our Trustees, Superintendents and our Director of Strategic Planning and Communications. And today PSD hosted 26 School Districts from Zone 2/3 to the first College of Alberta School Superintendents (CASS) meeting of this school year. In and around the meeting I had a chance: to deal with a Transportation matter, advise on a couple of staffing situations, respond to two parent questions and I had a quick check in with administrators from two of our schools. The most urgent emails got sent and received and some piles of paper got shuffled. A few phone calls were returned and I huddled with our senior team on a couple of timely items and on and on. Some of you will know that I lovingly called this frenetic pace “Drinking from the fire hose”…..So, in all of the activity of the day – What did I learn?
First of all, I am reminded of the importance of building a sense of community and creating a culture of belonging. We were very intentional in how we welcomed folks to the meeting today and how we established an expectation for participant engagement. As Dr. Martin Brokenleg reminded us at start up – that culture of belonging needs to extend to adults as well as children. I learned that the things that we care most about are the same as those of our colleagues in other districts. I am proud to say that much of the conversation at CASS really was about what is best for students. It is very reassuring to listen to the stories of success, as well as challenge and opportunity outside of our immediate community. I learned that the hope and promise of our work is shared by others who care deeply about getting it right for kids! Whether the topic was SLAs (Student Leaner Assessments), the agenda of the new Minister of Education or the efforts that are being made to support low incidence students, (those with blindness/visual impairment, deaf/hard of hearing, deaf/blindness and complex communication disability) we should be pleased with the collective efforts across PSD and beyond.
Each of our guests today received a note of welcome tied to a fresh, juicy apple. That was our little way of extending generosity and saying that we valued their involvement. Even the smallest deposit in the emotional bank account helps to create relationships that offer the best opportunity for collective success and for continuing to find ways of supporting each other in such important work.