cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by DieselDemon

Once you choose hope, anything’s possible.  ~Christopher Reeve


The last two weeks have reminded me of how fortunate I am as a husband, father and in my career as a teacher and now Superintendent.  We sometimes face adversity that causes us to lose hope.  I on the other hand have felt nothing but hope!

What comes to mind first is Parkland School Division’s amazing students, staff, parents as well as the community support shown for the family both immediate and extended to the Greystone School Community with the recent passing of Jolene Cote.  Parkland School Division will remember Jolene as a treasured staff member who shared her talents and passion for the profession of teaching.   Pastor Wiebe sp0ke at Jolene’s Memorial Service about hope.  A message for all of us, even during the darkest hour, there is hope.  To move on in life we must have hope.  We must always remember…but we must always believe there is hope.

I believe we must embrace this sense of hope as we continue our journey in education. Last week our Board Chair Richard Gilchrist and I had the honor of atteninding the International conference on Innovative Learning Environments in Banff (October 10-12) organized by the  Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and Alberta Education  conference in Banff.  Together we learnt about innovative learning environments and discussed steps in encouraging innovative education around the world. Representatives from  Australia, Austria, Belgium, Chile, the Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Israel, Korea, Mexico, Norway, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United States, Hong Kong, and five provinces of Canada collaborated and shared thier vision and hope for our children’s future, and ultimately, ours.  There was a high degree of hope for the future of education and the ability to meet the needs of our learners in a new century.

Recently, Principal Shauna Boyce from Memorial Composite wrote “High School Parents can still be invovled“.  She stated the following:

The key to a successful high school experience, for parents and students, is communication.  We all want the same thing – for your sons and daughters to be happy, responsible, respectful, caring, and learned individuals. We want them to get everything they can out of high school and to achieve their potential.

I again felt hope for our future…ethical citizens ready for an everchanging world who will be our future leaders.

Principal Shaye Patras recently wrote a blog titled “Here we Go“.  In his post, he concluded with:

There’s an old story that I remember reading in Times Magazine some time ago.

Rip Van Winkle awakens in the 21st century after a hundred year snooze and is of course utterly bewildered by what he sees’. ‘Every place Rip goes just baffles him. But when finally he walks into a schoolroom, the old man knows exactly where he is. “This is a school”, he declares. “We used to have these back in 1906”’

Every profession, field, industry etc. have evolved over the past 100 years; has the reporting in Education evolved?”

This also affirmed my hope for the future.  We are having conversations and looking to the future doing what is right for kids.  Trustee Ron Heinrichs, Trustee Eric Cameron, Associate Superintendent Emilie Keane, and Division Principal George Couros,  attended the  21st Century Learning Conference in Banff, Alberta, from October 12-14, 2011. The Pillars of the Forum were Career, Learning, Globalization and Sustainability (economic/environment). PSD representatives spoke about a presentation by  the Cenovus corporation, which focus on hiring employees that are critical thinkers, and problem solvers who are engaged and passionate about the work they do.  As a company, they will teach the content, but are more focused on developing staff with the necessary skills/competencies that will be needed by those working in a “knowledge economy”.  My hope for the future of education in Alberta is that together we embrace the recently released Alberta Education document, “Framework for Student Learning“, which very clearly describes the vision that they have for Alberta’s students as we continue into the 21st Century. A vision that supports what this company is asking for.

My blog today was to share a few thoughts that support there is a wonderful future for our children in Alberta.  Together we will find our way down this path always doing what is right for kids…our future leaders.

When the world says, “Give up,”
Hope whispers, “Try it one more time.”
~Author Unknown


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2 Responses to Hope

  1. Your message of hope is what we need to keep moving forward together for our students – thank you for sharing and thank you for all you do to lead us toward a hopeful future in Parkland School Division.

  2. Don Wielinga says:

    I appreciate your message of HOPE. If we don’t have hope we have nothing! We need to continue having those conversations about “doing what is right for kids”, not what is easiest or the least work for us as school support staff, teachers, and administrators.

    Great Message,’


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