As this message is being written, the community is buzzing about the upcoming Alberta Winter Games. Once again, the communities of Spruce Grove, Stony Plain and Parkland County unite to share in the work, in the joy and celebration of an event that will bring opportunity and pride to the youth and families within our region and beyond. Parkland School Division is proud to be a partner in this exciting sporting and cultural event that will touch the lives of people across the province.
Schools have been the “heart of the community” since the beginning of public schooling. It is compelling that despite the many changes that have occurred in so many aspects of schooling there continues to be an ever-important focus on the connection between schools and the community. Relationships are at the core of the teaching and learning process and our work is in the people business. That will never change.
More than ever today’s fast paced environment requires community and parental involvement in many aspects of the education system. We have known for decades that student success increases when parents are working collaboratively with school staff. It is important to recognize that parental involvement happens in a variety of ways. While we appreciate the active commitment and leadership of our School Councils and the Council of School Councils we recognize that there are many other ways to be involved!
Whether a parent or community member is able to be a regularly scheduled school volunteer or whether a parent simply makes the time to sit down to talk with his or her child about what is happening at school, the connections between home and school make a valuable contribution. And we all know that even finding the time to have those important conversations isn’t so simple!
Parkland School Division celebrates Alberta Education’s increased focus on community engagement. Hearing the voices of interested, caring and concerned parents and public make us better. You can continue to be an important part of the action through our open invitation to talk with staff at any time with your thoughts and questions. More specifically there will be times where we come to you in a more systematic manner to seek your feedback on certain topics like the System Review (the important work that the Board is undertaking in order to address ongoing challenges with over and under population of schools) and the implementation of our new report card. Talk to your local school and be watching our website for updated information about these and other current initiatives.
With feedback and opportunity to provide comments and advice and to ask questions comes the chance to clarify thinking, to open up to change and new ideas. While the challenges within education may not always have clean and easy decisions, the value of healthy debate strengthens our decisions and helps us move forward with our commitment to ensuring that students have the greatest chance for success.
Along with the voice of parents, we strongly support the value of hearing student voice and of helping our students to make positive contributions and as they find their place in our communities. I have just accepted the invitation to provide opening remarks to the upcoming school wide Student Convention at Duffield School on March 2, 2012. Their theme: Communities – Working Togetherreminds us of the powerful relationship that exists between home, school and community.
Having firsthand experience with children who have competed in the Winter Games in the past, I am fully aware of the significant impact that these Games will have on so many families. With your help, our legacy of community involvement and commitment to the development of youth will continue to be seen in our schools and will be felt long after the closing ceremonies!
As always, I look forward to hearing from you. You are always welcome to stop by my office, just call ahead and the door will open. Or, if you prefer you can send me a tweet @tmondsPSD70!