As another incredibly successful year in PSD winds down, I wanted to take the opportunity to reflect on the many successes that we achieved together in supporting over 9,700 students across the Division. And, most importantly – I wanted to say thank-you to staff, parents, and our community partners. Quite simply, without your ongoing commitment of time, dedication, energy and resources we would not achieve what we have together this past year. On behalf of PSD’s senior executive, administrators and staff, thank-you for your service to PSD.
So, what were some of the highlights in PSD from the past year, and why do we have so much to be proud of?
Let me start by highlighting the importance of our community partnerships. Engaging our communities and stakeholders has been a significant priority for PSD over the past number of years, and these efforts grew by leaps and bounds this past year. As we all know, education is a partnership between our schools, parents and communities. In PSD, we are committed to enhancing these valuable partnerships year-after-year. This past year, our Board continued to show its commitment to community input and feedback through our System Review which examined enrolment trends and facility requirements for west end schools, and will next examine Stony Plain attendance boundaries.
As many of you know, this past year also saw the introduction of a new report card for grades K-9 in PSD. Over the course of the year we received positive feedback and some concerns from many parents, students and teachers regarding the new report card. Based on that feedback, we made a number of improvements to the report card for next school year. We know the new report card format is a big change for parents and students and we’re committed to helping parents understand how assessment has changed from evaluating knowledge to evaluating skills and competencies.
Our leadership role as an innovative school division was evidenced in the many successes and accolades received by our ‘Innovative Teaching and Learning Initiative’ after only its first year of implementation. We have seen exciting developments within our learning community and we want to continue to strive to create opportunities for our students to thrive in an increasingly digital age. The introduction of the Learning Leader Program, 184 Days of Learning, the Digital Portfolio Initiative, and our increased social media presence have all shown very positive results for both students and staff alike.
As famed American singer/songwriter Bob Dylan once said, “The times they are a’ changin,” and the adage holds true today as there are many exciting new things you’ll see unveiled in PSD this fall. We’ll ask you to stay tuned for more specific information, but we’ll offer a quick sneak peek now.
Our Board of Trustees is incredibly pleased that we’ll be sharing newly created Division-wide vision, mission, and values statements with our stakeholders this fall. These new statements really do reflect the future-focused and innovative organization that we are today.
We’re also pleased to unveil a new ultimate goal for PSD that focuses on student success and well-being. All of our programs and resources in PSD will be directed to this goal and supporting ‘key elements’ that include: engaging our students, engaging our staff, engaging our community, and stewardship of resources. Collectively, these goals and strategies will enable students to explore, create, imagine, and engage in lifelong learning as they develop their skills to prepare to enter the world of post-secondary studies or work.
This upcoming fall, PSD will also be introducing school-based learning coaches who work to improve student learning and achievement by removing barriers to learning for diverse learners and providing support to teachers to strengthen inclusive practices. The primary goal of the ‘Learning Coaches Program’ is to ensure that in relevant and meaningful ways all students will learn, contribute and be active members of their learning community in the most inclusive and enabling environment.
And, lastly, building on the success of the Parkland Village Resiliency Project, in 2012-2013 PSD will be introducing the Youth Resiliency Initiative across the Division. The Youth Resiliency Initiative is intended to build community capacity to provide programming and educational opportunities focused on developing prevention-focused strategies that build and support a strong foundation for mental health and resiliency in the youth who are served by PSD.
As you can see, when you add everything up, 2011-2012 was another remarkable year for PSD – and, we couldn’t have done it without you! 2012-2013 looks equally as promising, and we look forward to your ongoing contributions when we’re all back in the fall. In the meantime, enjoy a restful and enjoyable summer holiday. We’ll see you in late August with the start of a new school year as we prepare, engage, and inspire our students for another year.