Welcome to our new website, everyone!
We are pleased to have moved over to a more modern and user-friendly platform, and look forward to improving communication with our many stakeholders as a result. We will continue to make updates to the formatting and details, and if you want to give a suggestion or provide some feedback on the site, please be invited to do so through the Email link to the right of this column.
As well, be sure to share your comments regarding the District Calendar prior to our next Board Meeting using this link. Principals will be working with school level stakeholders on items related to specific events and bell times as mentioned below.
Are we tired of the snow yet?
January Update: As we work our way through January at the DESC, our attention is turning to the “actioning” of the new District Strategic Plan.
In order to expand teacher capacity to respond to the Renewed Curriculum outcomes and strategies located under our Students First goal, we have recently put out a posting for Instructional Leadership Team (ILT) positions. This is a group of teachers who will be selected for their interest in engaging with colleagues on all matter of instructional design. Each position will have a discreet area of focus, but the team will work together to develop their own practice, present learning opportunities, and work side by side on an invitational basis with teachers across the district to co-design, co-teach, and co-assess student learning. Most ILT work will occur on Tuesdays, and each member will retain their other duties for the balance of their time, which I believe affords opportunity to not only test their learning in an authentic environment, but also helps with their “still on the ground” credibility with colleagues. Look for team introductions in the next On the Fly and for opportunities to work alongside the ILT both inside and outside of instructional time.
In support of improving public access to information under our Organizational Efficiency goal, I am pleased to let you know that we are only weeks away from a district-wide conversion to new websites. The WordPress platform we have selected is inexpensive, easy to use, extremely reliable, and works well in the mobile environment. Schools and departments will each have their own site, using a standard model template that is clean and modern and easy to update. Our main School District site will be a different template, selected for its attractive presentation and capacity to hold a greater variety of information, while still being easy to navigate. As a website is usually the first point of contact for parents and guardians, it is critical that we are able to provide them with easy access to information presented in a format that sends a professional message about our work with their kids. We look forward to our big switchover next month and to hearing your suggestions to improve our communication strategies further.
Also in the same goal area, but in support of inviting more staff and community input, we are expanding the District Calendar process this year. Currently, senior staff is working with NOSTA to create a draft of the instructional and non-instructional days. After the February Board Meeting, assuming the draft is approved, we will collect comments and make any necessary adjustments before submitting to the Ministry at the end of March. It is the district’s days and hours of instruction that matter to the Ministry, but there is an opportunity during this timeframe to work with your community in an authentic and respectful way before making your local school calendar and bell schedule firm for the coming year.
Here are some items I would suggest discussing at the school level:
-Early dismissal days for reporting/conferencing
-Graduated start at K
-PLC or Collaboration Time (pending agreement)
-Semester turn around day at secondary
-Opening day staff meeting with a shortened day
My understanding is that calendar work was done more centrally in the past, but I think a little extra conversation at the school level will lead to a better result for all parties going forward. Look for these calendar topics on your next staff meeting agenda, if you haven’t discussed them already, and be ready to consider how any proposed changes might impact parents and what type of messaging might support your school’s learning needs in that regard.