Happy 2019 and welcome back!
The beginning of the calendar year is a good time to reflect back on the last twelve months and to look ahead to what needs to be done. I think it has been a productive time in our School District, and there is much of which we can all be proud. Some highlights include:
• The adoption of our District Strategic Plan, with committees in place to drive critical work;
• Introduction of processes to hire, assign, and track the 60 FTE of additional classroom and remedy teachers in response to restored BCTF contract language;
• Acceleration of Renewed Curriculum uptake, thanks to some productive learning sessions and the great work of the Instructional Learning Team;
• Reopening of the South Canoe building with an Outdoor Learning Program of Choice in place;
• Completion of a full Transportation Review and reform, leading to shorter ride times for eligible riders;
• Integration of a new electronic Human Resources system;
• Creation of new district and school websites and communication strategies;
• Redesign of the calendar process and schedules that reflect the Ministry Calendar Regulation; and of course,
• The return of an elected Board of Education.
That last highlight is especially important. As much as the school district certainly gained from Official Trustee Mike McKay’s experience and leadership, there are countless benefits from having local representation, and we are pleased to be back to “fully functioning” status.
Planning ahead, this spring will see more work from the Strategic Plan hit the ground. We have draft plans for Communication and Education ready to roll out, with Technology, Facilities, and Wellness not far behind. We are also in the middle of a program review for Indigenous Education, and expect to begin similar processes for Music and the Inclusionary Support Program (ISP) to follow soon. Of particular interest to me is the Education Plan, as it will help us to stay focused on the core work of the district, which is moving student outcomes forward. Though there is much to celebrate in School District No. 83, some of our results are quite concerning, and addressing them effectively will demand our full attention in the upcoming months.
We are also planning a campaign to raise public awareness about safety when driving near school buses as five times in the past 14 months our buses have been hit. No students have been hurt in any of these incidents, however, these accidents are alarming. Our drivers have also noticed an increase in drivers passing school buses when the red lights are flashing and some other near misses so we are asking for everyone’s help to keep our students safe!
As the year progresses there will be opportunities for community members, parents and staff members to provide input into directions of the school district. I invite you to engage and consider what you can do to help support the school district’s three goals of putting students first, building organizational efficiency, and creating a culture of health and wellness.
Superintendent of Schools/CEO