…for one, it’s been great getting to know the Trustees who were newly elected to our Board back in October – Nathan Ip, Sherry Adams, Michelle Draper, Ray Martin, Orville Chubb and Ken Gibson. They’re an awesome group – each with interesting backgrounds and interests. I know they’ve appreciated all the opportunities they’ve had to learn about the District and to visit different schools across the city. It’s been wonderful to see how passionate they are about public education and also their eagerness to find ways to contribute toward our goal of helping all kids experience success. I look forward to working with them in the years ahead!
Every year, the Board of Trustees holds something called Results Review, which allows us to have one-on-one discussions with staff. A few weeks ago, Trustees had these meetings with many of our district schools and central departments. We were able to spend some time asking questions of principals; department directors and managing directors; other district staff and parents. They told us how their plans and budgets turned out last year, and previewed what they’ll look like for the next school year. We discussed things like their provincial achievement test outcomes and satisfaction survey results, in addition to what’s working well and where there are still challenges. We heard about projects that are helping support student success and growth, not only academically, but mentally, physically and socially too. The Superintendent and his Assistant Superintendents also attended the meetings, and I really valued the rich dialogue we were able to have. Like Trustees, they get out to schools every chance they get. I feel the connection that’s formed with staff, parents and community partners during those visits helps us report back to the provincial government on how we’re doing as a District with confidence. We’re very proud of our Annual Education Results Report (AERR) sent to the province earlier this fall. It reflects our District’s core values and how we plan to support the diverse needs of all of our students in the years to come.
One of my favourite events of the year is our annual District Recognition Night. This is an evening that’s all about recognizing people who make a difference in our school communities and departments. The event is a reminder that Edmonton Public Schools is a place where amazing things happen. On December 2, we honoured this year’s nominees, and they definitely made that sentiment ring true. As each individual or team came up to receive their award (many to the huge cheers and applause of their biggest supporters I might add), we heard their stories of innovation, creativity, perseverance, and what can only be described as pure passion and heart.
There were so many accomplishments that stood out that night. I think everyone felt a huge sense of pride as we celebrated the successes of students, parents, teachers and community members. For me, it was a pretty special and memorable moment when we recognized the team from Avalon/Lendrum School, whose work in inclusive education is just incredible. They built a garden in honour of a student named Harry for the Avalon community to enjoy. The garden started in the spring of 2011 when Harry and his educational assistant planted sunflower seeds. Every day, they came and cared for the plants. Staff and students were so inspired, they decided to rename the courtyard Harry’s Garden. Over the last two years, everyone in the school community has worked hard to renovate and beautify the garden. I had the opportunity to meet Harry and was touched by how he just seemed to glow with confidence. Thinking back, his sweet smile embodied the spirit of that entire evening. It was a fantastic night.
Superintendent Darrel Robertson and Trustee Ray Martin congratulate Harry and the rest of the members of Harry’s Garden Team.
View more pictures of our 2013 District Recognition Night.
I wish everyone a very happy holiday season and a wonderful New Year! See you in 2014!