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The Board Connection

December 2014

Looking Back, Looking Forward

On November 28, we released our combined Annual Education Results Report (AERR) and Three Year Education Plan 2013-14. This document captures our results on Provincial Achievement Tests (PATs), as well as the Province’s Accountability Pillar, which is a measuring tool the Province uses to gauge how school districts are doing in a number of different areas.

To me, this document helps to tell our story from the previous year. It gives us a chance to take a step back and appreciate what we did well and where we made improvements and gains. It also allows us to put strategies in place to target areas where we need to improve.

Highlights of our Results

When I look at our results, I’m happy to say that I feel our District is on the right track. We’re pleased that our five year high school completion rate is up 2.9 per cent since 2008-09. Our Accountability Pillar results show we’re still doing excellent work to create safe and caring learning environments and a good job in decreasing our dropout rates, preparing our students for the world of work and ensuring they develop a sense of good citizenship.

I was also really pleased to see that 89.8 per cent of teachers, parents and students are satisfied with the overall quality of basic education we provide. Even though that’s a very slight decrease from last year, it still reflects an incredibly high rate of satisfaction. It tells us that our parents have confidence in the work we’re doing to support their kids, that our teachers believe in what they’re doing and our students feel they’re getting a great education.  

Our Roadmap for the Future

As we look ahead, I believe we’re in a very strong position to build on our strengths and address our challenges in a meaningful way. More and more, there’s a positive, focused energy you can feel across our District, and I think this even greater sense of unity is largely due to the creation of our Vision, Mission, Values and Priorities earlier this year. Together, they form the foundation of our Strategic Plan, which will guide our decisions and lay a strong foundation for ongoing educational and organizational success.

We have staff who live our cornerstone values of equity, collaboration, accountability every day with great passion, skill and determination. These values are a dynamic part of our effort to meet our goals and district priorities. Using our Strategic Plan and values as our compass, we’ll continue to respond to some of the most significant challenges we face – meeting the diverse needs of our students and finding creative solutions for managing our space in new and mature neighbourhoods.

There’s so much to be proud of right now as we look forward to supporting our work around exciting initiatives like the District’s Equity Fund, Career Pathways Model, Early Years Pilot Project and catchment PD opportunities. You can read more about each of them in our AERR Summary. Catchment work is proving to have a powerful impact on the way we foster collaboration and leadership in our District. It brings together groups of schools to help teachers share their knowledge, expertise and skills with one another. These common PD days are helping staff dig deeper into data, and develop targeted strategies and solutions to support the success of all kids.

We’ve built a strong framework for our future and I know that through the tireless work of our staff, parents and community partners, we can continue to help our students find success and fulfillment through public education.

A New Voice at the Table

On November 25, Edmonton Public Schools made history by becoming the first school district in Alberta to have a Student Trustee! I had the honour of announcing that Johannah Ko, a Grade 12 student at Edmonton Christian High School had won our Student Trustee election. Johannah was elected by a group of her peers to serve on the Board for the remainder of the 2014-15 school year.  We’re excited to have her join us at board meetings, special events and professional learning opportunities.

I have to thank Claire Edwards, a dynamic student leader and advocate for bringing this idea of adding an elected student representative to our school board. We traveled a really rewarding journey together, and I couldn’t be prouder of our District’s leadership in empowering students to make their voice heard in decisions that will affect their education.

A lot of the issues we’re engaging in right now have many layers to them. We have to recognize that our students are actually living in the culture and climates that are at the centre of some of these decisions. It’s important that we get their feedback and try to see these issues through their lens, so we can make the best, most informed decisions possible. My fellow Trustees and I are looking forward to the feedback, insights and heart Johannah will bring into McCauley Chambers and throughout our District!