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The Board Connection

March 2014

Charting our own course

Last week, our Board approved the District’s new Vision, Mission, Priorities and Values. When my Trustee colleagues and I were elected last fall, we made a promise to build a workplan we could be proud of and that would move us forward with focus and ambition. I’m happy to say we’re definitely on the right track. Each of these statements paints a clear picture of who we are and what we care about. They’ll provide direction for all the work schools and departments undertake to support student success over the next four years. We’re so thankful for the participation of students, staff, parents and community partners in the consultation and survey process. Coupled with this stakeholder input was the opportunity for Trustees to take part in an intense workshop that helped to focus our thoughts and ideas. Everyone’s perspective helped to shape our final Vision, Mission, Priorities and Values.

Taking a closer look

In our Mission, you can see the importance we place on working with a wide range of partners to create high quality learning opportunities for our students. The Priorities point to the fact that students are at the centre of our organization; that centre is surrounded by layers of amazing commitment. The first being all the foundational efforts we devote to helping them grow, develop and thrive from their earliest years, through to high school and beyond. The second layer is about ensuring we have excellent learning and working environments and the third is about enhancing public education through strong collaboration with our many partners.

One of the things that resonated with me most was the creation of our Cornerstone Values. This is a new addition for us and to me, it speaks volumes about the character of our organization. Our Values are: Accountability, Collaboration, Equity and Integrity. Relationships are what underpin each one. We’re committed to living these Values and keeping them at the forefront of everything we do to support students. The Values ask us to go about our work being accountable, respectful and supportive of each other, so we can flourish as individuals and as a team.

Trusting in our Vision

To me, our Vision statement speaks to our greatest hope as an organization. The statement reads: Transforming the learners of today into the leaders of tomorrow. On the surface, it may seem like we’re talking about leadership in the traditional sense – the kid who’s always at the front of the line, gets the top marks in class and involved in lots of different clubs or students’ union. There’s no doubt that we want our students to be their best in school, and to meet and even surpass expectations. But, in our Vision, there’s also a humbler, more earnest meaning to the word, ‘leader.’

Our goal is to ensure students become great citizens – people who understand the value of giving back to their communities and stepping up when help is needed – that’s what ‘transforming learners’ means to us. From an early age, kids are offered the opportunity to develop a strong moral compass, so when they’re faced with challenges of all kinds, they have the courage and capacity to do what’s right. We want them to feel empowered to affect positive change and have a sense of pride in their work to make a difference. We already see students doing incredible things to support important causes, fundraising drives and principles of social justice. These are experiences that will serve to define who they’ll become and their success in moving our society forward.

The calibre of our students’ contributions to communities here at home, across the country and around the world is already a huge source of pride for us. It continues to be a reminder of why people from all walks of life are drawn to public education – why we rally around kids and invest resources, time, talent and expertise to assist them in being the absolute best they can be. As we look ahead, it’s wonderful to know there’s unwavering support all around us – a strong commitment among all partners to help us achieve the outcomes of the work these statements will inspire.