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Superintendent's Notebook - April 2015

Keeping focused on what matters in challenging times

Over the last few weeks, we’ve had time to assess what the provincial budget announcement means for our school district. We were definitely challenged by much of what we heard. It’s clear that now more than ever before, we need to come together as students, staff, parents and community partners. We’re dedicated to working with you to address the funding issues we face and strengthen our enduring commitment to support student success.

Although the budget provides funding to maintain the number of classroom teaching positions, we won’t receive any more funding for enrolment growth. This means that up to 3,000 new students will enter schools in September without any dollars supporting them. Simply put, with the same number of teachers working with more students, some schools may see larger class sizes and we will have fewer resources and supports in our classrooms across the District.

Needless to say, this is a tough budget. It presents us with challenges we’ve never encountered before. But I also believe in every challenge lies opportunity, and this budget tells us we’re going to have to find new ways to organize our resources in the future.  We have to continue to be innovative, and I’m proud to say that’s one of the things our District is known for. We have an opportunity to improve – to an even greater extent – the support we provide to our kids. There’s no question this work will be difficult to do with the vast majority of our dollars coming from the Province, but we will persevere and come up with creative solutions to change, adapt and respond to our students’ diverse needs. Our goal is to sustain the great things that are working in our schools and I know that’s something we can achieve. In our District, there’s no scarcity of talent, grit and creativity.

Every student who walks through our doors matters. They all deserve a first class education. That’s the core value we’ll live by as our principals, along with their staff, parents and school councils make decisions about their budget plans for next year.

District Feedback Survey

From April 22 to May 8, Edmonton Public Schools will be surveying students, staff, parents and the community. If you’re a parent of a child who attends one of our schools or a community member, I’d like to invite you to take some time to complete the short survey, which is anonymous and will only take about 15 minutes to complete. We want to know what you value about public education, where we should focus and prioritize and how we can improve as a school district. Your feedback will help us measure our progress on the goals and priorities in our Strategic Plan.

Some of you may have also responded to our budget survey earlier this year. Your input has given our Board of Trustees a more complete picture about what’s important to you as we make some difficult decisions about the budget.  Next school year, I look forward to sharing a summary of the District Feedback Survey responses with you.

Every day, we work hard to create great learning and working environments in our schools and departments and strong relationships within our school communities. By gathering as many perspectives as we can, we aim to continue to serve our students to the best of our ability. Again, I hope you’ll find some time to share your thoughts with us through the District Feedback Survey.