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Superintendent's Notebook - June 2017

It’s hard to believe, but tomorrow is the last day of the school year. It seems like just yesterday I was welcoming students and staff back to school in the fall. And now, here I am, saying goodbye again and wishing you all a happy and restful summer break.

This has been an action-packed year for Edmonton Public Schools. I think that’s why it seems like it’s flown by. Before it officially comes to an end, I wanted to take a moment to reflect on some of the achievements we’ve made this year and look at how this year’s work will pay off in the fall.

District staff have been hard at work all year getting 11 new schools ready to open next school year. The level of coordination that goes into organizing the construction of that many schools at once is incredible, not to mention all the work behind the scenes hiring staff, purchasing furniture and communicating with families whose children will attend those schools. I’m proud of the hard work our staff have done this year, getting the new schools ready for kids, and I’m excited about the work to come as we hold grand openings and welcome the students walking through their doors.

In addition to building new schools, we kept up our infrastructure work to continue providing students with excellent learning environments, no matter where they live. We’re working with mature communities to develop ideas about how to revitalize, modernize or consolidate schools. Over the past three years communities have helped us develop plans that met their unique needs and wants. This community-led approach resulted in the new Ivor Dent School in the Rundle area, which will open in September. People living in the Highlands area wanted a little extra time to decide on the best path to take in their neighbourhood. They’ll soon see their vision for a fully-modernized school that maintains the important historical nature of the Highlands School building become a reality, as the province has provided funding for the project. We hope to continue this work to create similar results with mature communities across the city.

This year also saw a continued focus on major initiatives like Career Pathways – a K-12, District-wide initiative that’s aimed at helping students transition into a career that brings them dignity and fulfillment. This can take a variety of forms. For example, many schools take part in the Entrepreneurial Adventure program, teaching students to take risks and investigate the possibility of starting their own business. And the students in Centre High’s Apprenticeship, Trades and Work Ready Pathway recently built their own industrial arts shop, which was a great way to learn the trades they’re interested in turning into careers, while leaving a lasting legacy for the students who’ll come after them.

Much of this work will continue into next school year. I’m excited to see what we’ll accomplish for our kids next year. But first, it’s time for those kids to take a well-earned summer break – and for all of our hardworking school staff to do the same. See you in the fall!