Looking forward to the future is natural at this time of year, but so is looking back. Just as graduates will be reflecting on their school career, it is a good time to reflect on all that we’ve accomplished together this year.
Edmontonians elected a new city council and a new slate of school board trustees in October. I want to thank our new Board of Trustees for their relentless work in support of our students. They have shown an incredible commitment to kids and have empowered our administration to remain on the path we began walking during the previous board’s term.
In May, we reinforced our commitment to reconciliation with First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples, raising the Treaty 6 and Métis flags outside the Centre for Education. This act reminds us that education has an important role to play in reconciliation, both in terms of making sure today’s students know about the terrible history of residential schools and in ensuring schools are safe, welcoming places for Indigenous students. Raising the flags outside of the Centre for Education is a small, but important step on this journey to reconciliation.
Supporting our kids each and every day is our top priority. Over winter break, our city experienced an unprecedented cold snap, which caused flooding in a few of our District schools. Staff across the District dropped everything they were doing to make sure our learning and working environments were ready for staff and students to return to school.
This commitment to kids was notable as staff arranged to have classrooms set up at Jan Reimer School for Minchau School students, who needed to be relocated for three months. It’s this kind of teamwork, regardless of where our staff work in the District, that makes this such a great organization to be a part of.
One of the biggest highlights for our District and our city was opening 11 new schools this past fall. It’s hard to believe it was just 10 months ago that we opened up more new schools in a single year than any other time in the past century. Each of those schools has a unique character, inspired by the people after whom they’re named and created each day by the staff, students and families who fill their hallways, offices and classrooms. It was a great honour to oversee Edmonton Public Schools during such a historic year and to witness the incredible collaboration of hundreds of staff who came together to make sure all 11 schools opened to eager students and communities.
Over the summer, many of our central staff will continue planning and preparing for next year. When students return in the fall, everyone at Edmonton Public Schools will continue the important work of helping each of them be successful. Our classrooms are more complex than ever before but, together with families and community partners, we’ll do amazing things for kids in every classroom in the city.
I look forward to welcoming everyone back in September, but not before everyone – students and staff alike – take a well-deserved summer break.