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Superintendent's Notebook - October 2013

Student success - something we can all celebrate

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of attending our District's Student Awards Night. For decades, this occasion has allowed us to recognize an outstanding group of students who have surpassed expectations and achieved the extraordinary. This years' award winners are no exception. Their accomplishments are truly incredible. Through their own determination and perseverance, they have excelled in the arts, sciences, athletics, leadership and community service.

To me, each of these students exemplifies the very best of what Edmonton Public Schools has to offer. We want every learner under our care to experience success. That means helping them gain the confidence they need to make the most of their opportunities during their journey with us. That also means creating the kind of learning environments and providing the supports they require to find balance in that journey - to ensure they're focused not just on achieving good grades, but also tapping into their capacity to be compassionate, conscientious, and to exercise a good sense of social responsibility. I know I was joined by our Board of Trustees in admiring these students for their ability to embody these qualities. Their achievements tell us that our strategies and policies to get them across the finish line are working. They're bright, self-motivated, passionate about their interests and even more impressively, setting their sights on creating a future where they can share their passions with others and pursue careers that make a difference in people's lives.

That evening, as our recipients took the stage to receive their awards, I heard amazing stories of skill, talent, resilience and creativity. That in and of itself is inspirational, but what also struck me was the idea that behind these stories, there's an incredible amount of support provided to these students by dedicated teachers, district staff, their families and community. Whether they're scoring top marks on their exams, approaching the University of Alberta with an original research project, showing their leadership in social justice causes or accepting scholarships for excellence in art, drama or music, there's a coach and mentor in their corner, encouraging them to be all they can be.

What shines through in the successes we celebrated is how these quiet heroes are bringing to life a concept that drives our work as a District: student success will always lie on the shoulders of many, not just a few. It's a shared responsibility among all those who want our students to live up to their promise - who go above and beyond for kids every day, so they can thrive in school and in life.

Through our collective efforts, we're helping to develop a new generation of transformational leaders - young men and women who are all living proof that at Edmonton Public Schools, the possibilities for growth - both as a student and as an individual are endless.