Driving home Friday, I was struck by the feeling of how wonderful last week was. Yes there were challenging moments, there always will be, but overall there was a feeling of happiness and joy permeating the building. I think part of that was due to the fact that there were so many smiling moms in the school on Friday, as there were some amazing Mother’s Day celebrations, including a scavenger hunt, tea and cookies, and a video that had the mothers a bit nervous, as the students were asked a series of questions about mom. I hope you had a chance to enjoy this Mother’s Day weekend, even if it was wet and windy. We found some time Saturday to get out by the river, Charlie was very interested in all the dandelions (or bootiful yellow flowers as he called them) and Eva was fascinated by the river and all the birds fluttering about. Sunday was a great day to just hang out around the house and catch up on those weekly jobs that need to be done.
On my current reading list is the book, A Beautiful Constraint, by Adam Morgan & Mark Barden. The book describes how to take the issues we face, such as a lack of money, time, knowledge, and see them as opportunities versus viewing them as roadblocks. So far the authors have shared examples from companies ranging from Nike to Ikea to Formula One racecar engineers. As I have been reading I’ve been thinking about the constraints we face at our school, and I’ve been trying to separate the things we can control from the things we cannot. For example, we do not have any say on when the ministry schedules the departmental exams, and as such there may be students who are forced to write two finals in one day (i.e. physics and biology fall on the same day this year). What we do control, however, is the timetable, and we have the ability to schedule biology in semester one and physics in semester two. Some of the other constraints we face though are not as easily remedied. I think about the struggle to engage some students, and wonder if there were a greater number of electives if that would help. I wonder about those kids who do not get enough one-on-one reading support at home, and think about how that is impacting their progress at school. How do get past that? What is the solution? I recall asking a staff the question, “if you had unlimited time and money, what would you do with and for your students?” As I reflect, I realize how ineffective such a question is. The question I want to leave with you this week is one I hope we will continue to wrestle with this year and beyond; using what we have at our disposal, how can we create a learning environment where every student is engaged in meaningful, rigorous work on a daily basis? I’m very excited to see how far we’ve come this year and am really looking forward to continuing the learning journey will all of you next year and beyond.
As you know, this time of year always brings changes to a school family, as some members leave, while others join us. The first change has happened with David’s transfer, opening the door for Jesse to come on board. I’d like to take a moment to thank David for his hard work this year. If you can recall, David joined us in the first semester on a 0.3 contract, and found himself in the unenviable position of having to play the role of a support teacher. What David did, and I’m sure it’s what he always does, is he made lemonade from the lemons he was given (or whatever the Australian equivalent of that would be). When David was offered the role of interim vice-principal, I knew from day one, I was working with someone special. He has continually pushed me to be the best leader I can be, asking me tough questions, forcing me to reflect, and causing me to grow. David is one of those special individuals who is not only blessed with a great mind, but an incredible ability to connect with those around him. I can truly say this year has been both one of the best and one of the weirdest years I’ve ever had. I was blessed to shared the office space with two tremendous leaders in Chris and David, and am thankful for every minute. So, from the bottom of my heart, thank you David!
Here’s what lies ahead this week:
- Staff basketball game (all hands on deck!)
- Business as usual
- Track and Field (7-12) in Saskatoon
- Staff meeting (8:00 am)
- Prep Day!
As always, create a great week!
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