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Excellence in all we do

Message from the Chair – January 2022

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January is a key month. It is the start of a new calendar year; however, it also moves us from reflecting on our vision, mission, and affirmation statements into our six value statements. A vision communicates our goals and inspires us. A mission defines our purpose. An affirmation communicates what we believe to be true. And our values communicate our philosophy about what we do and how we do it. Values help create our school district culture and we rely on them to inform key decisions.

January is a key month. It is the start of a new calendar year; however, it also moves us from reflecting on our vision, mission, and affirmation statements into our six value statements. A vision communicates our goals and inspires us.  A mission defines our purpose. An affirmation communicates what we believe to be true. And our values communicate our philosophy about what we do and how we do it. Values help create our school district culture and we rely on them to inform key decisions.

This month we focus on the value of ethics. The word ethics is derived from the Greek word “ethos”, which means “custom”, I like to think of it as a “way of living” or “why we do what we do”. What way do we want to live at School District 46? How do we want to do the things we do? Our value of ethics is described as “We ensure an environment of mutual trust and respect through integrity and transparent processes”. How do we create an environment of mutual trust and respect? What maintains it? How do we live this in our choices and decisions? How do we know when our understanding of ethics needs to change to meet the changing needs of our district?

A way of living is in a continual state of evolution; it is not set and remains in place. Understanding this reality and need for a flexible interpretation of ethics leads us to question how we apply this value in our decision making. School District 46 has made increasing efforts to share information with our learners and our larger learning community in a variety of ways and formats. Further we are not simply sharing information; we are soliciting feedback and asking for input routinely. I cannot think of a time when education has been such a dynamic collaboration between, staff, students, their families and community to work towards a ‘way of living’ that provides space, compassion and understanding for such a diversity of learners in their journey to become educated citizens. What might have an ethical decision been around feedback and input a generation ago?

Our recent unplanned extension to winter holiday is an example of our ethics in action. Quick, multi-method communication about the Province’s decision and what that decision means for our district. We thank all the parents that have quickly made alternative arrangements for last week and all the staff who came into work to prepare for our learning community to return to the classroom and to prepare in advance for any future disruptions to in person learning as smooth as possible for learners and their families.

It is our hope that by using our current definition of ethics we create solid feedback loops and ample room for input so that we are able to redefine ethics to remain relevant at School District 46.

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