October is our month to focus on vision. A vision statement is intended to anchor our desired future state and create purpose in our daily work. It describes what is in front of us and up close as well as what is on the horizon and out of focus. A vision statement is also intended to inspire and move staff, students and key stakeholders towards a place where what is currently on the horizon comes in to focus.
At SD46 our vision is “We are a community engaged in lifelong learning and educational excellence.” Thinking of our vision, how does this appear in our current work? Despite needing to divert attention to COVID and ensuring student and staff safety at schools I believe we remain securely focused on our vision. Time and opportunity have been created for staff, students and the larger SD46 learning community to engage in lifelong learning. Settled in our competency-based curriculum how we view education, learning and knowledge has taken on a new life. This new life allows for a more creative and flexible understanding of lifelong learning and we start to see opportunities all around us. For example, when the woven tray made of corn husk, cedar root and cherry tree bark was gifted at the West Sechelt Elementary School Expansion Opening we are also gifted a learning opportunity. We learn about local history, tradition and reconciliation.
As a Board we have had opportunities for lifelong learning as we have considered many of the complexities of our role as trustees in the last month. As we aim to offer an inclusive, safe environment that delivers quality education we balance the Public Health Orders we are required to follow with the needs, requests and values of our local community. We want to create an environment for dialogue, understanding, love and compassion. This is a challenge when many of the recent requests and opinions we receive are outside of a school district’s role and mandate. Regardless these conversations have provided knowledge for us to take forward and start new work at BCSTA and with the Province. These lessons will create excellence in SD46 and in public education.
Another way to look at our vision is as if lifelong learning is how of the goal of educational excellence is met. Each of our days at school, times of self-study, professional development days and consultation with our learning community move us towards excellence. I believe that we move towards excellence with our daily actions because I believe excellence requires practice to achieve and maintain. Considering this, what does it mean to practice excellence in your daily life?
I am certain that October will afford us all occasions to take advantage of lifelong learning and practicing excellence. And as we move forward and approach the horizon what do we notice coming into focus? What do we see on our new horizon?