September is the only month in the Board’s schedule without a theme from our strategic plan to focus our reflection and work. Naturally when I thinking about preparing for our first board meeting and the start of the school year I turn to beginnings.
Having the board focus our reflection and work this month on beginnings will allow us to re-imagine our work as a board, and a district, as if brand new. We have many opportunities to harness this idea and be open to the possibility it creates.
At the student level we have a brand-new expansion to welcome the students of West Sechelt Elementary into. We are proud and pleased to have the expansion complete and ready to welcome students to on the first day of school. Although we are not back to normal in the classroom and COVID continues to have an impact on how schools look and students experience education there are many new beginnings here too. Students and staff have the opportunity to return to a larger school community as cohort learning is no longer required. Extracurricular activities will start to resume and we will naturally ease into spending more time at and outside of school together.
At the district level there has been significant changes with our senior leadership team with the addition of Kate Kerr as Superintendent and Christa Rive as the Director of Instruction. Many principals have moved into different schools and we have a new student trustee. The board welcomes all staff back to school and for those of you that remain in your same positions you have important roles as knowledge keepers and as leaders as we all create our new learning community together. What do each of you want from this school year? What can you contribute to make that a reality?
At the community level we have the privilege to honour September 30th as a day for Truth and Reconciliation. After years of wearing orange shirts and guiding our students in conversations about residential schools we now are able to rest, pause and create space for deep reflection. This additional non-instructional day will provide further opportunity in our classrooms, and in our communities, to honour and legitimize the experience of those who attended and have been impacted by residential schools. It is an opportunity to start a new relationship between Indigenous learners, their communities and our district. What do we want to learn together? How do we make education a positive life experience? What do we need to do so that our current and future Indigenous learnings feel connected to their school community, to learning and to an identity as a student?
At the board level our board meetings will continue online for the month of September and we will re-evaluate returning to in person meeting regularly. We thank our interested public for your continued engagement in our work as a board. We look forward to reconnecting online and eventually in person. As part of our work as a board we will be posting more on our district blog spot. We will be sharing our advocacy work, important communications and each trustee will take on authoring a blog post. We hope you enjoy our efforts to share about our work, our reflections and our experience as trustees. It’s the beginning of new conversation!
Welcome back to SD46 and the 2021/2022 school year.