Fall is surely upon us and it is one of my favourite times of year. I have had an amazing welcome to the community and want to say thank you for the kindness, good wishes and advice. The leadership of our school is in very capable hands. This was evident seeing the many volunteers with POSTS assisting and nurturing our community on the opening day. Your involvement as parents is essential and I am grateful to work with you.
I have had the opportunity to watch the Prefects in action at the school-wide assembly and knew instantly that we were going to have a great year. I am looking forward to the annual Terry Fox Run this Friday and the superhero theme. My faith in student leadership was affirmed again at the Middle School assembly when two young women capably emceed and kept us in stitches while generating excitement for the year. Yes, the leadership of the school is in good hands and I am happy to co-pilot on this journey with our student and parent leaders.
In response to some themes that have emerged from our conversations, I am pleased to share what I call “big rocks”, which I think is appropriate given our proximity to the Okotoks erratic to the south. My parents and I camped often in my youth at the Hogg property that is now a provincial recreation area. The erratic always fascinated me as an amateur geologist. But I digress… Big rocks to me are those foundational principles that provide stability and anchor us in our decisions. The rapidity of change in our world is unparalleled and we can succumb to fleeting trends, quick fixes and bad decisions if we don’t start from a place of understanding of what we value.
One of the many strengths of Strathcona-Tweedsmuir is its ability to be progressive while honouring strong traditions. The strong focus on the individual and the family is at the centre of this and it will continue to serve our community well. The educational landscape is evolving dramatically and I look forward to meeting with you in the coming months to dwell in possibility as we shape our next strategic plan. I am truly excited about this work and am excited to see how we continue to position the school as an internationally recognized Centre of Educational Excellence. It will require us to be courageous, to be bold, thoughtful and committed: keeping our children’s wellbeing and success at the center of our focus. I will be sharing more information as my team and I begin to formulate the next steps.
In closing, I would like to share two resources with you that have become touchstones in my leadership work. Deep Learning: Engage the World Change the World by Fullan, Quinn and McEachen (2018) synthesizes over thirty years of research in the educational world. The premise of their work in their words is that deep learning “changes learning by focusing on personally and collectively meaningful matters, and by delving into them in a way that alters forever the roles of students, teaches, families, and others…learning is the foundational driver and technology is the great accelerator.” Additionally, it focuses on developing the 6C’s of global competencies: “character, citizenship, collaboration, communication, creativity and critical thinking.” STS is leading the way, in my opinion in these areas.
The second resource I would recommend reading is a book by Grant Lichtman called Moving the Rock: Seven Levers We Can Press to Transform Education (2017). I will spend more time talking about this in future editions but let me share some thoughts from him in his forty-plus year career as an educator and researcher: “There is only one shared dream that I have heard from all of these people across all of these seeming divides: that our children be happy, successful, and lead better lives than our own. And nearly everyone in every country and ever station life aggress that education is key to the fulfillments of that dream. The value of education is where, despite all that divides us, we mostly come together.” I am so excited to be part of this journey with you.
Mrs. Carol Grant-Watt
Head of School