My 30 Day Challenge(s)

A friend of mine recently completed the 30 Day Vegan Challenge. 30 days of all vegan cuisine, focusing on local ingredients.

Listening to her story on how the challenge helped her to curb her candy addiction made me start thinking about accepting a challenge of my own. Thirty days to a new habit… I can do that! But there are so many other things that I need to cut out or start doing in my life. Where to begin?

Vegan?!?! No way! I enjoy my steak too much. Plus, my daughter just found a great recipe for beef jerky. And bacon is a food group of its own. I decided to pick three or four things that would help to improve my health, creativity and contentment.

Last Sunday, I gave up bread. Why give up bread? There are too many times that I end the day with “did I even eat any vegetables or fruit?”

And it’s been okay so far. I made Kale Chips for the first time today and we inhaled them. Amazing! I am now on Day 8, with only one slip up on Tuesday last week – I made scones for a meeting, and I can’t let baked goods leave my home without the obligatory taste test. Quality control, really.

But it’s such a hard food to kick. One of my best friends is allergic to gluten, and I don’t know HOW she survives. I’m just committing to omitting bread and wheat for a few days; I can’t imagine trying to avoid it for the rest of my life.
… I keep thinking of the pita bread in the freezer screaming to be made in to chips to have with homemade humus… yum… .. 22 days..

So what’s next? This week begins with a more active habit. Rather than ‘stopping’ something, I’ll add to my week by ‘starting’ something. This means I will walk or run everyday. I was in a fairly regular routine before the summer began, but it fell off. I sporadically ran or walked during the summer and need to get back to the routine by getting out daily.

The two weeks after will be my blogging and “random acts of kindness” in some order. I have been starting to blog more regularly, which is better than the monthly/bi-monthly/once-in-a-while that I’ve been posting in the past. The concept of “random acts of kindness” is one that’s always intrigued me. I have always done nice things for others, but true “ROAK” has anonymity at its core.

Wish me luck!

What would you challenge yourself to do for 30 days?

Great things happening at Madeira Park Elementary

Check out the Local this week – an article on Madeira Park Elementary, written by yours truly.

http://www.thelocalweekly.ca/madeira-park-elementary-school/

The original was about 500 words which was difficult enough- I was edited down to 300.

I’ve also pasted the published article below.

 

Located in the north section of our school district, Madeira Park Elementary, one of our smallest schools, provides education primarily for Egmont and Pender Harbour areas, one of the largest physical catchment areas in our district. The staff at MPES is “excited to dive in and start implementation” of new curriculum that is being rolled out in B.C. schools. The school has been immersed in experiential learning (learning through experiences) to support new learning outcomes. MPES students expect to go on whole-school field trips that take them to the Port of Vancouver to study ecology and economy; Grouse Mountain to study bears and ecology; or Porpoise Bay to see the fragile salomonid ecosystem.

Next spring will be the third annual “Week Without Walls”, dedicated to outdoor experiences and environmental studies in the Pender Harbour Community. It continues rain or shine! Fine Arts Week was started last year to balance the academics and athletics. The school played host to painters, sculptors, musicians and actors over a week to introduce students, staff and parents to different media in which artists can express themselves. The students had an opportunity to work with Jeraldo Avila and learn about acrobatics and perform in a school-wide circus.

A small school encourages the staff and students to work in teams. This year, there will be two grade 4, 5, 6 classrooms that will be learning in big picture themes, and then splitting into smaller groups for individual attention. Madeira Park Elementary ensures highly effective student learning takes place for all students by providing special support in literacy and numeracy. Principal Krangle is a true example of how one person can inspire a community. Described by outgoing PAC Chair Mandy West as “a supportive principal who helps to make it all happen”, Krangle has a gift for encouraging’ involvement of parents. Two years ago, I found myself playing the older version of my daughter’s character in the school’s musical adaption of “The Polar Express”. Quite the treat for me. There is hope to launch a musical this year, and with incredibly supportive parents and local community, it is sure to once again play to a packed house.

As a trustee, it is extremely exciting to watch the engagement of students, staff and community around education. As a parent of former students, I’m a bit jealous that my kids aren’t a few years younger.


‪#‎sunshinecoastca‬ ‪#‎penderharbour‬ ‪#‎sd46‬ 

Lessons from Chief Louie

I had the pleasure of listening to Chief Clarence Louie of the Osoyoos Indian Band speak on September 12 at the Rockwood Centre in Sechelt. Chief Louie’s visit was part of the “pro-voc-a-talks” series that the Coast Community Builders Association has initiated to encourage “exploring points of view”.

The Osoyoos Indian Band, under the leadership of Chief Louie, have one of the most successful business plans for a First Nation in all of North America.  They have established their own business development corporation and are a major economic player in the Okanagan.

Here are a few of the great takeaways from the Chief’s talk.

  • You can tell a leader by how they spend their time.
    • watch what a leader focuses on during their day.   Are they spending their time on useless tasks; are they working hard, side by side with their team?
  • Side by side, not dependent
    • When the Osoyoos Indian band signed an agreement with the province, they presented a token to the government to symbolize the new relationship.   The token had two parallel lines.  The parallel lines symbolized the new relationship – side by side, equal, not dependent on the other.  Chief Louie said that if you expect others to support you, you must support them.  He regularly encourages their golfing members to use the other courses in the area, to gas up at the station across town.
  • Move from a culture of entitlement to a culture of performance.
    • There is too much of a sense of entitlement in society today.  You should not expect to have things handed to you.   We need to move to expecting performance from each other.
  • The economic horse pulls the social cart
    • If you want to increase the programs you have to support your community, it’s necessary to improve the economy within it first.  This ensures that you have the financial resources available.  The better the economy is performing, the more you will be able to provide for your community.
  • Success is a study
    • “Go to school” on things that you want to know more about.   This is how the  Band learned about wineries, golfing and how to run succesful businesses within their community.
  • Anytime you have the chance, take a millionaire out for lunch. And pay for it.
    • Use the time with them to ask them questions about the lessons they’ve learned.  Learn from them.
  • Don’t wait for Perfect.
    • Perfect will never happen.  If you wait for perfect, you will be waiting forever.
  • There are no guarantees
    • In the end, there is no guarantee.  Weigh the pluses and minuses and make your decision based on the best information that you have.

At the end of Chief Louie’s talk, he left us with the following:

“You brought us whiskey during the Fur Trade; we’ll get you to sign our land back through NK’MIP first class wine.”

 

To learn more about Chief Clarence Louie and Osoyoos Indian Band, check out the band’s website at http://oibdc.ca/

More information about the CCBA and their initiatives can be found at http://coastbuilders.ca/

 

Dawn of a New Era? I hope so!

With the dawn of this day, we receive the exciting news of a tentative deal reached between @BCTF and @BCPSEA. The most incredible and promising part of this news is that it was a NEGOTIATED settlement. Negotiation requires both sides to be actively engaged in the process and willing to work together to make a deal happen. There is hope that this is the dawn of new, improved relationships for Education in this province.

Yes, this deal comes much later than any of us like, and although details have not yet been publicized, the bigger picture is a freely negotiated deal was reached.

Many people deserve our gratitude in this, from the mediators involved in this round-Mark Brown, Stephen Kelleher and, of course, Vince Ready; the bargaining team and BCTF table officers, led by Jim Iker for the employees; The BCPSEA team led by Peter Cameron for the government; and for the voice of boards of education (the true employers) at the table, Alan Chell and Silas White.

The process is to now rebuild our relationships and get our students back in schools. There are many logistics issues to work out and I have faith in our team in SD46 that this will move smoothly and as seamlessly as is possible.

Thank you to all of our teachers, support staff,principals and senior management for your continued dedication to our students on the Sunshine Coast. Thank you to the students and parents that call our district home.

Poem from a Negotiation Observer

A hotel deep in Richmond
Is where public focus lies today
We all share the bond
Of waiting to hear what they’ll say

The Hotel corridors, piled
Full of Media, waiting to glimpse
Their Stories soon to be filed
On web, telly and prints

A star of sports, song or movie?
Maybe even Mario Andretti!
No wait, could it be…
The one and only Vince Ready

He crosses the hall to a closed door
To the reporters, a nod of head
They clamour for news of “score”
But he silently enters room instead

The summer that would not end
And continues through this fall
Our kids to school, we’d like to send.
the talks persist, movements small.

At least the teams are at the tables
And even if they don’t share the same space
and continue to use media for their fables
There may be agreement to sign with grace

the public, divided.. a casualty of circumstance
Community, citizens, politicians posturing
Each side shouting their own political rants
Not aware of the bad feelings this is fostering

Our Students are caught in the middle
their futures – clouds- hang in mid-air
To them, this matter is not little
To gamble their lives, not fair

Education in this province should excite
New Curricula, a landscape so opportune
Local boards that take great delight
In the staff and students in each school room.

and outside the Richmond hotel, the Public waits
glued to TV, Facebook and Twitter
to hear of the teachers and their contract fates
Parents, desperately trying not to be bitter

Whether you look from left or right
Your politics do not matter
It’s for our kids we must fight
But not leave each other in tatter

The balance of the modern world is found
in the harmony of success
even arguments can be a sweet sound
In their tangled, ugly mess

At the end of this… we rebuild
relationships, community, schools, our self
We try and forget of animosity that filled
But wait for the next contract to come off shelf