Chatelech Secondary Graduation Speech June 25,2014

I had the pleasure of attending the Chatelech Graduation ceremonies on behalf of the Board on Wednesday evening.

Here’s my speech to the Grads.

***
Family and friends, honoured guests, staff, community members,
Graduates.

It is with great honour that I bring you greetings and congratulations on behalf of the Board of Education of School District 46, Sunshine Coast. As trustees, we are so very proud of all of our students and their successes, many of which we get to celebrate this week – graduation.
As trustees, it our students that drive us to better for you all.

Chatelech is home of the Eagles. The Eagle is a fitting mascot for this school. From its physical location, perched on a cliff in the trees, to the nesting support of the incredibly dedicated teachers and staff that protect, nurture and guide you on your educational journey that allows you all to soar in the great sky.

You are an amazing group. I know but a few of you personally, but I have witnessed your great talents and prowess for the boardroom. We hear of the athletic achievements, the academic successes, of the kind hearts and great leadership.

As a Board, we thank you for lending us one of your own to become one of us, sitting at the governance table to give Students voice in their education. Maya, it has been a true delight to have you as a colleague and watch and support you as you have advocated for your peers and successors in our province and across our country.
Thank you Maya.

So, what’s next? I know that you have all been asked this question at least once. Is it university, work, or are you going to find an air current and glide?
The great thing about being an Eagle is that you can choose.
You can soar as high as you wish and with your strong wings you will fly far.

We are so proud of you all, watching as you spread your wings away from us: your family and friends, your teachers, the community that has watched you hatch in to these beautiful magnificent beings.

Please know that your nest on the Sunshine Coast will still always welcome you home.

Grad Speech for SCAS June 23, 2014

I had the incredible honour of representing my Board at the Sunshine Coast Alternative School Gradation celebrations earlier today at the SC Golf & Country Club. The students and staff of SCAS are incredible. Their dedication is amazing to get students through school which is why the school motto is “Whatever it Takes”.

I think that would be a great motto for BCEd.

Here’s my speech.

***

Parents and family, staff, community members.
Graduates

On behalf of the Board of Education of School District 46, Sunshine Coast, I bring greeting and Congratulations.

I have to be honest, this is the first time that I have attended the SCAS graduation since I became a trustee. What a great venue and how wonderful to be surrounded by all of your family, friends, community members and teachers.

The Motto of the Sunshine Coast Alternative School is “Whatever it takes”. As trustees at the board level, we do not witness your day to day struggles, triumphs and successes to get you through your coursework and homework.
We do not know of your personal stories – why you chose SCAS, how it works for you and why it kept you in school.
But the teachers and support staff around you do. They have witnessed and coached and struggled with you to get you to this point: graduation.
Your families and friends have been there for you as well and with them you have made it here.

Through the generous donations from our community, you will be awarded bursaries and scholarships. Thank you to the generous support of the entire Sunshine Coast Community for all of our graduates.

Between the staff at SCAS and your families and support system, you have this wonderful network that has brought you to this point and will assist to give you the wings for your next steps.

As trustees, it is our job o create the environment for this to continue through our advocacy and policy directions. We are extremely proud of all of our graduates and for me, especially of our SCAS grads as your path has not always been the straightest line to this finishing point. For me, school was easy – I was the peg that fit in the hole, but many of my friends were not, and they ended up dropping out and not finishing. They did not have the staff and structure of a school like SCAS to do “whatever it takes” to get them to graduation. You have an incredibly dedicated teaching staff that helped you to get you here to this day.

Your success and engagement drives us at the Board table to do better for you all.

We wish you all the best in the next step of your life’s journey.

Congratulations.

Christmas Poem – RePost from 2012

I had attempted to write a Christmas Poem for 2013, but after several attempts, I decided to shelve the thought for the time being.

So in the Spirit of the Holidays, I will re-post the poem I wrote in December 2012 for your enjoyment.

Thank you all and I wish you all the best for a safe and happy holiday. Best wishes for 2014

Twas the Week before Christmas in SD 46

Twas the week before Christmas, when all through the schools
the principals were considering a relaxing of rules
The teachers were teaching with all their might
In hopes students could retain knowledge for the holiday fortnight

The students worked hard and their talent did grow
As they practised for performances and matinee show
how well they could act sing and play,
for their parents, neighbours and Great grandma May

From Port Mellon to Egmont and all schools between
The gyms were alive with many a Christmas or Holiday Scene
Superintendent Bocking drove forth and back
To hear the bands play and watch those kids act.

Even with the Snow, ice and rain and new hires as well
Greg Kitchen could be found in the gyms after bell
And interspersed in the audience in the facilities
Were the seven trustees enjoying the festivities.

With a young witty leader, so lively and slight,
you could tell in a moment it must be Chair White
More rapid than eagles his letters they came,
And he encouraged and moderated, and called them by name!

Trustee Baxter! Trustees Dixon and Pratt,
Younghusband, Mewhort Russell, where are you at?
We shall write To the province! to the minister
Let’s lobby for our district, those cuts are quite sinister”

“Rob Collison needs dollars for the Maintenance department
We will lobby for more than our usual allotment
His team does great work without a full AFG
They keep things humming, and looking great to a “T”

Our SETAs, custodians and admin assistants
Look after our students with no resistance
We are grateful to them and the service they provide
As they help our teachers get students grad-certified

So quick, you would miss him if you didn’t turn ‘round
Down the street Nic Weswick comes in with a bound.
He was dressed all in leather, as he zoomed up on his bike
A Honda brand , that is , not “little tyke”

His Assistant John Pritchard sported a ‘stache
Leftover from Movember’s efforts to raise cash
And in the board office on South Fletcher Road
spirits were bright and positively glowed

All the staff were so happy and joyous for the season
(actually they are always that way, they don’t need a reason)
From Bev and Teresa at your first sight
Such lovely smiles will always make your day right

And Anne at her desk helping out with staffing
And pleasant Colleen with her occasional laughing
With Tara on HR with her great people skills
And Erica has joined us to experience new thrills

Lai Piera and Carol help keep us all paid
Which may explain all the friends that they’ve made!
Deb, Shannon and Lorna help to round out the team
But we can’t forget Di who runs things without seam

Our employees as we don’t need to be told
All have the biggest hearts filled of gold
Which you can see in students that they hold dear
Which is what keeps us in education year after year

This poem may never end up published
Especially from all of the rhymes that have been flubished
But know that we all see how great
Our district is; this it is no act of fate

From our dedicated principals and teachers
Inspiring our students to become far-reachers
Our support staff does whatever they can
To keep our systems humming for success of our clan

On behalf of the board, I wish you a holiday merry
for whatever your days over Christmas may en-tarry
Let it be known that we have little to fix
And we are all quite happy in SD 46
-L. Pratt

PHSS Grad 2013 Speech

My eldest daughter graduated from Pender Harbour Secondary earlier today. As the local school board trustee, I spoke at her graduation.

Here is the transcript of my speech.

***

Friends, family, community members, staff. Graduates.

On behalf of the Board of Education of School District 46, Sunshine Coast, I bring greetings and congratulations.

This is a favourite time of year for our Board as we celebrate the accomplishments and successes of all of our students, especially our graduates. In public education, our students are our focus and from the moment they first set foot in one of our facilities either through one of our early learning programs such as StongStart(r) or SPARK!(r) or at some other point of the K to 12 hierarchy, our staff and our board work our hardest to help them to realize their full potential.

In Pender, the community rallies around its youth through their presence at this celebration and the presentations of the generous bursaries and scholarships that support these young men and women in their post-secondary education. Thank you for tremendous show of support for these graduates.

One thing I’ve always loved about the way Pender holds its grad is the entrance- the symbolism of the graduates walking through this room of well-wishers: the families, friends, staff and community members that have supported, loved and encouraged the students for years. How incredible to be surrounded by all this happiness, and as you depart at the end through those doors, you leave us behind, but know that we will always be behind you, supporting the next step of your journey.

The PHSS student community is no different; they are a family, with multi-grade sports teams, peer tutoring, mentoring and an acceptance of each other that transcends differences.

These graduates have been student leaders and a family of their own for many years. I have witnessed this first hand as I have a personal connection with this class. My eldest daughter is on this stage and so many of these young adults have been a part of our family for many years, starting with Serendipity Preschool, moving through the classrooms at Madeira Park before transitioning to these walls at Pender.
I have witnessed first hand the friendships, mentoring, the squabbles, teamwork, the unfriendships, refriendships, tolerance and acceptance within this group.

On behalf of us parents, I would like to say good luck, and for the most part, you’ve been good kids. You are now adults; and to paraphrase Erma Bombeck, to have a child is to forever have a piece of your heart outside your body. We are so proud and very happy for you and a piece of us is screaming “Hallelujah! My child has graduated!!”
We have loved you from birth to first steps, from the first day of school to now, the first day of your adult life.

As Broffenbrenner states;

Every child needs at least one person who is really crazy about him or her.

. I have been so honoured and truly blessed to have been one of these supporters, as ‘crazy’ as I am.

I will continue to be that person for each and every one of you. Keep in touch.

I love you all, and one of you, just a little bit more.

Congratulations!

Christmas Poem

For Christmas this year, I am trying to keep all my gifts “green”. My eldest daughter tells me “you’re such a consumer, mom” because my first instinct is to buy! So, I have made a concerted effort to make gifts or find ways to show gratitude for those around me.

Most of the things I am doing for my family will have to wait to be revealed, but I can share the following poem that I wrote for our School District Staff. Our district has incredible people employed and this only touches on a bit of their contributions to our continued success as a School District.

Thank you all and I wish you all the best for a safe and happy holiday. Best wishes for 2013

Twas the Week before Christmas in SD 46

Twas the week before Christmas, when all through the schools
the principals were considering a relaxing of rules
The teachers were teaching with all their might
In hopes students could retain knowledge for the holiday fortnight

The students worked hard and their talent did grow
As they practised for performances and matinee show
how well they could act sing and play,
for their parents, neighbours and Great grandma May

From Port Mellon to Egmont and all schools between
The gyms were alive with many a Christmas or Holiday Scene
Superintendent Bocking drove forth and back
To hear the bands play and watch those kids act.

Even with the Snow, ice and rain and new hires as well
Greg Kitchen could be found in the gyms after bell
And interspersed in the audience in the facilities
Were the seven trustees enjoying the festivities.

With a young witty leader, so lively and slight,
you could tell in a moment it must be Chair White
More rapid than eagles his letters they came,
And he encouraged and moderated, and called them by name!

Trustee Baxter! Trustees Dixon and Pratt,
Younghusband, Mewhort Russell, where are you at?
We shall write To the province! to the minister
Let’s lobby for our district, those cuts are quite sinister”

“Rob Collison needs dollars for the Maintenance department
We will lobby for more than our usual allotment
His team does great work without a full AFG
They keep things humming, and looking great to a “T”

Our SETAs, custodians and admin assistants
Look after our students with no resistance
We are grateful to them and the service they provide
As they help our teachers get students grad-certified

So quick, you would miss him if you didn’t turn ‘round
Down the street Nic Weswick comes in with a bound.

He was dressed all in leather, as he zoomed up on his bike
A Honda brand , that is , not “little tyke”
His Assistant John Pritchard sported a ‘stache
Leftover from Movember’s efforts to raise cash

And in the board office on South Fletcher Road
spirits were bright and positively glowed
All the staff were so happy and joyous for the season
(actually they are always that way, they don’t need a reason)

From Bev and Teresa at your first sight
Such lovely smiles will always make your day right
And Anne at her desk helping out with staffing
And pleasant Colleen with her occasional laughing

With Tara on HR with her great people skills
And Erica has joined us to experience new thrills
Lai Piera and Carol help keep us all paid
Which may explain all the friends that they’ve made!

Deb, Shannon and Lorna help to round out the team
But we can’t forget Di who runs things without seam
Our employees as we don’t need to be told
All have the biggest hearts filled of gold
Which you can see in students that they hold dear
Which is what keeps us in education year after year

This poem may never end up published
Especially from all of the rhymes that have been flubished
But know that we all see how great
Our district is; this it is no act of fate

From our dedicated principals and teachers
Inspiring our students to become far-reachers
Our support staff does whatever they can
To keep our systems humming for success of our clan

On behalf of the board, I wish you a holiday merry
for whatever your days over Christmas may en-tarry
Let it be known that we have little to fix
And we are all quite happy in SD 46

~L. Pratt

Candidate Speech for Provincial Council

I’d like to share the speech I made for the February 25th, 2012 Provincial Council. I was not ultimately elected in the by-election, but I do plan on running again for the BCSTA board of directors at our AGM in April.

Here it is:

I am honored to be our board’s Provincial Councillor and represent the Sunshine Coast, as well as the South Coast Branch of BCSTA.
It is very exciting to be one of the candidates for the vacancy on the board of directors. The support and advocacy that BCSTA provides on behalf of all Boards across the province is very important to public education. This support from BCSTA gives our districts the training for our new trustees while working with returning trustees in their continuing professional development. I believe I can be an integral part of our BCSTA Board by bringing our South Coast Branch voice to the table, and continuing the connections I have built with other trustees in the province through mentorship with items such as policy review, parent engagement and trustee development.
Harold R. McAlindon said “Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”. His words certainly emulate where we are in education in BC right now. Our districts across the province have been blazing trails for years as they have developed programs to fit our students, to keep them engaged in their education and to help them realize their potential as citizens in our global community.
With the introduction of the BCEd Plan last year we were able to give our provincial trail a name and a map to move forward. This new map centered on students and how we can best support them through personalized learning, quality teaching and learning, flexibility and choice, high standards and learning empowered by technology. Our districts are supporting and engaging students and with the BCSTA connecting us all, we can find out what is happening across the province, using those ideas and “marked trails” to help us to develop strategic plans and priorities within our own districts.
While Peace River North’s Energetic learning Campus, also known as the “school in a hockey rink” may
not be transferrable to the Gulf Islands, I bet they can share their thought and lessons learned on community consultation.
Haida Gwaii’s book “B is for Basketball” is a great resource for all districts when looking at their Aboriginal Education programs.
And how can I nor share my own district’s Early Learning Programs such as SPARK! and our newest additions ‘Tiny Town’ and our mobile Strong Start Centre, Wonder Wheels.

The ideas and programs we share make us stronger as Boards and as an organization.
As a candidate for your BCSTA Board, I hope to continue the great work that is already being accomplished an build on the relationships with the Ministry, our sister organization BCPSEA, our parents through BCCPAC, our teachers and our support staff.
I look forward to help continue to build our already excellent reputation as a world educational leader and nurture our relationships with our partners as we work together to support our youngest learners and citizens.
After all, kids matter – we all care.

Thank you.