Grad 2016 Speech for Pender Harbour

I had the great honour of addressing the 2016 graduating class of Pender Harbour Secondary School on June 28, 2016.   This class is one the smallest in recent years; TEN young adults received their certificates today.

Here is the transcript of my speech.

On behalf of the Board of Education, School District 46, Sunshine Coast, I am proud to bring greetings and congratulations to the Pender Harbour Grad Class of 2016.

When the school district launched our new strategic plan last year, it was titled “Excellence in All We Do”.

We focus on three main goal areas:

Our Staff Inspires – as a district, we are proud and grateful to have personnel throughout our that are dedicated to each student that walks through our doors.

We Embrace our Community – Public Education could not exist without the partnerships support and dedication to youth our community provides.   Thank you for your generosity in donating not only funds, but other resources and of yourselves.

But our most important goal:

Our Students Excel.  You are the reasons why we celebrate today, why we have schools, why we strive to continually do better.

The mission of our School District is to enable and inspire our students to realize their full potentials as knowledgable, confident and contributing citizens in the global community.  Being a parent of students at Pender allows me to learn more of each of you, your families, and me a glimpse in to the citizens you already are, and will continue to be.  As a class, from when you first started school, you have had an effect on my family.   You have been leaders, offered mentorship, friendship and challenges in academics and athletics to each one of my children.

The camaraderie and leadership shown to the younger students at Pender Harbour, including and encouraging them to do their best is a great legacy for your class.    Your grade 12 year has been an interesting one with the complete change in class structure.   The change in structure has allowed for X Blocks, enabling students broader choice for electives, finding and following their passions.

Thank you for welcoming this new structure and being leaders for your peers not only at this school and district but across BC.  This model is being watched, adopted and adapted across the province.

From your first day at school

To this day, this minute, this second

Knowledge and skills have been learned, you’ve used many a tool

Your courage has grown, you are a force to be reckoned

You have learned to take a chance

Tried gold, welding, hiking

Spent time with seniors in Latin Dance

Gained confidence to try any subject of your liking

iPad users from way back

Technology helped you your grade nine math

(selfies, Instagram and the release of Snapchat)

Have all been part of your educational path.

Beyond your classrooms,

Many a teacher’s lecture

Your mind blooms

The ideas that conjecture.

Your journey to this point

Has been full of grades, teachers, friends

the accolades today will hereby anoint

the significance of where your K to 12 ends.

You’ve been heroes here at PHSS

Leaders with capes unfurled

We celebrate you and your future success

Now go on, put your mark on the world.

Congratulations!

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 

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

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.

E-NOUGH

So here we are.

The last week of school marks the second week of a full out strike by the BC Teachers Federation.

Lock out dates by the employer for secondary teachers start on June 25, and for elementary teachers later this week.

Exams for senior secondary students have gone through but due to the complexities of marking, the essay portions were dropped.

Graduation ceremonies have been moved to alternate locations due to picket lines.

The finger pointing continues.

The impasse more entrenched than ever.

Rhetoric bouncing back and back between the government and teachers’ union through social media channels, the mainstream media and duelling press conferences is wearing thin on us all. This has become a full out political assault on either side as they seek to discredit each other and gain the public’s support.

One of the most disappointing things that has happened in recent days is the politicization of the BCEd Plan. The government is using this formally non-partisan site to circulate paid messages such as the following tweet : @bcedplan: Teachers deserve a fair wage increase but it needs to be affordable. http://t.co/IDeo6dA6vO http://t.co/lO6eIkHChH #bced

Regardless of your personal opinions on salaries and wage increases, this is uncalled for. The BCEdPlan site was meant to be non-political and welcoming for all. The PAID advertisements to discredit a group of professionals that are stakeholders within this plan is unconscionable.

The BCTF is a union and an advocacy organization for their membership. The leadership within their structure is expected to lobby hard for their teachers. But they are going too far with the negative messaging as well.

Stop the public bashing of one another. No more bargaining in the media. Do you want a facilitator? I have children that are trained in anti-bullying through the WITS program.

Both sides need to get back to the table and find the common ground to get a freely negotiated deal; a deal that is fair and gives stability to education in this province for whatever term the parties can mutually agree upon.

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.