IN THE SPOTLIGHT Dec. 19: School District 51 year in review for 2012

As I look back to Dec. 2011, I see four major items that took up the majority of the time for the SD51 board of trustees.

I am going to go about this year in review a little differently this year, usually when I report on this each December, there are a myriad of things we have done during the year, from small to big.

When I looked back to last December, I saw four major items that took up the majority of our time.

New faces

To begin, we started out this time last year with a new board, with three new members.

We met frequently to help our new trustees orient themselves to the work of trusteeship and to develop our team.

Our new trustees have navigated a very steep learning curve at a record pace and are doing a great job in their new roles. We have developed a strong team that works to consensus.

We strive to look at the big picture with a broad view that encompasses all students and our student achievement results continue to improve.

Job action

Teacher job action was another big item that demanded much attention.

Supervision of students, report cards, staff meetings, athletics, extracurricular events and the regular rhythm of daily school life were affected.

Our administrators and senior staff took the brunt of the extra work, and this board is so appreciative of those efforts.  Relationships remained intact and respect for each other was maintained in a very difficult time. School opening this September was smooth and that daily rhythm was easily re-established.

Middle school and district re-design discussion

Next were the middle school and district re-design discussions.

The time spent with our senior and school based administrators – looking at research, debating what we wanted to take out to the public – and the time spent in public consultation was incredibly valuable.

It was gratifying to see up close the different strengths of our administrators and to work together with them much closer than usual.

The process helped the board to develop more as a team and definitely introduced the newest members very quickly to a public consultation process and the importance of public feedback in decision making.

Superintendent selection

The last big item that the board dealt with was one of the most important activities for any board of education, the selection of a new Superintendent of Schools.

The board engaged Make a Future (recruiter) to help us with the selection process and were very pleased with both the process and our ultimate selection.

Included were all of our stakeholders, in a rich and engaged progression to the final decision.

The board was able to take into account during its decision-making, the feedback from all stakeholders.

It is a testament to the capacity and talents of our administrative team that it was able, after canvassing and interviewing candidates from all over Canada, to select this critical team member, Kevin Argue, from its own ranks.

So, those are the big items, but there are numerous other decisions and actions that took place this last year, as in every year, from budget allocations to policy and operational decisions.

The governing acts of this board, and the supporting work of all of our staff, support staff, teachers and administrators, plus our partners in education, have helped this district to continue to see improvements in the achievements of all our students.  I know I have said this time and time again, but it continues to be true, no one person can make things happen, it takes all of us, working together to see the positive results we have.

– Teresa Rezansoff is chair for the SD51’s board of education