For me, the start of a new school year is always full of excitement and nervous anticipation. I once heard a wise educator call these feelings ‘butterflies in the stomach.’ These butterflies are a great indication that one is on the right path and doing the right thing. This year is no exception. I can feel the butterflies. Can you? Questions such as – What will my teachers be like? Who will be in my class? What is my new school going to be like? Will I be safe? How is this year going to go? And to get more personal, how are my divisional leaders going to react to my leadership style? – are just a small sample of questions that are on my mind and on the minds of our students, staff, parents, and caregivers alike. This is natural, all part of what is a familiar and predictable yearly ritual, until we were abruptly moved into a new reality with the pandemic. It is not that the excitement and nervous anticipation had gone away, but there was another layer of the unknown and unpredictable that we had never seen before, and that was difficult for us all.
This year brings about a more normal and familiar school start up and that is something that everyone is talking about and celebrating. The lessons that have been learned and the experiences gained over the last two and a half years will be taken into this year. Many schools have adopted practices that they have seen as valuable and will continue with as they go into this year. These may range from how certain classes are delivered to how school supervision and break times are allotted and managed. The pandemic has also contributed to less-than-ideal opportunities for some of our students to learn. A focus needs to be on intervention strategies and instructional practices that promote acceleration and learning recovery for our students. This is a focus that is not lost here in Mountain View School Division, where we seek to keep learners at the centre.
I am encouraged by the optimism that is present within our Administration Council at Mountain View School Division, and was delighted recently to hear our leaders share, amongst other things, that they are curious, energized, hopeful, grateful, happy, yes, and even a little uncertain as they head into another school year. As the new Superintendent/CEO for Mountain View School Division, I am proud to serve and provide leadership to a dedicated team of individuals to ensure that our mission statement of providing an inspiring, respectful, and safe learning environment where every student is valued, nurtured, and enabled to realize their full potential is fulfilled. This work cannot occur without a strong connection to our families and community partners. Mountain View School Division spans seven different communities and is spread over a geographical area similar to the size of PEI. This is a great challenge and a terrific opportunity as we can interact meaningfully with our communities through their local schools.
I am especially proud of the Mountain View School Division program of Umbay Namagon (Come sing with me), where we are seeking to bring understanding, healing and reconciliation to our schools and communities through self-reflection and education. This is ground-breaking work, and it is occurring right here in our school division. Our focus at Mountain View School Division is to cultivate these relationships and create the best possible public education experience for the children in our care. My go-forward word for this school year is ‘optimistic’ and I have great confidence in the future of Mountain View School Division where we value the support, involvement, and partnerships with our communities.
In closing, I want to wish all our students, parents, caregivers, staff, and elders a great and successful school year full of excitement and yes, butterflies in the stomach! Take care everyone!