Celebrating Feedback in Concluding Our Learning Journey!
As June is now upon us, we are closing in on the final days of the school year. It is a busy time in our schools with important lessons to be taught, exams to be completed, year-end celebrations of success, and planning for the upcoming school year.
Years ago, I read a quote, authored by Ken Blanchard, a devout Christian, author, speaker and respected management consultant – “feedback is the breakfast of championship.” Being the humble man who Blanchard is, he attributes the quote to Rick Tate, who first explained the phrase in relation to the world of sports. Can you imagine training for the Olympics with no one telling you how fast you ran or how high you jumped? This would not represent podium thinking. A key element contributing to our success as a district is that we seek feedback regarding what is important to our school community, including parents, staff, and students.
In this final reflection on the 2016 – 2017 school year, I am proud to share the recent feedback about our system that champions aspects of learning important to our families, and builds community confidence in the outstanding work of our staff who provide optimal learning for students.
This year, a lengthy consultation and planning exercise took place that resulted in the District learning about programming priorities throughout the District and at our new Sister Alphonse Academy in Jensen Lakes. Over 3000 responses, whether through face-to-face exchanges, or online participation illuminated the importance of offering varied, fun, and adventurous recreation programming. These responses also spoke to the importance of providing academic challenge programming, and making learning relevant to the career and world of work aspirations of our students. More than 60% of responses were received from students, revealing similar feedback with unique application to each of our sixteen schools. A tremendous compliment in the feedback for all schools is the shared sentiment that the quality of staff in engaging in the well-being of students is our most valued asset in the District.
Therefore, moving forward, when Sister Alphonse Academy opens in 2018 we will complement regular programming with opportunities for students to participate in a recreation academy and academic challenge programming in grades 4 – 9. In addition, Vital Grandin School in St. Albert will also provide an option for families to participate in a recreation academy, or in a series of dynamic options – whose focus will range from computer coding to the arts, drama, and dance. Feedback also highlighted the great fit of Advanced Placement (AP) programming with École Secondaire Sainte Margueritte d’Youville students, in grades 7 to 12, where student’s course work can be credited towards post-secondary studies.
I am also pleased to highlight that our recent Accountability Pillar Report from the Government of Alberta places our high achieving school district at the highest level of achievement ever, with 11 of 12 accountability measures receiving the highest rating of “excellent.”
Finally, the well-renowned Gallup Organization has ranked our District as one of 37 best workplaces for employees to work across the globe! Based upon the District being compared to global organizations (132 being international school jurisdictions) who track employee engagement data on an annual basis, our district has earned a Gallup Great Workplace Award for 2017. While this outcome is most affirming to our families regarding the quality of workplace environment in which their children learn, it also illuminates that students are the ultimate winners of this award. Gallup maintains that high employee engagement correlates to strong levels of client satisfaction and success. No wonder that excellence in learning accountability and employee engagement continues to be aligned!
I am in the enviable position to say that because of the feedback we have received your experience as part of our school District for 2017 – 2018 promises to be even better. Thank you to our families for continuing to support our schools; we look forward to your continued journey with us next year.
Have a blessed and safe summer vacation with family and friends.
David Keohane, Superintendent