Thursday, September 4, 2008

Welcome Back

September is an exciting month of new possibilities and fresh hopes: new pencils, new haircuts and back-to-school clothes, fresh new agenda books and new commitments to reach for our greatest potential in the ten months ahead. The wish is shared by teachers, trustees, staff and students... we all want this year to be a stellar one.

In my opinion, last year was a year of "forming" for the Board. It takes a while for a group of nine to come to understand each other's perspectives and build trust...but investing this time was essential and I think we are now poised to take some significant steps forward.

One of the most significant pieces of work we've done over the past year is to create a Strategic Plan. Every board member had input on this and it is endorsed by the entire Board. This work is completely distinct (although aligned) with the dedicated work of our administration. In short, this is work that only the Board of Trustees can accomplish. The plan outlines our work in the areas of Leadership/Governance, Advocacy/Government Relations, Steawardship and Community Engagement. I'm very excited to see this plan coming together. It will help us to focus on the key areas and ensure that, at the end of our three year term, we will be able to clearly articulate our accomplishments as a Board.

What are some of the areas of focus for this Board?
-Governance and stewardship- We want to be an effective and relevant Board and are willing to examine our own practices to continually improve.
-Early learning opportunities. We believe that having children ready for kindergarten will greatly improve their success throughout their entire school years.
-Increasing mental health supports for at-risk students
-New multi-cultural policy to reflect changing Edmonton-- our multi-cultural task force will inform this work
- New Public Engagement Policy- We want to ensure effective, meaningful public engagement.
- High school completion-- our numbers have been increasing, but we want to go further. It is our belief that every child who enters kindergarten, should complete high school.

So, I look forward to seeing you over the coming year. And I look forward to working with you.

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