Superintendent of Schools – This past week I was able to attend a number of professional learning opportunities for our staff. It was a great chance for me to meet people, while listening in on the wide variety of professional conversations. We model and value lifelong learning and strive to work collaboratively to extend our practices to meet the needs of all our learners. We also must remember that all adults in our system need to be learners as well.
Over the four days that staff were back without students, there were countless professional learning activities spread throughout the division. I will share just a bit about some of the events I attended. Each of our schools sent a representative to work with Dr. Karen Loerke from the University of Alberta / Alberta Education and our own Learning Specialist Deb Rougeau-Bell on reading comprehension benchmarks. It is part of the literacy framework we are committed to in our 4-year plan. Another day I joined Muriel Clayton’s staff who were in a workshop focused on Lucy Calkin’s literacy work and a school-wide emphasis on common reading and writing approaches/strategies. I saw staff across all grade and subject areas discussing their shared responsibility to be literacy teachers, rather than the responsibility fall on the shoulders of Language Arts teachers. I swung by Bert Church High School for an impromptu visit, but forgot that they were all at Telus Spark working with our 21st C team on inquiry, design thinking, and project based learning. I also joined 25 brand new teachers who just completed their teaching degrees and now are working with a coach to help them settle into their first year of teaching. This group is lucky to have a coach focused on supporting them during their first year – something I wish I had when I started. These are literally just a few of the activities that were going on this week in RVS.
Some people question the value of professional learning for our staff, but I am a wholehearted believer in the value of our staff learning, growing, and innovating together! We need to be engaged in professional conversations and actions to ensure our learners are engaged, supported, and successful.