Superintendent of Schools – Early in the term for the Board of Trustees, they take a massive road trip to visit each school / site in RVS. I join the group for the tours and get the opportunity to visit our schools too. It takes about nine full days to visit all the sites, but I believe it is a very important opportunity. Trustees are elected for a specific ward, but they are required to make decisions in the best interest of the entire division. Visiting every site helps put discussions about facilities, budget, and communities into perspective.
While lengthy in total time, visiting over 50 sites over nine days does mean each visit is a bit of a whirlwind. We are in a school for about 45 minutes and in that time, we walk throughout the facility and hear about the school. Principals are asked to organize a facilitated brief tour of each building, featuring initiatives that exemplify the school community. Often, we have students lead us on the tour, while other schools have the principal take us. No matter who the guide is, the tours are always enlightening even for someone who has been in the facility a few times. To me, one of my roles is the taskmaster to keep us on time. It is challenging as there are so many good things going on in our schools; we could stay for hours but it just is not possible.
After each site tour, we jump in a bus and head out to the next site. Often in that drive between sites, we discuss something we saw or heard about. Other times the tour will generate a bunch of questions for us to discuss. The ride time is an important part of the tours too.
I must say, as someone who has taken their fair share of bus trips for sports teams when I was younger, things have changed when on the bus. I remember an important coach in my life, Lyle Sanderson from the University of Saskatchewan, lamented when the Walkman and later the Discman became popular. (Yes, I know I’m dating myself again.) Lyle would say that team trips changed from card playing, chit chatting, highly interactive events to quieter, more individualistic trips when people put on their headphones and listened to the tunes. Having recently been on a few bus trips with 12 and 13-year-old hockey players, that is partially true, but there was still plenty of noise generated by those peewee hockey players. On these early tour days, I can tell you that between some schools it would be quiet as each of us pulled out our phone and got caught up on emails.
Thanks to the schools we have visited so far. The tours have been absolutely great!!! To those we have not visited yet, we will see you in the upcoming weeks.