The personal learning network for educators
In the winter of the current school year, I found myself looking forward . . . and I realized that I was in the enviable position of choosing where I wanted to live. My husband’s job was no longer tied to a specific geographic location – and my kids were making decisions about where they wanted to be. . . based on post-secondary education and career opportunities. The world was my oyster. . .
I am a principled person, and so I began to think about what I wanted – really wanted for the next decade – or two.
I started with family. I always begin there. There is nothing that makes life worth living more than time spent with people that love and understand you – accessible when they need you – or when you need them. That narrowed things down to finding a location that would mean that my family would be within one day’s travel – interesting. . . they are spread over three provinces. . . so far. . .
I looked, then, for a school division that appeared to be progressive, innovative, forward thinking. . . that kind of creative trailblazing excites me. I have been a part of that kind of work in my current school division – I am passionate about that – the very best things happen when we constantly focus on why we are doing what we are doing, use research and best practices to make that happen, and work together through that process.
I put an application into the school division that I thought might be ‘that school division’. When I got an interview, I began to really dig in – to learn more about the organization. . . and what I found excited me. These are the indicators that I could see . . . this is what whet my appetite for this team –
1) The superintendent is on Twitter. You can find a number of RVS executive and trustees on Twitter. I read that as ‘accessible’.
2) The messages coming from leaders in the division are aligned and clear. This division is about providing learning opportunities for 21st Century Learners. Every school web page has a message about how the school is reaching learners – now. . . today.
3) The division is aligned with the community that it serves. Education is the shared activity of school communities – students, parents, staff - and the community that surrounds it. I am learning that the concept of community also extends to the global community – the world that many of the children come from and will interact with as they grow. This is forward thinking – our world is smaller.
4) From my very first communication with HR to my recent visit to the school, it is clear that there is a focus on relationships. There is support for new staff from HR, thoughtful placement in a school community, and support provided from within the division – purposefully. In addition to an incredible principal to work with, I already have a ‘critical friend’ in administration from the other end of the division.
5) Wow! The teachers. . . on my tour through the school and as I observed an AISI presentation, I learned that the power of teacher leaders has been ‘unleashed’ in this division. Educators are empowered to creatively look for solutions to problems that they see – and enabled to make a difference for kids! They do it – with passion. I have loved working in a district where you can do whatever your heart desires as long as it is aligned with the mission and vision of the school division and the school – and I see that this is a quality of RVS – in spades!
So, there it is – my top five reasons for enjoying the summer and looking forward to the new school year, to developing working relationships with new friends – that I will come to know – and to learning new and exciting things. As I move from one school district to the next, my hope is that I can continue to build my personal and professional community – make it bigger! I am certain to carry on the work - to fill my life with incredible people and experiences.
The future is bright. ‘Carpe diem!’