Blog Posts

January 3, 2023

Three Wishes for 2023

It has been my practice for the last few Januarys to make predictions about possible changes in the K-12 sector. This practice goes back as far as 2015 when I highlighted the top ten issues facing our education system and some things to watch for as we sought to transform it.

December 13, 2022

Learning about Truth and Reconciliation: Student Reflections

One of W.A Fraser Middle’s grade 6 teachers, Crystal Davids, was moved by the powerful stories from the Walking Forward Together conference to bring truth to our students around the impact of racist legislation, cultural theft, and residential schools. Mrs. Davids “felt like I wanted to do more” to move forward with her class in discussions around Truth and Reconciliation.

December 13, 2022

Pausing for Gratitude

Many of you will know that I am a big football fan, (and an especially big Raider fan). The inspiration for my post this week does not come from Raider Nation, but from the Seattle Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith. If you follow the Seahawks, you will know that their Super Bowl winning quarterback, Russel Wilson was traded away and that most pundits thought that with back-up quarterback Smith at the helm, the team would be lucky to win half of their games this year.

November 24, 2022

Our Three Sisters Soup

What better way to kick off a chilly fall season than with a hearty bowl of soup? At Chief Dan George Middle School, we have worked hard on our garden beds and greenhouse space this past spring and fall. Last May, our students planted a Three Sisters Garden - the traditional indigenous practice of planting maize, squash, and bean plants. Upon our return in September, the fruits of our labour were ready to be harvested.

November 24, 2022

Celebrating Student Leadership

I had the pleasure this week of meeting with around fifty of Yale Secondary’s Leadership 12 students. They are an amazing and diverse group of go-getters who help to make their school and community better through service. In addition to the work they do, they are also curious about leadership and routinely invite leaders from various parts of the community to talk about their roles and perspectives on leadership. This week I was the invited guest. Among the things they wanted to learn more about were my background, how I became superintendent, as well as the joys and challenges of the job.

November 8, 2022

Count Me In: A Novel Start to the School Year

At Colleen & Gordie Howe Middle School, we start the year with school-wide read-aloud. The goal for our read-aloud is to engage students in meaningful and relevant conversations and to foster a deeper sense of school community. This year, the staff selected “Count Me In” by Varsha Bajaj. The story follows two unlikely friends that are brought together, to both of their surprises. Unfortunately, a racially motivated assault happened to them and one of their grandparents.

November 8, 2022

In Remembrance

Many of you will know that I am a student of the World Wars, and that over the years I have written about the profound respect I have for our veterans who have put their lives on the line for the cause of freedom. As a teacher I carefully curated stories for my students about pivotal battles and Canadian heroes who helped to pave the way for the freedoms we sometimes take for granted. It was always a treat to welcome veterans into my classroom, and students always came away with a greater appreciation for the courageous lives of our service men and women, as well as the horrors of war.

October 14, 2022

Count Me In

Our school does a school wide read aloud at the beginning of the school year as a community builder.  Teachers do activities with the students about the book and we do school wide activities related to the story. This year, the staff and students at Howe Middle are reading "Count Me In" by Varsha Bajaj.  The story explores what happens when students come together to reject racism.  Throughout the story, students find their voice and realize the impact they can have when they support each other. 

October 14, 2022

What Matters in Middle

I have recently had some conversations with youth in our schools regarding what matters to them in their education. They point to having adults who care about them, opportunities to engage in different kinds of activities, and social groups that they feel a part of. This seems to make sense and I would argue this is what we hope to achieve in our middle schools for all of our learners. Given our middle school vision of “joyful, inquiry-based approaches that create access to experience and opportunities to develop agency, identity, and belonging”, we are headed down the right path.

October 14, 2022

Shadow a Student

As part of my personal inquiry into the student experience in our district, I have met with groups of students from each of our high schools over each of the last few years. Generally, I have asked our school leaders to ensure that the student group is diverse and represents a range in ages, gender, abilities, race and gender identities, etc. In a large high school, it is not difficult to get a diverse group, but I suspect it challenging to get a truly representative group of students who together can paint a fulsome picture of the student experience for me and the administration of their s