In my first few weeks as Principal of Forest Green School and Connections For Learning, I have been doing a lot of learning. And most of it has been around getting to know “who is who in the zoo” so to speak. Between the three sites for which I am responsible, there are approximately 350 students in a dozen classrooms and within these sites are six education programs that are each unique. There have been many new faces to get to know!
Here are some of the people that I have met:
- Students! Of course they come first! I love the young children. They are so lively and enthusiastic. Their excitement at starting school has been pure joy for most. Some of the students in our special programs though find that school is a challenge and they are bringing a brave face to start the school year.
- Many many parents too who are excited for their children’s new school year. The Kindergarten parents are a special bunch as they have a combo of excitement, anxiety, and reflection upon their nest being slightly emptier. Other parents are struggling with really tough decisions about placement. And others are just waiting to get in the doors of the school to help make their child’s learning environment a better place.
- The teachers have been here for a few weeks now. They are excited to begin their new initiatives and projects as we strive to be continuous learners ourselves. But with the wisdom of experience are also careful to establish solid routines to create the structures kids need to be successful.
- The school support staff – secretaries, education assistants, support workers, and custodians. They keep the rest of us moving forward by providing the information we need, supporting our students who need a little more help, and keeping our work spaces functioning. They are passionate about making our schools as great a place as they can be for kids.
- Staff from the Center for Education have been visiting. They too want to help support however they can. They also want to ensure that Parkland schools are providing a place for all children to reach their dreams by encouraging educators to continue to learn, innovate, and grow in our practice.
- Social workers and group care staff have been coming for meetings. These professionals know the children in their care require extra compassion and supports and are great advocates for these students.
- And the bus drivers. Now there’s a smiling group of people that work on amazing deadlines, minute by minute in fact. They are the connectors between home and school for so many of our children.
- A newspaper reporter. She like so many of us in the education is delighted at the prospect of a new school year and wants to share the story of school start-up with our entire community.
- Our ATA Local Council Representatives who care so much about the working lives of our teachers and offer support to them in many ways – contracts, professional development, and camaraderie – have already started meeting to get 2014-2015 underway.
- Personnel from the Town of Stony Plain adjusted their morning schedules on the first day of school to come greet our students. And different folks later in the week who came to spray a wasp nest near the school.
- Fellows from our Facilities department who were doing pick ups and deliveries as well as coming to repair the swings before school even started so we had what we needed and the kids were ready for fun on day one.
- The ladies from our Human Resources Department who assisted in hiring a new teacher at Forest Green. I truly appreciated her advice at one point where she said something like we don’t want a good teacher, we want a great teacher!
- And I think if I referenced my recent calendar appointments, I would even remember a few more people that I met!
So it would appear that the life of a school is complex. There are so many different people with so many different interests. I believe a significant part of my role is to meld this complex group together to create caring and vibrant learning environments for our students. How does that happen? That’s the simple part. It’s comes from not just respecting the roles that each of these people but honoring them. Each and everyone of these people contributes and is part of our community. We all make school a better place!