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A Message from the Superintendent - June 2015

Stakeholders were right: Common vision key to success

At the end of May, the Board of Trustees played host to its second-ever division-wide stakeholders meeting, bringing together a diverse mix of students, parents, staff and public to build on “A Community Conversation” held in 2012.

This event, called “A Community Conversation 2015” reviewed what we’ve done as a division to build on the factors of school success participants told us they most valued three years ago.

One of those factors of school success was a common vision. At the time, Palliser had only recently hired a part-time literacy coach, to work side-by-side with teachers across the division to change how we teach reading and writing.

Think about how much we have changed in those three years. Today, we see intentional, purposeful and effective literacy instruction at all grade levels in all corners of Palliser. We see our youngest students learning a love of reading through self-identification of books just right for them. We see our older students expressing themselves with an ever-expanding vocabulary that connects their inner selves (their thinking and feelings) with their growing knowledge of the world. They are students, not just of sciences, math or language. They’re students of connected ideas from across the range of their experiences.

Our stakeholders were right in 2012. Common vision is a powerful thing and it is building success across Palliser.

We are only in our second year of division-wide assessment of reading of students reading up to a Grade 7 level. Over time, the data collected in these assessments will show more and more students are gaining the reading skills they need. That’s just the beginning. We’re already seeing our high schools adopting literacy to meet their students’ advanced needs. We see a growing number of teachers rethinking their instruction and finding ways to meet every student’s individual needs.

We have made huge strides, and I congratulate our staff for making this vision their own. Further, as we did at our stakeholders’ meeting, I encourage you to find your own way of supporting literacy, particularly over the summer when some students may lose their momentum. Taking your child to a bookstore or library and encouraging them to read the book(s) of his/her choice; reading aloud together; making a scrapbook of photos and words about your summer vacation are all ways you can support this shared vision of literacy in Palliser.

Have a great summer.

Kevin Gietz, Superintendent

Palliser Regional Schools

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