:: Superintendent's Notebook - March 2012
Believing in our students is what we do at Edmonton Public Schools. This is core to our work. Students walk through our doors, at all ages and from all sorts of backgrounds, and place the beginnings of their future in our hands. We take on that responsibility knowing that if we do our work well, they'll be able to create a rewarding life for themselves.
We're here to educate kids and help them acquire the skills and knowledge they need. We want them to succeed academically - but I feel strongly that we can't lose sight of how important it is to ensure their journey with us isn't just about marks on tests or papers. It has to be about something else, too.
As Superintendent, I'm proud that our District has a very good understanding of what this 'something else' is. We recognize that you, as a parent or community member, hold us accountable for helping the students of today grow into the conscientious and compassionate leaders of tomorrow. In our world, we often get caught up in the idea of measurement, but more and more, we're realizing that society is really testing us on what is immeasurable.
Everyday in our schools, we're working to instill these immeasurable qualities in our students - and to remarkable effect. In the aftermath of the earthquake in Haiti for example, several schools partnered to provide a lifesaving gift - raising money for simple plastic pipe filters called LifeStraws that offer instant access to safe drinking water. This effort prevented thousands of people from contracting illnesses due to waterborne contaminants.
Recently, students also helped people in developing countries better their lives by contributing towards microloans - small loans that can be used to support individual and community development. And in addition to jam-packing a principal's office with food items for the Edmonton Food Bank or hosting a bottle drive to benefit the Stollery Children's Hospital, we have students participating in international video conferences, learning about the importance of upholding civil liberties and basic human rights.
Their tangible, first-hand experiences with social justice open the doors to who they will become - to the actions and deeds that create strong and healthy communities, and a society with a conscience. Their innate willingness to make a difference in the lives of others is, and always will be, the inspiration for us to make a lasting difference in theirs.