I've always thought of September as the "real" New Year. The traditional new year song Auld Lang Syne may not be playing in the classrooms and hallways of schools, and there may not be confetti and balloons around, but there is a chorus of sounds and lots of familiar sights as students are welcomed back to school. This is the time when staff make their resolutions for the year - when they think about their hopes for the new students they're going to teach and the things they're going to try to build on or do differently so they can support kids in the best way possible. What I'm constantly amazed at when I go out to schools is how the excitement and energy that's felt at the beginning of the year keeps going strong all the way to the end of June. The sense of possibility and optimism that's so much a part of every school's first assembly or pep rally defines a spirit that, to me, is unbreakable. I really admire the principals, teachers and other school staff who go above and beyond to make our students feel welcomed in their school. They are incredible coaches and mentors. They help students believe in themselves and their talents - they open their eyes to what they're truly capable of achieving. That dedication is well worth a celebration with confetti and balloons - and our complete admiration as a District.
The efforts staff make to help our students realize their potential are only strengthened by amazing parents, who support their kids' success at home and at school. Our District is proud of the fact that on our May Accountability Pillar Results - a measuring tool the Provincial Government uses to gauge how school districts are doing in a number of different areas - we earned a rating of 'good' on the measure of parental involvement. We want to make sure that we improve on that rating even more. Research tells us that parental involvement in a child's education from an early age has a significant, positive impact on their achievement, and continues to well into adolescent and adulthood. There's no question that whether they're helping with homework at home, volunteering on a field trip or part of a fundraising drive, their contributions are invaluable to a school community.
The start of this new school year is also exciting for our District because it marks the beginning of our Board working with a new Superintendent, Darrel Robertson. He's an educator who understands what it takes to bring people together and rally them around the cause of public education. During a career that's spanned 17 years at Edmonton Public Schools, he's proven to be a transformative force in every role he's been in. He's passionate about empowering staff to build strong relationships with each other and with parents and community members. He believes these relationships open the door to co-operative action and play a vital role in supporting our work to help students experience success. He's someone who has an incredible ability to connect with and inspire others. Our Board is confident he will move our District forward with great leadership, spirit and purpose. We're eager to work with him and see what we can accomplish together. I wish everyone a fantastic year ahead!