Written by Darryl Seguin, Superintendent
Reprinted with permission of The Lethbridge Herald
We have almost made it; we are only about two weeks away from Summer! The 2020-2021 school year has certainly been one for the books, hopefully the HISTORY books. I began my career in a small community in Northern Alberta in 1993; all my lesson plans were written with paper and pen. I wonder what changes I would have noticed in education had Marty McFly flown me to 2019. I know I would have been surprised by the significant advancements in, access to, and use of technology in the classroom. I definitely know I would have been wondering why no one was wearing comfy, multicolored tracksuits. It is likely that I would have found more similarities than differences, witnessing kids still learning in classrooms and teachers leading after-school activities.
If, on the other hand, the DeLorean doors opened to March 2020, my mind would have been in complete shock seeing students and teachers working and learning from home, all extra-curricular cancelled. Now, imagine my thoughts if Marty set the date to September 2020 and I witnessed schools full of masks, daily health screening, hand sanitizer, and physical distancing. Fortunately for my younger self, this scenario was not a reality. For our education community today, it is, and you have handled it remarkably well. For that, I wish to say THANK YOU!
Thank you to custodial staff for allowing students and teachers to continue learning and teaching in a safe and clean environment.
To our bus drivers, thank you for being so flexible with seating plans, wellness checks and the safe transportation of our students.
What would we do without our maintenance, facilities and OHS workers? Thank you for your additional hard work creating safe workspaces for staff and students with PPE, signage, and more.
A great big thanks to all our IT personnel. Your expertise and ability to handle enormous changes with very little notice, and to create the infrastructure necessary to allow continuous teaching and learning is invaluable.
For all our communications staff, thank you for your clarity, flexibility, and consistent and rapid response to last-minute information changes. You provide much-needed comfort and awareness for the education community.
Thank you to our incredibly valuable support staff: our frontline administrative assistants, career practitioners, CYCWs, EAs and nutrition coordinators. You have unique abilities to handle whatever is thrown at you and demonstrate compassion and kindness as you work with some of our most vulnerable students.
To our FSLs, I recognize the considerable increase in mental health needs among our students. Thank you for your incredible ability to stay connected with students, and your commitment to support them with your expertise and thoughtfulness.
Thank you, teachers; your flexibility, creativity, and professionalism are second to none. You continue to inspire and motivate students as you instill in them the knowledge, skills, and attitudes necessary for success. You are absolute rock stars!
Thank you, school-based administrators. Your plates are already overflowing, yet you handle the extra hours and responsibilities with grace and competence. Your continual leadership and student-centered approaches, balanced with your care and concern for staff is greatly appreciated.
To Division Office staff, trustees, and Alberta Education, thank you for your hard work, vision and dedication, and doing all you can to ensure supports are in place for students, staff, and parents. Your work, example, and leadership are vital to the success of our students.
AHS, thank you for the countless hours of communication during days, evenings, and weekends as you help school divisions navigate the ever-evolving rules and regulations during the pandemic.
To parents, spouses of educators, and community members. Thank you for your support, patience and understanding as we all work together and do our best to help students continue learning, growing, and developing.
Last but certainly not least, thank you to all Alberta students. You are truly the most remarkable resource we have for our future. You have spent countless hours online, in quarantine, behind plexiglass dividers, covered in masks, all while setting a wonderful example of resiliency, hard work, determination, and perseverance. I am so proud of all you have accomplished, and I look forward to seeing all that you will achieve in the future. Thank you, thank you!
I wish each of you an amazing summer!