Welcome Back

On behalf of senior District Staff and our Board of Trustees, I would like to welcome all our educational and transportation staff back for the 2013-14 School Year.  I know that our maintenance and custodial folks have been busy getting our schools and classrooms ready for day 1and are likely looking forward to some Fall holidays ….thank you!

You may notice that my last One91 post was last Valentine’s Day and although somewhat (well actually quite a bit) embarrassed, I have resolved that it is important that we continue to share what is happening in Nechako Lakes and so I will continue to write and encourage you to share what is happening in your department, classroom and / or school as well.  Don’t hesitate to make me feel guilty if the weeks pass before you see a new post.

To begin I would like to warmly welcome three new administrators to our district:

  •  Mr. Vincent Hewgill is the new principal at Decker Lake Elementary, replacing Mr. Jim Gower who is happily enjoying his first fall of retirement back in the Maritimes.  Mr. Hewgill joins us by way of the Bulkley Valley.
  • Ms. Natalie Nelson is the new principal of William Konkin Elementary, replacing Bruce Bidney who accepted a principal position in Merritt.  Natalie is an experienced educator with a host of experiences and comes to us from the beautiful Vancouver Island West SD.
  • Mr. Phil Johnston is the new VP at LDSS, replacing Mr. James Hannigan who has returned as a teacher to Grassy Plains Elem / Sec (a very lucky school to have James!)  Phil is an experienced high school teacher with a variety of experiences and comes to us from the Caribou – Chilcotin SD.

I would also like to congratulate Wendy Kelemen on her new position as the VP at William Konkin Elementary.  I know that LDSS will really miss Wendy but that her new school is excited to welcome her.  Congratulations also to Suzanne Burck who is the new principal at David Hoy Elementary.  Suzanne is an experienced special education teacher who returns to David Hoy following a year at EBUS.

Board Chair Steve Davis and Trustee Rosalie Nitchiporuk join Fort St James administrators Judith Georz, Craig Houghton, Margaret Mattess and Suzanne Burck, all four of whom were born and raised in the Fort St James area.
Board Chair Steve Davis and Trustee Rosalie Nitchiporuk join Fort St James administrators Judith Gorrz, Craig Houghton, Margaret Mattess and Suzanne Burck, all four of whom were born and raised in the Fort St James area.

Although I will not get all new moves and transfers correctly I would also like to wish the best to the following educators:

  • Craig Houghton – new principal of Fort St James Secondary moving from David Hoy Elem.
  • Ken Young – new principal of Nechako Valley Secondary moving from FSJSS.
  • Lynn Maksymchak – new District Principal of HR and Leadership who was most recently the principal of NVSS.
  • Mrs. Judy Six who has done us another favour by returning as principal to Mouse Mountain Elem.
  • Teachers Maggie Fraser and Maria Devauld who are heading to Sinkut View Elementary
  • Teacher Tina Giesbrecht who leaves Decker Lake to take on special education at LDSS
  • Teacher Marty Floris who joins the EBUS team
  • Best wishes to Erica Moser who leaves the district office to join the Vanderhoof Co-op
  • Joslin Thalheimer who is the new district counsellor in the Burns Lake area.
  • Teacher Susan Russell who heads to Decker Lake Elem.

Again I know that I have missed many people, but in my busy last few weeks, these are names that I recalled.  To people starting new assignments, you have a personal invite to share your new school / assignment experiences in One91!

I just had an opportunity to spend 2 days with 120 of you and Austin Buffum, learning more about narrowing our focus, increasing our dialogue and thinking specifically about learning Day 1-28interventions.  I was inspired by the energy and focus that you put to this task….after all this is the the last week of our summer break and the depth and richness of your professional conversations was inspiring.  Thanks to all participants and just a quick reminder that if you haven’t yet completed the participant survey, please take a few minutes to complete it at this link.

I would like to extend a special thank you to Beckie Watts who helped to organize a Kim Sutton Math Workshop that was held at LDSS this week as well.  There were about 20 participants and this workshop would not have happened without Beckie’s leadership…thanks Beckie!  I would love to receive a One91 post from Beckie or the participants on the workshop and implementation in classrooms this fall.

Quick App Worth Checking Out:

In an effort to improve communication many schools and teachers are beginning to try texting directly to parent and /or  student cell phones, but as always there are some privacy concerns for both parties.  An app for android and IOS devices that may be worth checking out is Remind 101, a FREE texting app that allows teachers to text all of their students or parents at the same time.  If a teacher or student either trys this app or would like to pilot the use of this app, please let me know.

Educational Link of the Week:

Over our two days with Austin Buffum we were reminded of the work of Dr. John Hattie, a New Zealand prof, who completed a meta-analysis of all the factors that impact student learning.  Brian Cross, the VP at EBUS, shared a quick link with me that provides a nice  reminder of the TOP 10 influences on student learning.  If you are not thinking and talking about these top 10, in addition to the many more influences on student learning, you are ignoring significant educational research.  As we all know, it is imperative that what we know about the science of learning impacts the practice of teaching.

We sometimes search far and wide for the perfect story, anecdote or video for our first September staff meeting and this year I think that I have found one.  Please set aside 8 minutes to listen to this TED talk by Rita Pierson, an inspiring educator.

We hope that you have had a wonderful summer full of sunny memories.   We wish you the best possible start up!

 

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