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The Gift of Understanding

All that we are is story. From the time we are born, to the time we continue on our spirit journey, we are involved in the creation of the story of our time here. It is what we arrive with. It is all we leave behind. We are not the things we accumulate. We are not the things we deem important. We are story. All of us. What come to matter then is the creation of the best possible story we can while we're here; you, me, us, together. When we can do that, we take the time to share those stories, we get bigger on the inside, we see each other, we recognize our kinship-- we change the world, one story at a time. 
--Richard Wagamese

In the midst of busy days and numerous demands on our time and energy, it is easy to lose sight of this simple, yet powerful message. Each of us has a story, a context, that we carry with us through our day. We come into contact with numerous individuals throughout the course of our day-- at the drive-through picking up our morning coffee, at the grocery sto…
Recent posts

Navigating Negativity: Five Steps to Strength-Based Leadership

People don't typically don't come to me when things are going well.

This isn't a complaint. It's the reality of the life of a school administrator. We are the problem solvers, the peace keepers, the crisis responders. On any given day, I will usher crying students, angry parents and frustrated teachers across the threshold of my office. As I walk the hallways at break and lunch, I am bombarded by questions and queries, complaints and conflicts. When my email dings or my phone rings at eleven o'clock at night, it's rarely good news. 
So in the midst of what can sometimes feel like a sea of negativity, it is even more essential that I maintain a positive mindset and strength-based approach to leadership. 
I have developed the following strategies to assist me in this approach:
1. Start with relationships. Relationships form the foundation for any successful organization. Students and staff need to feel connected and cared for. As such, leaders need to take the tim…

The Power of Your Words

On World Teacher's Day, a reminder of the impact of our words and actions in a child's life...

For sparking imaginations,
For inspiring creativity,
For igniting passions,
For shaping minds,
For all that you do,
Thank You.

YOU make a DIFFERENCE. 

Take a Moment to Celebrate

It only took a minute.

Actually, more accurately, probably about 40 seconds.

A moment to make a "good news" call to a parent who typically only gets phone calls when her son has done something wrong. In fact, I've been the person who's had to make several of those calls this year.

This boy has struggled to find his way and has made some poor choices earlier this year. Repeatedly. At one point, I didn't have much hope that he would be able to turn things around. He was on the verge of going down a road that would be very difficult to travel.

The last time I spoke to this student's mom, she was in tears in my office, accompanied by her son and an RCMP officer.

But then...something changed.

I'm not sure ultimately what made a difference- a supportive teacher, a persistent counsellor, a parent who didn't give up... I'd like to think perhaps that even I played a part.

But over the past several months, something changed.

He started coming to school. On …

Today, I am a Police Officer...and Other Evidence of Success

There are many aspects of my role that I love. However, year-end as a secondary administrator means a great deal of time devoted to tasks that can take me away from time with students and staff.

In case I'm unaware of the endless hours I've spent glued to my computer working on timetabling, staffing and year end events, I am reminded by the oh so friendly "check your rings" from my Apple watch. Triggered by my uncharacteristic inertness, it alerts me that I am still able to "close my rings" if I just go for a brisk three hour walk. Unlikely.

But despite the need for me to spend a frustrating amount of time staring at a computer screen, I am still committed to devoting a good portion of my day to students. After all, that's what it's all about. Barring early morning meetings or unforeseen emergencies, I am still able to maintain my "good morning" routine of welcoming students. I am still able to make my way into a sea of students at breaks …

"Re-Purposing" School Structures

"Innovative" is not synonymous with "new".

I had the opportunity to meet with admin colleagues today, in part to continue a conversation about  "re-imagining" teaching and learning in a secondary setting. Previous sessions have included visits to secondary sites in other districts to explore frameworks that extend beyond the "traditional".

In many cases, these are schools that are viewed as incredibly innovative and progressive. And indeed, they are.

But some of the most "innovative" ideas that I heard from colleagues today were not about introducing new frameworks or structures- they were about "re-purposing" existing frameworks.

One Admin team spoke about a process they undertook to re-examine the model of sustained silent reading. Over the years, the school community had evolved in ways that made the traditional model obsolete. However, despite their best efforts, teachers were reluctant to make what was viewed as a signif…

Everybody Has a Mountain to Climb

It's a remarkable thing when one's passions intertwine in synergistic harmony...

Some of you may know that in my “free time”, I love to hike and even summit the occasional mountain. For me, hiking is a kind of moving meditation, an often solitary excursion that affords me the time to reflect and decompress. 

Summiting a mountain is an extremely humbling experience. It allows me to push my limits, both physically and mentally. The ability to persevere in challenging circumstances serves me well in other areas of my life as well. I have experienced the triumph of pushing past pain and discomfort, of taking just one more step when it seems impossible. I use this analogy when I'm speaking to students who are struggling with seemingly insurmountable obstacles. I strive to help them to see their potential, their infinite possibilities. I try to help them to "climb their mountain" and experience that same triumphant feeling of success and accomplishment. 

In my role, sadly…