Chairperson’s Report to Council for March 2022

by Judy Kelley, Chairperson, LBPSB

With March, comes spring, and with spring comes more daylight, renewed energy, new beginnings and hope for the days, weeks and months ahead. We have just passed the 2-year mark of living, working and educating during a pandemic. In March 2020, as spring and Covid collided, many of us naively thought we’d be back to “normal” before too long as we navigated the last few months of that school year. We didn’t really know what was on the road ahead. I remember our senior administration saying we had plans A, B, C, and D while thinking ahead to August 2020. I don’t need to remind anyone of the ups, downs, twists, turns, somersaults, and back flips, now trendily called pivoting, that we have all have had to do during the past 2 years, and that everyone at the LBPSB has had to do, to put the learners first. Amidst the anxiety and uncertainty with everyone working together for best outcomes, we are still striving for excellence and for every student to reach their potential. Challenges, obstacles, unexpected events, a recent tragedy, and now, since our last meeting in February, a devastating Putin-lead invasion and war in Ukraine, have left us asking many questions about how humans can do better, about how we can help, about how we can assure those around us that it will be okay. That there is hope.
Yet, while so much is going on in the background and foreground, the students of the LBPSB have continued to impress us with their school work, community work, compassion and caring for others. As I am sure all commissioners would agree, the students uplift us. I have recently had the honour to attend The Battle of the Books, and amazing IB presentations at Clearpoint Elementary. We have been so proud of all of the student-led initiatives this month with participation in fundraising for Ukraine, in supporting each other in times of sadness, in their TRC work, in Black History month projects and in social justice advocacy. As well, our students in Continuing Education will be honoured in the month ahead for their prodigious work. We are surrounded by tremendous generosity and good will, and really, really good people.
While commissioners continue our governance, committee and governing board work, we are also committed to enhancing our knowledge so that we can contribute as best we can to the LBPSB. At our next professional development session, coming up in April, we will participate in a workshop with two different presentations from LBPSB professionals, one on an understanding of students’ mental health concerns and services, and the other on transgender students’ needs. Being well-informed as a council helps us in the work we do for our students and their families. There is much to learn. Much to know. We can’t do this work alone.
Although one person can make a huge difference to creating hope and optimism for others, humans often function much more effectively as a whole, as a unit of kindness, as a community that wants the world to be a safe place, that wants everyone to be included, welcomed and cared for. That said, the decisions we make, every day, with the LBPSB students in mind, are with these principles at the forefront. We all need to work together to be the best we can be. This is what we hope for at the LBPSB.
I would like to conclude my remarks with a short poem from the remarkable, outstanding American poet, Amanda Gorman, who amazed us and left viewers awe-struck in her delivery of the poem The Hill We Climb which she recited at President Biden’s inauguration, 2 years ago. This poem, from her collection, Call Us What We Carry, is entitled Every Day We Are Learning. Its message is touching and moving.
So tonight, I leave you with the wise words of the inspirational Amanda Gorman.
EVERY DAY WE ARE LEARNING
Every day we are learning
How to live with essence, not ease.
How to move with haste, never hate.
How to leave this pain that is beyond us
Behind us.
Just like a skill or any art,
We cannot possess hope without practicing it.
It is the most fundamental craft we demand of ourselves.
Thank you.
Kindness matters.