Director General's Report to Council for September 2022
by Cindy Finn, Director General, LBPSB
Back to School
This marks our fourth week of classes, and it is fair to say we had a successful launch of the new school year. Although we had some busing disruptions in the first few days of school, by and large our school transportation network is now running well. A very big word of thanks to our team in transportation services for their efforts to work with our carriers to troubleshoot ongoing bus driver shortage issues.
Many of the activities we typically associate with the start of a new school year – meet the teacher night, curriculum evenings, governing board meetings, back to school corn roasts and bbqs, school spirit and after school activities are again taking place. Seeing regular activities resume in person and reviving the typical rituals of school life in person have been a very welcome change of pace from the last two school years.
On the first day of classes, I paid a visit to St. Thomas High School. There, I witnessed the future class of 2026 (our grade 7 cohort) as they began navigating their transition to secondary school. Moving from elementary to high school means embracing a lot of new experiences and expectations – a new schedule that changes daily, a new and larger school building with many corridors and classrooms to explore, new lockers and combination locks to manage, new teachers and staff to meet, and new classmates to befriend. It was wonderful to see staff helping these students adjust to all things new in their world, and it was terrific to see the smiles on everyone’s faces as these grade 7 students acclimatized to their new surroundings. I was also impressed to see the transformation that has taken place in the St. Thomas building over the last year or so. The renovations that were undertaken to maximize the space of the school plant and upgrade the facilities are truly impressive.
I was also fortunate to visit Springdale Elementary on a sunny September morning a few weeks ago. I was invited to observe the CAA student patrol in action, an initiative involving a group of gr. 5 and 6 students who have volunteered to be outside in the parking lot each morning to greet parents dropping off their children and help escort their classmates into the school safely. These students receive training by CAA and the socio-community police officers and learn about the importance of school safety. It was gratifying to see these students serving as safety ambassadors. In talking with them I was impressed with how seriously they take their responsibilities. It was a powerful reminder of the important role that everyone plays in creating safe and caring school environments.
My visits are not only limited to schools and centres. On Sept 7th, I attended the grand opening of the Overture with the Arts (OWTA) new Arts and Culture Centre. Overture with the Arts is one of the many community organizations with long standing ties to the Lester B. Pearson community. Their bright and vibrant space in Pierrefonds-Roxboro will serve as an important gathering place for youth interested in the programs offered by Overture with the Arts such as art classes, theatre workshops, day camps and movie nights. Congratulations to Akilah Newton and her dedicated team; I wish OWTA all the best in this new phase of growth for their organization.
The rest of this month will be filled with other activities such as the Terry Fox Run, Orange Shirt Day, and a pedagogical day on Sept. 23 that will be devoted to professional learning and working on individual education plans for students who require additional support and adaptations.
Best wishes for a great school year!
It is wonderful to see the positive energy and enthusiasm in all corners of our organization. We have begun the school year in a good way, and I wish every continued success to our students and staff.