Director General's Report to Council for September 2023
by Cindy Finn, Director General, LBPSB
Classes have been in session for about a month now, and the 2023-24 school year is off to a terrific start. Since the start of classes, I have been fortunate to visit a number of schools and centres and witness the energy and excitement brought on by a new school year. During the opening days of school, I was on hand to greet students at Kingsdale Academy, got to dance with students and staff at St. John Fisher Sr., and participated in a balloon parade for K-5 students at Clearpoint Elementary. There were lots of smiles and words of welcome for new and returning students.
It is not just students who are settling into their new routines. Since the start of school, curriculum nights and meet the teacher events have taken place in our elementary and high schools so that parents are prepared for the year ahead. Committees and governing boards are also being formed, and the school year is taking shape nicely. I wish to thank all of our parents who have made the commitment to join a governing board or a home and school association or one of the many committees that help our system run. Your contributions are much appreciated.
September is not only a month for new beginnings, it is also be a time to bid a final farewell to graduating students. Two weeks ago, I was honoured to take part in the graduation ceremonies held at the West Island Career Centre. It was very moving to witness graduates from our health care programs celebrate their achievements and proudly take their professional oath. Last Friday evening, I had the privilege of addressing the 2023 Macdonald High School graduates at their commencement exercises. Congratulations to our newest graduates and all the best for the future.
On the topic of celebrations, on September 26th, a ceremony was held at our Head Office marking the 25th anniversary of the Lester B. Pearson School Board. Personnel, administrators, and commissioners, both past and present, were on hand to kick off our year of celebrations. The next time you drive past the Brookdale offices, you will see an anniversary banner on display and the young silver maple tree that was planted in honour of our silver anniversary.
Other activities of note this month are the many Terry Fox runs that took place at various schools and centres. Each year our students and staff raise thousands of dollars for cancer research, and it has been inspiring to see the media feature some of the special stories that surround the Terry Fox runs in our community. At Head Office we held the 3rd annual Terry Fox run on Friday September 22, and it was a glorious day to walk in support of a great cause.
During the last week of September, schools and centres observed Orange Shirt Day in recognition of the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on September 30th. Our September council meeting featured a special presentation of a project completed by grade 6 students from St. Edmund and Kateri Elementary in Kahnawake. Their time spent together learning and sharing about indigenous and non-indigenous fostered deeper appreciation and respect in the two communities and the song they recorded is an example of truth and reconciliation efforts to which students are deeply committed. On September 29th, indigenous elders and some of our students will participate in a ceremony to honour the importance of truth and reconciliation activities. As we see throughout our system, there are many things we can do in a spirit of mutual understanding, healing and respect.
September is indeed a whirlwind month, and it is wonderful to experience the feelings of enthusiasm and positivity that abound at this time of year. The new school year is off to a great start, and I thank the efforts of all of our staff who have worked so hard to make la rentrée scolaire such a success.