Appropriately this morning, I think to look over your shoulder and behind you at the year that was, should bring numerous memories, invoke a range of emotions, and stir both smiles and tears for some. While always better to look ahead than behind, in my opinion, if we are to grow as individuals and learners, we do need to reflect on our experiences and consider them as part of our “journey”. As you start this morning, this last day of 2018-2019, I ask you to do that.
With virtually the entire year behind us now, save for a couple of graduations and ceremonies this morning, I think it is a very appropriate time to look back, and ask ourselves “What have we learned, How have grown, How have we changed?” And for most, including myself, I suspect that the answers lie somewhere along the continuum: “Lots if we are willing to see it, Like the students in front of us, and…, In ways we can’t even begin to appreciate.’
However you choose to occupy your time this summer, and wherever you choose to occupy it please put some time aside to consider these questions. Likely out on the deck overlooking a Northwestern Ontario horizon, or amidst a good book, maybe while driving towards a family destination, or my favourite….out on the water fishing, please think of this and as you do give yourself a pat on the back and feel validated for a job well done.
For myself, it’s back to school time as I head to the University of Toronto to become a student again, although I suspect this experience will be very different than my undergraduate days. Nevertheless, I will too reflect on these questions myself, just as I have asked all of you as well.
I want to say thank you to all of you as you begin your last day in schools. To our Board office staff, thank you for the work you do to support us and thank you for the work you will do over the summer to keep us running. Thank you to our custodial and maintenance staff who now begin their annual efforts to prepare our halls and classrooms for a new start in September. Thank you to the Administration who lead our schools day in and out and amidst increasingly complex and challenging times, and thank you to my Senior Executive team who have worked relentlessly alongside me this year to make the best and most sound decisions that ultimately impact all of you and our students. Lastly, thank you to our Trustees for their leadership and resolve to develop a new Strategic Plan that not only identifies our priorities but also puts kids first; you should be proud. And speaking of pride…mine grows in KPDSB each day, from me to all of you it is with gratitude that I express my deep sense of profound respect for this organization and who we have become, thank you again.
Enjoy your summer, enjoy long days filled with laughs, sunrises, good books and the occasional ginger ale…you have earned it.