School is back in session and students are back in classes for another year. Many are settled back into routines and schedules in new spaces! Making new friends and learning from new teachers and teachers new to them. Living Waters Catholic Schools Board is pleased to welcome back Darrell Ghostkeeper from Slave Lake, Gemma Christie (Vice Chair) from Edson and Irene Sawyer from Whitecourt. New trustees to the Board include Florence Gladue from Slave Lake and Tammy Kennedy from Edson, welcome to the Board, we are excited to see what the next term holds. With the election and organizational meeting behind us, the Board is ready to get to work ensuring the needs of all students in the division are being met.
The Board determined that for the Division to move forward, it was prudent they develop Guiding Principles for their decision making:
1. We will honour our Catholic tradition in all the decisions we make; we will model the way.
2. We will ensure resources will be used to maximize student learning.
3. We will ensure respectful relationships with our stakeholders and consultation.
4. We will be transparent and open when communicating information.
5. We will provide all budget facts.
6. We will engage in priority-based budgeting; we will honour defined aspects of site-based and centralized decision making.
7. We will continuously examine our initiatives, practices, and procedures to ensure they support our goals.
8. We will continuously strive to achieve efficiencies as a Division.
9. We will make evidence-informed decisions.
10. We will ensure student success through attraction, development and retention of quality people.
11. We will ensure health and safety for our students and staff.
With these guiding principles in mind, the Board has decided to focus on the following areas of emphasis for our Division:
1. Focus on Catholic values and Faith Development – We are a Catholic School Division, a focus on Catholic values and faith development needs to be at the core of what we do. Everything we do for Catholic Education flows out from our Faith.
2. Develop student engagement processes – First and foremost we recognize that we are here for the students and as such we need to engage with them and hear from them.
3. Continue to advocate for student space in our communities - We may be a smaller school division, but we have seen continued student growth in each of our communities. Our students require learning spaces that will meet their needs.
4. Focus on transparent communication in all Board activities – As elected officials we are here to serve our students, constituents and communities. To do this we need to be available, open and transparent in all aspects of our Board Governance.
5. Focus on the directions outlined in The Living Waters Blueprint 4.0. – The Blueprint will help us build pathways to the future for Catholic Education in Living Waters. Our values, principles and pillars will be the lens through which we look at all we do for Catholic Education in the Division.
6. Embrace knowledge and cultural awareness of the First Nation, Metis and Inuit perspectives - As we learn more from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and incorporate this aspect of Canadian aboriginal history into the curriculum, we need to ensure we understand the impact in the classroom and that our staff are prepared to teach the curriculum.
7. Focus on health and wellness throughout the Division – We need to focus on the whole person, students and staff, to ensure that their physical, mental, emotional and spiritual needs are addressed.
The Living Waters Board of Trustees are in a unique leadership position. As such we call on God to guide our work, guide our decision making and direct our unique talents so that we may listen attentively to those we encounter and find the strength and courage we need to face the challenges before us. By the grace of God, we want to be your gospel witnesses, spreading the Good News through Catholic Education, so that we the Board can point ourselves, our staff and our students towards a future that is filled with hope and faith. The Board of Living Waters is here to serve, protect, nurture and rightly guide, through Catholic Education and in the Catholic Faith, those students you have entrusted to our care.Your Humble Servant, Dana Kentner, Board Chair