2010: still learning; 2011: still learning.

I just got this bulletin from the good folks at WordPress.com: “The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health: Fresher than ever, we think you did great!

Healthy blog!

The Leaning Tower of Pisa has 296 steps to reach the top. This blog was viewed about 1,100 times in 2010. If those were steps, it would have climbed the Leaning Tower of Pisa four times. In 2010, there were 18 new posts, not bad for the first year!” Thanks, WordPress.com and your helper monkeys too!

I anticipate a bit more activity in 2011. I am still trying to shoehorn blogging into the rest of my activities. While I wanted to post twice a week, once every two weeks seems more doable… or when I have something to say that readers would enjoy, or important information to pass on.

Lately I’ve been so busy reading, I haven’t had much time for writing, but I think I now have fodder for multiple posts! I am re-reading two books from my first year as a trustee: Reclaiming Public Education by Reclaiming Our Democracy by David Mathews and Whatever It Takes: How Professional Learning Communities Respond When Kids Don’t Learn by Richard DuFour, Rebecca DuFour, Robert Eaker, Gayle Karhanek. As a starry-eyed newbie in 2004, these two works ignited my excitement for this work and reaffirmed my decision to commit to trusteeship. There is much that is still relevant in these (for me) seminal works; it is also interesting to see the trajectory that our district is on regarding democracy and PLC’s.

In 2011 Canadian Rockies Public Schools (CRPS) moves forward in work across many fronts to improve education for our students: participation in the integration of services for children in our district and consulting with the community via the Community Education Network (come out on the evening of January 12 – details to follow). At the provincial level, there is the School Act revision, Setting the Directions (changes to Special Education funding and procedures), and the ongoing talks between the Alberta Ministry of Education and the Alberta Teachers’ Association regarding an extension of the current provincial deal on wages (expiring 2012 – never too early to resolve that one!). The actions that the province takes will have a huge impact on our schools. Changes in funding formulas, mandates and regulations will present a challenge, combined with the district’s current deficit.

Dave Hancock, the Minister of Education, has an unenviable task. Expectations are high. The level of consultation during Inspiring Education and Inspiring Action was extensive, generating optimism about the possibilities. Given the complexity of providing solutions to existing inequities and gaps in funding and the harsh reality that “Education is just a big black hole for money” (a sentiment expressed to that starry-eyed newbie by a then-ADM of the Ministry of Learning), there are no straightforward or simple fixes. We’ll just have to see what the New Year will bring, then do what we – the board, administration, staff, teachers, parents, COMMUNITY – always do: make it work for the kids.

About Esmé Comfort

My husband Jim and I moved to the Bow Valley in 1980, settling in Canmore in 1983. Both my children were born in Canmore and attended K -12 in Canadian Rockies Public Schools District (CRPS), French Immersion. For the past six years I served as vice-chair of the board. Alberta Government support to the CRPS Inspiring Hearts & Minds initiative created opportunities for provincial, national and international outreach. In the past I held positions on the Canmore Daycare Board, the preschool board, and various school councils/PACs; I served as president of the local chapter of Canadian Parents for French for five years and sat on the provincial board for two. I currently sit on the board of the Canmore Folk Music Festival, work full time at an events management firm and edit, copy-edit and proofread on contract. My husband and I ran a small main street business for 18 years: supply and install floor wall and window coverings.
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