Blog Posts

October 14, 2022

Shadow a Student

As part of my personal inquiry into the student experience in our district, I have met with groups of students from each of our high schools over each of the last few years. Generally, I have asked our school leaders to ensure that the student group is diverse and represents a range in ages, gender, abilities, race and gender identities, etc. In a large high school, it is not difficult to get a diverse group, but I suspect it challenging to get a truly representative group of students who together can paint a fulsome picture of the student experience for me and the administration

September 1, 2022

My Hopes for This School Year

Now in my thirty-fifth year as an educator, I still look forward to the beginning of the school year with anticipation. It still feels like yesterday, but three and a half decades ago, I started my career in Peace River South School District as a grade 6/7 teacher in Devereaux Elementary School. I remember when I first saw the ad for the position, going to a map to see where the heck this place was. The principal, Mr. Evans, interviewed me over the phone and offered me the job shortly thereafter.

June 30, 2022

In Recognition of Our Ubuntu

This time last year, I posted a blog expressing my profound gratitude to all our staff for getting us through what was a tremendously demanding year. As I look back on this past school year, I continue to be truly grateful for how we have managed an even more challenging year than we anticipated.

June 16, 2022

The Launch of Our Equity Website

One of the lasting legacies of the COVID-19 pandemic will be its exposure of pre-existing societal inequities to a wider audience. While inequities have existed in society and schools since they were created, the pandemic has caused many of us to see them with greater clarity. The murder of George Floyd perhaps served as a catalyzing moment, but I suspect there were more forces at play.

April 28, 2022

Speaking Your Truth: Student Voices (from WJ Mouat)

The most recent stop on my student voice inquiry journey was at WJ Mouat. I continue to be fascinated by the diversity of thought about certain issues, and simultaneously the remarkable consistency around other topics. Rather than editorialize, I will Arianna (Gr. 9), Omran (Gr. 12), Jazzi (Gr. 11), Nickolas (Gr. 11), Bella (Gr. 11), Lily (Gr. 12), Nathan (Gr. 11), Jayda (Gr. 12), and Natalie (Gr. 12) speak their truth:

When you think about school, what is the first word that comes to mind? Why?

March 10, 2022

Trust the Village

I visited the temporary Upper Sumas Elementary site this week to see how the staff and students were adjusting to their “new” environment (For those of you who have been around as long as I have been, this was the old Abby Elementary School site). As I approached the front doors, I saw a class of students standing in circle in a little garden patch. I made eye contact with the teacher, Ms. Marr, who invited me to join their circle. She told me that they had just finished sharing what they were grateful for and invited me to do the same.

February 3, 2022

Why Celebrate Black History Month?

I have a hope that one day we will not have to celebrate Black History Month, that our society, discourse and school curricula will be redolent with the contributions and experiences of Black Canadians, that Black students in our schools will be proud of who they are, that they will see their history and culture in the ecology of their school experiences, and that they will not suffer the legacy of prejudice and racism as their previous generation had.

October 26, 2021

Distinguishing the Weather from the Work

As a way of keeping our focus on the teaching and learning in our schools, I have drawn a distinction between the “work”, our primary focus on providing for the educational needs of our students, and the “weather”, the conditions under which we do this work. In uncertain times if we are not careful, we sometimes confuse the two. While it is clearly important to ensure that we are following all the public health protocols, caution must be extended to ensure that this does not become the primary focus of our discourse and practice.

October 15, 2021

Outside & Online

As we navigate the fourth wave of the pandemic, with an eye to post-pandemic teaching and learning, it has dawned on me that two of the lessons learned from the pandemic might be at odds with each other. With physical distancing being one of the best ways to keep ourselves and kids safe from COVID-19, we saw many classrooms migrate outdoors, at least for part of their instructional experience. This was sage advice given to us by public health, and many classroom teachers were all over it.