A Time to Reflect on the Values We Share
February 15, 2019

We are midway through February and while Mother Nature continues to hurl adverse winter weather our way, the days are getting slightly longer and we dare to hope that spring will one day come.

February is also a busy time for the education system, and a time to reflect on some of the important values we share. February 8-15 was Teacher-Staff Appreciation Week in Canada. In this province, we joined with the Newfoundland and Labrador Federation of School Councils (which spearheads the event in this province each year) and the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development to acknowledge the contributions of all District staff who support the education of children. That includes staff in our regional offices who keep the back office functions moving; senior management, program specialists, administrative support, administrators, teachers, guidance counsellors, teaching and learning assistants, school secretaries, student assistants, maintenance personnel, bus drivers and more. I take this opportunity to sincerely thank our employees for their commitment and dedication to our students, and for the countless times they go above and beyond to meet their needs, and enable them to succeed in a safe and inclusive learning environment. While there are always challenges to address and overcome, we will continue to focus on “students first” and do everything within our ability and authority to enrich our students’ educational experience.

February will also see schools throughout the District celebrating Pink Shirt Day on February 27. It is a time for schools and the District to reiterate and reinforce the message that we will not tolerate bullying and harassment in our schools - whether that be verbal, physical, via technology, or in any way whatsoever. We have made great strides in this area and, supported through Provincial Government policy and legislation, I believe we are getting closer to educating students, and creating school environments, where acceptance and inclusion are just part of our everyday reality. There will be exceptions and negative incidents - but maintaining a strong, consistent approach to unacceptable behaviours is critical to addressing these issues.

We are also preparing to join the Newfoundland and Labrador Teachers’ Association in celebrating Education Week (March 3-9), which is a time to highlight the many exciting and innovative things that are happening in our schools, led by some of the most highly-educated teachers in the country. I look forward to seeing how individual schools choose to highlight and celebrate their successes that week.

On a final note, we sometimes forget how fortunate we are to live in a society that supports and values public education for all children. It is easy to take that access for granted. So I encourage parents, guardians and students to recognize the enormous privilege we have to live in a part of the world where K-12 education is a fundamental right. I also encourage students to exercise that right every day, by attending classes and participating fully in their own learning experience.

Tony Stack
CEO/Director of Education

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95 Elizabeth Avenue
St. John's, NL · A1B 1R6
Tel: (709) 758-2372 · Fax: (709) 758-2706
95 Elizabeth Avenue
St. John's, NL · Canada · A1B 1R6
Tel: (709) 758-2372 · Fax: (709) 758-2706

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