January 24, 2020 Message to Members

A New Year

As we wrap up week three of 2020, I hope that you were able to unplug – literally, and figuratively – during the break.

Ironically, my departure from the Lower Mainland to head home for the holiday was delayed by road closures due to extreme snowfall, but eventually we made our way to the Kootenays. Despite the record snow falls leading up to the break, my ‘home hill’ Red Mountain was hit by the warming trend in late December and skiing was limited. But, rather than wallowing in self-pity that I wasn’t skiing fresh Kootenay powder snow, I enjoyed something new … nesting! Having three 20+ kids around made for some amazing conversation. I found myself listening much more and saying much less. Darn kids know a lot!

So, here we are: January 24, 2020. Most of our elementary colleagues are supporting their school communities, as students and families transition back to routines, our secondary colleagues are already preparing for 2020 course selections and in semester schools they are busy planning for a ‘year-end’ and the start of semester two. Our colleagues in district positions are gearing up for budget and enrolment predictions, and those of us with online and alternate responsibilities are awaiting the details of the funding review. In other words, January for Principals and Vice-Principals is incredibly busy!

Luck was with me last week as I was able to dodge some extreme weather and flew in and out of the Okanagan. I was visiting our colleagues in SD 58 Nicola Similkameen, and I enjoyed sitting in on their district team meeting in Princeton. It was great to hear a bit about the strategic planning process, along with the initiatives and successes SD 58 has experienced, and in turn I was able to share some provincial perspectives and respond to contextual questions.

This week was busy with Ministry meetings, specifically the Framework for Enhancing Student Learning Advisory Committee, Sector Advisory and the Leadership Working Group. I appreciate the opportunity I have to share the perspectives of Principals and Vice-Principals during these conversations, and I am reminded of the importance of connection. My Chapter visits and the engaging conversations that we have are critical to my capacity to represent our members’ experiences and perspectives. Much of the feedback is reinforcing, as our roles are relatively similar and familiar, but local context really matters. Chapter visits create and sustain our connectedness both as individuals and as a leadership community.

Today I am enjoying connecting with our Contract Advisory Committee in Richmond. The wisdom and experience in the room is so appreciated as we discuss items that carry some significant gravity. In essence, your contract is a tangible representation of financial security for you and your family, a framework to support your professional capacity and the safety net for your physical and social-emotional health. I am grateful to our colleagues who take the time to support us with this critically important work, and I look forward to the strategic conversations.

Tomorrow, I head out of town to continue my learning with the BC Compassionate Systems Leadership team. I am excited to reconnect with our international cohort, Mette Boell and Peter Senge, over the course of next week.

As the weekend approaches, please take a minute to consider your own ‘battery levels’ and respond to your needs. As Marc Brackett says, “give yourself permission to feel.”

Take Care,

David