September 14, 2018 Message to Members


This week was marked by remembrance for many of us. The 17th anniversary of the 9/11 tragedy prompted conversations of “where were you when…?” and a fresh realization of how life can change without warning. It was my first week as a new VP in a middle school, and my youngest child had just turned one that summer. My memories of that morning and my arrival at school are shadowed by the realization that it was the first time that I would be the adult others turned to in a time of crisis and fear. Although we managed to get through the day and the ones that followed, I realized that having a plan for the unthinkable is an important part of our role.

On another sad note, the return to the ice of the Humboldt Broncos following April’s devastating bus crash prompted thoughts of my own youthful travel with teams across the northern territories as a youngster and BC during my days with the Trail Smokies. The sheer physical challenge Canadians face in connecting with teammates, colleagues and communities across vast distances is our reality. We want our own kids and students to have a chance to build memories — often their first experience of independence — by traveling with their friends and teammates and building their confidence. Many of our parents may need our support as they reflect on the tragedy with their children in mind. Think about the conversations that can help them to navigate the life-changing stories that have been related this week and underscore the resilience of the individuals and families affected.

It’s opportune that many of my recent interactions and meetings have centred on mental health and the need for mental health literacy and systemic supports across the province. We share a desire for action with our colleagues in the sector – this week I was in three meetings where Glen Hansman of the BCTF and Claire Guy of the BCSSA were also in attendance, and that sense of community will help us to advance projects related to mental health.

As leaders it’s important to remember to purposefully provide avenues of support but to also create the space for students and staff to share their feelings. And, don’t forget to take care of your own emotional support: the trigger of memory affects us all.

Enjoy your weekend, and opportunities to unplug and engage in the many activities that our wonderful province offers.

Take Care, David