THE PRESIDENT’S PERSPECTIVE - Brian Leonard
September 16, 2022 Message to Members
As you complete the first full week of the school year, I hope you will take a moment to reflect on the myriad details of start-up that you have addressed and accomplished in such a short period of time. It is often difficult for Principals and Vice-Principals to reflect on a job well done, as you proceed quickly to the next project at hand. It was often joked about when I was in SFU's PDP program a lifetime ago, but reflection is how we process what we have done. We can find satisfaction in what went well, and think about how we can do some things better.
Since your start-up activities are mostly complete, my best wishes for the activities ahead, including the Terry Fox Run, open houses, sports activities, and the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation / Orange Shirt Day. In many ways, school life is almost back to normal; however, with COVID still lurking, we must continue to be cautious and vigilant.
While many of you are immersed in your support of school activities, members in some communities are grappling with a very serious and potentially devasting development – wildfires. The extraordinarily hot and dry summer has made parts of the province tinder dry. The community of Hudson’s Hope in SD60 (Peace River North) is under an evacuation order due to the Battleship Mountain wildfire. For Principal Derrek Beam, the school year has not yet begun, and the future is uncertain. The BCPVPA stands ready to offer support and help for our members through this crisis.
In another community with hope in its name, the Flood Falls fire near Hope, BC has closed the eastbound lanes of the main route to the Interior. Smoke is choking residents from Hope to Vancouver, requiring some Principals and Vice-Principals to keep their students indoors during break times. Both fires are listed on the BC Wildfire Service website, as Wildfires of Note. Never have so many BC citizens looked forward to the rain in this weekend’s forecast – as long as it doesn’t bring lightning strikes!
As I stated in my first column in late August, every year brings new challenges to our members. In recent years, the challenges have become ever more significant, underscoring the importance of our members connecting and supporting each other both in their local communities and in the BCPVPA community. Only last week, I noted that the strength of our Association is in our members. That statement has never been truer.
As you are aware, schools and district offices will be closed on Monday, September 19 to observe the National Day of Mourning commemorating the funeral and remarkable 70 years of service of HM Queen Elizabeth II. Due to publication deadlines, we were not able to acknowledge her passing in last week’s eNews, but we did issue this tweet on behalf of the Association and our members.
To conclude on a positive note, I was recently invited by SD43 (Coquitlam) Superintendent Patricia Gartland to tour the new SD43 Education and Learning Centre (School Board Office). This amazing, innovative, and state-of-the-art $32 million-dollar project was spearheaded by former BCPVPA member, Ivano Cecchini, now Executive Director, Facilities and Planning Services. In addition to viewing the facility with the Superintendent, I was grateful for a tour led by BCPVPA member District Principal Devon Ross, and to connect with other members, District Principals Craig Mah and Nadine Tambellini.
In the attached photo, I am standing by one of two house posts that grace the reception desk inside the front entrance. The house posts are created and carved by Kwantlen First Nation carver Brandon Gabriel, whose children attend SD43 schools. In an acknowledgment of inclusivity, both posts are painted with the colours from the Progress Pride Flag. For his efforts, Ivano is a finalist in the District Leadership category of the 2022 Premier’s Awards for Excellence in Education. This beautiful facility is truly a wonderful and collaborative effort that everyone in SD43 can take pride in.
All the best for this unexpected long weekend,