Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Restoring Safe Services Together roadmap

Phase 2 is still a proposal as far as I know it. The province wants feedback: https://engagemb.ca/restoring-safe-services-phase-two
The last question in the survey is: Do you have any additional comments on the draft plan for phase two of the Restoring Safe Services Together roadmap?
This is my response to that question:
The points below are from the Schools portion of Phase 2. My response to each point starts with a *
-Indoor occupancy limits of 50 per cent of normal occupancy levels or one person per 10 square metres will be in place. Teachers and students may meet in small group or one-on-one settings to conduct student assessments, provide clinical supports, administer recovery and remedial learning plans and provide therapeutic services. *The numbers don't add up. Most classrooms are about 700 sq ft. This allows for about 5 kids plus a teacher to be in a room at one time. Much less than 50% capacity in most schools. This will help some kids but schools won't provide transportation so this is inequitable for families. Many families who really need the extra support won't be able to access it especially in rural areas. The amount of time that this will provide for most kids will have little to no educational benefit to most students.
-Scheduled students can access school Wi-Fi and/or computer equipment. *Many schools are already doing this.
-Counselling access and emergency phone access may be provided for students. *Many schools are already doing this.
-Remote learning continues but will wind down throughout June as student assessment and transition planning begins. This planning may be done remotely or in person depending on local needs and individual considerations. *The expectation for teachers to continue online/remote teaching AND provide in school supports will create lots of anxiety and stress for teachers and families. Also, report cards still need to get done. It feels as if it is an optics move to make it look like teachers are working. They already are in the current model. Kids and families (and teachers) are in a good routine now and making another change will increase stress/anxiety in many cases.
-starting schools on August 31st, 2020 and re-purposing some of the non-instructional days throughout the school year. *I have had many families tell me they will not start their kids in school before labour day. This will potentially make things even more inequitable. Changing non-instructional days to instructional days will likely not have the impact it's intended for. Having long weekends for kids/families throughout the year is healthy. No breaks may increase anxiety/stress. Staff need this time to collaborate, plan and learn. This pandemic has been traumatic for some kids and families (and teachers). Teachers will need to continue to learn trauma informed practices and look at assessment and other data to ensure appropriate programming is in place for all kids. If this pandemic does change how schools are run/organized teachers will need time and PD in the new reality so we can continue to provide academic and social emotional support for kids and their families. This seems to be politically motivated and I question the cost/benefit ratio in terms of how this will really benefit kids. Next year we start the same we always do. We learn our kids early in the year, figure out what they need and then plan accordingly.

Monday, June 3, 2019

Manitoba Education Review - Written Response

Please accept my enclosed written response for the K-12 Manitoba Education Review. It is my hope that teachers are listened to first and foremost. It is also my hope that commission members take the time to visit as many schools in as many different areas as possible. This will give the commission members the best opportunity to see what really happens everyday in classrooms around Manitoba.

I do hope as that my letter is read and concerns/ideas are considered. After my experience at one of the consultation meetings and an interaction with one of the commission members I fear that this review is just a process to go through and the '“bold recommendations to ignite change” have already been decided.

Thank you for the opportunity to share my thoughts.

Andrew Mead
Oakbank, MB


Manitoba’s Commission on K-12 Education
470 - 800 Portage Avenue
Winnipeg, Manitoba
R3G 0N4

May 31, 2019

Dear Commission Members,

The K-12 education review is tasked with proposing a “renewed vision” for kindergarten-to-Grade 12 education to make “bold recommendations to ignite change” within existing systems and programs that will inspire excellence in teaching and learning. This review will concentrate on six broad areas of focus:

  1. Long-term vision
  2. Student learning
  3. Teaching
  4. Accountability for student learning
  5. Governance
  6. Funding

I am currently in my 22nd year of teaching. In that time I have had the opportunity to work  in 7 different schools as a teacher, department head, vice principal, and principal in both urban and rural settings. I have served on many school based, divisional based and provincial committees throughout my career as well as spent countless hours outside the regular school day as a coach and club leader at every school I have had the opportunity to be a member of. I also have two young children who are about to enter the public school system so I am greatly invested in the direction of education in Manitoba, how it is funded and the supports that students, families, schools and divisions have access to. These are my thoughts on how Manitoba can make a “renewed vision” for education in Manitoba.

Long-term vision
What should the goals and purpose of K-12 education be in a rapidly changing world?

Manitoba students deserve an education system that ensures they learn the skills, dispositions, knowledge and values that will help them succeed in an ever changing world. Our students need to learn basic competency skills in the areas of: Critical Thinking, Communication, Collaboration, Creativity, and to exhibit good Citizenship and strong Character. This requires relevant and challenging curriculum with a focus on intellectual, social, academic and emotional growth. Our students and families deserve learning environments that are dynamic and inclusive. A space where every child can thrive. All of our schools require classrooms that have current technology that can be infused into learning opportunities for students and staff. This technology will break down the walls of the school giving students access to learning partnerships that enhance opportunities for students and teachers to learn and share their learning with the world.

Student learning
What are the conditions required to achieve excellence in student achievement and outcomes in Manitoba?

All students deserve access to equal and fair learning opportunities. With the high rates of child poverty throughout Manitoba baseline supports for all schools are needed. All schools require full time learning support teachers, guidance counselors and in the senior years, access to addictions services.

Families require access to social workers, school psychologists, language pathology, occupational therapists, and physiotherapists at minimum. Schools require access to healthy food for students who come to school hungry everyday.  Students and families deserve access to assessments for children with cognitive challenges, so that those who qualify for a special education designation receive early intervention and the necessary supports, regardless of where in the province the student is attending school. Children with special needs, including behavioural needs, deserve equal and fair opportunities within the classrooms of their peers with adequate support. Manitoba students deserve access to a mental health curriculum that promotes mental wellness and a curriculum that helps reduce the stigma associated with mental health issues. Students and their families deserve mental health services are readily accessible in schools and increase the number of school counsellors and other specialist support teachers to address students’ mental health issues where necessary.
Classrooms need to be inclusive where all children feel welcome and feel they have the opportunity for success. This requires support and class sizes that allow for personal connections to be made between the child and the teacher.

How can teachers and school leaders become more effective?
Every staff that I have had the opportunity to work with has been full of dedicated and caring teachers and administration. There are many factors that impact a teacher’s or leader’s ‘effectiveness’. This is based on what the definition of effective is.

Principals and vice principals are first-and-foremost principal teachers and an integral part of the general body of the teaching profession. Ensuring that school based administration remain within the bargaining unit will further help school culture and relationships within school staffs. All teaching and learning is relationship based. Taking school based administration out of the association will create  a fracture within a school which will limit risk taking, trust, and communication. School leaders and teachers must work together to ensure a safe and happy school culture exists. The best teachers must become school leaders. Creating the conditions where the best teachers want to become principals, is of utmost importance.

We need teachers in settings (management class sizes) that allow them to connect with each of the children under their care. Teachers require ongoing access to professional development experiences that are adequately funded by Manitoba Education and Training so that teachers have opportunity to increase skills for their work in complex and diverse classrooms.

Accountability for student learning
How can the education system develop a stronger sense of shared accountability for student learning?

I believe the key word in this area is shared. Educating children is a shared responsibility between the home, school, community and government. Ensuring students and teachers have access to a relevant and rich curriculum.

The word “assess” comes from the Latin assidere, which means to sit beside. Literally then, to assess means to sit beside the learner. One and done standardized tests that rank students, schools and communities are not effective to ensure student growth and excellence.  Assessments should be created and used to promote further growth and the data gained from standardized assessments is used to drive teaching and next steps in learning. This provides opportunities to schools and families to work together to build individual and personalized plans to ensure every child has the opportunity to meet their full potential. Data should be used to drive further curriculum development and to dedicate resources to support all children in the places where it’s needed the most.

What type of governance structures are needed to create a coordinated and relevant education system?

I am in support of the current system of elected school board governance within Manitoba. School boards are the voices within the community when it comes to the programming, services and supports offered in local schools. The school board works with the community and for the community, to ensure that the schools provide what the community wants and needs. Schools in some Manitoba communities look different from schools in other parts of the province. Those differences are the result of choices local  school boards have made on behalf of the community. Those differences are the result of grassroots democracy in action. Keeping a local voice in education ensures differentiated instruction on a systemic level.

Furthermore, Manitoba is a diverse province. This requires local control and decision making. Mandating a reduction in the number of school divisions in Manitoba will not enhance learning opportunities for students. A reduction in numbers means an increase in size, and an increase in size means that it will become more difficult for community members to have their voices heard. School divisions, and the boards that govern them, are already administered efficiently. Experience has shown that there are few, if any, savings to be found in amalgamating school divisions. Trading a voice in local schools for minimal or nonexistent savings is not worth it. Schools belong to communities and when it comes to education, it is important that communities have a voice to make choices that reflect the needs of the community.

It is also important that the following points are maintained:
  1. Teachers remain governed under the Labour Relations Act.
  2. MTS will bargain directly with the Province of Manitoba (the funder).
  3. Bargaining must be free, fair and with an open scope.
  4. The mechanisms for dispute resolution, whether strike or interest arbitration, must be without limitation.
  5. The best provisions from existing collective agreements should be the standard for the new contract.
  6. The membership of MTS will remain, as it currently exists.

What actions are required to ensure that the education system is sustainable and provides equitable learning opportunities for all children and youth?

Every child in Manitoba is entitled to an education that meets the child’s needs and therefore
supports an education system where the provincial government is responsible for funding to support the necessary programs for students to achieve excellence and where funding is stable, adequate and sustainable to support student learning.

I am in agreement that reviewing the education system is important and necessary. This review will provide families, schools, communities and the government the opportunity to ensure that appropriate resources are in place to fully support every child within the public education system. In many cases, currently, schools and school divisions are inadequately funded to that we inspire excellence in teaching and learning.  Thank you for giving me the opportunity to give input in this extremely important process.


Andrew Mead
Oakbank, Manitoba
R0E 1J1

Thursday, February 15, 2018


During a leadership program I am involved in within the Hanover School Division I was shown a video from Ben Zander called the Art of Possibility. So much resonated with me. Ideals such as joy, passion, leadership and all the things that matter when it comes to teaching and learning. The following clip isn't the video we watched but it contains some of the message (Shining Eyes).

One thing that Ben Zander said that resonated with me was the fact that the only person in an orchestra that doesn't make any sound is the conductor. To me, this is the same as the principal of the school. Without the staff, the principal is just a person waving his hands madly in front of an empty room. Without the teachers I get to work with, I'm not much use.

I have always had the chance to work with a great group of teachers. Always. We may not always agree on everything but every person has always had something strong to bring to the table. Before Christmas I had the chance to thank my staff with a small gift of mittens (the whole warm heart, cold hands kinda thing)... I also thought of, and shared, one word for each staff member that I think of when I think of them. Below are those words. I am not sharing whose word is whose... because it was meant just for them. It's just one thing I value in each of them. It wasn't meant to define them. Just something I appreciate in each and everyone of them (EAs, teachers, office staff, student teachers and custodians)

Kind Hope Humour Care Creativity Artist Dedicated Faith Advocate Positive Passion Imagination Leader Craftsman Integrity Principled Service Energy Strong Selfless Honesty Courage Kindness Brave Giving Optimism Perseverance Patient Hardworker Creative Hardworking Diligent Fixer Tireless Energy Focused Ready 'Gentle'man

Natural teacher Imagination

These are the people in the school that make the music. Without their dedication and love of what they do, I would be lost. I very much appreciate each and every person I get to work with. I have always been lucky this way. This year is no different.

After a brief conversation with one staff member who had been reflecting on the word that I thought she embodied I came to a realization. She told me that she didn't see herself that way. But after a couple conversations with colleagues she saw it too and she was very appreciative. It helped her feel good about what she does everyday.

Since then, what I’ve come to realize. Every quality shown above are all qualities that I need to grow in. These are all things I rely on others to help me be better. So, I appreciate everyone I get to work with. They help bring out my best and challenge me to get better at my worst.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Day 2 November 8, 2017

5:20 am Up before the cutest alarm clocks. Check email. Twitter.

552 am The littlest is stirring. 
Dress her. Get her a bobble. 

600 am outfit decided upon

Yes. That’s an ostrich mug shot. 

615 am breakfast with E. 
625 texts from a teacher who is sick. Emails with sub clerk to clarify what sub is needed

645 the boy is up. Momma takes care of him 

715 reminders on phone to do some stuff later in the day. Update school blog. Get info out about day Wonder round 2

742 off to work 

830 arrive at work. Erin bought me a hot chocolate at Tim’s!
840 am respond to an email to a teacher. Clarifying my approach to a number of incidents. 

845 welcome a sub to the building. Get them started. 

846 helped our caretaker find the YouTube announcements. 

847 walked around school confirming staff shirt orders. That’s done now. 

850 am in halls welcoming kids

855 am drop in parent meeting with a student who is struggling. A good start to his day. 

9:00 am ROEs done encouraging kids to get to homerooms. And saying goodbye to kids going curling for Day Wonder. 

9:05 am respond to two text message for parents excising their child for the day. 

918 am attendance follow ups with staff who haven’t done it yet

920 day Wonder is starting. My kids getting their ukuleles to get started. 

922 am visiting each day Wonder session (17 of then) to say hi and take some pics to share on social media 

935 Post Day Wonder quations on the Wonder walls. Asking kids what they learned during the first round of Day Wonder. 

1000 am talk to a teacher about subs coming up. 

1015 am playing ukulele with kids and watching them play in Day Wonder. Not a kid in the hallway during Day Wonder

1030 grade 7 microwave meeting. 

1050 am send in golf shirt order for staff, approves invoices and sign cheques. In office now. Turning on computer for the first time today 

11:00 am Post Day Wonder pics to social media feeds 

1115 emails emails emails 

1130 discussion with a teacher about school class culture. Importance of how we welcome kids back into class after an issue

1140 Chromebook malfunction. Explore ways to fix it. 

1150 get ready for lunch. Get microwaves into place. 

1155 supervise hallways at the start of lunch. 

Noon grade 8 Boys Volleyball Practice 

100 work with a student who had an issue at lunch. Resolved quickly. 

105 visit 6 teachers to talk about attendance. 

110 pack up clothing samples to get sent back to supplier. 

115 fix Chromebook 
120 lunch 

130 begin visiting class. Post pics of kids engaged in work. Visited 11 classrooms. While walking in halls work with kids and discipline issues that have come up. 

2:00 pm back in office looking at emails. 

208 call to our learning coach about the agenda for our committee that meets tomorrow 

210 more emails. Crossing off things on my ‘to do’ list in Google Keep. Got a few things done!

2:15 pm iPec coaching session. 

251 pm done coaching call. Went better than expected. 

255 pm recess issue clean up. Will try our restitution form. 

325 two parent phone calls made.  Meeting with students done. Meeting with one of the parents after school. 
335 phys ed issue with subs. Meeting tomorrow to discuss with kids to figure it out. Will call home. X2

Meeting set up tomorrow with both kids to discuss. 

348. Meet with a sub who will be here for a few days to talk about discipline. What are they expectations etc.  

400 called both parents with kids with the PE issue 
Meeting tomorrow am set up

415 adjusted meeting agenda for tomorrow’s meetings.

418 read a number of discipline referrals that were submitted. Student care team to respond. 

420 cleaned up inbox and desk

435 just hit 10000 steps for the day
445. Heading home 

535. Got home. Made calls to the vet and calls for a trumpeter for our Remembrance Day service

600 family supper 

630 numerous phone calls to try and find trumpeter for our Remembrance Day service. No luck.

700 pm Bedtime for the little one.

7:30 - 9:00 pm Feet up. Going through emails. Creating forms for a restitution process for kids experiencing difficulty. Testing eventbrite for our Day Wonder set up. A couple of emails reviewed and sent.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

A day in the life... part one. November 7, 2017

Some days I get home and I think, what happened, where’d the day go? What did I exactly accomplish today?

I’ve seen some other administrators do this, so today, I’ve decided to keep track of my next two days.

This is more for me than anyone else. But to take the advice I often give my staff and students is, if it’s worth doing, it’s worth sharing, so  I’ll share it.

I’m going to keep track of my next two days. From home to work and back again....

So it begins.

November 7, 2017

4:30 am World’s cutest alarm clock goes off. Quickly settle her. I’m up. Check emails and Twitter. 

5:15 am Snooze button on the world’s cutest alarm clock goes off. Get milk and bring her to the big bed. 

5:45 am Super mom takes over with Emilia (aka cutest alarm clock ever). I start this blog after looking for the Blogger app, which no longer exists? Download this app - wants me to pay $6.99. Uhm. No. Going with the free, limited version

6:00 am Time to get up. I’ll save the details. But two of my hardest decisions of each day were made. Which socks? which tie? 
Tie in honour of Movember.  Take care of yourself gents!

Socks in honour of our Winnipeg Jets who are flying high right now. Go beat Vegas on Friday!

6:25 am  Mom now resting with Bennett. Emilia slowly (and when I say slow, it’s not slow at all) pulls all of her toys out. So, it’s breakfast time in front of the news with me and Emilia (and Meeko, our ever so patient pooch). 

6:30 am It appears our 3 year old is up. Nope. From his bed to our bed. It’s cold out. Who can blame him. 

6:45 am Post to our social media feeds the recess cancelling policy. We are a hardy people. Also set up a scheduled email to all families reminding to bundle up because it’s cold out! But not cold enough. It’s an outside recess kind of day. 

7:20 am Find the boy in bed watching Paw Patrol. Accident in the bed. Him. Not me. Mom takes care of the kids. I throw a load of sheets in the laundry. Time to get ready to head to work. Start the car. Brrr. 

7:31 am Out the door and off to work. Podcast on. Stopping for a Hot Chocolate on the way. Brr.  Garage door remote not working. Grr. Really need to get winter/snow tires on. 

8:22 am Arrived at school. Slow drive because of icy highways in parts. 

8:35 am Run up to the roof to take a comparison picture of what the farmer’s field next door looks like to today compared to what it looked like on this day last year

8:45 am Walk around school to say good morning to staff and confirm staff shirts sizes we are purchasing. 

8:50 am  Welcoming kids as they come in. High fives all ‘round

8:55 am Welcome a new sub to our building and walk her classroom for the morning and help get her set up. 

9:03 am Quick hallway meeting with 3 students involved in a conflict yesterday. All did a good job reminding me what they will do to have a better day. 

9:08 am Write on the Wonder Walls - What’s the best part of winter? Positive comments only. Then on to the PA to remind teachers to do attendance. 

9:15 am Quick chat with a teacher to confirm that the app she requested is the one she wanted. It’s a flyer app for Unit Pricing in math. All is good. 

9:15 am Phone call coaching session with a principal who is doing the iPec coaching training with me. She is coaching me through an issue I need to work through.

9:18 am Received a very kind email from my Superintendent about a newsletter we recently sent out. Nice that he reads it and takes time to send a message. 

10:15 am. Coaching call over. Positive phone call

10:16 am Student sent to the office for ‘not working’. Helped him get started. Finished problems easily and showed off how smart he was. Good way to connect with a kid who needs something extra.

10:30 Met with all the grade 8s to go over microwave safety. New microwaves for student use starting today with grade 8s. Due diligence. 

10:40 am Began visiting classrooms. And posting to social media showing off kids learning. Visited 12 classrooms and posted kids learning from 5 different classes. Great stuff going on. Kids are making, hands on and making work public. This brings my class visits that I’ve logged to 99 visits for the year. 

10:50 am Quick chat with a teacher who submitted a discipline referral. Confirmed that her response was perfect. Asked her to contact home. 

11:30 am Back in the office to look at emails. 

11:35 am Followed up on google doc of latest discipline referral so teacher knows how I responded. with the student 

11:37am Same student back in office for not working will help him get started. 

11:43 am Walk Student back to class. Did great. Quick chat with teacher who has this child on his workload about how to support the teacher to best help the child to keep him in class. Dropped into one more class to see grade 5s in action. (French class) 100th classroom visit for the year 

11:46 am Quick chat with a teacher who was given the morning to visit another teacher in the division about a Day Wonder project our school is doing. (Photography). He’s excited to get that started. 

11:50 am Approve invoices for purchases that were made for our Makerspace through an Imagination Grant. 

11:52 am Help our grade 8 helper get the microwave to its appropriate spot. Go through expectations of his new job. 

11:55 am lunch begins! Quick check in with all homerooms. Make sure microwave is being used well. It is. Kids are great.

12:13 pm off to visit another principal in the division to have a coaching session. I’m coaching him (iPec coaching training). Working lunch. Picking up lunch along the way. 

12:38 pm Arrived at the other school. 

1:36 pm. Back in to the car. Chat was excellent. Good to see a new school (new to me). Off to staples to pick up a few items for teachers and secretaries. 

2:03 pm Back at school. A few notes about kids and discipline that need responding to on my desk from lunch time. Plus a couple of phone calls to return while I was out. 

2:07 pm Spoke with a person from the Pistons hockey club (Steinbach). Set up a meeting with 2 players that will visit MMS regularly to mentor some grade 5 students. 

2:10 - 240 pm spoke to 3 groups of students about incidents at lunch. Will call home to inform parents. Parent meeting set up for today to discuss one of the incidents. 

2:45 pm Parent phone calls x 5 regarding behaviour. Spoke to all 5 sets of parents. Excellent conversations and support. 

3:05 pm Finished phone calls informing about lunch behaviour. 87th phone call home logged this year.

3:10 pm Another student discipline issue. Good chat. Lots going on with this boy.  Good chat and a plan made moving forward. Sending to fitness class to get a good run in. 

3:20 Another incident with a student. Will set up a meeting with a parent after details are sent to me. 

3:25 pm Parent meeting. Re: behaviour of child. 

3:50 pm. Parent meeting done. Positive outcome with a plan moving forward about how to connect the kid to school positively. 

3:55 pm Staff meeting in 5 minutes. 

4:00 pm - 5:00 pm. Staff meeting. 
I've been so lucky to work with amazing teachers in my career. MMS staff is no different. Not afraid to have hard conversations for the benefits of kids. Conversations start with simple enough question but never simple solutions and staff get it. Staff get that it's messy and growth is what it's all about.

518 pm. On my way home after a positive staff meeting with some good hard conversations about stuff happening at school. Meeting was done at 5:03. Didn’t get through entire agenda. Oh well. 

559 pm Arrived at my kids music class 30 minutes s late. Will be able to catch the last 15 minutes. Fun to watch them play,

9243 steps for the day. A bit shy of my 10000 daily at school step goal. 

625 pm. On the way home for supper with the family. 

6:32 pm Erin (momma) makes a great supper in about 45 seconds for both kids before she has to run out for her curling game. I change out of work clothes. Supper time for the kids

7:00 pm Bath time for the little ones. The littlest one is a trooper. Went to the doctor today with mom and big brother. Got 4 big shots. I don't know how Erin manages her job and everything the kids need. We are all lucky to she is who she is.

7:21 pm Bath time done. The boy cleans up his room and then watches a show while I put the girl to bed. First, the girl attempts to sabotage the boys show. Bottle time for both. Bed time for the girl. 

752 pm. The littlest one is asleep. One of the best parts of the day. The littlest is such a snuggler. Such a happy little person.

755 pm Make bed from the mornings mishap. The boys. Not mine. Throw in my supper into the oven. 

807 pm. The boy’s bedtime. A couple of stories the lights out. Amazing little man. 

825 pm The boy is asleep. Supper time for me while watching Life in Pieces. Then CNN. Should have stuck with Life in Pieces. 

915 pm Clean up kitchen after all the suppers. 

9:25 pm Make sure announcements for tomorrow are up to date. Look at Twitter for a bit while having a ‘coke’.  Updating this blog.

9:50 pm Get caught up on the world's events by checking Twitter. Part inspiring. Part terrifying. So many smart people out there... 

10:00 pm Bedtime soon. Will try and read 1 chapter of the book What Kind of Citizen for the HELP (Hanover Education Leadership Program) I'm in (being a new admin in the HSD). Great book and group to be a part of. Focus is ethical leadership. Definitely having an impact on what I think schools need to be for kids. Also re-affirming many of my thoughts.

'til tomorrow...

Monday, February 27, 2017

The Ultimate Warrior

An Introduction to ‘The Ultimate Warrior’

An educational system isn’t worth a great deal if it teaches young people how to make a living but doesn’t teach them how to make a life.  ~Author Unknown

On Monday, February 27, 2017 we introduced something called ‘The Ultimate Warrior’ to all of MMS. These are grade level values that we will expect all of our Warriors to live up to daily to become ‘The Ultimate Warrior’.

The core value for all grade 5 students is to be ‘BE READY TO LEARN’. We will talk with grade 5s about this in the coming weeks to determine what this exactly means at MMS. To me it means to come to school with an open mind, to try new things, have supplies, listen, and question and so much more. When talking with grade 5s we will focus the conversation on what it means to ‘be ready to learn’.

The core value of all grade 6s is to ‘BE READY TO HELP’. Since our grade 6s have been at MMS for a year they know the school expectations, rules, and the people. We will expect our grade 6s to help themselves, their classmates, their teachers and the environment in and around MMS. The grade 6 circle also includes the grade 5 value so this means our grade 6s will also be expected to be ‘ready to learn’. Again, we will speak with our grade 6s to come up with what this will look like at MMS.

The core value for our grade 7s is to ‘BE READY TO PARTICIPATE’. When our kids reach grade 7 a number of new opportunities open up. Grade 7s have more choice in their classes, athletics, arts and we will have a higher expectation for students to be active citizens in classrooms, school and community. Grade 7s will also be expected to ‘be ready to help’ and ‘be ready to learn’. Grade 7s will also be given the opportunity to help us define what this means at MMS.

Our last, and greatest responsibility lies with our grade 8s. Their value is ‘TO BE READY TO SERVE’. We will get our grade 8s feedback to what this will look like as well. The expectation will be for our grade 8s to serve our school, community locally and globally. Expectations for grade 8s will also include ‘be ready to participate’, ‘be ready to help’ and ‘be ready to learn’.

School culture is of utmost importance to me. If we can get our students, staff, and community to be using common language as the year goes along, we all grow. In ‘edu-speak’, this is a variation of a PBIS or Positive Behavioural Interventions and Supports. The goal is to get our entire school talking about what we should be doing and what we want to see rather on what we shouldn’t be doing.

This may change and evolve over time. The goal is to positively an already great school culture. By using common language and focusing on positive behaviour we will make sure that everyone associated with MMS has the best chance to learners and thrive everyday.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

A day maker

We work hard at my current school to create an atmosphere where kindness and acceptance matter more than anything else. Some days are better than others but once and a while you are reminded that focusing on kindness and the positive stuff is the best way to go... A student who recently left to go to another school sent this email to our staff... This is a message the student wants me to share with the students currently at George Waters...

George Waters Middle School is the best school I have ever been to and ever will have been to. I have never been excited for the first day of school until GWMS, I also have a better perspective of learning, and I think you will too.  George Waters is such a different/amazing school. No school I have ever been to could even compare. 
The teachers are so sweet and so awesome. The students, yeah there may be a couple you don't get along with but the substantial amount of them are really nice and once you get to know them, they make some pretty awesome friends if you ask me. Friends that you will have until your old and wrinkly!
Sometimes I don't even remember that George Waters is a school. The work is so fun, (if you understand and get invloved)! And the classes are great too. 
Don't get me started on the principals! They work there Butt's off trying to make the school a better learning environment for all of us. They do such a good job! So don't forget to thank Mr.Mead and Mr. Abram, and dot forget about your teachers. (Maybe even your classmates) 
Always try your best, if you don't succeed, don't give up! 
Get involved, stand up for others, and be a Philanthropist. 
and don't forget, Make someone else's day better because you never know what someone's going through and a nice compliment or even a smile in the hall could really put a smile on there face too. 

I spoke yesterday at an Ignite Talk (see previous blogpost) on exactly this. What kind of school do I want for my kid? What an amazing email and gift to get from wonderful young person.