I want to take this opportunity to express my appreciation to everyone in LRSD who was a part of our successful 3rd Annual Graduation Powwow at Dakota Collegiate.
Once again, the event was an amazing way for us to come together as a community to honour our LRSD graduates. This year we also had the pleasure of seeing our students from powwow clubs take part and dance throughout the evening with their hand-made regalia.
I’m so gratified to see Indigenous cultures and perspectives taking root and blossoming in LRSD.
None of this would be possible without the tremendous help received from both the planning committee and all the LRSD staff involved. It was obvious to all who attended that you put a great amount of time and effort into making the powwow a success. It wouldn’t have been the same without your help.
To all of our graduating students and families, congratulations on your achievements. We were proud to celebrate with you.
To all of the staff, volunteers and powwow dancers, myself and the Superintendent’s Team appreciate all your hard work. We're looking forward to next year!
Twelve years, 30,000 LRSD students and one well-deserved award.
Photo Source: SBRC Youth BIOlab Twitter
LRSD is pleased to congratulate and thank Stephen Jones for winning the Prime Minister’s Award for Teaching Excellence in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math).
At the BIOlab Jeunesse in St. Boniface Hospital, Stephen is known for bringing lessons to life by providing opportunities for hands-on learning in molecular and cellular biology in a real-world, leading-edge environment. As one of the original partners in creating BIOlab Jeunesse, LRSD has had the privilege of being part of many of Stephan’s numerous ground-breaking education initiatives.
One such initiative involves Nelson McIntyre Collegiate students spending a week with Stephen the BIOlab Jeunesse where he opens eyes and minds to the fascinating world of research, science education and health literacy. Students use real-world equipment to isolate and culture cells, work with DNA, dissect real tissue samples and engage in microscopy.
Another ground-breaking initiative pioneered by Stephen is Two-Way Learning – Building Identity and Confidence in Urban First Nation Students. A project done in partnership with the University of Manitoba and Victor Wyatt School, Two-Way Learning offered sessions to Indigenous students from Victor Wyatt that connected traditional plant knowledge to modern research. Drawing on knowledge from the past as a foundation for modern and future medical research inspires both cultural pride and new ways to look at the world.
Stephen has devoted himself to seeing science in engaging and imaginative ways that resonate with his students.
We appreciate all the work Stephen has done and look forward to continue learning from one of the finest teachers in today’s scientific community!
On June 20, 2017, LRSD School Board Chair Chris Sigurdson signed Winnipeg's Indigenous Accord on behalf of the Louis Riel School Division.
Winnipeg's Indigenous Accord is a living document to guide our shared commitment to the Journey of Truth and Reconciliation in our city. We are proud to stand in support of the Accord as we actively work towards truth and reconciliation every day in our Division.
Throughout the recent school years, we have made it a priority to capture our commitments to reconciliation and the Accord through videos. We've had the chance to share our work with the LRSD community by not only explaining what we’re doing, but showing how the students and staff in LRSD are actively engaging in our Indigenous Education initiatives.
We are proud to share our year of accomplishments through the video above. We invite you to take the time to join us on our journey towards our goals with the Winnipeg Indigenous Accord and towards Truth and Reconciliation in our school division, city and country.
Working together we can educate and engage our students, families and community in reconciliation. Together we can build a more truthful understanding of our past, our present and how we are shaping the future. Together we are changing and reconciling our worlds.
For days, many of us may have struggled to put our feelings about the tragedy of the Humboldt Broncos into words. And, the truth is, an inability to express our feelings of grief and confusion is an understandable response to loss and tragedy.
Some events impact us so deeply we can’t believe the reality of them, let alone come up with words to convey the shifting emotions we experience. What happened to the Humboldt Broncos is one of those events.
Every player, fan, friend or family member who has ever laced up their skates, grabbed a stick, stepped out onto the ice or cheered until the bleachers shook, feels this loss. And as deeply as we feel it, we know that our pain is only a fraction of what the immediate family and friends of the Humboldt Broncos feel – including that of the Gomercic family, who are well known in our LRSD community.
Their son, Matt, is one of the surviving players and we want the entire family to know our thoughts are with them as they go through an unimaginably difficult time along with every family member of every Broncos teammate.
We know that there are many students who will be dealing with their own emotions around the Humboldt Broncos. We encourage anyone who feels they want to talk about this tragedy to speak to a classroom or student services teacher. Parents, if you feel your child needs support, please do not hesitate to reach out to your child’s teacher or school and we will help put that support in place.
Most importantly of all, we encourage you to speak with one another. Share your grief, love, compassion and strength. Because when words fail us, knowing we are together and knowing how deeply we all care is what carries us forward.
The Louis Riel School Division Superintendent’s Team
Our students' journeys don't end with graduation and neither does our responsibility to our students. That's why our School Board's budget for 2018-19 illustrates its commitment to setting our students of all abilities, from all walks of life, on a journey of lifelong growth, wellbeing and wellbecoming.
In LRSD, we are committed to fiscal and community responsibility. We're positioning our schools to better support an increasingly diverse and continuously growing student population while keeping the financial wellness of our community member's top of mind.
I am proud to say that the Board's budget was developed in consultation with community members, following LRSD's mission to nurture partnerships between home, school and community. The Board and community members, including parents and staff, connected through public meetings and online surveys, allowing them to guide investments in LRSD.
Our recently approved operating budget is $189.8-million and it has been designed to meet the needs of a projected 15,458 students. It marks a 3.16 percent spending increase over 2017-18. This expenditure increase results in a 1.96 percent increase to the Special Requirement, as per the Minister of Education's request to limit the increase to 2 percent.
We have also worked to ensure the budget continues to keep administration costs under 3 percent, in line with the minister's expectation.
The budget also dedicates funds to increasing non-instructional spaces not funded by the Province and required investment in the Division's aging infrastructure.
I'm proud to be serving a Board that is able to provide growing opportunities for a growing student population with diverse needs, while also demonstrating fiscal responsibility to taxpayers in our community.
I also want to acknowledge the tremendous team effort that goes into supporting the Board in constructing its budget and want to thank our Secretary Treasurer's Team, Brad Fulton, Marna Kenny and their colleagues for their leadership and expertise.
I look forward to seeing the many ways our investments in 2018-19 provide our students, teachers, staff and community members with opportunities to change worlds for the better.
Today, March 8th, is International Women's Day. It’s a day to honour and celebrate the women in our lives and in our community. It is also a day to reflect on the gender inequality that continues to plague our world in 2018 and pledge to change that world.
I’ve read on Canada’s Status of Women website that, “This year's theme, #MyFeminism, is inspired by the question: What does feminism mean to you?” I encourage my fellow educators in the Louis Riel School Division to consider integrating this theme in their teaching over the coming year and to explore the Educators' Toolkit our federal government is making available to us. I encourage us all to engage our colleagues, students and parents to ask the question: What does feminism mean to us? And, to explore topics related to gender-based injustices, rights, responsibilities, democracy and leadership.
When thinking of democracy and leadership, it started in Manitoba, led by Nellie McClung. It was only 102 years ago that women were first allowed to vote in a provincial election. This eventually led to the right being granted in other provinces, territories and at the federal level. We had to wait until 1960 to see indigenous men and women granted the right to vote!
The history of women’s rights in Canada and other parts of the world is the history of human rights. Let it serve us as inspiration for our ongoing efforts to create a more just society, together.
On the frosty evening of January 16th, 2018, more than forty LRSD educators (including trustees Sandy Nemeth and Tom Parker) and a few colleagues from outside the Division gathered for an evening of sharing and learning at our first annual LRSD Ignite Evening.
A typical Ignite Evening offers a series of speedy presentations. Presenters get 20 slides which automatically advance every 15 seconds. The result is a fast and fun presentation that lasts just 5 minutes. This wonderful evening was organized by Kimberley Adair-Gagnon and Cathy-Ann Winters, supported by the Instructional Support Team, and sponsored by the LRSD IT Happens Committee.
The audience enjoyed six engaging presentations. Presenters and topics included:
- Jenn McKinnon – Pushing Our (Literacy) Practice Forward: The Power of an #observeme Movement
- Thaddeus Bourassa – #LRSDProjectGenerosity
- Monique Ditter – Pyeongchang 2018 – À vos marques, prêt, partez!
- Cathy-Ann Winters & Kim Adair-Gagnon – Collaboration – C Your Way to Student Success
- Steve Lawrie – We Live in the World our Questions Create
- Tara Mclauchin – I (Still) Like Big Books
The goal of the LRSD Ignite Evening is to foster the culture of collaboration we are nurturing in LRSD and I enthusiastically share the feedback from presenters and audience members that the evening was a resounding success. All of us in attendance were energized and inspired by the passion of our colleagues and are looking forward to next year’s event! I want to especially thank Kim and Cathy-Ann for organizing the event and thank the Instructional Support team for their support that evening.
All six presentations were inspiring and ignited my curiosity. I will be following up with each of my colleagues. I did promise Thad, a grade 5/6 teacher at General Vanier School, that I would encourage all of us to share the stories of generosity and compassion in our classrooms by using the hashtag #LRSDprojectgenerosity!
I am so proud.
I am so incredibly proud to work with all the members of the LRSD team. While I have now worked in six school systems, all of them great learning experiences, LRSD is where I want to be for the rest of my career.
We have a publicly elected board of nine trustees. We have over 2,000 full-time employees, 44 buildings, and we are responsible for the education and care of over 15,000 students.
Bottom-line. We should be excellent at what we do for several reasons:
We are influencing the creation of a new Canada. One in which all of our people can care for themselves, care for others, and care for our world.
For this to occur, we need exemplary staff who nurture and challenge all of our kids.
All of this means we need to take the business of creating and maintaining LRSD as a great place to work as job one.
During the past year, we have seen the HR department evolve into People Services. The name change is purposeful. Members of the LRSD team are not resources, they are individuals with stories and families, who want to do meaningful work. LRSD needs to continue to explore how we can celebrate our achievements, and also improve the conditions within which our team works.
It is for these reasons that we applied to be recognized as a top employer.
The recognition that we have gained should make each and every one in our community feel great. To the best of my knowledge, we are the first public school system in Canada to gain this recognition! Read LRSD's feature from the Manitoba's Top 100 Employers Free Press article.
More importantly, the process of applying for this recognition, and yes we are applying again, forces us to really reflect upon what is important, who we are as an organization, and how we can be better by one another and the students we serve.
Changer le Monde | Changing Worlds
Keep on Pushing - Curtis Mayfield
In 2013, the LRSD School Board announced that they had three priorities for student learning: literacy and numeracy, student engagement, and citizenship. The Board reviewed the Ends Monitoring report, presented in January 2017, showing evidence of progress in these areas and agreed to maintain the same three priorities with some fine-tuning. Specifically, they decided that we needed to place a higher focus on financial literacy, mental well-being, and creativity and innovation. It is creativity and innovation that I would like to share some thoughts about today.
Over the summer, I read, listened to podcasts such as CBC’s Ideas and Malcolm Gladwell’s Revisionist History, and watched the news on CBC, Fox, Aljazeera, MSNBC, or the BBC (yes, accessing a variety of news sources from different perspectives is good!), I was struck by the fact that while things largely remain the same, we are also facing significant new challenges, changes, and opportunities.
I used to really have my head around technology, and yet visiting some McDonald’s restaurants lately, and going through Lester B. Pearson Airport in Toronto, I was alarmed by digital devices being provided as the way to order my food. At Pearson, everyone in the restaurant was glued to a screen to order food, play games, or surf the internet. No one was talking to one another. People selected their food items, inserted a credit card, and the food arrived. Another thing that hit me was what is the future of service jobs? The people who used to come and take your order? I went through customs at Pearson and didn’t have to talk to anyone. A machine with facial recognition technology determined if I could come back into Canada or not. At the new Save-On-Foods in Bridgwater Estates, there are more self-administered digital checkouts than there are checkouts with real people.
This summer, Amazon bought a fantastic grocery chain called Whole Foods and are promising to expand their already massive business of online shopping having items, including food, delivered straight to your home... They are expanding the number of massive distribution centers they have in North America in which much of the ‘heavy lifting’ is done by robots. Those used to be jobs.
I spent some time on the Disruptor Daily website that identifies the top disruptive companies in the world. Major themes seem to be the development of algorithms that allow companies (and governments) to track all of our online activities and likes, and then to market specifically to us every day.
Then there's acceleration of nanotechnology in which miniaturized technology can be brought into our bodies. Advances in DNA coding which can allow us to gain a sense of not only where one's lineage came from, but also what diseases and afflictions we might be predisposed for. Tesla is marketing cars that can travel over 500 kms on an electric battery while going from zero to 100 kms an hour in four seconds. This is how technology is evolving.
Climate change is real. The implications of more storms and the rise of sea levels are frightening.
In the field of education, in many ways, we are still maintaining the factory-based system that was implemented with the ideas of Frederick Taylor in the beginning of the twentieth century. On a good note, the very notion of a public school system, was to maintain a system through which a liberal democracy, developed and maintained for all people, regardless of ethnicity or socio-economic background, could flourish. Today, however, Stanford University is providing online courses for middle years and high school students in 46 American states and 32 countries. You might have seen advertising on TV for K12, which aims to replace the public school with online learning. Pearson Publishing is the worlds’ largest education aimed company, I believe they would like to replace public education systems around the world.
So what am I talking about here?
I believe that we should be about the development of wise, caring, curious, interdependent, citizens in liberal democratic societies. I believe we have to prepare our young people to not only survive in the new, ever-changing society and economy but to also be ready and able to take advantage of the new opportunities that are becoming available and to thrive in this ever-changing environment. I believe that as other industries and sectors are being changed dramatically, we in public education cannot believe that our worlds cannot be challenged and changed as well. This means we need to evolve creatively through innovation and make a compelling case that public schools in LRSD and beyond are the places that can prepare our students for our current reality and the future – not private schools, not charter schools, and not online learning.
In LRSD, the best that we are doing is building strong caring relationships between adults and students. The best of what we are doing is finding ways to make learning interesting and engaging while also being rigorous and challenging. The best of what we are doing is teaching our young people to think critically but also with creativity and with heart for themselves and for all others.
For us to improve in LRSD, I look to the words of Sir Ken Robinson,
"The role of a creative leader is not to have all the ideas; it's to create a culture where everyone can have ideas and feel that they're valued."
All of us are to be leaders, all of us can be influential in the lives of others. I ask all of us to take risks to be more creative, more innovative, and to make mistakes as we strive to improve the life opportunities of others. Can we possibly think of more meaningful work?
Change Le Monde, Changing Worlds
This is our collective work.
On July 1, 1867, the modern nation state called Canada resulted when the British colonies of Canada, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick united. In short order, Ontario and Quebec were created and then over time, more provinces and territories were added to the young country.
I think all would agree Canada has evolved into an excellent country. The Canadian equivalent to the American phrase “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” are the words to be found in the Constitution Act of 1867 of “Peace, order, and good government.” For me, these words speak to Canadian characteristics of moderation, and care for others as reflected by the creation of strong social programs like universal health care in the 1960s.
Every year on the 1st of July we celebrate Canada, and we should! This year, with the 150th birthday of the nation upon us, we should also celebrate National Aboriginal Day on June 21st, Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day (celebrating Francophone history and contemporary culture) on June 24th, and acknowledge our incredible and ever increasing diversity on Canadian Multiculturalism Day on June 27th. These celebrations help us understand our history, and be proud of Canada in 2017.
And yet, to be true to ourselves as Canadians living in a liberal democracy, and if we are to improve Canadian lives, we need to reflect upon some of the challenging components of our history as well. The incarceration of Japanese Canadians during the Second World War, high child poverty rates in all regions of the country, and the fact that we have not lived up to our treaty obligations with our Indigenous neighbours are warts that we can learn from.
We also need to look to a shared future with many challenges as well as opportunities. Five years ago, the National Post published an article entitled "What is the biggest issue facing Canada?" in which people across the country shared their views of possible challenges. Reading this article reminds us that a range of opinions and political points exist and this is how it's supposed to be in a liberal democracy!
Here are some of the thoughts:
- Rebuild our government into a Parliament with a common goal in mind, we solidify our demographics and restore our military to a powerful state.
- The biggest issue facing Canada is our politicians.
- The deterioration of democracy and the destruction of the parliamentary processes that govern our way of living.
- We need to fight to re-establish what was once a beacon of hope for the rest of the world to emulate.
- The biggest issue Canada faces is the maintenance of peace and security. Canada needs an anti-war government.
- The relationship with the First Nations and their peoples is the biggest issue Canada faces.
- Recent immigrants have brought with them the idea that Canadians are a people without culture, religion, values, or the backbone to stand up for themselves.
- The biggest issue facing Canada is immigration; immigrants are vital to its success.
- The management of its natural resources. There’s going to be a huge demand for oil, natural gas, potash, coal and lumber, to name a few of Canada’s massive resources, that emerging mega-powers like China and India will be desperate for.
- Greed is controlling and limiting any improvement in health care and the economy.
- We need to live within our means.
- Too many people are dependent upon the government for “cradle to the grave” care. Entitlement has become the norm and self-responsibility is in decline.
- The biggest issue Canada faces is how to define our liberty. Liberty to think, to worship, to publish, to speak cannot and must not be mitigated for the sake of “not hurting people’s feelings.”
- The biggest issue Canada faces is the abuse of freedom. Many of us do not resist the impulse to indulge in idealism.
- Blaming CO2 for global warming and/or climate change …. Billions of tax dollars are being wasted solving a non-problem.
- Our lack of innovation. We need to be the cutting edge of technology by offering tax breaks and other incentives to IT firms that would relocate to Canada from Silicon Valley.
- Our biggest problem is complacency.
- A steady and accelerating erosion of civility in pretty much all aspects of life.
So, as the celebrations loom large, let us all participate. But let’s also become knowledgeable of our history, learn lessons from that history, and participant in the creation of an even better place for ourselves, our families, and our neighbours in a place called Canada.