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Day 2: Dianne Turner, Superintendent of Schools (SD37)

September 6, 2012

Welcome back to what promises to be a wonderful school year for our students, staff, parents and community!

The beginning of the school year brings a chance for renewal, reconnection, re-igniting passions, reengagement, and recommitment to challenging, stimulating and relevant learning experiences. For our learners there are endless possibilities, spurring an excitement for new learning. We are looking forward to seeing the enthusiasm for learning on the faces of our students!

We are very pleased to kick-off the school year with this District Blog. As the first blog in the Delta School District to represent voices from across the entire district, this blog is a very authentic way to capture some of the learning experiences that are happening in Delta on a daily basis. We want to hear about the innovative practices and projects that are taking place in our schools. We know from our visioning process that our future depends on that innovation and on the sharing of that innovation.

In the Spring of 2010, we embarked on a visioning process. Many of you took part in creating our Delta School District Bold Vision. If you have not heard about our vision please check out the vision poster and video documents on our district website.

Why did we need a district-wide vision for Delta?

In his book ‘Start with Why’, author and presenter Simon Sinek explains the importance of an organization to truly understand its guiding purpose. He presents a model for organizational success called ‘The Golden Circle’, which is described in this YouTube video clip.

Sinek suggests that all successful organizations begin by clearly identifying their purpose (or why they exist), followed by what they do, and then by how they do what they do. In Delta, we knew we needed to find our vision for our future and clearly articulate why we exist as an organization. The outcome has become a compass for our future, as stated by a Delta teacher in this video:

The process used to create the Delta’s Bold Vision was an Appreciative inquiry process, which began by asking all those who participated to tell the story of their Moment of Greatness – the time in their learning in Delta that had the most meaningful impact for them. The stories were amazing and truly guided the remainder of the process.

“The single most important action a group can take to consciously construct a better future is to persistently uncover what gives life to its people and the organization when it is at its best, and to build on it. Nothing is more energizing or more powerful.”  Professor David Cooperider – on Appreciative Inquiry

Moving forward with our Vision

In the Spring of 2011, we completed our visioning process – we had our Mission, Core Values and Vision in place! There are three main themes that make-up our vision:

  1. Engaging students through stimulating, relevant and inspiring educational experiences that ignite a lifelong passion for learning;
  2. Schools nurturing caring relationships, connections and a sense of belonging to our local and global communities; and
  3. Fully Preparing and Empowering Learners to contribute their personal best to society and to become tomorrow’s citizens and leaders.

We are now focusing on these three themes as we work to achieve our Bold Vision by 2020. To this end, we are using an Inquiry process across the district. In each of our Delta schools we have one teacher who, as part of their teaching assignment, has taken on the responsibility of Coordinator of Inquiry. Teams of teachers in each school are developing inquiry questions and striving to find the answers to their questions. Students across Delta will also be engaging in Inquiry based learning in their classrooms.

We are embracing an inquiry mindset to help us achieve our vision, and are committed to sharing the incredible learning experiences that are happening in Delta. Some future blog posts will be dedicated to explaining the Inquiry process, so I will not go deeper into an explanation here.

I encourage you to continue reading our 180 Days of Learning Blog to find out how our Bold Vision and inquiry process are making a difference for our learners.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. September 7, 2012 3:21 pm

    Dianne, thank you for sharing your visioning journey; it holds much promise for an exciting time ahead as you work towards realizing your Bold Vision. It is exciting to see that your themes are in close alignment with the work we are doing in our school division.
    In addition to seeing these commonalities, I was also engaged by your post because last year, I was in a cohort with several teachers from Delta School District; we spent the year learning together in the TC2 webinar-based Coaching for Critical Inquiry certification program. I was so impressed with the inquiry mindset my Delta colleagues exhibited throughout our learning process; it seems to me your new vision is already on its way to being realized!

    Diane Lander, Curriculum Facilitator with Parkland School Division, Stony Plain, AB

  2. Blaise Johnson permalink
    September 9, 2012 2:15 am

    Dianne,
    Great post and great video by Simon Sinek. My wife is very lucky to be working in your district.
    Blaise (@blaisej)

Trackbacks

  1. Day 10: Tara Fisher, Teacher (Annieville) « 180 Days of Learning
  2. Day 21: Jason Lewis, Teacher & Coordinator of Inquiry, (Sands Secondary School) « 180 Days of Learning

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