Welcome back to School! September 6, 2022
Dear Parents and Guardians,
Welcome back to another school year in Saanich. We have much to look forward to as we head into another year of learning and innovation.
We recently updated all of our school websites which now mirror the new district website. Menu items as well as access points to information are now streamlined and easier to use. There is refreshed content, including crisp new images. Our hope is that you find them engaging and filled with the details you need to stay informed.
There will be minor alterations to our Communicable Disease Prevention Plan which focuses specifically on COVID-19. Cleaning and disinfection practices continue to be a priority with a focus on high touch surfaces, ventilation systems are being operated and maintained as per OHS guidelines, and mask usage remains a personal choice for both students and staff. We will continue to monitor things such as attendance rates and following provincial directives and practices to ensure a safe, accessible and healthy school environment for everyone. Information on children’s COVID-19 vaccinations including how to register (ages 6-months to 4 years; ages 5-11, and ages 12 and older) can be found on the Island Health website. As per the Island Health directive, we encourage all those who are able to be vaccinated to do so.
Student and Family Affordability Fund
Earlier this week the province announced one-time funding to school districts to support families for items such as school-supplied food as well as things like field trips. School districts are required to work with their district parent advisories and local First Nations to determine priorities that will best meet the needs of students. We are beginning that process in the near future. Additional information will be coming out to Saanich Schools families over the next few weeks from your child’s school and the district about how we will be utilizing this new one-time fund. Thank you for your understanding as we work to ensure a comprehensive and collaborative process.
School Readiness, Looking Ahead & Staying Connected
I would like to acknowledge two particular teams of staff members who worked tirelessly this summer to ready our schools. First, the team of extraordinary professionals in the Facilities Department have done their magic again these past few weeks. Thank you to our maintenance, grounds and custodial crews who spent countless hours ensuring that our buildings were refreshed for another school year. The schools are sparkling! And second, I’d also like to make special mention to our Information Technology team who were short-staffed this summer, yet still overhauled hundreds of mobile devices to ready them for students and staff. They continue to streamline login procedures and access to virtual resources to make the learning and teaching environment even better.
As you are likely aware, we have a new 5-year Strategic Plan which is already shaping our many conversations and plans as we focus on our continuous goal of improving student success. If you haven’t yet seen the Plan I would encourage you to visit our website. It is quite short, with four focused goals, as well as being written in a story-book format to make it more accessible and enjoyable to read.
As parents and guardians, I encourage you to stay connected to your child(ren)’s school this year. Join the school PAC or the district parent group COPACS. Including the parent / guardian voice is an important part of how we can build on our successes. Also, don’t forget that Oct 15th is the municipal/school trustee elections. I encourage you to become informed about the candidates and be sure to vote.
The Power of Why – My professional blog
I would like to invite you to read my professional blog, The Power of Why. You can sign up to receive my posts automatically every few weeks. I talk about educational research, leadership and professional interests. They are usually a quick read and hopefully provide you with some insight into my thinking and planning as we work to build an even better school district. My most recent post is entitled The COVID Learning Loss and Catching Up – I hope you enjoy reading it.
The pride and enthusiasm within our district and community continues to inspire me. I feel very fortunate to be part of this innovative group and am particularly excited about the opportunities that lay ahead this year. Thank you for continuing to support our schools and staff.
Welcome back everyone!