January 1, 2019 - 3 minutes read

With the 2019 year now upon us, and after considerable reflection, the word that I’ve selected to guide my actions this year is ‘agency’. Last year my one word was ‘opportunity’.  I was very fortunate to have the opportunity of shifting gears from being a principal in an elementary school to one in a secondary school. One year later, this change has afforded me the opportunity to connect and learn with students at a different stage of their educational journey, one that significantly shapes them as individuals. Through my observations and my conversations with students, I have gained a better understanding of the joys experienced and the challenges encountered by adolescents in their quest to lead purposeful, relevant and fulfilling lives. By fostering student agency, we are giving students the tools to successfully navigate a world full of possibilities.

Students should be provided with leadership roles in the curriculum conversations happening in our schools. If we want our students to be invested in their learning, they need to have a voice and feel that their thoughts and ideas are validated and factored into decisions affecting them. This has certainly been the case as our district works towards landing on a delivery model for the new Career-Life Curriculum planned for implementation in September. It has been insightful being an engaged listener throughout the process, one who probes deeper for clarification yet avoids making any judgments. At times, I admit that this was not easy!

At Rockridge, I am fortunate to be surrounded by teachers who are actively committed to their students, concerned about their academic achievement as well as their overall well-being. Our strong level of parent support is instrumental in enhancing the teaching and learning on an ongoing basis. Bringing these teams and our students together to share knowledge and develop common understandings will foster student agency and continue to drive teaching and learning forward.

As we start a new calendar year and resume our school year in a few days, I will engage students as partners in meaningful discussions about what, how and when learning could occur.  It will be rewarding indeed to continue to support the work being done in our school and district to promote student agency, thereby strengthening students’ commitment to and ownership of their education.

Wishing everyone a rewarding and joyful 2019.