One Word for 2024 . . . & More

February 19, 2024 - 6 minutes read

While we are well into the second month of 2024, I always think this is the best time to relook at one’s New Year’s Resolution and see how on track you are. One thing I find important with any goal is having a timeline to check back in on how you are doing.  This is important for both something you are working on independently or with a team.  In the SMART goal philosophy T (timely) for me includes making time to look at one’s progress.  This may mean looking at specific data or simply making sure that you are taking time regularly to reflect on your personal or professional growth or those New Year’s Resolutions. This is not always easy work and takes organization and planning so that you can see progress, feel success and even total accomplishment.  I jokingly said I was giving up smoking this year . . . that way I could ensure I was successful . . . since I am not a smoker.  I guess that idea would not be seen as very (realistic) in the R in SMART goal setting.

Looking more specifically at my role as the principal of Rockridge Secondary, I have my own professional goals while also helping lead The Rock in our collective school growth plan.  You can read more about our three-year school goal journey on our website here: Rockridge School Goal (FESL 2022-25).  As an aside, our school goals are called a FESL (Framework for Enhancing Student Learning).  I’ve always liked this title, not because it is another clever educational acronym, but because it speaks to putting students at the centre of what our school is doing.  I am particularly proud of the Rockridge FESL as it is focused on inclusive assessment.  In an upcoming blog post I will speak more to the Rockridge school goal process, our progress and how it is positively impacting student learning.

One of the great structures at secondary schools is having built in leadership roles in our departments known as coordinators.  These are teachers who are not only passionate about their subject(s) and classes but have a desire to help guide and support their colleagues.  Our admin team works closely with our coordinators meeting once a month to collaborate and discuss important school-wide business, but to also reflect and work on our leadership skills.  In our January meeting we all shared our One Word for 2024.  Inspired by Superintendent Kennedy’s annual blog post – see Culture of Yes, I wanted all the leaders in our school to communicate One Word for 2024.  For me, choosing One Word for 2024 helps me focus on my professional goals and more importantly revisit it regularly as it is posted beside my desk.  The list of One Words for 2024 from the Rockridge Coordinators was so impressive I shared them in the January Staff Meeting with all staff to demonstrate the kind of thoughtful, inspirational and dedicated leaders we have at The Rock. I also loved that connected and joy were each chosen by more than one person . . . pretty great words to have extra focus on by your school leaders.

This year my One Word for 2024 is build.  It is not only a good word for me to try and focus on, but also what I find myself already trying to do . . . build on my experience from 2022-23, my first year as principal at Rockridge.  Build is actually a great action word, and it is a progression from my One Word for 2023 which was present.

Here are a few of the connections and directions I have planned for 2024 with regard to how I plan to build at Rockridge.

  • Building on being present so that my goals and One Word from 2023 are not forgotten.
  • Building on the relationships I developed last year in the Rockridge school community and growing those further while fostering new connections.
  • Building on deepening my learning of MYP and supporting teachers and coordinators to continue to make Rockridge a world-class IB (International Baccalaureate) School.
  • Building on supporting the refreshing and improving of creative learning spaces to enhance our beautiful school building.
  • Building on effective transitions for new students coming to The Rock and those graduates moving on to post-secondary opportunities.
  • Building capacity in the Rockridge staff to continue to grow their own leadership skills and supporting their evolving teaching and learning proficiencies.

In keeping with R (realistic) and A (attainable) or not, I will continue to work hard on the ice every week in hopes of being picked up as a 51-year-old walk on for an NHL training camp in the fall of 2024 . . . it’s a SMART dream I’ll continue to build on!

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