Cultivate Trust: A New School Year Begins

choose trust 3Words of welcome to all staff from the GVSD Board Chair officially launched the 2017-2018 school year. Speaking to all staff at the Sept. 5th orientation meeting at GVC, Laurie Dyck spoke about exciting changes that lie ahead for GVSD as we continue striving towards our goals, including the building of a new school.

Laurie Dyck affirmed the government announcement that a new K-8 school will be built in Winkler. The new school in the Pine Ridge area will be designed for 675 students, with the ability to expand to 875 with the addition of 8 classrooms. Construction is expected to begin in spring 2018, and be ready for students in Sept. 2019.

Also bringing greetings for a new year, Vern Reimer, GVSD Superintendent, introduced and welcomed the GVSD staff members that are new and/or in new roles. Approximately 10% of GVSD staff are new this year. Reimer noted that there are over 10,000 years of public education experience represented in the staff of GVSD.

Quoting da Vinci, who said "simplicity is the ultimate sophistication," Reimer outlined that a school division's work involves three important endeavors: (1) student learning, (2) teacher learning, and (3) leaders supporting schools. Vern Reimer reviewed some of the ways the division has been supporting our schools, including addition and renovation projects around the division. Recent projects included the GVC sidewalk, portables at JR and Parkland, the WES pit area, and the addition of a second diesel classroom at GVCTEC.

The Superintendent also reviewed Garden Valley School Division's major goals for 2017-2018. Literacy, Numeracy, and Professional Learning Communities will remain as the three strategic goals for GVSD. The goal of 85% of students reading at grade level remains. New literacy goals for grades 9-12 include 70% of students being at grade level in their grade 9 course.

The Superintendent also provided the staff with a preview of the new Pine Ridge School. Describing it as incorporating design elements of both NPC and Prairie Dale, the new school will be built on an 8 acre site. The Pine Ridge school will draw students from three primary areas of Winkler: Winkler south (JR/ECS), Winkler Center (WES), and Winkler north (PKLD).

The morning session concluded with the Superintendent presenting on the theme of Trust and Cultivate Trust. GVSD is entering the third year of its Trust initiative, where trust is the organizational principle that will guide the staff as they work together to build a healthy staff culture. Based on the leadership training work of Andy Stanley, GVSD has intentionally embarked on a journey to establish a culture of trust within the entire organization. When there is a gap between our expectations and our actual experiences, it's essential to fill the gap with trust rather than suspicion.

"Trust takes years to build, seconds to break, and forever to repair," noted Reimer. GVSD staff were encouraged to fill the gap with trust as we begin 2017-2018 and collectively facilitate excellent education for children to become good neighbours, workers, and citizens.