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Blog: Wednesday, August 30th, 2017

A Child’s Best Hope

By Kevin Godden, Superintendent of Schools

I would like to welcome everyone back from what I hope was a relaxing summer with family and friends. This is my thirtieth September, and one of my most recent reflections has been about the things which have stood the test of time, despite the dramatic changes brought on by ubiquitous technology in our schools. As a welcome to back message, I would like to share some reflections on a few things which have not (and should never) change in our schools. Here are my top five.

  1. Uplifting society. It has remained true that the best way to move our society forward is to educate the children. Nelson Mandela said that “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” Most of the positive changes in our society today can be largely attributed to our education system.  We are healthier, kinder, more just, more respectful and more peaceful because of our education system.
     
  2. Each child. Just as a parent would, we continue to value each child for the gifts he/she brings to our classrooms each day. Given the interesting summer we have experienced with intolerance south of the border (and here and home), the “diversity is strength” message continues to ring true in all our classrooms. We must never give up on trying to find and highlight the gift of each child in our schools.
     
  3. Voice and choice. We did not use these terms back in the eighties, but the most successful classrooms celebrated student voice and choice. If you think about your most powerful and memorable learning experience, you would likely remember it because you were given some autonomy over the choosing the experience, were given an opportunity to work at a high level, and you felt that the task was important to you or your community. It remains ever true for children. It is not unreasonable that on a weekly basis each student should be engaged in learning for which they would run to school.
     
  4. Being a scholar. We are all learners. Then as now, I think we are committed to becoming scholars of the work we do. Successful teachers are students of their students and their pedagogy. Successful principals are students of their staff and leadership. Successful secretaries are students of their parent community and clerical practice. The more we learn, the more we grow, the better we are able to serve students.
     
  5. Relationships matter. This is most important of all. That old saying that kids don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care is even more true today than thirty years ago. Living in a knowledge society where teachers cannot be the font of knowledge puts caring and positive relationships at a premium. Relationships with students are the teacher’s play field; students cannot learn at high levels without it. On your worst day, teachers can still be a child’s best hope for a brighter future.

I hope that each of you has a fantastic school year!

By Kevin Godden
Kevin Godden
Kevin Godden

By Kevin Godden, Superintendent of Schools

Kevin has been the Superintendent of Schools for the Abbotsford School District since July 2011, overseeing some 19,000 students and 2,500 employees. Kevin is committed to student success in all forms and envisions a school district that can nimbly respond to the ever changing needs and interests of its students.