The year 2011 was an exciting one at Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board as all of our staff continued to collaborate so that we can achieve the Strategic Directions that we have laid out for the years ahead.
At the core of these directions is a vision of all students are achieving their full potential and a mission for all of us at HWDSB to provide relevant, responsive education so our students become lifelong learners and contributing citizens.
Just as we have aligned our practices to get us there, you will notice this report is organized around the three pillars that support our vision and mission: Achievement Matters, Engagement Matters and Equity Matters. Addressing each pillar, you will see how we are preparing students for next steps in life whether it includes secondary school, post-secondary pathways or continued academic or professional success for our adult learners.
You will see how we are encouraging and listening to student voice so that we can engage our learners by building a more responsive organization that meets student strengths, needs and preferences.
You will see that we work as a team, collaborating with partners who include parents, community agencies and our staff. Ambitious goals require innovative teams – and we are combining our efforts and sharing what each of us knows, for collective success.
We are making every place in HWDSB a welcoming one for all students, staff, parents and community members. We are examining how we can best allocate resources for greater equity in our board, and how we can support our diverse learners and ensure that everyone who walks into our schools is able to find a safe, inclusive and respectful learning environment.
At the heart of all of this is the voice of our students. As you will see in examples such as the Student Voice Forums, this input from students is the only way that we will be able to plan effectively and respond to the unique strengths, needs and learning preferences of every learner in our board.
One point we consistently hear is that not every student learns at the same rate, or in the same way. This report will highlight some of the ways that we are supporting diverse learners whether they are participating in supports for learning challenges, taking part in gifted programming, adjusting to a Canadian life through English language instruction, or receiving other types of supports.
Just as we support our students, we must also support our staff. My second year as Director of Education at HWDSB reminded me of the collective knowledge, expertise and skill that reside in our organization. We are tapping into that, and building capacity, whenever we spend time at the cluster or system level inviting staff to collaborative with one another. In so many ways, all of us are smarter than one of us.
I am excited about the work we have done, as well as the steps that lie ahead. We continue to act and adjust our actions based on what we have heard and learned from our students. We are hearing almost daily about what our students want and what they expect of their learning experience at HWDSB.
And we will always continue to listen and to respond. This is the only way that we can move closer to a place in which all students are achieving their full potential.