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Archived Principal Message

Principal Message: June 2014

Michelle Speight, Principal Glendale School“A community is like a ship; everyone ought to be prepared to take the helm.”
~Henrik Ibsen

Building Community- One Playground at a Time!

As I looked out at the Glendale School playground over the last three days, I was truly mesmerized and humbled by the growing sense of community before me.  The flurry of volunteers setting up tents, assembling fruit trays and coffee while others unloaded trailers of colourful, mysterious shapes of metal. The commotion of gravel trucks loading and unloading for days. The digging and clamour of old equipment being removed and the growing sense of mystery, wonder and excitement before us was truly inspiring.  

Glendale SchoolIn three short days, countless volunteers worked tirelessly together to build the dream of a new playground for our students. Four years in the making, the building of a playground is an excellent example of the important role that our families play in the lives of our children.  Furthermore, it is an outstanding example of what is possible when families and schools work collaboratively together.  Standing and looking at the fruits of our labours, one parent commented that the community building efforts of parents directly reflect on the school (or something like that- I should have written it down, Karen!) and it’s true.  I see this each school day in every smile, conversation and learning opportunity I experience with our students.(… I also learned that an ice pack feels really good after a day of shoveling and hammering. I imagine we have a lot of sore volunteers today!)

Glendale SchoolIn Thomas Sergiovanni’s book, “Building Community in Schools,” Sergiovanni notes that in order to create community, we must all make a commitment to personalized relationships and a willingness to embrace diversity.  He notes that “schools must first become places where members have developed a community of mind that bonds them together in a special way and binds them to a shared ideology” (p. 17).  What better way is there to bond together than over a playground build?

Together, we acknowledge the importance of creating continual opportunities for students, teachers, and parents to engage in meaningful and communal relationships and the building of a new playground is an outstanding example of this.  We also know that through building a community that is defined by shared values, that we are providing students every opportunity possible to learn. We believe whole heartedly and value that students come first.  We recognize that each student is unique and worthwhile. We acknowledge, recognize and celebrate the diversity of our learners and we believe that success for each and every student is the goal of our work.

Glendale SchoolWe recognize and value that learning is central to our purpose. We believe that learning empowers students to achieve their potential and that attention to continuous improvement, high expectations, innovation and relationships will enable all students to reach their potential.

And finally, we believe and value that public education serves the common good and that it is essential for a vibrant democracy. We also know that the principles of democracy drive our accountability to the public and the public's participation in our work (Calgary Board of Education, 2009).

Together as a learning community that is defined by these shared values, we will foster an atmosphere that helps teachers, students, and parents know where they fit in, how we are connected and how we can all work as a community to ensure that our children become lifelong learners and take ownership for their learning by discovering and developing their potential, passions and gifts.

On behalf of Glendale School, I thank all of the volunteers who have brought these shared values to life through the building of a fabulous new playground at Glendale School.  Your contributions to Glendale School are truly commendable and will be appreciated for many years to come.

Most sincerely,
Michelle Speight

Principal, Glendale School
mmspeight@cbe.ab.ca

Archived Principal Messages