Is it just me or did the extra week this summer make it feel like a truly refreshing break?  Or maybe it was the glorious weather we enjoyed over the long break.  I don’t know, but it seems like a long time since we’ve seen one another, and I’m sure we’re all ready to get back at it.  I’d like to take this opportunity to welcome all of our staff, students, and families back to school for what promises to be another exciting year of opportunity and continued success.

We’ve been working hard over the summer to prepare our schools and classrooms for the big day, and I’m sure you’ll notice many improvements that have taken place at a number of our facilities over the summer.  It always amazes me to see just how much our staff are able to accomplish in such a short period of time. I know we are all grateful for their work alongside contractors and our own facilities staff who must meet tight timelines and multiple demands to make sure everything is ready to go.

As we begin the year, I’d also like to say a few words of thanks in advance for what awaits our young people.  Our success is built on a foundation of excellence and support for the achievement and well-being of our students, and I have no doubt that Trillium Lakelands will continue to be held up as a school board of excellence.  Our students will continue to enjoy the experiences we work so hard to provide for them and I know the success we’ve lived so far hasn’t happened accidentally.  Rather, it’s the result of careful planning at both the system and school level.  It’s based on knowing the needs of our students and our communities, and more importantly, being willing to respond to those needs on an individual basis, with the unique circumstances of every student and every community circumstance.  The thanks I offer in advance is to our staff for never losing sight of our key values and for continuing to be mindful of the details that require our attention.  I know that in TLDSB we will continue to offer the very best in academic programming alongside the other dimensions that make our schools great places for our students to learn and thrive. We continue to see wonderful examples of this on various social media and I encourage you to share your observations and learning through #TLDSBlearns.

Feed All Four as our way of being, will, I believe, help to form the basis of our work going forward. I’d like to remind you of the importance of feeding all four (body, mind, spirit, emotions) in your own life.  I can’t tell you the number of conversations I’ve had over the past several weeks where this has hit home for me.  While we seek to support our students through the feed all four way of being and thinking, we often overlook this in our own lives.  Ask anyone in our business about their summer, and I can pretty much assure you that they will share a list of things they accomplished.  I’ve been calling these lists the “personal maintenance” list (dentist and physician visits, car repairs, home renovations, and family time). These are all activities that sometimes don’t get done during the school year because of competing interests and time constraints due to the nature of our work. While I know we all derive great satisfaction from our work, I’m simply saying a little more balance and consideration of the little things we might do to Feed All Four probably wouldn’t hurt any of us. Those of you who participate in social media can share how you, your family, your work colleagues, and our students Feed All Four using #feedallfour.

I wish each and every one of you a successful and rewarding year, filled with great opportunities and many memorable moments.

Larry Hope

Director of Education