B.C. school superintendents and their blogsNovember 4, 2014
A few years ago, B.C.’s school superintendents had established a strong presence in the blogging sphere.
A list compiled in 2011 by West Vancouver superintendent Chris Kennedy indicated that 20 of 60 superintendents were using blogs to connect with their communities and share positive stories about their schools.
It was a welcome trend, but unfortunately it didn’t last. Now, only a few are still posting regularly.
Kennedy continues to be a leader with his popular Culture of Yes blog. His writing is engaging and often personal and he tackles a wide range of topics. His latest post, called Taking Back Halloween, focuses on inappropriate costumes worn by students. “I have seen way too many costumes that glamorize sexual exploitation, pimping and ganglife styles,” he writes. “We want schools to reflect the values we hold important to us, and we need to work with our students and parents to be sure that on Halloween we send out the same signals we would otherwise send every other day of the year.”
Abbotsford’s Kevin Godden has been posting several times a month and while most are written by “guests” (usually principals or teachers), Godden often pens a personal introduction. The posts offer good insight into Abbotsford schools. His blog is called The Triumph of Teamwork.
Cariboo Chilcotin’s Mark Thiessen has posted a dozen times during the past year, with a mix of newsy items (such as a local teacher winning the Prime Minister’s Award for Excellence and an effort by UBC to place new teacher candidates in rural school districts) and personal stories (his reflections on the education system as his eldest child graduated from high school). His blog, Big Rocks First, is here.
Surrey’s Jordan Tinney says the purpose of his blog is to show how educational research has influenced practice in B.C. schools. One of his posts, titled How Do Parents Enrich Your School’s Cuture, suggests parents can have more influence on their children’s learning by encouraging and supporting their studies rather than being involved in school management. Another post is titled What Do Letter Grades Actually Mean? Find his Ed Praxis blog here.
North Vancouver’s John Lewis has one of the busiest blogs, with nine posts last month. Newsy, rather than personal, his recent posts were about the Great BC Shakeout, the popularity of French immersion, World Mental Health Day and his district’s new partnership with Chevron’s Fuel Your School program. His posts can be found here.
Sooke’s Jim Cambridge also has a newsy blog, with recent posts about International Walk to School Day, back-to-school speed zones, back-to-school tips for parents, trustee elections, and teacher-student connections. Find it here.
Kootenay Lake’s Jeff Jones hasn’t written since the start of this school year but had a couple of posts earlier in 2014. One lengthy one, titled Unfinished Business, describes the shift in his thinking since he began teaching almost 30 years ago, including his views about 21st Century learning. His Sharing My View blog is here.
Burnaby’s Kevin Kaardal has posted a few times in 2014, most recently about the start of school at the end of a bitter labour dispute. “Once classes are organized, the real work of rebuilding relationships that focus on learning will begin. Compassion, understanding and patience will be required, with all partner groups as some people have experienced real hardship during the strike/lockout. I believe that focused dialogue will be an important part of the process of healing as we move forward.” His Engaging Learners blog is here.
Richmond’s Monica Pamer writes creatively about school events and educational issues. Her most recent post, titled The Butterfly and the Stick, is about recess adventures. Earlier posts were about inclusive classrooms versus pull-out programs, which mentions her visit to the new Errington Learning Centre (ELC), a special program in her district for children with exceptional needs. Her blog can be found here.