“It was the best of times. It was the worst of times.” – Charles Dickens
In the midst of one of most devasting times of Canadian (and possibly world) history, Halton Catholic could have easily folded and given into fear, panic and despair. But, that is not what I’m seeing.
The immediate response of working collaboratively and in a timely manner, between groups inside and outside of the Board has been amazing. The Information Technology (IT) Services Department has worked with all the difficulties of social distancing to refurbish our IT infrastructure into something streamlined and effective in a very short period of time. Parents, teachers and staff once technophobes, are turning into online warriors – and I am getting some good interior decorating ideas from seeing the inside of so many people’s houses! I’m seeing people getting past the physical distancing barrier and engaging in deep and rich conversations, giving not only educational support, but hope. I’m seeing parents more engaged than ever with their child’s learning. But, what impresses me the most, is that I see people putting aside personal differences and opinions to come together and work for the greatest cause: to deliver the highest quality of education despite the pandemic.
Distance Learning will happen. It can be done at any point in the day. It does not always require online access. And ideally, it can be done with minimal adult support. Assessment will occur; but in such a way that allows us to assess effectively a student’s work from a distance. There will be a thousand and one technical glitches; but we will deal with every one.
Also, I want to make this clear to all our ratepayers. The long term and day-to-day business of the Board is still being done. The budget will be passed and hopefully balanced. The French Immersion expansion of two classes per municipality in Burlington, Oakville and Milton, and by one class in Halton Hills will take place. Our Board by-laws will continue to be reviewed. The beginning and completion of school construction will take place in so far as the provincial government will allow. Our Board meetings will continue; though they will be virtual, we continue to invite you to view us live-streamed on our Board website. We have not stopped pursuing the long range goals of Halton Catholic because there will be a light at the end of the tunnel and we will be ready for it.
The Chinese word for ‘crisis’ is the same as the word ‘opportunity’. Through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, who has, is and always will be with us, we will come through this, and turn this crisis into an opportunity. But, it will only come if each of us continues to do his or her part. I look forward in continuing to represent you as Catholic School Trustee for Burlington.