During this time of Advent as you and your family prepare for Christmas, one of the most joyous times of the year, it is an opportune time to look back at 2020 and reflect on both the challenges and the opportunities it provided.
We can admit that 2020 was a trying year for all of us, but as a community we rose to the challenge. By keeping our distance and agreeing to follow health protocols, we helped protect one another and keep our community safe. We reached out and checked in our neighbours. We were open to doing things a different way for the betterment of all – and as a result we learned that we are resourceful and resilient when we come together.
At the HCDSB, we were able to pivot the delivery of instruction in a very short period of time, something that last year at this time was not even on anyone’s radar. This did not just happen. It was the direct result of the vision and careful planning of our senior leadership team, led by our Director of Education, Pat Daly. As we know, a plan is only as good as its execution, and we are fortunate to have so many dedicated, professional, committed staff across the system who rolled up their sleeves and met the challenges of this past year head-on.
We are also blessed at HCDSB with a community of parents and guardians who are engaged in their children’s learning. As a parent, I know how challenging it was having to balance the needs of our families as we helped our children learn from home for three months, all the while trying to manage our own jobs. Thank you for your patience, support and partnership throughout the year. We could not have done it without you.
I think we would all agree, however, that our HCDSB students are the main reason that we were successful. They gave up a lot this past year, and had to make a number of compromises. But they embraced the changes and participated fully, following the new protocols and adapting to their new learning environments. This cohort of students will forever be remembered for their resiliency and for their courage in the face of adversity. We are in good hands with this generation of future leaders.
At a local level, we are very fortunate that Milton continues to be a growing, thriving community and that families want to be a part of the HCDSB community. However, we continue to deal with the challenges of over-utilized schools resulting from the lack of timely capital investment and approvals that support new school construction. Fellow Milton Trustee Duarte and I continue to lobby and engage with the Provincial Government, with the help of our Town of Milton Councillors, advocating for the needs of our students to provide the learning spaces that they so desperately need.
I would like to wish our HCDSB staff, families, partners and members of our community a very blessed Christmas and a safe and healthy 2021.
As we look to a new year, may 2021 bring a renewed sense of hope in the midst of uncertainty, resilience in the face of struggles, and an abundance of peace, joy and love to comfort our weary hearts.
Chair of the Board and Milton Trustee