Creating the conditions for authentic sharing and celebration is an art, especially in a room filled with dedicated, knowledgeable, and invested administrators. And yet each month, whether in-person or online, our Superintendent of Student Achievement, Purveen Skinner, has masterfully done just that. Our Banting/Westminster/Laurier Community of Schools includes the largest and most complex schools within our entire School Board. Our schools are located in parts of the city where neighbourhoods are expanding at an exponential rate, so overcrowding is a hot topic. Within many of our schools English as a first language spoken at home is in the minority. As a result of the sizes of our schools, we have 3-member administrator teams in some of our schools. Our community includes Government assisted housing as well as million-dollar homes and everything in between. So, to say the least, when we come together each month, we have a multitude of topics that are common to each of us and the discussion about how best to support our schools can be animated.
We have been so blessed to have Purveen as our Superintendent for the last 5 years. During our years together she has demonstrated time and time again integrity, care, compassion, and empathy for our work. She supports and highlights each of us and the work that we are doing in our schools in such a way that we are consistently learning from each other, not competing against each other. Purveen constructs activities where collaborative conversations occur naturally. She is intentional in reminding us that there is no judgement on what/how we share which alleviates any pressure that we may be feeling. Our family of administrators range from new to the role to those of us who are in the final months of our career and yet there is no hierarchy when it comes to idea sharing, recognition or seeking clarification.
Over the last few years, we have learned so much about how to maintain educational integrity and a focus on student learning through a pandemic, job action and the simple passage of time. I genuinely believe that our Community of School has been able to thrive through these challenges as a result of Purveen’s leadership.
Over the years Purveen has ensured that each of us are sprinkled with support, love and acceptance and provided with a sense of confidence in our work as we enjoy our ice cream cones!