The Quick and Dirty

Sun West (not Sunwest) is a school division that in terms of area resembles the province of New Brunswick. Distance is a real issue.

There are about 5000 students, 340 teachers, 2 Superintendent's of Education with leadership duties in Curriculum & Technology and 3 Curriculum Consultants. If we want to be responsive, technology has to be used.

The Burning Questions

What should be the focus for our division? Reading/Math/Writing? All? More?

Effective practices, PLCs, continuous improvement, safe and caring schools, character education, to mention only a few. How many is too many to support without losing instructional focus in classrooms?

Male students are performing well below female students in all subject areas. What can be done to address this?

Females represent nearly 75% of our teaching staff. How can we attain a staffing equilibrium?

Primarily, elementary teachers report having reading backgrounds. How might we attract teachers, or encourage training in other areas, such as mathematics or science?

What assessments should be used/developed? At what grade levels?

How can we bring technology under the umbrella of education? Tech support wants instruction to fit to corporate technological standards. Educators want technology to be responsive, supportive and respectful of educational needs. Integrating, and now imbedding technology into curriculum/instruction is yet to be realized and technological costs and proportion to funding continue to grow. How can both win?

Bringing a common standard to our new division is a priority. This includes acquiring, using, and developing common key resources, compatible library systems, a focused professional development program and stable systemic technological platforms. Input as how this can best be done would be appreciated.

Parts of our new division have developed distance education delivery formats involving Adcom video-conferencing, smart boards, intra-nets with web-cams plus locally-developed and CentraliSchool on-line courses using Blackboard. What else is out there? What works best? What's affordable?