Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Citizenship, Stewardship and Leadership Revisited in Real Life

Every now and then you run across an example of action and insight that restores your faith that we may have people with the right ideas, the integrity to do something and the capacity to deliver on what they say they want to achieve.

I have come across just such an example of Citizenship, Stewardship and Leadership all integrated in the efforts of students, teachers and Trustees in the Canadian Rockies Public School in the Bow Valley.  It has all come together in a blog post by Esme Comfort, a district School Board Trustee entitled "Trust, Learning and Innovation."  Initiatives like these do not seek permission and should never need forgiveness either.  It is  this kind of taking on personal responsibility for a greater good that we need more of - in all aspects of life in Alberta.  We know the Alberta Advantage but now we need to look at the Alberta Aspirations is we are to realize our potential as a province and as a people.

I think the democratic deficit we face in Canada and Alberta will only be overcome by informed engaged citizenship, who have a value set based on stewardship, including the protection and empowerment of students, and leadership that is dynamic, service oriented and based on character and capacity, not power and position.

It is most gratifying when we see all this coming together at the local level in public education.  The emerging change in policy and governance culture that Minister Dave Hancock has been enabling in his efforts at transforming public education in Alberta for that past two years is is paying off.   Inspiring Education and Inspiring Action on Education have traction and are now gaining momentum.

When these elements of Citizenship, Stewardship and Leadership can integrate in real time and real life we get the kind of life affirming and creative innovation Esme speaks of in her blog post.  I hope I have made you curious enough to click on the link and read her post.  Congratulations to the students, teachers, Trustees and administrators involved in enhancing Citizenship, Stewardship and Leadership in the CRPS public school district.  Keep up the good work.


  1. Why thank you, Ken, for the shout-out to my blog post. I am thrilled to have the efforts of our staff, teachers, students and administrators highlighted in this way. Most exciting is to see the loose ends start to weave into a pattern of collaboration, student engagement, and transformation. We still have a long way to go, and it is um, uncertain, ambiguous and unsettling. Apparently, it's who we are, it's what we do.

    Many other school divisions are on this journey also. Our neighbour, Rocky View Schools District, is a partner with our division in many ways; there is very innovative work being done there. And this is true in school jurisdictions all over the province. Our next vault into the future is the nascent Community Education Network (CEN) - Kim Bater, our board chair, has a great post on it here:

    Minister Dave Hancock's Inspiring Education has indeed moved to Inspiring Action - literally breathing life into initiatives that will pay off for kids, community, Albertans. Let's hope we all have the courage to stay the course.

  2. Harvey Prockiw1:23 pm

    Hi Ken,
    The kind of leadership that Minister Hancock is showing within the Northland School division (NLSD) has been pathetic at best. As a resident of Wabasca and a former CAO of the Municipal District of Opportunity I know firsthand what the challenges are and the solutions as well. When I became the CAO in 1996, Alberta Municipal Affairs stated that as a newly (created as an M.D. in 1995) M.D. of Opportunity, it was not a viable municipality because 80% of the residents were not paying their taxes nor their water bills. When I asked that provincial government department how many homes they owned as a result of the governing tax recovery legislation, they indicated "none". They didn't even follow their own statute (the Municipal Government Act(MGA))because they were scared of the political fallout. When asked how many water valves were shut off each month as a result of non-payment, the response was that they didn't want to see any hardships occur and so no one was ever shut off. Folks owed $10,000 on their utility bills because they hadn't paid in 20 years and some owed more on taxes than their homes were worth. The solution: "Hold them accountable". I recommended to the elected Council and we instituted arrears agreements, cancelled huge outstasnding long term amounts and within a year or two, the tax and utility collection rate became the same as any other municipality.

    I live beside a 500 seat elementary school in Wabasca and on any given day, even with a free lunch provided, 50% of the children do not show up to class. I imagine the rate is even worse for the High School in town. Why is Minister Dave so afraid of forcing parents to send their kids to schools? Fire the whole board ... great, do a study ... great, now what? I can't wait to read what kind of nonsense is going to be recommended in that final report. I know that if a truancy officer were to remove 10 children from their homes, the other 1000 families would be sending their kids to school each day. These residents are like any other community and must be held to account for their poor behaviour. When they are, they respond like other folks and smarten up. I know this from first hand experience.

    Let's see that leadership you speak about Ken, the models, the theories, the principles, etc., etc. that Minister Hancock is so capable of implementing.