The day has finally arrived. The day we graduate the 50th class in the history of Garden Valley Collegiate. Graduation is my favourite day of the year. It is the day when I have the privilege of shaking each graduates hand, giving them their diploma, and congratulating them on their successful completion of high school. I am always amazed at how our students transform from timid and scared grade nine students into the confident young men and women who walk across the stage to receive their diploma.
To the GVC grads of 2017, we wish you bright futures, filled with opportunity and success as you move out of our hallways into the world of work or further education. It has been our privilege to work with you and invest in you. The potential within this graduating class to positively impact our world is truly staggering. Congratulations on your accomplishments!
If you’re seeking to create positive change in your community, it’s almost certain you’ll be creating discomfort as well.
Want to upgrade the local playground? It sounds like it will be universally embraced by parents and everyone who cares about kids. Except that you now bring up issues of money, of how much is enough, of safety. Change is uncomfortable.
It’s way easier to talk about today’s weather, or what you had for lunch.
Usually, when we’re ready to launch something, we say, “this is going to help people, this is well crafted, I’m proud of it.”
What’s a lot more difficult (but useful) is to say all of that plus, “and this is going to make (some) people uncomfortable.”
“Your core values are not your core values, unless they cost you something.” – Brian Canlis
Core values are a set of inviolable (never to be broken, infringed, or dishonored) principles. They are principles that dictate behavior and action and can help an organization to determine if they are on the right path towards fulfilling their goals.
This video is an interview with Donald Miller and the owners of the Canlis Restaurant which is known for it’s amazing customer service. Near the end of the video (16:29), Brian explains about core values, and how they are really not core values unless they cost you something.
The GVC staff is currently working at identifying the core values that we believe are well on their way to becoming firmly embedded in our culture. Upcoming posts will identify a core value, explain how it is core to our work at GVC, and the costs associated with each one. Stay tuned!
At our last staff meeting, we asked staff to take a few minutes to reflect back on the year and write down things to celebrate. I promised to compile their notes into a video, complete with cheezy music…
If you’ve been following this blog or our GVC Facebook page, you know that in our 50th Anniversary Year, we’ve been working at clarifying our purpose. This has been a challenging discussion, because it is a bit like trying to get wide agreement around the meaning of life.
The strategy we used was to compile a list of 19 purposes of education that have been used by governments and educational institutions over many generations. We then extended an open invitation to parents, students, and community members to rank their top 10 purposes of education prior to and after watching the documentary, “Most Likely to Succeed.” Included in the list of 19, were seven purposes which Tony Wagner, calls the 7 Survival Skills that all students need to be equipped with.
As we continue the work of asking ourselves the hard questions about our purpose of education in our 50th year of GVC, people like Ted Dintersmith, Sir Kenneth Robinson, and Tony Wagner, are guiding lights.
As a leading venture capitalist, Ted Dintersmith lived and breathed the world of innovation. He has seen first-hand how quickly automation is eliminating the structured jobs in our economy, as well as the opportunities for young adults who are bold, creative, and entrepreneurial. As Ted shifted his focus to the future of our schools, he realized that the core purpose of our schools has been lost in a wave of testing, data, and accountability. In this talk, Ted underscores the potential for our kids and our country if we educate to our innovative and creative strengths, and trust our schools and teachers to prepare our kids for life, instead of for standardized tests.
In the year of GVC’s 50th graduating class, it is an appropriate time to spend some time reflecting on the past, the present and the future.
GVC History Book
During the first few months of the current school year, teachers Loretta Thorliefson, Darren Crane, and a small group of Desktop Publishing students, put forth a massive effort to create a beautiful history book that weaves together the story of GVC over the past five decades. We still have copies available for purchase at a cost of $20 if you should want to buy one.
A large, freshly-paved parking lot has no boundaries. You can drive in any direction, free to speed to your destination.
But once there’s more than a few cars driving, traffic stops. It’s too risky, there are too many uncertainties. A car could come at you from any direction, and so we crawl.
Flow is far more efficient, and flow comes from well-placed guardrails and intelligently painted lines. Flow only happens when the guardrails are universally accepted, when we can find the confidence to drive just a bit faster than our eyes can see.
One opportunity to make progress presents itself when it’s possible to move a guardrail, to show the others a better route.
The other leap occurs when we realize that we’ve been imagining a guardrail, one that’s been causing us to detour when in fact it’s not actually there. We’re obeying invisible guardrails when it doesn’t benefit the others. Ignoring these self-erected guardrails permits us to contribute more than we thought possible.
Over the past three weeks there has been a significant amount of activity in and around Ms. Parr’s classroom and the south-west second floor stairwell. This activity has required large pieces of wood, paint, bricks, construction adhesive, power tools, and computers. The students in Ms. Parr’s grade 12 English class have been studying dystopian literature, focusing on the theme of finding hope, in the midst of hopelessness.