Blog Posts

March 10, 2022

Trust the Village

I visited the temporary Upper Sumas Elementary site this week to see how the staff and students were adjusting to their “new” environment (For those of you who have been around as long as I have been, this was the old Abby Elementary School site). As I approached the front doors, I saw a class of students standing in circle in a little garden patch. I made eye contact with the teacher, Ms. Marr, who invited me to join their circle. She told me that they had just finished sharing what they were grateful for and invited me to do the same.

February 28, 2022

Student Voice: Selling Hope

With all that has transpired in this country and in Europe over the last few weeks, it is easy to slip into despair. However, when you work with and in service of children it is both difficult and unhealthy to live in that space. I had the distinct pleasure of meeting with a group of eight students from Robert Bateman Secondary last week, and true to form, they not only affirmed the importance of our work, but lifted my spirits about the fundamental importance of our ongoing journey to deepen student learning experiences in our schools.  

February 4, 2022

Things are Looking Up for International Education

After Two Years of the Pandemic

It has been a very challenging few years for everyone and this certainly includes the international department. A new layer of protocols has added many challenges to the international landscape. Despite complex travel restrictions, our program has remained successful and attractive for foreign students.

February 3, 2022

Why Celebrate Black History Month?

I have a hope that one day we will not have to celebrate Black History Month, that our society, discourse and school curricula will be redolent with the contributions and experiences of Black Canadians, that Black students in our schools will be proud of who they are, that they will see their history and culture in the ecology of their school experiences, and that they will not suffer the legacy of prejudice and racism as their previous generation had.

December 9, 2021

School is Where the Heart Is

When I was recently asked to share with some of my colleagues how our school district was handling the challenges related to the recent rainstorms and flooding, I could not help but reflect on the numerous calamities we have experienced as a community over the last decade. In addition to the pandemic and disastrous flooding of the last three weeks, our community has endured more than its fair share of tragedies. We have lost more students from a range of misfortune too difficult to recount here.

November 25, 2021

An Open Letter to Ethan (and his Classmates)

On the heels of our decision to open some of our schools last week, several high school students wrote a version of this letter below to me:

Dear Dr. Godden,

On behalf of several students in the Abby school district, we would like to request that you close the school district completely for the remainder of the week as well as thank you for your prompt decision making in this unfortunate situation. 

October 26, 2021

Distinguishing the Weather from the Work

As a way of keeping our focus on the teaching and learning in our schools, I have drawn a distinction between the “work”, our primary focus on providing for the educational needs of our students, and the “weather”, the conditions under which we do this work. In uncertain times if we are not careful, we sometimes confuse the two. While it is clearly important to ensure that we are following all the public health protocols, caution must be extended to ensure that this does not become the primary focus of our discourse and practice.

October 15, 2021

Outside & Online

As we navigate the fourth wave of the pandemic, with an eye to post-pandemic teaching and learning, it has dawned on me that two of the lessons learned from the pandemic might be at odds with each other. With physical distancing being one of the best ways to keep ourselves and kids safe from COVID-19, we saw many classrooms migrate outdoors, at least for part of their instructional experience. This was sage advice given to us by public health, and many classroom teachers were all over it.

September 7, 2021

Welcome to the 2021-22 school year!

This will be a year to remember. I think all of us are happy to put 2020-21 in the rearview mirror. While we did a truly heroic job of navigating the pandemic last year, I think it’s fair to say that none of us wants to do it again. But let’s take a minute to reflect on our efforts. Not only did we live through a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic, but we were also able to keep our schools open, take care of each other and – most importantly – fulfill our mission to provide the best possible education to our students.