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Presidents Message – June 2021

Well, what can we say about this past year.   I am not sure we can summarize the dynamics of the pandemic, and its ongoing wake, in the amount of time we have today. Suffice it to say…it has been a year of unpredictability, learning opportunities achieved and lost, learning gaps, and in most cases, a very different feel to our school buildings and our classrooms.  This new reality spans everything from our environment and the new cleaning protocols and social distancing practices, to face-to-face, blended and online learning – often moving back and forth within a days’ notice, to the relationships and connections we have with students and with each other.  To say it was a challenge is an understatement, but one thing remained constant…. The resiliency of our youth to persevere in their education and the strength of our educators to rise in the face of unprecedented times.  And at the helm, was the administration.  Navigating waters between division expectations, parents and staff.

My name is Carol Sarich.  I have been proud serve as president of the SSBL for the past 10 years.  The Saskatchewan School Based Leaders Association is a professional growth network under the direction of the STF.  As a professional organization, we advocate for the needs and interests of Saskatchewan school based leaders.  We provide a forum to focus on issues and opportunities for professional development specific to the administrative role in schools.  We aim to support networking throughout  the province, and join with other administrators across Canada through our affiliation with CAP.

Due to the pandemic, many annual activities of our PGN did not occur.  In the past, we would have face to face meetings of the executive, which of course could not happen.  Instead, 5 virtual meetings occurred.  It was very early in the year, that our normal plans for the SSBL would not be happening and we needed to respond with a pandemic ‘response’, hence the SSBL Admin Chat Zoom calls were planned.  In all, 3 Chats occurred which allowed administrators across the province to discuss relevant issues and celebrations, discussing the pandemic’s impact on schools.  We would normally have worked on providing professional development opportunities, but were not able to actualize any throughout the year.

As an affiliate of CAP, the meetings as the CAP table also happened virtually.  As the president of the SSBL, I have had the opportunity to also sit on the executive of CAP.  Most administrators know CAP more so from its CAP conferences, that now for the past two years, have not been able to be actualized.  CAP still publishes quarterly journals, with its most recent journal (Winter edition) being focused on “Navigating a Crisis: The Critical Role of Strong Leadership”.  Our affiliation with CAP is so important as its work gives a national perspective to our role, and they continue to be invested with research that is not only nationally but globally relevant.

SSBL continues its long standing tradition as being a partner with SELU – working with the U of S to support the Principals’ Short Course that happens annually in the summer.

The last couple of years we have been supported by the STF through the work of Withman Jaigobin; the STF liaison for administrators.  As well, SSBL executive members have also been part of Principal and Vice-Principal Advisory Committee which is hosted and organized through the STF.

Next year will give the PGN’s a fresh look as we move to a new governance model.  I hope that many people will take this opportunity to be part of the board of directors (15 positions) that are available.  From those positions, roles of president, vice-president, secretary and treasurer will be elected, but the board would be the governing body, bringing new direction and building on the strong foundation  of our PGN.

Thank you for your continued support.  I look forward to continuing the work of the SSBL in supporting administration in our province through this new governing model.  I also wish to acknowledge and thank the current executive for their time and work for the purpose of our network.

As president, I appreciate hearing from you… please feel free to email me directly at casarich@sasktel.net, and let me know how things are going in your role, and if there is anything the SSBL can do to support you.