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Director's Message - UPDATED September 4, 2017
Where does the time go?  It feels as though I was just bidding all of my end-of-school-year farewells and sharing summer best wishes, yet here we are again with a brand new school year upon us!  I hope everyone had a safe and enjoyable summer, and gave themselves permission to pause and tend to their personal well-being in meaningful ways.    

Before we move into 2017 – 2018, I would like to take a moment to extend a big “thank you” to our many wonderful Bluewater District School Board staff who were busily engaged over the summer months in critically important work to ensure the uninterrupted delivery of services, and a smooth September start for all of us.  There is a huge amount of activity that happens in Bluewater during July and August that many people may not be fully aware of.  This includes school renovations and renewal work, keeping our facilities properly maintained, clean and safe, upgrades to our technology systems and equipment, the delivery of summer programs, managing school transportation changes, accommodating public inquiries, and a broad range of human resources, community education, finance and payroll functions.  We truly appreciate all of their efforts to keep our system operating in fine form!       

The arrival of a new school year always presents our students with fresh and exciting opportunities for the establishment of new beginnings and connections.  This can mean transitioning to a new grade or a different school.  Once again, many students and families will be adjusting to newly implemented school reconfigurations and amalgamations.  While change can be scary and carry a degree of uncertainty, I have every confidence that our experienced and caring staff will be doing everything they can to provide guidance and a welcoming environment.  I encourage our parents, families and staff to check out our back-to-school wellness tips.  Speaking of our staff, I recognize that some of them are also impacted by changes occurring in our system.  I commend their resilience and professionalism, and know that they will continue to make a positive and profound difference in the lives of those they serve as they take on their new roles and surroundings.    

There are many positive things to celebrate and be proud of in Bluewater as we begin 2017 – 2018:  
  • As we welcome a brand new group of kindergarten age learners who get to experience our school system for the first time, many of our senior students are preparing for the final stretch as they consider their chosen pathways following graduation.  
  • We look forward to following the progress of a few new school builds, and the establishment of new learning cultures as some of our longstanding school communities join together to set down roots in different facilities.  
  • For the first time in a number of years, our board is operating from a stronger financial position, which signals a significant step forward in the path to long-term sustainability and stability.  As financial flexibility grows, so do the opportunities to reinvest in enhanced programming for our students.  The future looks bright indeed!  
  • We look forward to offering additional staff support for students with intensive special education needs, English as a Second Language learners, and students requiring support related to speech and language, and psychological assessments.  Added supports will also ensure that schools remain safe and clean, and the continued effective administration of school offices.  
  • I could go on!
Over the next school year, I have little doubt that our knowledgeable and talented students and staff will continue to exemplify the high level of excellence that is cultivated within Bluewater.  In 2016 – 2017, our board enjoyed a vast array of well documented accomplishments locally, provincially, nationally, and even internationally, in areas ranging from public speaking and athletics to science and the skilled trades.  The sky is the limit in 2017 – 2018!  
I look forward to working collaboratively with all of our staff, students, parents and families, volunteers, trustees, education partners, and communities in the coming months to not only build on our successes, but to embrace our challenges as well.  As I have stated in the past, we are stronger together.  

Please accept my best wishes for a successful year ahead!        

Alana Murray
Director of Education

Follow me now on Twitter:  @BWDSBDirector

Image of Director of Education Alana Murray