Sunday, May 26, 2013

Lorne Bodin Bike Ride 2013

I have written before of my friend and mentor Lorne Bodin.  Lorne passed away after a fight with stomach cancer in January of 2011 (see photos of his Celebration of Life), but his legacy lives on in countless ways.  He is missed by so many people, but the way he treated others is something that all who knew him aspire to carry forward.
After two years of riding in the BC Ride to Conquer Cancer (which I have written about here and here), a large group of his friends decided to bring the ride closer to home and open it up to more participants.  On Saturday, May 25th, a 25 km ride starting at Burnett Secondary School (where Lorne began his teaching career in Richmond) went south to the dyke, then east to Number 5 road and back.  An after-party BBQ was hosted and everyone got a chance to visit and talk about how Lorne impacted their lives.  Over 120 people participated or organized the event, and with a registration fee of only $30 (for a t-shirt and lunch), almost $2000.00 was raised for the Lorne Bodin Scholarship fund.
Students helping hand out t-shirts
Bonnie Leslie and Glenn Kishi
Looking good, ladies...
The boys sharing a laugh and some coffee
Rob Laing helping get everyone "pumped up"
Bert Wiens getting ready
It was this kind of day...
Jason Leslie with some opening remarks

Jan Bodin saying "Welcome and thank you for coming"
The Laing family at the turn-around
Superintendent Monica Pamer refueling
Mike Whittingham and daughter Reese
Birgitte Biorn and others doing some real riding
Jim Allison cheering people home
Spencer Leslie helping out with the BBQ
Checking out some tribute photos
Rose Sebellin and Dora Ho
Enjoying a burger in a good-looking shirt
Dora Ho and Team Leslie-Lorne was all about friends and family
Rob and Deb are ready for next year's ride
Jan Bodin and Andrew Ferguson having a chat

Enjoying a BBQ in the sunshine
The ride, as you can tell by the photos, was a smashing success, as the weather held, people thoroughly enjoyed themselves, and we all came together to remember and honour our friend, Lorne.  Thanks to everyone for their contributions and participation in a great day.  Special thanks to Deb Wheeler-Brown for the fantastic photos.
Some of the members of Team Bodin are still participating in the Ride to Conquer Cancer, and in order to ride, each participant needs to fundraise at least $2500.00.  If you are so inclined, they would welcome any donations. Contributions can be made here.
The ride will become an annual event, as we look to grow the participation and keep Lorne's memory strong.  We welcome anyone to join us (and I know Lorne would love to have everyone there), so keep your eyes open for the Second Annual Lorne Bodin Bike Ride in May of 2014.
As Lorne would say, "You all look good, my friends"

Monday, May 20, 2013

Year #2 (Full Disclosure)

At this time of year, when I run into friends who are not educators, they often say to me, "So, I guess things are winding down for you..."  I attempt to respond by saying something along the lines of "Actually, they are winding up.  We are nearing the end of the year, but I am worried that I do not have enough time to get everything done".

As Cale Birk writes on his blog, The Learning Nation, "AprilMayJune" is a crazy, hectic and exciting time of year.  Schools are busy places with staff and students frantically trying to "fit it all in", the office staff looking at next year's timetable, putting the finishing touches on the School Performance Plan, and dealing with staffing issues while our students are excitedly anticipating graduation ceremonies and summer holidays.  It is also a time when people reflect upon the year that has passed and consider all that has been accomplished and learned.

As my second year in the Principal's office nears the finish line, I reflect upon what has been an incredibly steep learning curve, a frighteningly busy pace, some growth in my leadership skills and some significant changes within our school community.  Looking back at my first year, I remember job-action, no meetings, reduced teacher involvement in extra-curricular activities, a three-day walkout, no report cards and a litany of other challenges.  We managed to persevere through what were difficult times (especially for a "newbie"), and I thought to myself, "it can only get easier as I become more experienced, teachers become involved again and life returns to normal".

That statement was partly right, but could not have been more incomplete.  My second year has been much more rewarding, and has not had the same turmoil, but to be honest, I have not found it easier.  In fact, I am likely more fatigued now than I was at this time last year.  Yes, I have more experience and a slightly better feel for what I am doing, and teachers are offering more assistance with a variety of tasks (extra-curricular opportunities and events like Commencement planning and so much more).  There has been an increase in meetings and more open communication and collaboration with staff, and while it has been extremely beneficial, it is much more work.

I am extremely proud of what is being done at Burnett.  From efforts to make our Assessment practices more Outcome-Based (discussions have included things like the Rick Wormeli video seen below) to our collaborative development of a Work Habits Rubric (also below), we have regained an extremely open, communicative and forward thinking climate in our school.  This gets me excited, but I must admit, navigating these discussions has made this past year much more challenging than my first year.  Year One was not a very real taste of the important work that school leaders do, since there was very little opportunity to lead.  This year has been much more exhausting, but also invigorating and has left me with a feeling of some degree of accomplishment.

We are a long way from finished, and I still worry that we do not have enough time to get it all "done". But we will, and when we do, we will look back upon the important work that has been initiated this year and know that it is making a positive difference.  What I have learned in the two years on the job is that it doesn't get easier, but my skills and the work we are doing does get better.  And I wouldn't have it any other way!