Tuesday, 11 March 2014

In the State of Gratitude

I belong to a School of Thirds – most events are 1/3 anticipation, 1/3 experience and 1/3 reminiscing. This approach to life is a very real experience of the dimension of time in our cosmos as past, present and future all in the NOW. 

Last week was my final week of EJ School for 2013-14. Reflecting on the year fills me with gratitude I must voice. Gertrude Stein said “Silent gratitude isn’t very much to anyone.” 

Ever since I left the more conventional classroom in 2002 for my role leading site-based education experiences, I have toned down my joy to a private revel and quiet thankfulness that I have no year-end progress reports to prepare.  However, I do miss the accumulated satisfaction of accessing the growth and witnessing the learning that 10 months can produce in a collection of students that make up any given class.

I will visit the classes that came to EJ School this year and deliver the glossy Front Pages the Edmonton Journal loving prepared for each student. I will collect students’ comments on things like their biggest surprises from the week, their favorite activities, anything bad that happened and what advice they would give a student coming to EJ School next year. I will get a rush reading through those student evaluations of the program.

But on the planet of Inquiring Minds Edmonton, like most other places in the education universe, we are thinking about next year. At the Greater Edmonton Teachers Convention booth I had the pleasure of connecting with amazing teachers I have worked with in the past. Some of them introduced me to new teachers.  I will be helping a couple of other sites get ready to try the site-based, week-long, inquiry approach and fine tune elements of their programs.

Bringing students into direct contact with the world of journalism has opened my eyes to many things about the nature of inquiry, accurate information and the burgeoning uses of technology. The risk the Edmonton Journal took in opening its doors during this time of dramatic changes for them to a program like EJ School speaks to its deep commitment to the community of Edmonton. Barb Wilkinson and Karen Unland observed the use Linda Hut was making of just one morning a week for her City Hall classes and knew it was good. They have nurtured me these past 2 years and I am so grateful.

I shared classes and experiences with City Hall School and U School this year. I can’t say enough about those chances to collaborate with Linda Hut and Amissa Jablonski. I attended the U School Convocation for our joint class and the experience of watching students at Convocation Hall will be a culminating highlight of my year. I look forward to Linda's Citizenship Fair that celebrates City Hall School's year end.

Brian Dunsmore and the volunteers at CKUA designed a wonderful afternoon of learning for EJ School classes this year.

SAGE (Rachel Tassone and the Senior’s Association of Greater Edmonton) and Kevan Lyons, the Poet of Churchill Square played such an important role in the connection of students to powerful true story.

The Stanley Milner Library and community librarian, Angie Mills took us around the world and into the past with their newspaper collection.

The Marian Centre opened its doors to share its mission with Edmonton’s less fortunate.

The changing downtown of Edmonton was our landscape.

And my biggest thanks goes to the staff of the Edmonton Journal who were so welcoming and forth-coming with students who watched and interviewed them. The Edmonton Journal is more to our community than a source of accurate information.

The brain research says it takes a village to raise a healthy, resilient child. In the past, present and future it is so and in my EJ School village there is a state of gratitude.


  1. Thank you, Sandy, for taking a crazy idea that just might work and really making it work, beyond my imagination. The kids and the Journal are so lucky to have you.

  2. Sandy, thank you for including SAGE in your wonderful work! I'm so pleased to hear that things went well. What a great opportunity for SAGE and the students to learn from one another.