WEYBURN - Keith Keating, who will take the position of the director of education with the South East Cornerstone Public School Division on Aug. 1, is getting ready to steer the ship towards deeper in-person engagement.
After two years of the pandemic affecting how schools operate, Keating hopes that now, with restrictions lifted, they will be able to bring school life back.
“One of the things I would like to see, and I think it's already starting to happen, is schools become that hub of activity for students, communities and families again. We’ve got a tough couple of years with a pandemic, but I've seen schools and communities start to reengage with one another,” said Keating. “And I'm really looking forward to seeing the network continue on into next year, as I become the director of education. I think the supports reads are always best when it's the school, the community of parents and students working together.”
The SECPSD is already working in that direction, and Keating is putting some plans in place, which will help bring communities back in and re-engage them across the division in the near future.
In the sense of long-term plans, he is looking forward to working with the province and with schools’ staff, parents and students within the division to gather input on what their vision for the future is.
“I know that the province will be working on a provincial education plan, and that will guide the direction for improvement for students for the next decade. As we're looking into that plan, looking to the future, it's important that the voices of people from the southeast are contributing to that plan. So next year, there's going to be a focus on gathering some input from voices across our division and also staff, parents and students, to help shape that plan. Once that's built, it'll help guide the work at the system level and the school level for many years to come,” Keating said.
The information gathered by the division will then be delivered to the Ministry of Education to be reflected in the provincial plan for the next 10 years.
“There are great people in this corner of the province, and I am very optimistic about all the good things that are going to happen out there in schools for students,” Keating said.
It was announced on March 29 that Keating will become the new director of education, and he said it wasn’t a difficult decision for him.
“I'm excited, but I'm also very humbled and honoured to be able to move into this position,” Keating said.
“Changes can be a difficult thing for a lot of people, but when there's that opportunity to step up and serve students, staff, parents, the board, I think we need to do so. I grew up in the southeast, and I’m very humbled to have the opportunity to serve the people here.”
Keating will officially take the role on Aug. 1, replacing current director of education Lynn Little, who is retiring.