Thursday, October 1, 2009

The Importance and Value of Committed Staff!!!

For the past four years, I have been slogging away at trying to get Credenda to a place where it could run without me. I mean this really. For the first four years, if I had walked away from it, it would have died. I'm not saying I was so central to Credenda's success. No rather, the challenge was we were so limited in resources and funding, we couldn’t afford additional help. We operated with a very small, but extremely dedicated staff that did their job plus two others at the same time.

But finally things have changes, and we have better funding in place, new staff, and great results. The team has gotten bigger and better. What an amazing group of staff we have this year. It is has been fantastic to sit back and watch this staff interact with each other. Just last Friday, we had an online PD session, and it was great. The ideas were flying around the virtual room, and the exchanges between staff were lighthearted, yet engaging. I came away from the session feeling tired from the level of discussion, but challenged intellectually. What a treat!

Tired is, unfortunately, something I feel a lot more of these days. It's been a long four and a half years from creating Credenda to today, where Credenda is thriving and bubbling with activity and hope. I just hope that I'm not too worn out to enjoy it. Hopefully, I can ride on the virtual coattails of our new staff's enthusiasm for awhile and catch my breath with a fresh new breeze of life and rejuvenation. Today, we have 28 staff working for Credenda, a huge increase from the 5 of us who started in 2005. Today, we have 268 eStudents in high school; 203 first time eStudents, and 65 returning eStudents. 168 of those new eStudents are First Nation from all across the province. We have 150 college eStudents as well. These are exciting numbers for us.

But it's the staff that make all of this work. Let me give you an example of just today how the staff make the difference, and why I believe we are as successful as we are today:

October 1, 2009: The principal - southern campus emailed me today suggesting we start a Credenda Leadership Camp that takes eStudents out of their home situations for a week during the summer. Great idea, and great commitment.

At the end of a long exhausting day, the principal - northern campus gets up from his laptop and says, “I just emailed all of the perfect attender students and thanked them for their commitment to coming to school.” Isn't that fantastic? How do you think those kids felt getting that email?

We've been working on developing on a new template for our course developers to use with clearly delineated themes and branding. Two of the course developers have spent countless, stressful hours working on this project outside of their already full duties. This afternoon, they presented this template to the other developers for them to use. Huge team effort!

At 7:40 AM, I received an email from our Science eTeacher sharing a PowerPoint presentation with me that an eStudent submitted. It was brilliant, and the new eTeacher was in awe! That felt good!

At 3:30 PM, I received a call from our Guidance Counselor, who drove four hours one way to visit and encourage 11 Leadership eStudents. That's real love and commitment for youth.

And you know what? That wasn't the half of what happened today. So much more went on and peoples lives were touched by caring and respectful staff. Do we have a great team? Absolutely! Credenda is way bigger than any one of us, because it's made up of all of us.

I am finally feeling like I am not shouldering this challenge alone. The team has gotten bigger and they are rallying around each other, and it feels good. It really is great to have good staff!

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