Dear École Porter Street Elementary School Families and Staff,
‘Each child is a gift entrusted to us by her/his family.’
My name is Derek Passaglia and I assumed the role of Principal at École Porter Elementary School on July 1, 2014.
This is, of course, my first school-wide email message to our school community.
I am extremely excited and honored to be entrusted with the role of Principal at École Porter Elementary School. I feel privileged and look forward to serving the Porter students and their families, staff and community.
I was fortunate to visit Porter several times in June and early July. During each visit I felt extremely welcomed as well as a deep sense of respect, care and commitment to learning from the students, staff and parents.
I trust you all had a wonderful and fun-filled summer with family and friends and that you were able to enjoy our amazing city in the glorious sunshine.
As you are probably aware, communication has resumed between the BC Government and the BCTF. We are all hoping that there will, soon, be a negotiated settlement so that we can all begin the school year next Tuesday, September 2, 2014. There is the possibility that school will not start next Tuesday. I have attached a letter from our SD43 Superintendent, Mr. Tom Grant, about next Tuesday, September 2. Please take the time to read it carefully. I would have emailed you all Mr. Grant’s letter this past Monday but, unfortunately, our school email was down and we just got it back up and available this morning.
I thought I would use this space and time to introduce myself.
This 2014/2015 school year marks my thirtieth year in Education. My first two years were with the Catholic Independent Schools Vancouver Archdiocese. The next eighteen years were spent with the Vancouver School Board; six as a teacher; five as a Vice-Principal and seven as a Principal at two elementary schools. This 2014/2015 school year marks my tenth year with SD43 (Coquitlam); I served as Principal at École Irvine Elementary my first three years and, most recently, served as Principal at École Glen Elementary School.
My wonderful wife and I have two amazing children; a son who is entering Grade 10 and a daughter entering Grade 8; both are students in our outstanding school district. Our family, also, includes three cats (Francis, Max and Buster). On Thursday, August 14, 2014 we added a 7-week old puppy to our family and his name is Tobias or ‘Toby’. To round out our family we have four fish.
It is, of course, the Wednesday before our annual Labour Day long-weekend; we all hope the weekend before our first day and week of the 2014/2015 school year. I hope that you all have enjoyed this beautiful summer and have a wonderful and restful Labor Day long-weekend with family and friends.
I am extremely excited to begin this school year as it is my first at Porter. I strongly believe that we, the Porter Staff, are extremely fortunate and blessed to be in a profession of service to others. The vocation of teaching and caring for students in our public education system is, daily, filled with endless moments of sharing in a child’s wonder, amazement and excitement around learning as well as the understanding and knowledge that she/he is cared for deeply and will be treated with the respect, dignity and care she/he deserves and is entitle to.
Each student will be afforded the opportunity to learn according to her/his individual and unique learning style; the knowledge that they are always the ‘lens’ through which we make all of our decisions; that they are secure in the knowledge that every adult who works at Porter models those virtues and values we expect from our students; and, most importantly, the knowledge that every single adult at Porter BELIEVES in every single student and her/his potential.
As a father of two amazing and wonderful children, a son ready and eager to begin Grade 10 and a daughter ready and eager to begin Grade 8 I am afforded a ‘front-row seat’ to their anticipation, excitement, trepidation, possibilities, wishes, dreams and hopefulness at what this school year ahead holds for them. At Porter, we have approximately 400 students - your children - many of whom are or will be feeling these emotions over the next week.
On the morning of the first day of school your child will walk through our doors; 64 new Kindergarten students wide-eyed and extremely excited to begin school; approximately 15 new Grade 1 – 5 students who, this summer, left neighbourhoods, schools and friends and will walk through our doors with some doubt, hesitation and wonder about what Porter is all about; and approximately 300 returning students eager to reestablish friendships, make new friendships and say hello to staff.
Whether new or returning, the common thread for each and every child who walks through our doors is the desire and excitement to learn, to hope, to experience new possibilities, to accomplish new things, to make new friends, to be respected, to feel safe and welcomed - to dream!!
The impact we, the entire Porter Staff, have on your child (and every person who walks through our doors) is profound. Our individual and collective actions and words have the power to lift spirits and inspire a child to feel she or he matters and is important in this world.
I would like to thank you all for your commitment, care and LOVE for your children and your care, support and trust in our staff and school community.
My intention is to email all of our families my first newsletter in the next several days. The letter you just read will be repeated on page 1 of my newsletter.
I encourage all of you to listen closely to local radio stations, TV newscasts and our district website for the latest updates about the current education labour dispute. In addition, I will be updating our school websites as I receive information from our district.
I look forward to the journey ahead of us that is the 2014/2015 school year!
I wish you all a healthy, joyful, fulfilling and successful school year!!