January 18th, 2017

Westwind receives awards


By Schnarr, J.W. on January 11, 2017.

J.W. Schnarr

Lethbridge Herald

jwschnarr@lethbridgeherald.com

Westwind School Division has won three awards for public engagement.

The school division recently announced it won the awards, which superintendent Ken Sommerfeldt said was due to the work of WSD communications officer Graham Ruttan.

“We are proud that his work has been recognized as excellent and outstanding at the highest levels of his profession at provincial, national and international levels,” Sommerfeldt wrote in a recent news release.

“His work provided outstanding service to students, parents, teachers and our communities. It exemplifies the achievement of excellence that Westwind strives for with all employees in every area of contribution to the education of our students.”

The awards include a Golden Communications Award from the National School Public Relations Association; a Bravo! Award of Excellence from the Canadian Association for Communicators in Education (the highest award offered by CACE); and, on Nov. 20, the Public Engagement Award from the Alberta School Boards Association.

The three awards were for the division’s efforts at community education and engagement during the first four months of 2016, when the division sought to address community concerns at Alberta Education’s release of the “Guidelines for Best Practice: Creating Learning Environments that Respect Diverse Sexual Orientations, Gender identities, and Gender Expressions.”

The division held small and large public meetings, released videos, issued surveys, wrote articles and FAQs, and released draft documentation for staff and public feedback.

Sommerfeldt said the division was able to implement a number of the measures they had prepared during a public meeting in Magrath.

Board chair Ron Fromm forwarded comments from the meeting to Education Minister David Eggen as part of an effective two-way engagement process which allowed for continued communication with the public.

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