The last few days of a year are a good time to review the highlights and some of the challenges that faced an organization and to look ahead with much anticipation on the coming year.  

That's what Rocky View School Board Chair Todd Brand did recently.  Brand looks at most things with a "glass half full" perspective, seeing the positives in everything.  However, he knows that there are many challenges facing the division, from growth to funding, to the need for more schools.

Brand has several but the greatest highlight for 2018, in his opinion, has been the same for the last several years--the excellence in education that's shown by Rocky View teachers.

"Providing the quality education that we have for our students, so the ongoing work.  We always have the issues that come up, all through the year, but it's probably the most exciting thing."

Brand also cites the growth of over 1,000 students as something they embrace, even though it also brings with it challenges.  

From the perspective of a board trustee, Brand says 2018 was a year where they helped orient, five new trustees, to get them into the swing of things.  "They have done incredibly well.  We went from the start of the year to the end of the year from where they were just beginning to where I think they have learned how to do their jobs well and are serving our school division very effectively."

Brand next addressed the challenges of the division and says that the shortfall in the transportation budget was difficult.  "Trying to find ways to save $1 million from the transportation budget was very challenging and difficult.  We are grateful that the community helped us in making those decisions and we feel that we're in a pretty good place and we feel this is going to work well for us in the future."

Other challenges facing the division include the lack of new schools being approved which put space pressure on the division both in 2018 and for the next few years.

2019 will be a pivotal year for both the province and the country with elections planned for both.  Because of the provincial election, it may also be an important year for Rocky View. Brand is looking ahead to several things in the upcoming year.

"One of those is the approval of our new four-year plan. That is a really exciting process for the school division because it really shapes what takes place in the classroom.  Of course, this is the education plan, so it doesn't cover every aspect of the school division but education is obviously the core thing that we deliver so that will be very exciting. Probably about April or May, we'll finalize the four-year plan."

Brand is also anticipating a new curriculum from the provincial government and is also hopeful that new school announcements will be forthcoming for RVS. 

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