Well, for once, I’m not writing about education. Today, I want to write about wiring, which is odd since I don’t know much about it.

I was inspired by a conversation with one of our district electricians this morning. Bob’s expertise is remarkable in itself. This is an area where my total technical knowledge is from a one-semester electricity/wood work/ metal work course in grade 8, about 35 years ago over at Handsworth High School in North Vancouver.  As we chatted, Bob explained some of the challenges and opportunities in our district clearly and succinctly and in a way that I had no trouble understanding, even thought it was above my head technically. He talked about a variety of projects that need attention in our district and others that he has dealt with in the past. He was excited to be explaining how some solutions were arrived at in creative ways, and with a team of highly trained maintenance trades people. Technically, he and his colleagues are brilliant.

But that’s not what impressed me the most.

I was impressed with the way that he talked about our district in the context of the work of educating students in a safe, comfortable and efficient environment. He talked about working with our custodians to insure their safety and efficiency. He referred to working with principals, administrative assistants, teachers and students to make working, teaching and learning easier, safer and better. He related stories of situations that could be unsafe or inefficient, and what he and his team mates did to remedy the issues.

Bob also talked about his interactions with colleagues in the maintenance and technical department. With the support of our facilities manager, they work as a multi-disciplinary team to creatively address district infrastructure, develop a plan for each project, and each uses his expertise to make the project a success. Each of our schools has many examples of such projects successfully brought to completion. There is simply no way that  we could function as an educational institution without their contribution to learning.

The Ministry of Education describes 21st Century Learning as knowing how to, “apply knowledge to new situations, analyze information, collaborate, solve problems, and make decisions.”

Our maintenance department epitomizes the best of 21st Century Learning and has done so for many years!

And I thought I was just going to write about wiring.

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