Excellence in Communication Recognized in Series of Awards

 A picture of two glass awards for excellence in communications and public engagement.

A picture of two glass awards for excellence in communications and public engagement.

Westwind School Division is proud to announce that in the 2016 Westwind won three major awards for communications and public engagement. The awards are for work done by Mr. Graham Ruttan, Westwind's Communications Officer. 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. 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.

We won a Golden Communications Award from the  National School Public Relations Association. We also won a Bravo! Award of Excellence from the Canadian Association of Communicators in Education. This is the highest award that CACE offers and is a major accomplishment. On November 20, 2016, we won the Public Engagement Award from the Alberta School Boards Association. This award means that Westwind’s public engagement efforts were the best in Alberta during the 2015-2016 school year. 

All three of these awards were for our efforts at community education and engagement from January through April 2016. We 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". Our communications and engagement efforts included holding small and large public meetings, releasing videos, issuing surveys, writing articles and FAQ's, and releasing draft documents for staff and public feedback. 

At the public meeting held in Magrath, we were able to present many of the educational measures we had prepared and released. We were also able to hear the concerns of parents. We incorporated their voice those into the final policy. Board Chair Ron Fromm also forwarded the comments from the meeting to Education Minister David Eggen. This was an effective two-way communication and engagement process. We were able to provide the public with information and hear and act on their informed feedback.

We are thankful for the recognition we have received for our commitment to excellence in engagement and communications. We hope to continue effective engagement in future endeavours and projects. These awards show the dedication of Westwind's Board of Trustees and Administration to communication and engagement with the public, and the Board’s commitment to excellence in all areas, from teaching to transportation to maintenance to technology to communications. Congratulations to Mr. Ruttan on his achievements and recognition this year. 

Ken Sommerfeldt