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Systems Thinking


Our story of assurance starts with systems thinking. Systems thinking propels our assurance actions.  We explore possibilities and opportunities in developing strategies in new and complex perspectives to positively drive system change. Through this, we make sense of the complexity. We get excited and challenged by change and thrive in new situations. Innovation demands that we set aside what we think we know, adopt a curious stance, and commit to learning and continuous improvement. We strive to make change for the better and do whatever we can to make that happen by identifying and enhancing models of educational excellence.    

Systems thinking is the cornerstone of how our learning organization thinks about the world by seeing interrelationships, circles of influence, iterative cycles, connections, processes, and patterns of change over time and in our local and societal context. For us this has meant building a shared vision, identifying and addressing our areas of opportunity, focussing on team learning, understanding our strengths, motivation and interconnectedness, and striving for continuous growth and improvement. Systems thinking led to our purpose of education at the centre of a flourishing community. It impacts the actions we take, shapes the strategies we implement, the structures we develop and systems we establish. The creation of our Foothills School Division Systems Wheel shows all the interconnected pieces that form the whole of our system. It tells our story of system-ness.  

System-ness has helped us see patterns and connections, creating alignment and taking action to advance our goals, and provide assurance. An important part of our story of assurance is making visible the alignment of the assurance domains of governance, local and societal context, learning supports, student growth and achievement, and teaching and leading with Alberta Education Outcomes and Foothills School Division Goals. Our education plan and AERR are core documents that demonstrate accountability and provide assurance to our stakeholders: we are achieving our goals and following the guiding principles of assurance.  Our system is influenced by external factors, such as provincial funding, the Education Act, parent voice, student voice, employee engagement groups, and our community. We also have internal influences such as our Board of Trustees governance, administrative procedures, our budget, and AERR. Our outputs, or assurances, are the AERR, Capital Plan, and, most significantly, our successful students.  

When considering the Foothills School Division, we are a robust system that is integrated within the community, where we see education at the centre of a flourishing community. No single decision is made in isolation without considering the entire system.   The following graphic is our FSD Systems Wheel which illustrates how every aspect of our division is interconnected.

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