Christmas Message

merry christmas ChristMerry Christmas and Happy New Year to all the parents, students and staff of our learning community!  I hope everyone will have a safe and restful Christmas break.  I would like to thank you for all the Christmas and New Year’s wishes we received this season.  Also, I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who volunteered to support the many activities throughout the month of December, including our weekly Advent celebrations, our Turkey Dinner, various social justice projects including Mission Mexico and CCH’s Santa’s Anonymous, and the Christmas Concert.

2014 offers many challenges and opportunities.  Through these challenges and opportunities we can be thankful for our school.  To me, Catholic Education is a gift. Every day we get to live our school motto of “Learning Today, Leading Tomorrow, Living our Faith”.

Happy New Year 2014At a past New Year’s Eve celebration I was visiting with some family and friends. At one point I asked someone how his year went and received a warm, pleasant response.  I expected a generic question back, but instead, the gentleman asked, “At the end of each day, did you get closer to your life’s dream?”  Wow, what a question!  Since then I have often asked myself if I am getting closer to my dream.  The answer is yes.  Every day I have the pleasure of working with the talented staff of Our Lady of the Assumption School, the terrific students, and the supportive parents; I realize that I am having the pleasure of living my dream.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to everyone!

Greg Kostiuk

Time to Get Connected

twilk_background_52a4dfdb02892As a first year teacher at Dr. Mary Jackson School in Keg River, Alberta I had a strong urge to stay in my class room.  Not that I wanted to be unsocial, I simply wanted to work hard in my class to be the best teacher I could.  Soon though, I discovered I needed to leave my class room and go into the hallway to connect with the others teachers in the school.  I did learn a lot in my first year, but I also learned a lot by connecting with others.

That was 1990, now in 2013 I still need to go in the school hallway to connect, but now the hallway is much larger.  With the many gadgets we have I can now connect with many more educators; those next door and those across the entire globe.

Here are some ways I feel the current educator needs to connect with others:

twitterCreate and expand your PLN (professional learning network).  Twitter has been a key way for me to do this.  It is a great way to  find like minded people, but it is also an excellent way to find individuals that are outside of your comfort zone.  Educators that challenge your views.  Educators that simply “get you thinking”.  By connecting with educators from around the world, I do believe I am a better teacher and a better principal.  As part of my learning on twitter, twitter chats are a very enriching activity.  I strongly encourage all educators to try a twitter chat.  Here is a good site to find a listing of educational twitter chats.  Twitter has also been a valuable source of resources.  Here is a simple infographic a member of my PLN shared:

The Pencil MetaphorNow back to getting connected.  The second way that I have connected with educators is what I am doing right now, blogging.  I have never enjoyed writing, but I am starting too.

blog mapLast year, if you would have told me over 2,000 people, from 22 countries, have read one of my blogs I would have said, “impossible”.  By blogging I have connected with other bloggers.  Although I do not enjoy reading a research book, I can easily find time to read a short blog.

Another way to connect is to put yourself “out there”.  This can make some people feel uncomfortable, but just like the class room the more you share the more you learn.  In the class room I have always shared my life with my students.  Now I need to share with my PLN.  Just recently I have tried this in two ways.  Firstly, I started an About me Dec 2013page.  This is a simple way to share information about yourself in a quick way.  This week I had 11,337 people view my page.  I know not all of these people were educators, but some were.  My page has connected me with educators from around the world.  Secondly, build an Vizify page – here is mine.  It is another way to share with others.  By sharing, learning will occur.  The more you share, the more you will learn.

Simply put, by becoming  a connected educator I think I have become a better educator.  Don’t we owe to our students to become better?  If you want to improve your teaching, get connected – the sooner the better.




Advent is a special time for me.  To me Advent has two messages.  One is the buildup to the celebration of the birth of Christ, the call to “make ready the way of the Lord.”  This message is the one many families tend to focus on the most—preparing for Christmas with decorations, presents, and good things to eat.  The second message of Advent is that we do not have to wait.  God is with us now, here in our lives.  Please take time out of your busy Christmas season to remember the blessing we have of having Christ in our lives every day.

  • We continue to be blessed with a supportive and hard-working School Council, who has been busy planning many fundraising events for our community.  Please feel free to join us at any School Council meeting to provide your insights.
  • Finally, we are blessed with our learning community of Our Lady of the Assumption School.  Every day we show how we are “Learning Today, Leading Tomorrow, Living Our Faith.”  This is truly a great place.

December promises to be an exciting month.  We will be starting off December with our Advent Celebrations on the 2nd, 9th, and 16th,  a special Advent Mass at the church on the 12th, Santa’s Workshop on the  12th, our Turkey Dinner on the 17th, our Christmas Concert on the 19th, and our traditional Staff/Student Luncheon on the 20th.  December will be a blast!

merry christmas Christ

May this Advent and Christmas season be a time of great joy to everyone.

God Bless,

Greg Kostiuk

ukr christmasPS – When you see me during Christmas time give me a Ukrainian Christmas greeting.  In the Ukrainian culture during the Christmas season you say, “Khristos rodyvsya!” (Christ is born!) This is answered by “Slavite Yoho!” (Let Us Glorify Him!).