Entering the Story with Administrative Assistants 

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Entering the Story with Administrative Assistants 



Written on November 4th, 2014

Group of Business People Working on an Office Desk
It takes all kinds of personalities to run a school: leaders, learners, visionaries and organizers. 
At this year’s Edifide Educators Convention, professionals with a wide array of skill sets were supported—including the administrative assistants working diligently (and often behind the scenes) within the Christian School movement.

Those who signed up for last Thursday’s Administrate Support Personnel Conference were invited to take part in some highly relevant and very practical workshops—sessions focused on time and calendar management, efficient use of Excel and Time Allocation Spread Sheets.

“The Administrative Support Personnel Conference is an important time, not only because of the content of the workshops, but primarily because this day gives the Administrative staff an opportunity to connect with each other,” says Tena Boven, OACS Executive Assistant. “Networking is important, especially for those who are often alone behind their desks on a regular workday.”

Over roundtable discussions at lunch participants could converse about a variety of topics pertinent to their line of work and receive helpful feedback from professionals in their field.

“As always, lunch was a great opportunity to network with other wonderful ladies and learn how they go about their busy work days,” says Rachel Howell, Administrative Assistant at Timothy Christian School.

During the workshop she led about Time Allocation Spreadsheets, Audrey Roorda was encouraged by the question and answer dynamic among finance personnel. “An interactive group setting really helps,” says the OACS Financial Services Coordinator. She adds that relevant group discussions keyed participants to answer each other’s questions.

As current OACS Administrative Assistant, Carla Alblas found Tina VanderVelde’s workshop “Where Did the Day Go?” to be particularly helpful.

“Tina’s Workshop was packed with valuable tools and tips to organizing your day in a way that allows you to get both the large and the small tasks completed,” reflects Alblas.

“Tina used humor throughout her presentation to describe the many distractions that Administrative staff have to manage on a regular school day, and offered helpful suggestions on how to keep those interruptions from preventing you from “eating your frogs” (that is, finishing those things you don’t want to do, but need to).

It was a sentiment shared by many conference attendees.

“Tina has a wealth of knowledge, practical tips and is a wonderful encouragement to others,” says Howell.

“Another highlight of the conference was the opportunity to brush up on our Excel skills and even learn a few nifty tricks and techniques to make our time at work more efficient.  I enjoyed the opportunity to get hands on learning in the computer lab as Angela Kapteyn had prepared a great workshop for us all.”

During this year’s Edifide Educators Convention attendees were frequently invited to ponder their purpose and their place in God’s story. The theme of “entering the story” surfaced in workshops about integrated approaches to assessment, conflict resolution, differentiated instruction, technology, leadership, mental health, and project based learning. An attention to story also shaped workshops designed for resource teachers, kindergarten teachers and librarians.

The story of Christian education in Ontario involves a diverse cast of professionals, including administrative personnel, who continue to grow together in community. Did you know that Tina VanderVelde will be sharing tips and ideas about her work on the Administrative Assistants eCurriculum Group every Tuesday? She’d love for other members to chime in with their own strategies and questions!

Those who attended the Time Allocation Spread Sheet workshop (led by Audrey Roorda and Yvonne Weaver (members of the OACS Finance Department) can continue dialoging on the Time Allocation Spread Sheet eCurriculum group too!

Consider joining these conversations—we can learn a lot from one another all year round!