“I may say that the trail blazing made was not easy! Because it meant, getting out of comfort zones and making some paradigm shifts. But since we are all united by one cause… by one vision to make San Carlos City Division as one of the best performing Divisions in addressing the needs of its learners, we remain motivated to embrace the positive changes.”

Such heartwarming and truthful introduction of San Carlos City Division’s School Superintendent Dr. Sheila Marie A. Primicias during her 2nd State of the Division Address (SODA) on  July 31,  caught my full attention and made me cease in taking pictures and sat down on a nearby vacant seat. I was somehow like a child who found something new to be amazed with. Why is that so? Because whenever a topic is about the power of unity, I am always in full attention. How much more if the purpose of this unity is for the very reason why I love to teach – my learners.

From the surprise of not being a bench warmer at all during the Regional Brigada Eskwela Kick-off, I am once again flabbergasted when the very insightful introduction was followed by passionate concerns and services for our dear learners. “Suporta Para sa Atleta” is one of the grand innovation of SCC-SDO. It was reported that at a short span of time, the Schools Division Office, under the leadership of SDS Sheila, was able to raise Php 512,000.00 for our R1AA and Palarong Pambansa 2019 winners. Indeed, such motivation boosted the morale of our athletes, coaches, chaperones, and tournament managers that they also skyrocketed from 9th to 4th rank.

Another learner-centered, passionate project was the Children’s Summit which was initiated through the Parents -Teachers Association. This I can call as the 3-1 project. Why? First, it is the embodiment of the Implementing Rules and Regulations of the Governance of Basic Education Act and to quote: “Encourage parents and community to be involved in the education of the child; Maximize participation and coordination between and among schools, local school board, and Parents Teachers Associations (PTAs); and Volunteerism from among sectors shall be emphasized and encouraged to ensure sustainable growth and development in education. Secondly, the Php 1,263,273.00 raised to improve Central I Siringan Sanctuary showcased the success of the event. Thirdly and most importantly, the unique joy in the eyes of our learners and their enthusiasm to discover new things are worthy enough reasons to give this project two thumbs-ups.

Also presented during the SODA are the renovations done in now called Central I Siringan Sanctuary, the improvements in the facilities in its area as well as the developments in the Division Office. No wonder that just within a year, our hostings of events and bench markings overflowed: 2017 Mid-Year Assessment and the Semestral Conferences with Regional HRDD of the National Educators Academy of the Philippines, the Regional Training of Child Protection Advocates, the Regional Schools Press Conference in December 2017, the 2018 Regional Brigada Kick-Off in May 2018, and two (2) Regional EXECOM Meetings together with the visits from Laoag City Division, Pangasinan 1 and GSP Quezon City.

When SDS Sheila mentioned the World Teacher’s Day, Educators’ Day and the 50th Division Founding Anniversary, I can’t help myself from smiling. Flashes of images from those events dawdled me for the meantime.

Then I was called back to reality when I heard the word “breakthroughs”.  As the meaning of that word resonated in my brain, I’m all ears to the highlights of this SODA. SDS Sheila mentioned eight breakthroughs: (1) how SCC-SDO jumped from Rank 9 to 4th in the R1AA 2018; (2) how teachers integrate digital technology in making instructional materials through Project DIRECT (Digitization of Instructional Resources for Efficient Competency-Based Teaching); (3) the birth of the e-magazine version of the Balon Palapag; (4) the introduction of Project SMP (Strategic Monitoring of Performance) through the Performance Appraisal for Teachers (PAT), the Performance Appraisal for Learners (PAL), and the e-Report Tracking; (5) the first-ever AVP making done by SDO-SCC; (6) the utilization of the Human Resource Information System (HRIS) donated by NSPIRE  Inc.; (7) the success of reducing the number of severely wasted pupils from 6058 to 3820 for the School Year 2018-2019 through the implementation of the School-based Feeding Program; and (8) the fast track of our journey towards ISO Certification wherein we were able to reach the Stage 4 of the 6 stages in a short span of time.  This gives us the impetus to grab the ISO Certification by August 15, 2018.

Wow! Really wow! I was just contemplating my awe-stricken reality when new was slide flashed in the screen monitors. Let us now foresee the future plans.

Three future plans were then presented by SDS Sheila. First, ISO in Schools para sa bata, para sa bayan; then the ICT Summit in November 2018 to showcase and hone the technological skills of our learners through different competitions; and the better delivery of services in the Divison Office through DRRM Online Reporting, Appointment Day being scheduled every Monday of the week, and the conduct of the MOOE and SBFP Liquidation day every 1st day of the Month.

The SODA was wrapped up by SDS Sheila appealing again for the support of everybody as I quote her, “Let us continue to work in synergy and let our love for teaching and our love for our learners be our greatest motivation in exalting our beloved San Carlos City Division. Together, let us always be “Happy to Serve.”’

Hearing the applause of the people around me and seeing Ma’am Sheila walking down the stage, I suddenly remember that I am supposed to take pictures. Wondering why I need to take pictures since I am not a member of the Mentors Behind the Lens? Yes, I am supposed to jot down for this article but my job was made easier by the Technical Team when they gave me a copy of Ma’am Sheila’s very own SODA transcript. Hence, I have already scanned the transcript before this event and was planning to capture photos myself of the things I wanted to emphasize later on my article. Who would have thought that I will still be overwhelmed by the speech and I totally forgot my purpose?

Let me just end this article by thanking Ma’am Sheila for allowing me to share her SODA transcript. Her permission and the SODA itself showed her humility and joy in serving San Carlos City Division. How can I tell? At least I have a photo that confirms my claim.

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