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New frontiers for new learning
Category Archives: September Startup
September 6, 2013Posted by on
“Aspiring to become the best we can be” is a line from our newly launched school touchstone. Our first week of school is now complete. This week was very much an opportunity to reflect on our aspirations for the year.
What did it look like?
It was visible, everywhere:
– Junior kindergarten students joining us for the first time beginning their journey, with excitement, curiosity and the occasional tear aspiring to greatness with their first steps of independence in school.
– Classrooms building communities of learners and thinkers; aspiring for collaborative groups and spaces for learning.
– Students attending our school for the first time, with little or no English language, working hard from day one. Welcome.
– Elder’s Mills community joining us, wondering what that transition would be like and certainly with aspirations in mind. Today, I say honestly, having walked our halls, our classrooms, our playground and our pathways that we very much feel whole, as one.
– Staff returning having learned, planned, prepared and aspiring to be the best they can be in their work each day.
We know too that as parents and guardians you have aspirations for your children. We do too.
Yesterday during our student assemblies, I asked students what their “mountain top moment” would be this year? What would they climb high to achieve even if it seemed far away? What would they aspire to be?
This weekend, please ask your child about their aspirations for this school year. We look forward to hearing back about their thoughts.
On behalf of the school community, thank you all for a wonderful, inspiring, first week.
August 30, 2013Posted by on
On Wednesday, our Vice Principal Mona Bongard and myself had the opportunity to attend our board’s Annual Leadership Conference. Each year, our Director Ken Thurston provides an annual address to system leaders. This year, Ken began with a story Out of the Way, Out of the Way to help frame a larger discussion around our own story as a school board and the journey we have been on and will embark on this year.
Story is a suitable metaphor for our own school.
As we enter our 12th year, we have enjoyed time to look back on our journey. Knowing where we have come from is important to our work moving forward. Our School Improvement Plan has, and will continue, to focus our work on the core areas of literacy and numeracy. We have always appreciated the partnerships our community has shared with us at our school. Our students of course, have always been essential to our story. We have embraced the arts the past few years and are poised to explore our creativity even more this year. We’ve committed to digital literacy over the past few years as well and we are set for amazing new frontiers. For example, this year, for the first time, each classroom will have a dedicated cart with technology available for staff and students to use and our Learning Commons will move to 100% mobile technology. Imagine the possibilities. We have explored equity, inclusive practices and focused on our environment.
On Wednesday, we reflected as a system on the work we have done, but Ken also challenged us to consider what our story will now be. Our own board’s Mission, Vision and Values review is one component of our collective work moving forward. A parallel for our school is our School Touchstone set to launch next Tuesday. It will be a resource, a tool, for us to define and shape our work moving forward.
We have achieved a great deal in the past few years. I am always excited at this time of the year, but I don’t think I have ever felt this excited and this optimistic about the year ahead. There is an energy in our building from staff who have worked hard these past few weeks preparing. Visitors have come to our school and all have expressed excitement for the year ahead. New staff have joined our team and been welcomed readily. Many of us have taken courses, read, attended workshops, conferences, traveled and learned. For myself, we have put many pieces together in our work, and this year, we welcome over 170 new students and their families to our school. This year, there will be both newness and renewed energy and focus in our work. This year, we will redefine who we are as a school.
I believe it will be our greatest year yet.
This is the year for us to write our story and to share it.
I want to thank our staff that includes teachers, Designated Early Childhood Educators, Educational Assistants, our secretarial staff and our care taking staff who have been in our school this week preparing for the start of our new school year. Please take a look at our twitter feed to see some of that hard work in action. We look forward to seeing everyone on our school yard starting at 8:30 a.m. In the event of rain, we will meet inside in our gym. Staff will have class lists ready that morning to inform students of their class placements.
On behalf of the school community, we wish everyone the very best for the long weekend.
To our students, staff and parents, our opportunity awaits us at our launch on Tuesday September 3, 2013.
Let’s seize the day, to write our story.