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Announcements

National Leaders Conference

The 2019 National Leaders Post Conference Call for Workshop Proposals are open until December 7. Apply here.

Strengthen Your School Leadership

CAIS values the constant and deliberate quest for excellence, and we recognize the vital leadership role that governors play, in partnership with Heads, in the success of our schools. We want all of our schools to have strong Heads who focus on supporting the students of the present, but we also want strong Boards that focus on supporting the students of the future.

The Governance Guide include new learning on a number of areas, including Human Resources, Risk Management, Head Transitions, and Consent Agendas.

CAIS members and non-members can purchase a hard copy here. And CAIS members can also view the full PDF in CAIS Connect here.


Keeping an Open Mind

Making the CAIS

Keeping an Open Mind

By Helen-Kay Davy, Principal of Havergal College

Technology makes things more convenient and speeds up our access to information. But it can also limit what we discover, understand and believe.

In our desire to educate our students – to give them the tools to navigate complex, sometimes contradictory systems – shouldn't we be seeking technology that opens doors rather than closes them, technology that challenges rather than endorses?

All of us are surrounded by, and often defined by, algorithms – whether we realize it or not. The use of algorithms gives us search results that resemble what we have liked, read, thought and bought in the past. Our portable social media tools, the ones we effortlessly carry around with us in our backpacks and pockets, exposes us to like-minded people.

The current digital revolution is encouraging us to live within our own familiar worlds, but shouldn't education take us out of our comfort zones? Shouldn't educators help students distinguish between agenda-driven opinion and balanced information backed by reliable facts?

At Havergal, we want our students to explore with an open mind. It is why they are encouraged to question the information they read on pages and screens, to listen to people they don't agree with and to interact with diverse groups in the community.


One of our school's four values is inquiry. Students are often brought around a Harkness table – an oval-shaped table in which everyone is treated equally – and the accompanying teaching method encourages listening to others and exchanging ideas without judgment.

When some of our Board of Governors recently attended lessons for our "Bring the Board to School Day," they were struck by the collaborative and respectful way in which the students explored and developed different and divergent viewpoints. Board members saw students engage in mature articulation of ideas and confident problem-solving.

Every day we help our students develop a healthy skepticism: the ability to question where facts and evidence come from. For example, in Grade 6 our students are following a News Literacy unit that helps them to test evidence for reliability and corroboration. They also learn the ability to spot bias and false logic.

And when we have discussions about challenging topics, we demonstrate to the girls the difference between stating an opinion and presenting a conclusion backed by a logically stated argument. We urge our students to spend time with classmates and others they don't already know well or who have different backgrounds or values.

Our girls take the lead in discovering the complex exchange among facts, experiences and perspectives. The principles for learning that Leonardo da Vinci called Curiosità – an insatiable curious approach to life and an unrelenting quest for continuous learning – are embedded throughout our school.

I believe students understand that there are technological forces sometimes pushing them toward more restricted thinking. I also believe that they want to resist those forces. They are learning how to ask difficult questions and how to discern between truth and fiction.

That intellectual challenge seems to me a worthwhile occupation – for students, faculty and administrators throughout our schools.

Isn't nurturing this sense of curiosity, why we're all here?

Keeping an Open Mind

By Helen-Kay Davy, Principal of Havergal College

Technology makes things more convenient and speeds up our access to information. But it can also limit what we discover, understand and believe.

In our desire to educate our students – to give them the tools to navigate complex, sometimes contradictory systems – shouldn't we be seeking technology that opens doors rather than closes them, technology...

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The Benefits of Live-Time Assessment

The Benefits of Live-Time Assessment

by Martin Jones, Middle School Principal and Craig Davis, Senior School Principal at Mulgrave School

Following on the work of John Hattie and others, Mulgrave has recently been focusing on efforts to improve teacher feedback, as well as student expectations and target-setting, in order to improve student learning.

Our initiative, Live-Time Assessment, involves openly sharing key assessment results and feedback with both students and parents soon after the assessment takes place ...

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Who We Are is as Important as What We Do

by Dr. Josep L. González, head of School at TFS – Canada's International School

In the midst of developing our new strategic plan for TFS – Canada's International School, I was struck by how we often talk about what we do but seldom about who we are. This sort of fundamental insight is particularly relevant for TFS because we are in a unique position, geographically, intellectually and academically ...

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Perhaps It's Something in the Water

by Dr. Glenn Zederayko, Head of School at Glenlyon Norfolk School

Every school encourages a caring and community-minded experience for its students, but that doesn't fully explain what makes Glenlyon Norfolk – located on the western edge of the country, in Victoria – such a special place.

Perhaps it's something in the water. Or, more precisely, perhaps it's the fact that we are situated at the boundary of land and ocean, with the world there at our doorstep ...

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Building Canada's World School for Boys

by Dr. Tom Matthews, Headmaster at St. George's School

St. George's School is halfway through its ten-year strategic plan, One Boy at a Time. By any measure, it's a big and bold plan. We are positioning St. George's to be a world leader in the education of boys. We started with the basics, which for us meant recommitting to being deliberately and proactively a boy's school. In this era – when some single-gender schools remain so for reasons of tradition, and while others are considering or have already become co-ed – that in itself is a major commitment ...

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Keeping Our Focus

by Laurence Kutler, Head of School at Talmud Torah | Herzliah

What will our students remember ten years from now? I think it's safe to say they won't remember individual tests and assignments – those numbers and data that sometimes are in danger of consuming all our energies and focus.

I do think they will remember the humanity of our school, the warmth of the teachers and staff, the nurturing community that we focus on creating at Talmud Torah | Herzliah ...

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Singing Our Light

by Allan Hardy, Principal at Greenwood College School

At Greenwood, we believe strongly that students should be provided with multiple opportunities to challenge their minds, their bodies and their spirits. And now we have a spectacular artwork that demonstrates these beliefs.

"Singing the Light," by Toronto artist Sarah Hall, is 60 feet high by 18 feet wide and continuously spans five floors of our school. The central tree that stretches the length of the piece, together with the birds that come to rest within the piece and then fly off on their own, are allegories for the school community ...

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Our Students are Masterworks

by Ted Spear, Ph.D., Head at Island Pacific School

At Island Pacific School we believe that when kids are given a strong foundation and the right kinds of support, they can achieve truly remarkable things.

This belief is put into practice in our Masterworks program. Small by design – IPS has a total of about 65 students spread across Grades 6 to 9 – our school has created an intellectually creative challenge for our graduating students ...

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Neuchâtel Junior College Celebrates 60 Years

Neuchâtel Junior College - Bill Boyer, Head of School.

"We have many of the same concerns as other CAIS schools," says Neuchâtel's Head of School, Bill Boyer, "and that includes refreshing our facilities, fundraising, and ensuring a compelling education inside – and especially outside – the classroom."

"What is unique about our school is that we renew our entire student body every year. We offer Grade 12 only, and so each and every year we see a new group of students. That has its challenges and its pleasures."...

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Leveraging Our Power
redactor-temporary

by Martha Perry, Principal at St. Clement's School

As the product of a girls' school, I believe strongly in the presence and the nurturing of women in leadership. It is a comfort to know that CAIS believes in this as well.

Over the last four years, a module on Women and Leadership – first started by Kathy Nikidis, past Head of Miss Edgar's and Miss Cramp's School – has been included at the CAIS Leadership Institute. It has been important in fostering conversations among female colleagues about research, candid experiences, and considerations of next steps ...

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The Importance of a Blank Page, and Some Deep Thinking

by Graham Hookey, Head of School at Kempenfelt Bay School

Since 1984 I have written a weekly column for local newspapers in the communities in which I have lived. My purposes are quite simple. First, I feel that discussions surrounding education and parenting (the main thrusts of my writing) are both necessary and helpful. I throw ideas up in the air, share the insights and research of others, and then hope some of it settles in such a way that it's helpful to parents as they take on the ever-challenging role of raising children ...

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Can You Fly?

By Jason B. Rogers, Headmaster at Rundle College

When I was five years old, if someone had asked me this, I probably would have answered, "I might not be able to fly now! But I'm about to take off!"

I remember donning my Superman costume and running in circles in my backyard attempting to get a little bit of lift. My younger brother, who so often was the innocent bystander in need of rescue, often sat by awaiting my triumphant arrival ...

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Finding the Magic

By Paul G. Kitchen, Head of School at Rothesay Netherwood School

In 1965 I was a new grade 9 boarding student beginning what I thought would be a grand adventure. Both of my brothers had spent five years at boarding school, so I didn't ask any questions. When I was going into grade 9, it just seemed that it was my turn. Little did I know that my turn would end up lasting 46 years ...

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The Business and Joys of Education are Unlike Any Other

By Blayne Addley, Headmaster at Halifax Grammar School

The Halifax Grammar School is currently designing a new campus. It's being brought to life founded on the core principals of collaboration and group-work, and will celebrate liberal arts education, which I strongly believe will help develop the best and brightest opportunities for our current and future students ...

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The Story of Keisha (or, never underestimate the impact you can have on the life of a child)

By Dorothy Byers, Head of School at St. Mildred's-Lightbourn School

Human beings are socialized creatures: we need social interaction to thrive. Working in education enables the development of deep relationships with the children, parents, and adults with whom we work. The impact of these relationships may take years to understand or come to fruition. Let me share one that is profoundly impactful in my life ...

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Perhaps We See Some Revolutions Only in Retrospect

By Geoff Dowd, Principal of Trafalgar School for Girls

My undergraduate readings in education during the early 1970s created a fair degree of internal cognitive dissonance: they included Ivan Illich urging us to de-school society and Neil Postman disparaging systems that focused too much on how to make a living, rather than live a life. Taught by professors long removed from school classrooms (if they were ever there), I seemed to learn more about why education was not working...

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Everything Flows from Relationships

By Jim Power, Principal of Upper Canada College

Growth mindsets, 21st-century learning skills, cross-cultural competencies – these are among the important topics vigorously promoted in schools these days. But it's important to remember something that has been true since Plato first wrote about his cave: schools are, at their deepest core, about the fundamental and pivotal relationship between student and teacher...

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