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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.
Flashback to the 1990s, a young Vice Principal's office, and a conversation she is having with a girl. Sadly, the conversation was the result of a fight at lunchtime in the back parking lot of this large high school. The girl participated in the fight and was the "third person in," a particularly negative situation.
The girl was upset, but not about her own situation – the fight was between her younger brother, Benjamin, and another student. The argument had been brewing and had finally became physical, and of course at lunchtime there were many onlookers encouraging the young combatants. One of onlookers ran to get the sister, who without thought joined in, and clocked her little brother's combatant with such force that he fell to the ground. Her fist was bloodied, but her little brother would have bruises and cuts that had to be cared for at the hospital. She was worried about Benjamin and about the response she would get at home as the gravity of the situation began to sink in.
The conversation in the young VP's office went something like this:
"So what happened out there?"
"I had to jump into the fight."
"He's my little brother and I had to protect him. I know it was wrong to fight and I know that my father will be furious, but I had to help."
So the young VP was left with a choice to make. A suspension from school for all those involved was clearly necessary. The girl clearly knew what she did was wrong, but her actions were driven by her instinct to protect her little brother. Her moral compass was well established.
The suspensions all occurred.
When the girl returned to school, at the re-entry meeting, the young VP set up support for her to navigate through not only school but also a tough family situation. Her dad was a tyrant who had little patience for a daughter who was involved in a fight, no matter what the reason. She completed school and graduated.
Flash forward to a spring day years later and a garden centre checkout kiosk. You know the type – little huts with a cash register. The VP is paying for little plants and her attention was on sorting them on the cart. It came time to pay. The girl in the kiosk looked at the credit card and then at the VP in her Saturday clothes.
"Hello Mrs. Byers, I'm Keisha."
"Hello! Great to see you. What are you doing now?"
"I'm completing my last year of nursing. I've paid for all of it myself. You are the reason that I've been successful because you believed in me when I got into trouble and when no one else did. You helped me understand that I was a good person and had a lot to give the world. I start working at the hospital emergency room next month."
As I retire from my position at St. Mildred's-Lightbourn, I have a few words to share with the educators I see around me. Never underestimate the impact that your actions and words – and your support – can have on the life of a child. Remember that in education we all influence the lives of the young people in our care.
by Erin Corbett, Head of School at River Valley School
Sometimes it takes extreme circumstances to appreciate what simple words like "community" and "learning" really mean.
River Valley School, located in the old and historic part of Calgary, was severely damaged during the catastrophic flooding of late June 2013...
by Eileen Daunt, Head of School at Bayview Glen
Mentoring is part of how we all function and flourish, from our first interactions with our parents, and then on to our relationships with friends, teachers, colleagues and those we work for. At Bayview Glen, we believe in the life-long value of mentorship and have developed a comprehensive mentorship program for all our students ...
by Claire Sumerlus, Head of School at Robbins Hebrew Academy
RHA is a community of thinkers. In fact, our very vision is to produce generations of original minds who lead their lives with courage and compassion.
Our entire curriculum is based on a pedagogy designed to achieve exactly that ...
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 ...
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 ...
by Katherine Nikidis, Principal at Trafalgar School for Girls
Sometimes one size does not fit all. The concept doesn't work well for clothing and it doesn't work for standardized admissions tests. I also think that it doesn't truly work for Trafalgar School for Girls.
At Trafalgar we have been thinking about how best to assess, accept and nurture students so that they thrive within our school ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
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."...
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 ...
by Stuart Grainger, Headmaster at Trinity College School
The start of an academic year brings a new energy to those of us in education – students, staff and faculty alike. A fresh beginning provides another opportunity to set short-term and long-term goals, another chance to sharpen habits and routines and, ultimately, the ability to make our lives and communities better ...
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 ...
As schools begin the new academic year, CAIS wants to wish Rodger Wright a relaxing, fulfilling – and happy – retirement.
After 33 years as Headmaster – at Trinity College and Collingwood School – Rodger Wright retired in June. But he did not go without a song ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
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...
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...