If you’re not nervous, you might need to make a change

“Give people slightly more trust, freedom and  authority than you are comfortable giving  them. If you’re not nervous, you haven’t given them enough.”  Laszlo Bock, Google’s VP of People Operations

There’s my jump off point for what  experiential education is supposed to be about. The line was delivered on  our first day of the Google Beyond the Classroom experience. For those  who have been waiting  to hear about  this experience, I’m going to say that it was mind blowing –  and not so much because of what  we did  (2 interesting  presentations and a tour) but because of what  Google is about.

Starts with their  mission statement – organize the  world’s info and make it universally accessible and useful. Nothing that necessarily creates a WOW moment in that statement, but then you start seeing how they apply it in their day to day inner workings. Organizing  the  worlds info  is no small task. Making  it universally accessible has potential life altering moments as can be seen from initiatives such as Project Sunroof. I won’t try to do justice to the project with my unsophisticated tech explanations. Instead, I’ll  just say – check the  link and give some thought to how  organizing  the  worlds info can lead to phenomenal results.  https://www.google.com/get/sunroof#p=0  You  can  also hopefully check out our solar panel sunroof at St. Sylvester, or my house in a few years…

Project  sunroof was a direct result of the Google 20% project initiative. For  those unfamiliar  with the 20% project idea, employees at Google are given 20% of their  work week (essentially 1 day a week) to work on a  project of personal interest to  them. Many schools are already trying this  with their  students as well, and we knew  this had to be our final artifact for  our Google  Beyond the  Classroom experience. Students  are  working on such  things  as creating  their  own  k pop video, writing  a children’s story book, and creating a club  to  help empower girls  among other projects.

The more I considered the  whole  20% project idea, and the idea  of mission statements, the more I realized, I needed to create my own experiential education 20% project. Yeah we’ve  done it with Beyond the Classroom, but what about a  Google partnership?! We’ve told  our students that a passion project needs to be something they are truly invested in and WANT to work towards. No doubt in my mind that I want to create a program of experiential education that impacts students across the board.

It starts with an understanding of what experiential education is. Authentic learning that allows you to immerse yourself in a topic. Not enough to just read about it. Multiple modalities are what’s needed. At the  Pan Am Sports Centre, Healthy Living  was our goal. Rather than just read about it, our Gr. 6-8 students created active physical fitness routines to lead the rest of our school through, while also doing research on ideas around what  healthy living is.

Trust is a huge factor in experiential education. In traditional learning, we hold the control cards. With experiential education, it’s allowing that control to go to the students. The Ministry of Education is currently empowering school boards to help create the  necessary conditions to make experiential education  more of a reality in classrooms across the province. This is good news. What more is still needed? Money, time, and the expertise  to create authentic  experiential education experiences. In  the out  of the box stratosphere, I can’t  think of a better group to start working   on  this  with  then  the  team at Google in combination  with a Champion  like Patty Z (our  Ministry of Education connection Extraordinaire).  The goal…make everyone nervous. Once  that  starts, we’re clearly moving in the  right  direction.


The Value of Doing

They say with  age comes  wisdom.  I guess I’m getting wiser but  at  the same time, one of the most important  lessons that keeps coming back  to me time and time again  is the  value of doing. Yes it’s true that I have a  slant towards experiential education – Our most recent Beyond the Classroom  experience  being  a phenomenal one  with the Canadian Armed Forces.


But today, I wanted  to  reflect more  on my own  learning  through experience.

One  of the best principals I worked with  was  fond  of  mentioning  that  a school principal  was  really just the Principal Teacher  in  the  school. I’ve always taken this to heart.  My goal and  mission  as an educator is  to  continually teach. It’s  the  best way to be connected with  students and the  best  way to help lead instruction in  the school. Anyone  can talk about educational  research and  promising practices. The  real value comes in trying  things out in the  classroom. It’s only by immersing ourselves in all steps  of  curriculum delivery that we can properly understand  how students  learn  and how to best help  them in  the  process. This  past week I found  myself  collaborating  with  my Gr. 7/8 teacher  on the  start of his  history unit; my Gr.  1/2 teacher  on a  plan  to  get  her  students  into  the  process  of  small  group instruction  in language; our area of schools intermediate teachers  and students  on some  experiential  math;  and my Gr. 3/4 teacher on our first ever Beyond the Classroom experience with a primary and junior  class – urban  planning  with  the City of Toronto. In each  instance, we started with our end  goal  in  mind  (the term backwards planning  is what  many use these days and  it’s appropriate). The end goal is the curriculum expectations. And  with each unit,  we strive to engage students in the  process and try to  have some type of hands on learning in the process.

I find  that  it’s not  enough of  course for me to just be involved in  the  planning  and  execution  of the  lesson. Equally important  is to be involved in the  assessment. Going over students’  work allows  me  to  work  with the  teacher on identifying  strengths  and  areas for  improvement,  and  this of course allows  the  ever so  important  discussion  around  next steps.  I’m  fortunate to have a staff that  is  willing  to  have  me  in their classrooms  and for  this I am grateful. Quite frankly, I can  not  imagine  leading  instruction  any other  way. I remain  convinced that  anyone in administration  (principal, superintendent, etc) should go  back fulltime  into the classroom every few years. It’s  the only way to guarantee that you remain current on what’s going on. I can’t say I know enough about other professions but I really believe that medical ceos, police superintendents, and airline executives would be better at their jobs if part of  their time was spent  in the  field.  Experience does  make a difference and doing  is  the  way to get that  experience.

And while we’re on  the topic of  doing….. , I’d be thrilled if I could get you to help with one  other  project. The Eco Team that  I teach is trying to get people to get on board and  commit to making  small change in  their  habits. Again, the emphasis is on the doing and  I hope you’ll consider taking  the challenge to heart.   https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1KH_YnfrzIe6pqW16dTD-BqHL1808KT8StWeu2Uf6Rqw/edit

Thanks as always to  those  who  are reading,  and  if you’re  willing to commit to some “doing”, thanks for that  as well.

Learning can be inspired from so many different places.

It  never ceases  to amaze  me  how  exciting learning  can be when  you’re  engaged  in what  you’re  doing. Two events from December  proved  this to me  yet again and thanks goes  to  YPT and the Globe and Mail  for these experiences.

1. Live theatre remains  one  of my  favourite things. Was lucky enough  to see two YPT  plays in the month  of  December with our students. Instant  and Beauty and the  Beast.  Both were  phenomenally acted, directed and designed. The success of a play to me is  when the play ends and my mind  is racing.  After  both YPT plays, I was a runaway train. So many thoughts to consider – human kindness and the  impact it plays in the  world, accepting ourselves for who we are; finding  the  path that is meant  for us – not the path others have considered  for  us; keeping hope alive in the midst of despair. If you’re looking  for a New  Years  resolution, all good ideas  to consider. I maintain  that well performed live theatre has  the power to impact us in so many ways and  I am grateful to YPT for giving  me the  chance to often  facilitate the  Question and Answer sessions AFTER the play. It allows me a chance to empty my racing  mind – Thanks Aimee!   While Instant  is unfortunately done  on stage, you have until Jan 7 to see Beauty and the Beast. I highly, highly recommend  it. Good script, excellent  acting, humour, poignancy, fantastic singing  voices and both big numbers and engaging dialogue – your one stop shop for a great afternoon or evening  out (and I’m not even making  commission  from this!).

2.   Our Globe and Mail experience for Beyond the Classroom came to a close in early December.   And no the students weren’t on messaging  – they were researching for  their newspaper articles in the  picture below. IMG_1854

We are quite pleased with our final artifact.  It was the creation of our own school newspaper. Our goal throughout Beyond the Classroom has been to create authentic final artifacts and we feel that  this one met  the expectation. Students were involved in  drafting, revising, selling ads, and helping with the layout of the paper. We just about  sold out our 100 published copies so an electronic link is pasted below. St. Sylvester Newspaper FINAL COPY (003)The  goal is to  try  and complete two more editions  before the  end of the  school year. If you read and have suggestions for  future articles, please let us know. Hey –  a  thought – maybe our  next issue has  some  ypt play reviews!

A short blog for a change (and  longer if you read the  newspaper) but wanted to hold true to my attempt at a once a month blog.  Our Beyond the Classroom  journey into 2018 will see us at the  Canadian Armed Forces Base in January, Pan Am Centre in February, Google  Headquarters in  March, and  then  back to back farming/agriculture experiences in April and May. We’re also trying our first primary/junior Beyond the Classroom experience with our Gr. 3/4   class in late April and May with the City of Toronto Urban planning department. Should be interesting.

Lots of excitement ahead. Thanks for sharing it with us, and the best of 2018 to you all.

The Educational Revolution Starts with Us All!

The more we do  things the same, the  more  we guarantee change will never happen.

I was trying to find  a more profound  quote but couldn’t,  so a Fernandes original starts off the  blog.

Education needs to  change. We know that. It’s  often said that the current system originated from the need in  the industrial revolution  of  training people  to  work  in factories. All doing the  same thing, the same way and for  that reason rows and rote learning  made sense.

Well guess what? Factories are more and  more automated  now, and the  need for innovation and creative thinking is  everywhere. Time for a new revolution?  The Educational Revolution!  I believe that many to most educators are ready for change but an overwhelming fear of  changing  with the times permeates.  Instead the need is often felt to stick to the standard way  of doing  things. I won’t go into my normal lament that obsession with standardized testing  is one of the greatest detriments to high quality education (it is but I won’t say it again). Instead this blog is being written purely for parents (not JUST parents at my school but parents everywhere). I have two questions for you.

  1. What do you want your child’s  education to look like?
  2. How do you believe that experiential education helps your child?

Let me start with making  my case as I’m  wont  to do.

Anecdote # 1

This past week our Gr. 6-8 students  were at Teen Ranch for the outdoor education experience. They learned team building, overcoming  fears, problem solving, active living and working with each other. This  learning happened via cooperative games, horse riding, t shirt  making, orienteering, and free time trail  running. They clearly met the Catholic Graduate expectations of a responsible citizen, caring  family member, creative, reflective holistic  thinker,  collaborative contributor and effective communicator. What was missing? Well clearly a math test and some grammar worksheets. I know I’m making someone  angry, but I just don’t see the balance scale at all. I am a firm believer in life long learning  in all forms. I think  that reading and writing  are essential as ways to understand and  communicate. I also feel that grammar and spelling  in context will always be better than  pointless  worksheet questions like this  one  that  my friend  shared with me the other  day.

Her gr. 6 daughter  was completing the  following worksheet:

Explain the use of the apostrophe in the following  sentence

What  on earth’s  the matter with  that bird?

The multiple choice options included:

A. It is used to show that the  word earth  is plural

B. It is used to replace a missing  letter or letters

C. It is used to make  the sentence more clear

B is the correct answer  but how that helps me learn more is beyond  me. Far better use would have been for me to write  an authentic anecdote or persuasive piece, and  if apostrophe use showed up in my writing then address it at that point.

I know you might be wondering what  any  of this  has to do with  experiential learning and I’m hoping  it’s not  too off topic. I guess the point I’m  aiming  to make is that  we  need to change how  we educate our students  and that  change  starts with moving  away from old style learning  to engaging  our students.

Anecdote #2

I heard on  the radio two psychologists discussing the possibility of the gifted program being  cancelled. The  proponent of it was talking  about how  his  son was in the program for the  first  time and  what a great  program it  was.  The father  said that  his  son had  to quickly get through the  curriculum which  led to a lot of homework his  son didn’t like,  but then  he was able to start  work  on his  independent study that  he chose to do on fish. He was learning  tremendous amounts through  research  and videos  and was completely engaged.

Um….why is this  only in the  gifted program? And it should sound ludicrous to anyone that we have to get through the  curriculum to get to the fun learning. Finish your Brussel sprouts (sorry veggie lovers) so that  you can have your dessert. Passion and engagement  in learning  should  be there for all. The  independent study on fish  should  completely be the curriculum – the skills of research and the curriculum content of reading  and  writing – maybe there will even  be some apostrophes in there. And yes mathematics in an independent study on fish should be completely possible.  Off the top of my head – patterning in terms of fish colours, number sense in terms of amount of species, life span, percentage of increase or decrease in population, measurement  in terms of lengths  of the  different  types of fish or capacity of aquariums. This is learning and this is curriculum,  and no this is NOT getting  our students ready for a factory but sure is getting them ready for life.

Anecdote #3

A few weeks  back, I met with our JK, Gr. 2/3 and  3/4 teacher and we sat to plan out some  experiential learning.

Each  teacher started with  the curriculum because that’s how all experiential learning  should begin. They identified the following  as areas they wanted to address.

Kindergarten  – Demonstrate an understanding of the natural world and the need to care for and respect the environment

Gr. 3-  Social studies –

Big Idea: Human activities and decisions about land use may alter the environment.

Big Idea: Human activities affect the environment, but the environment also affects human activities.

Given that both units dealt with the environment, we endeavoured to complete an eco trip that saw us visit three different parks to experience an up close and personal look at the natural environment  and  understand how we both benefit and impact the natural world. To hold true to the Gr. 3 big idea, we also visited a busy intersection  to  juxtapose the  natural environment with  a built up environment  and how those differences impact all.

As part of our day we had students take pictures of both  the natural environment  and built up area with the long  term goal being some type of photo essay where students  clearly demonstrate their understanding  of the  big idea.

experiential letter primary park trip




We could have easily done  this  lesson by sitting in the classroom but as our Beyond the Classroom program keeps suggesting – go beyond the walls of the  classroom and  immerse yourself in experiential learning – so much  more authentic.

Oh and for the record, I did  not plan the trip just to get Chloe the dog some new sticks, but….check out the stash!


Anecdote #4

Our Beyond the Classroom experience at the Globe and  Mail started today with our Gr.7/8 class. We will be immersing  students in  the world  of the biggest National  Newspaper in Canada. Our time at the Globe will include the chance to sit in on  editorial meetings, learning about the ethics of advertising, understanding  the  changing landscape  of print  news, and hearing about how decisions are made for front page photos. Our final artifact will  hopefully be the production  of a school newspaper that  puts into practice all that we are learning at the Globe. Mathematics will include a look at the  circulation  of the paper, advertising  budgets, newspaper design layout, and change in cost of the newspaper over the  years to name just a few things (and  that  includes number  sense, measurement, data management  and geometry).

All four anecdotes are trying  to show  once again  how  our method of teaching  can  and  should change, and how students can and should be engaged in the learning process.

My question comes  back to you parents – do YOU see the value in this type of learning? Why or why not? I’m a parent and  I’m  also an educator  and I know what  I want  most for my children  is to see them engaged in  their  learning. I believe that  starts with capturing  students’  interests and I believe that starts with experiential education.

If you’re willing  to join in the conversation, please  consider filling in  the simple google doc below.


4 questions are on it (it grew from my original two!)

How do you think schools  should engage students  in the  learning  process?

What does experiential learning  mean to you?

How does this blog show you that experiential learning is or is not happening at St. Sylvester school?

What do you think still needs to be done  to make experiential learning  more prevalent  at St. Sylvester school?

Really hoping for some feedback. If the Educational  revolution  is going to happen, it needs  to start  with  us all.






The Mind is a Powerful Thing

Let’s start off with a disclaimer. Technically, this has NOTHING to do with inquiry based learning and clearly has nothing to do with Beyond the Classroom. It does have a lot to do with life long learning; failing and learning; and being open to trying new things. I write for myself sometimes,  so you’ve been warned…

Two weeks back I did my usual Scotiabank Waterfront Half-Marathon. I trained essentially since June and my training times were going great. A new wrinkle this year was that Chloe the dog became my running partner, since Greg the man no longer wanted to run (BOOOO!).  Chloe might not have as much conversation as Greg and she does expect a treat at the end of her run, unlike Greg who just wants a beer. Chloe, unlike Greg, also never has to go home after to make breakfast for the kids, but rather, jumps right in the pool to swim!


Bottom line is that the training  had gone very well and as race day approached, I was feeling confident that a sub 1:40 half-marathon was definitely in my grasp.

Think again.

The race started well. I was moving and my pace at 6 k was about a 4:30 which put me on pace for a 1:35 half marathon. I knew that wouldn’t happen but nonetheless a great start.  At the same time, the sun was shining and the temperature was in double digits, which I knew could be a problem in terms of energy level. Sure enough by 10 k, I knew I was in trouble. My energy was starting to lag. By 12 k the voices in my head were full out screaming at me, “Stop running. Just walk for a bit. It’s ok. Walk. C’mon walk. You know you want to walk.”  By 13 k, the race was essentially over. I stopped for my 13 k break, ran about 200 m and stopped again. So began the gradual slow and painful finish.  I easily stopped about 10 times between 13 k and the end of the 21.1. I even stopped at 20 k with less than a km to go. My normal stops would have been 13, 18, and then done. Needless to say, my time was nothing special. I clocked in at 1:45 which is a 5 minute per km pace half-marathon. A decent time IF my training hadn’t been showing me at 445 per km pace and even 439 per km pace.  I was initially dismayed, despondent, a little dumbfounded and downcast (liking the alliteration theme!).

Now what? Was this age? I refused to accept it. Training showed I could do this. What happened in the race? Was it the temperature? My runs had been happening as early as 5 am in no sun and relatively cool conditions. Maybe it was not having my training partner. Solutions? Well, I was pretty sure that I wouldn’t be allowed to run with Chloe in a half marathon – even though I know SHE could do it. So I considered the temperature angle. I’m a control freak, but even I couldn’t control the temperatures. What I could foolishly do ….was another race! I went online and there it was – Hamilton’s Road2Hope Marathon and Half Marathon on Nov 5. Clearly, the temperatures would be cooler and technically I would still be in training mode, right?

It’s a sign that my family and friends know me well. My wife Lisa didn’t blink at the plan; nor did my brother. Greg helped me set a training plan and Debbie questioned why I was doing it (always one in the bunch!). Two more weeks of mostly food and drink denial – minus one staff night out that saw me break my sacred rule and indulge in food and drink with just over a week to go before race day.

The race took place Sunday, November 5 in rainy, semi-cool conditions. I wouldn’t have minded even cooler than the 12 degrees Celsius start temperature, but overall I had little to complain about. The course was fantastic (some nice downhill sections throughout) and the 40 km/h wind was mercifully at my back. I felt strong throughout the race. 8 k came and went and no issues. 13 k came and went with no issues, and while I could feel some fatigue setting in at about 18 k, there was to be no breakdown. It was my strongest finish in years and I ended up completing the race in 1:39:23 which was a 4:41 pace. Pretty psyched about the results and no idea what it means for the future. I think I’ve put the age demons in the background for now, and instead, have come to the realization that I’m a cool weather runner.

In terms of learning, I do want to share a few lines from an awesome book I’m currently reading  Running  with the  Mind of  Meditation  by Sakyong  Mipham



Pg.  37  “It is common to imagine that in meditation we are not  supposed to think. That  is  somewhat inaccurate. What  is  really happening  in meditation is that  we are  developing  the  ability to think when  we want  to, and  to not  think when  we don’t want to. We’re  developing  the  ability to direct our thoughts and focus them on the object of our choosing.”      I did try this on my runs and it worked in spots.

Pg. 73  “By paying attention  to how  your mind and body feel, you are empowering both yourself and  your running. Developing  this respect for mind  and body changes running from  simple exercise  to a journey of discovery and growth. Respecting  how you feel during your run allows you  to  appreciate who you are in the very life you are leading.”  I definitely like  the  idea  of  running  being  a journey  of  discovery and  growth.

Pg. 79  “When  we are running  and when  we are exercising, in  general – we are engaged  in  the one of the most  intimate and  meaningful acts that  might  occur during  the day. Running  full heartedly turns a period of exercise into something  that is  healthy for the  body and also for the mind. In  this  regard, being  mindful  brings  life.”   For ANY  educators  (teachers, principals, supts), reading this, please  understand  yet again  why Daily Physical Activity (DPA) is  as important  and in reality MORE important  than any test score will EVER be.

Pg.  110 – “The  mind  can be trained. It can  be  worked with  and  developed. Meditators have discovered  that the mind even  enjoys being developed and  trained  given  the  right  tutor.”   This  is my new  goal that I’m really working on.

Pg. 111  “If you put  your  mind  into  positive  environments such as love and affection, satisfaction, accomplishment, and purpose, then  you immediately feel those  effects. Likewise, in a positive environment, your mind will feel buoyant” Keep positive energy when you run, and yes in  life  as well.

Pg. 123  “The  secret  to  long  term happiness is engaging  in activities that  are  healthy mentally and physically.”    Preaching to the  choir but I hope someone  reading  this  will consider the  profound  nature of that  last statement. Read it again. C’mon, back up and re read.

All of the above are great life philosophies to have. The hope will be to put them into practice. Three final thoughts.

  1. Failure is just an opportunity to get better. I hearken back to David Price’s line that I often repeat “If you don’t like it, pitch better!”  I can’t pitch but the  message holds  true. I’m  glad  I failed at Scotia  because  it  allowed me to push myself again  and try a  new race that  is now likely a part of my repertoire.
  2. The power of the mind, the power of the mind, the power of  mind.  By the way, the  mind  is powerful. Exercise it and use it to help you!
  3. Wisdom can be found from many sources. Internalizing that wisdom is oh so important. I will continue trying to internalize and use the new running  insights from above and  let you know how the journey goes.

And when all else fails, just run. I know I will be…. just can’t forget to bring Chloe’s treats along!  Until next time (which will be back to Beyond  the  Classroom), keep finding those healthy activities – mind and  body = double strength.  This Blog has been sniffed by Chloe and hopefully read by you!


We’re off and running with Beyond the Classroom Year Two

We’re up and running and our first experience has already been a great one so far.

As detailed in a previous blog, we spent much of September grounding our students in some of the key areas we felt needed improvement based on last year. Developing wonders, understanding how to research; knowing the difference between fact and fact analysis; and being able to apply the lens of perspective. All key skills that we hope our students will be able to apply throughout the year of Beyond the Classroom.

essay component of final artifact

Experience one started this past week. We started with a pretest/questionnaire to see where our students were at and from there jumped right into the experience of government.

Government intro year two

Day 1 took us to Queen’s Park where we sat in on Question Period. It was truly instructive to see how our elected provincial officials conduct themselves in the house setting.


Um….they may need to visit St. Sylvester to understand how to be more effective communicators – take turns speaking, focus on the speaker, and maybe listen to what’s being said for a start! Yikes, the speaker of the house has a more difficult job than our classroom teachers based on what we saw. He also had one  of my favourite lines of the day “We  need to elevate the nature of  the debate.” Nonetheless, it was informative to immerse ourselves in the issues of the day – health care, partisan advertising, and balanced budget were some of the main topics. And to return to a Beyond the Classroom staple, so much better to witness it live than to watch on tv, or read about it. Our experience also included the chance to talk to our MPP Soo Wong (thanks to her assistant Stephanie) on the steps of the legislature. Expert speakers with a direct knowledge of the organization make experiential learning so rewarding.

q park

Day two took us down to Nathan Phillips Square where our City Councillor Jim Karygiannis along with his assistants Nick and Andrea were able to get us into the Council Chambers to hear our municipal elected officials debate topics such as commuter parking. While the topic was not quite in our students’ wheel house, the chance again to be immersed in real life government was thrilling – even more so because students  got to speak first hand to Mayor Tory and City Councillor Jim Karygiannis.

mayor two


Two things that jumped out from Day 2:

  1. Our City Councillor Jim Karygiannis took us through an in depth look at how politics work and how things get done –  and we know that you are a Do er Mr. Karygiannis. You took the issues students raised like safety of our community and keeping our neighbourhoods clean (just a few of the issues raised)and turned it back on us by asking us to figure out how to enable change to take place, and then directing us on next steps to follow. A huge take away we shared with our students is to move BEYOND apathy and into engagement – it’s what our whole school learning plan is about.

karygiannis fun

2.     When the Mayor asked Austin to describe the program. Austin’s reply was perfect. “Rather than sit in a classroom reading textbooks, we go and experience things.”


To which the Mayor replied (and no voice recorder so apologies if I’ve missed a word or two), “Interesting you say that. In order to be the Mayor of Toronto, I try to experience things. To understand how our paramedics do their job, I rode in the ambulance. In order to experience what a firefighter goes through, I spend a day with them.”

Mr Mayor, we have a challenge and request for you (along with the Ministry of Education). You mentioned to us that you wanted to come and talk to the kids that day to get to know more about our Beyond the Classroom program – you name the time and place and we will visit you or have you visit us (at our school or one of our Beyond the Classroom experiences). No better way to experience government.

The week ahead will see the students start to get into their actual topics and we hope to share some samples soon. The areas of interest are pasted below.

Padlet 1 – What resonated with you from our two days


Padlet 2 – What is your wonder for Government that you will be researching?


Check back on our Beyond the Classroom website soon for more updates.


We’re into year two and we’re excited with what we’re seeing. We remain convinced that this is the way learning should be, and if our elected government officials are seeing, thinking and considering the same…..Look out for the educational journey ahead!

toronto pic

Thoughts for the Year Ahead

As we gear up for the school year ahead, I find myself normally thinking about three  things.

  1. What book will I read for the opening assembly?
  2. What main message do our students and staff need to hear?
  3. What lunches can I make that my children will actually finish?!

I’ve got the  book. The Little Red Hen. The message if you haven’t read it yet is quite simple. If you want to make things work, then contribute and pitch in. An awesome message for school, home and life in general.

The  main message for students and  staff is a bit more complex. I know that any message for the whole school needs to be a shared vision, so with that  in mind, please be aware that my initial message is more of a challenge than necessarily a shared vision.

In trying to come up with a way to remember I formed the  simple anacronym of Come Greet the King. For our Catholic school, clearly, the King  is Christ. Of course the King could be adapted to any creator God you want, as I believe God would want  to be greeted with  the  four ideas detailed below.

Continue what you’re good at   – we should always play to our strengths.

Get involved    – the message of the  little red hen – but not just about helping out. Also, getting engaged in your learning  and school life.

Try something new  – new  experiences are what  brings us vigor and energy, so try something  new. (I still have the  guitar on my to do list as well and have recently been really trying to make a plant based diet (yes that  means partial vegan) happen. If you want to know what spurred me forward, have a read of Dr. Richard Oppenlander’s Comfortably Unaware

Kindness to all  so simple and yet how smooth would our schools and world be if people could just figure out how to show kindness. You don’t need to like everyone, but treating them with kindness is fairly simple.

To go back to the  start, I guess I have 1  and  2 covered. #3 will involve far, far more planning but hopefully in time….

Not sure where the summer flew, but hope it was a good one for all and best wishes for a school year filled with good health, engaging  experiences, new learning  and kindness to everyone.