Head Lines

Thursday, December 17, 2009

This week, prior to the start of the Christmas Break, TCS has embarked upon its first ever “Week Without Walls” initiative. This mission-driven initiative places our Senior School students in a host of local and international community service programmes. From food banks, schools, nursing homes, and more in Port Hope, Cobourg, Peterborough and Toronto, to building a school in Ecuador and establishing a playground in Afghanistan, our students are learning outside of the classroom.

At the core of the Week Without Walls endeavour is establishing the habit of service to others. It is our hope that students’ efforts are not sporadic, driven by a need to meet ministry standards, nor are an act to erase long-term guilt from a singular experience. Service is best and most rewarding when it is genuine, selfless and ongoing.

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Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Parenting is not easy. There is no manual. There is no gradual transition. One day you don’t have kids; the next day you do. I am not convinced that there is anything prior to having kids that can fully prepare you for the change, challenges and joys of parenting.

My view is that parents do a great job in raising their kids. When parents compliment TCS for helping their children, I am quick to acknowledge first the skills and influence of those parents and the hard work of the kids themselves. The School, in my view, is intentionally third but completes this necessary trio to do the best job we can for their kids.

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Thursday, December 03, 2009

One of the most memorable songs of our parents' generation was Frank Sinatra's New York, New York. It told the story of a young man leaving small town America and going to the Big Apple to, "be a part of it," to "wake up in that city that never sleeps."

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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Kids make mistakes; I know this. Kids make bad choices; I know this, too. We all know this. It is not a surprise, therefore, when it happens.

In my role as headmaster I make a dozen formal addresses and have hundreds of conversations with students, parents, alumni, teachers, community members and fellow heads of schools on any given week. I speak a lot about assisting our students in the development of good habits of the heart and mind. And with this, inevitably, follows a discussion on the value of setting expectations for acceptable behaviour, school rules and accountability.

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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

I still remember vividly the day in my first year at TCS when I heard the cries for a "Half Day!" Or should I say, "HALF DAY!" It was a Friday and I was at the back of the chapel sitting with the students as opposed to my normal spot at the front of chapel with Father Don and Mr. Mills.  Shortly after a team announced their win over a rival school, the chant for a half day without classes began.

Being new, and unaware of this "tradition," I asked the student beside me what the student body was chanting. He explained to me that it was the expectation that the headmaster would grant a half day without classes in recognition of this "significant" athletic achievement. As I walked up the aisle to the microphone the School shouted with glee and excitement at the prospect of no afternoon academic responsibilities.

I also remember the stoney silence and piercing looks when I did not grant the half day that they were expecting.

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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

In the next two weeks, the School will begin construction of the foundation for a set of four new tennis courts near the Rose Glen Road entrance to the School.There are several reasons why we are putting in new tennis courts (that will ultimately replace the existing courts.)

First, some background. TCS recently completed a campus plan that looked at our existing facilities, and based on our needs and priorities for the future, projected the best location for future buildings. (Actually,"we" did not complete the campus plan, the School hired an architectural firm named Moriyama & Teshima and they worked closely with representatives of the School in order to develop the plan). In any event, the general outcome of the plan was the idea of an interconnected campus, that sees future campus facilities built closer to the existing structures so that they will be more"centered" on campus.

 

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Wednesday, November 04, 2009

The other day at a social event outside the School, I was asked if students complain about having to go to chapel at TCS and how I can “force students to go to chapel in this day and age.” I thought these were very fair questions.

My first response was not intended to be cheeky but it centres on the fact that nobody forces a family to send their child to TCS and it is no surprise when their child arrives that there is a chapel (it’s quite a large building) and compulsory services.

 

I elaborated on my answer to include a reference to the fact that the School was founded by an Anglican minister; we would not be here today if it were not for Father Johnson and I believe it is part of my duty as headmaster, and as part of providing a complete educational experience for students, to expose students to faith.

(I can go on, and often do when given an opportunity like this; so I will!)

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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

How would you measure the success of students who are presently attending or who have graduated from TCS?

Think about this for a moment. How would you determine if our kids are "developing habits of the heart and mind for a life of purpose and service" as our mission claims?

Would you look at mathematics and English grades to determine life success? University acceptance statistics? Conduct satisfaction surveys? Look at the art work on the walls? Judge the success of the dramatic performances? See if the sports teams are beating our Little Big Four rivals? Track our graduates’ university marks after TCS? Compare TCS grad salaries with grads from other schools?

In fact, we do most of the above (with exception to the tracking of salaries!)

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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

There is only one true way to capture the unique vibe of TCS and that is to be on campus when the School is in full flight. I particularly love September and October because the campus is in its fall splendour, the students are full of energy and the faculty and staff are pumped to deliver a superior academic and co-curricular programme.

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