Head Lines

Thursday, October 11, 2018

As part of an extended travel schedule, this week I spent two days in, among other Nova Scotia towns, Inverness, Antigonish and Halifax. I have been visiting TCS current and past parents, alumni, and my daughter.

In the last decade or so, TCS has had a significant number of our graduates select east coast universities. In fact, roughly 10% of our students venture east each year.

There are a host of reasons for this, including: strengthened reputations of the institutions; academic support offerings for students with learning differences; competitive and intramural sports teams; excellent programming and curricular offerings; and smaller class sizes, which means increased access to professors and closer relationships with classmates.

But there is also something very tangible and appealing within the towns that play host to these universities: Maritime friendliness!

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Thursday, October 04, 2018

In the last couple of weeks at TCS, the word “courage” has been referenced many times. Courage was written on the back of this year’s Terry Fox T-shirts which were worn by members of our school community running in support of a cure for cancer; it was mentioned by our guest speaker, Juno-nominated musician Peter Katz, as he spoke to students at the recent Scholars’ Evening; and it was referenced in chapel when our chaplain, Major The Revd. Canon Don Aitchison, spoke about TCS alumni who fought and lost their lives in service 100 years ago during the Great War.

When we think of, or try to describe, courage, we often think of examples of significant personal risk, heroism, daring, valour and fearlessness.Certainly some of the examples mentioned above exemplify this kind of courage at a very high level. Serving your county on the battlefield or running across Canada to rally support for the fight against cancer are easily seen as courageous acts.

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Thursday, September 27, 2018

The “Frosh 15” is a colloquial term that is sometimes used to describe a 15% decrease in a first-year university student’s overall average. For the majority of students, having their overall academic standing drop once they leave high school is very common. At first blush, this should not really be surprising. Being a big fish (with big marks) in a small pond (such as high school) is one thing. But when you have a lot of big fish in the same pond (university), then your “uniqueness” is not as distinguishing. This can be difficult for young people to adjust to, particularly without their friends and family nearby as supports.

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Thursday, September 20, 2018

There was an instantaneous appeal, to many parents at least, when hearing of France’s recent ban on smartphones in schools. The decree, by President Emmanuel Macron, which also included the banning of tablets and computers, appeared so simple to issue, easy to implement and popular, regardless of political bent. After all, the vast majority of data on the impact of cellphone use on adolescents is overwhelmingly negative. In short, the research indicates, more screen time for kids means less long-term happiness. So, take the phones out of kids’ hands and their futures will be brighter. Voila!

Like most other parents around the world, I would posit that the majority of TCS parents would support, in principle, the edict by France’s president. So why has TCS not banned cellphones?

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Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Often I am asked by new families for my thoughts, advice or words of wisdom, as their child begins their journey at Trinity College School. I usually begin by pausing to offer congratulations to the student, and his or her family, for I know what they will soon come to know, which is that they are entering a wonderful and warm learning community here at TCS. 

I then often applaud the student for having the courage to attend a new school. We recognize that many have travelled great distances, taken long flights or bus rides, left behind many friends and family and the comforts of home to be here. I then note that they are all now part of a very active, engaging and challenging school community. I bring attention to the reality that their time at TCS likely won't always be easy or fun, but note that this is precisely the point. To the student I say, "you have elected to take a risk, accept a challenge, with the goal of designing a new and better you."

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Wednesday, September 05, 2018

I cannot remember my first day of high school. But I do remember my first day in my new school in Grade 2. We moved from Montreal to Ottawa; I joined Bayview Public School part-way through the year. I was terrified. I even asked my parents to pick me up at lunch to take me home for an afternoon nap (not due to fatigue, but to provide an escape in case things didn’t go very well!). Three years later, in Grade 5, after three days of opening week classes (one of which I spent in the hallway!), I was once again told I was changing schools. I was terrified then too.

This week, I start my 15th year at TCS. It’s great to be in the same school, in the same and best job in the world. And, it’s reassuring that my parents can’t pull me out of school anymore!

I am truly grateful to be a part of this very special learning community.

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Wednesday, June 13, 2018

When I first started to write my weekly blog in 2009, I was unsure who would read it. At first, I thought my audience would be students. I believed that the blog would provide an opportunity for me to appear in social media, connecting with kids on their preferred forum, and it would offer me another vehicle to impart more information and further celebrate their successes.

A quick question to the entire student body, in chapel, about six months after I started the blog, revealed an interesting fact. Of approximately 580 students, less than 10 kids had read one of my blogs; and many had only read it because their parents had told them to! Conversely, at Parent-Teacher Meetings, sporting events and arts evenings, several parents approached me to say that they read my blog regularly. At alumni events, many former parents and alumni of the School also told me that they had read at least a couple of my blog posts. And so, my actual audience revealed itself!

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Thursday, June 07, 2018

Part 3 of a 3-part series on insights from our graduating class

The past two weeks I have devoted this space to feedback that I have received through my annual “Chew and Chat” sessions with the members of the graduating class. A brief look at the positive comments and the constructive feedback to improve the School would show a graduating class that has valued their experience at TCS. On the positive side of the ledger, students have identified the high level of care and kindness, and the supportive relationships they have with our professional faculty and staff that allow them to succeed. Our grads believe that, as a school, we distinguish ourselves in this regard, while offering a very active, engaging, challenging and enjoyable curricular, co-curricular and residential program.

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Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Part 2 of a 3-part series on insights from our graduating class

Last week, I shared a host of very positive comments that the members of our Graduating Class of 2018 shared during my annual end-of-year house meetings, a.k.a. Chew and Chats with the Headmaster. This week, I share with you some of the comments they made in response to my question as to how would they improve our school. Next week, I will explain what we will do with their valuable feedback, on a go-forward basis.

One of the more gratifying aspects of the Chew and Chat exercise with all 10 houses each year, is how many more positive remarks are made about the School, as opposed to suggestions to improve the School. Truly, for every one suggestion aimed at improving TCS, there are (depending upon the house!), three to four times more positive comments.

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Thursday, May 24, 2018

Part 1 of a 3-part series on insights from our graduating class

Each spring, I have the pleasure of meeting with the graduation class; each of the 10 houses meeting with me individually. I call them “Chew & Chats.” I provide “the chew” (food), and they provide the conversation, or “the chat.” I love these meetings. They are fun, informative and helpful. The purpose of the meetings is to receive feedback on each student’s experience at TCS. Some might compare it to the common business practice of conducting exit interviews. In reality, however, it is a great opportunity for me to have conversations with our kids about what they most value about their school and what they feel we could improve upon.

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