Musings from Boulden

Friday, May 29, 2020

While classes and summative tasks continued this week, as well as bike, woodworking and sign language clubs (although by no means an exhaustive list), behind the scenes, we prepared for the Junior School Closing Ceremony. Scripts and closing remarks were penned, edited, formatted and shared. Videographers were sought out and project leads appointed, schedules created and fancy footwear dusted off. For the first time in months, many of us donned suits, ties, or dresses. In isolation, we began the process of recording the 2019-2020 event. As we recollected the many happenings and accomplishments of this year, despite and because of COVID-19, we truly came to the realization that this school year is almost over. Though this is cause in many ways for celebration and a look to new beginnings, it is also an ending – and one we wouldn’t have written as is.

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Friday, May 22, 2020

This week, the Ontario government announced that school facilities would not re-open this school year and that protocols for September would be shared by the end of June. I am not sure how you took that news, but I felt myself sigh. Finally. A decision. With certainty now, we have the ability to plan for the remainder of the year and students can begin the process of grieving for all that they have lost, celebrating what they have learned, and they can start to contemplate what might come next.

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Friday, May 15, 2020

Many of us have a hard time slowing down, and though we have been forced in some respects to press pause these days, in other ways, we are running that hamster loop and time has been blurred. Amongst the many realizations we will have come to during this self-isolation period, one will certainly be that most of us need to feel busy, to feel like we’ve accomplished something. Oftentimes, slowing down requires us to sit in quiet, and that can be quite disconcerting. It may highlight our discomfort. Ms. Krista Koekkoek, director of guidance, has been facilitating wellness sessions for parents and for staff, and sitting in discomfort is something that she recommends. We tend to push back on discomfort because it’s...well, uncomfortable. But according to Ms. Koekkoek, discomfort is an opportunity for growth. It’s like failure. Without failure, there is no learning. Without discomfort, there wouldn’t be any progression. Discomfort is natural.

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Friday, May 08, 2020

I am completing my one-on-ones with both students and staff this week. Here are some of the more memorable statements by students:

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Friday, May 01, 2020

Amidst all of the unknown, it’s even more important to take the time to celebrate the little things. Today, TCS turns 155 years old. That isn’t a little thing. That’s pretty monumental. As Mr. Grainger spoke about a few weeks ago, TCS has been through a lot in its history, but I bet never has it seen a convoy of four cars travelling through Port Hope with Trina hanging out the window, waving at passers by. By now, you’ll have seen the video so I am not making any great reveals by sharing how Mr. Churchill, Mr. Grainger and I (and some of our loved ones) spent part of last Saturday together.

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Friday, April 24, 2020

This week has been a challenge. Some of you may also be hitting a wall and looking for this to end. For me, the remedy has been dropping into classes and one-on-one chats with students. The creativity, resilience and flexibility that I have witnessed over the last few weeks make the least normal days seem a little more normal. This week, I want to take the time to acknowledge the adults at Boulden House.

Mr. Wilson’s wit and humour, evident face-to-face, are intact in his classes as he keeps students engaged and optimistic. Mr. Wilson and Mr. Powles both ended their March Breaks early to return to TCS to plan for the professional development for teachers to get our e-learning platform up and running.

Ms. Crawford sent students on an Escape Boulden House mission – her enthusiasm bubbling over as she challenged them to complete this in the fastest time possible.

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Friday, April 17, 2020

As I look back over the past week, I’m reminded of those MasterCard commercials, the ones that concluded, “There are some things money can’t buy.” I’m sure you remember them too. And what I realize is that the one thing you can’t put a price on, is time.

Here’s how my week was spent…

Meeting with the shared leadership team: 240 minutes

Discussing TCS needs and direction with heads: 60 minutes

Responding to and sending emails: 360 minutes

Planning for 2020-2021: 120 minutes

Re-envisioning timetables, hybrid school models, staffing and more: Countless minutes

Reviewing admissions files and Open House planning: 90 minutes

Preparing assembly: 30 minutes

Developing professionally: 120 minutes

Walking at lunch and meditating each morning before classes: 260 minutes

Planning with the Director of Curriculum: 30 minutes

Working with Junior School staff: 60 minutes

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Friday, April 10, 2020

As mentioned in last week’s blog, the reality is that we cannot replicate what happens in the classroom in an online learning platform, and that can be a source of frustration for some. While we are doing our best and teachers are spending hours creating programming that will keep students engaged, online learning simply is not the same. The hours spent vulnerable, on screen, can be a cause of heightened anxiety for some of our students. Change and uncertainty, in times like these, can be even more of a challenge for others. Self-management can be more difficult, as can initiation. The importance of face-to-face contact, discussion and deliberation has really risen to the surface. That said, children are resilient and they can adapt far more readily than many think. As adults, it’s important to acknowledge how are we modelling adaptation and resilience.

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Friday, April 03, 2020

Schools all over the world are learning what it means to try and offer education at a distance. While some schools have grown up with this model and become experts at it – like Australia's School of the Air, Ontario’s Virtual High School and many of the faculties of education across Ontario who provide additional qualifications options for teachers – for most, it has been a steep learning curve. Parents are also coming to terms with what it was to have a school for their children to go to each day and just how much more than academics those schools provide. Children are realizing how important the social and emotional aspects of their school community are and what it is to be without. In these times, we have lost something, and as anyone who has grieved knows, you never really know what you have lost until it’s gone. And as a school, we are trying our best to mitigate some of these losses and keep to what is familiar.

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Friday, March 27, 2020

I won’t lie. These are tough times. Over the last few weeks, we’ve experienced more change than in any time I can recall. Changes that are necessary for the good of all, but ones we haven’t had a whole lot of control over. We know change is challenging. And there are a lot of unanswered questions, and social isolation is contrary to human nature.

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