Musings from Boulden

Friday, June 19, 2020

Below is the address by Head of Junior School Jennifer Wyatt for Closing Ceremony, June 18, 2020.

Good afternoon and welcome to TCS’s first virtual Closing Ceremony. We are here today to celebrate every Junior School student, their perseverance, flexibility, kindness, courage, creativity and integrity. 2019-2020 certainly has taken some twists that we did not expect, and we have all learned, and continue to do so, from the unexpected, digging deep within ourselves to make sense of the “now,” to make it meaningful.

Many great things have happened this year, despite COVID-19.

Our new timetable has allowed for longer, uninterrupted blocks of learning, increased outdoor time and Activ8.

For the first time, TCS combined the Oxford Cup and Terry Fox Run for the “Foxford Cup”!

Community building and leadership training took place in early fall at Camp Kawartha and Bark Lake.

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Friday, June 12, 2020

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” – Nelson Mandela

TCS has taken a stand on what has been happening to Black communities and has made a commitment moving forward to be better at meeting our student population’s diverse needs and more authentically listening to their stories.

This is definitely a time for listening, coming together to support one another, and growing. What has been going on is beyond unfortunate. I am not an expert in racism. But, as an educator, I have a deep understanding of, and belief in, the power of critical thinking, compassion and integrity, all of which are needed currently.

At TCS, we love our community and know we can use this as an opportunity to come together, educate ourselves, and support each other to create change.

Compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic, anxiety and stress are issues many people are dealing with right now; you are not alone.

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Friday, June 05, 2020

The world, it seems, is falling apart in many regards.

George Floyd's life was brutally taken by police officers in Minneapolis and this has caused understandable uprising and outcry, as well as some unfortunate acts of opportunism. We are all being asked to confront the realities of racism, to have difficult conversations and to act.

At the same time, COVID-19 continues to threaten populations in Canada, Europe, the United States and South-East Asia. It has started its creep onto other continents, notably South America.

In many parts of Canada, governments are supporting step-by-step re-openings – which means more people are back at work, some relaxed social restrictions and, in some jurisdictions, students back at school. Good? Bad? Premature?

The markets, though fluctuating, have started to take an upturn. But so many families continue to face economic hardships, including those in our own community.

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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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