SEPTEMBER 14 / 2018

Dear Parents

I write to fill you in on one of the goals that we have set as a Senior School staff, and I then want to ask for your assistance in reaching that goal.

Our goal is stated as follows: Senior School teachers will work together to develop a culture that supports greater responsibility and engagement among our students based on caring relationships.  We see this goal as important to fulfilling two of the school’s strategic directions: Delivering Academic Excellence and Developing Engaged Citizens of the World.

This goal stemmed from a year-long discussion among our staff about the relation between school culture, discipline and caring relationships. The discussions were sparked by a challenge put to us by our Head of School - how might we fashion a disciplinary approach that did not feature detentions?

The year of talks led to some broad agreements about what aspects we value about the York School culture - positivity and inclusivity being chief among them - and also aspects that we think we’d like to improve. Those aspects included a greater sense of responsibility among our students, and a greater sense of school loyalty and engagement with school life.  

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As we considered how we might improve on these aspects of the school culture, we were cognizant of our recent research into schools as caring communities.  Much has been written about the centrality of caring relationships in nurturing students who both achieve academically and develop a strong foundation for ethical living. The question for us was how we might more effectively leverage caring relationships to influence student responsibility and engagement.

We recognize that in order for our students to become more responsible, we have to do a better job of articulating the value of taking responsibility, remind students more regularly of their responsibilities, and to present a more unified voice as to the values we espouse.  We also realized that student engagement in the school is partly a function of students’ ability to discern what we stand for, what our expectations are, and what we value. In a sense, then, student responsibility and engagement were two sides of the same coin.

We are at the beginning of a journey, a journey that will climb mountains of success and wander into dark valleys of seemingly halted progress. That journey started with our staff identifying three areas where we would like to raise the bar on responsibility: wearing the school uniform, getting to class on time, and handing assignments in on time.

We spoke at last week’s assembly about the value of a school uniform - an outward symbol of an inner commitment to living by the schools values and code. We changed the timetable to give students a full five minutes to move from class to class to help them to be on time.  We have structured our consequences so that lates and uniform infractions will be met with conversations with homeroom teachers, advisors, and where necessary, with you and me. We have articulated a late assignment policy that makes students responsible for communicating with their teachers regarding extensions and making up the time to ensure assignments get completed, and finally, facing real consequences when students don’t demonstrate a willingness to undertake the responsibility for their work.

We will be sharing more on the particulars of how we are dealing with these three areas in coming issues of the Flash, but at this stage I wanted to enlist your support in nurturing responsible and engaged teenagers. Your child may complain that more is being expected of them - just remember that that is a good thing, and remind your child that they will thank us . . . eventually.

Cheers,

David


CURRICULUM NIGHT Thursday, Sept. 20, 7:00 - 9:00  PM

We look forward to welcoming parents to the middle and senior school campus at 1320 Yonge Street.  Our agenda is as follows:

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7:00 PM Introductory session by the Head of School,  Principal, Academic MYP Coordinator, Counsellor,  Learning Strategist, Student Leadership, Athletics

7:30 PM Presentations by subject teachers

8:15 PM Visit child’s homerooms

8:45 PM Mix and Mingle in the cafe

9:00 PM End of evening

If you have yet to RSVP, please do so here.

Please preview the curriculum documents posted on YorkNet.

CLUB FAIR FOR FALL Senior School 2018

Club Fair Fall Senior School 2018

This past Tuesday during our assembly time we held our electronic Club Fair so that students could browse the different co-curricular opportunities available. The slide decks outlining all of the different clubs are below.  If your child is interested in joining a club, they arrive at the first meeting to sign up. Some club organizers have asked students to email if they are interested. We have also included a week at a glance divisional schedules for your information.

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WEEK AT A GLANCE

Please make sure to check The York School’s full school calendar regularly for updates, locations and times.


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