Inspiring Trust and Learning Through our Shared Stories

The Chapel Talk:  A Time-Honoured Tradition In my opinion, one of the best traditions at Lakefield College School is the Chapel Talk. Our Grade 12 students are offered the opportunity during their graduating year to address the whole school community in Chapel. They are invited to share their story, often reflecting on their time at LCS—inspirations and challenges, the role the school played in their journey—and where appropriate, offering some advice to the Grade 9 to 11 students. Most of our Grads take advantage of this tradition and many comment on how they have waited for the opportunity since the days when they sat in the back pews of the Chapel in Grade 9. Some of my favourite memories of The Grove are from Chapel Talks—self-reflective and often insightful, we really get to know our students and see how they have developed emotionally during their time at the school. I…

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Hungry, Humble and Nimble – Keys to Future Success

At our board meeting last week, I invited Anne-Marie Kee, Executive Director of Canadian Accredited Independent Schools (CAIS), to identify the top ten questions CAIS boards should be considering (see below).  It was a very engaging meeting with Anne-Marie challenging our board to be strategic and always focused on the future. Ten Strategic Questions CAIS Boards Should Consider: How can we contain future fee increases and expenses? How will we assess, cultivate and leverage our word of mouth perceived quality and value intentionally and effectively? How can we deepen the engagement of, and increase the support from, our current and future top donor prospects? Domestically and internationally? What are the drivers of strength and permanence? How will we become more intentional about delivering our character related curriculum? Is our learning program meeting the individual needs of our students (and their parents)? How can we more effectively assess and report on…

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Transforming boarding school blues in the dead of winter

I had one of those moments yesterday—clear and perfect.  I was skiing down the fresh powdered snow of the slopes at Sir Sam’s watching students whizz by me, snow blowing in their eyes, big grins on their faces. In fact, the whole school was there with me—roughly 400 of us (students and faculty)—working on carving our turns, or snow board grabs (or even just trying to stay on our feet), stopping to enjoy an outdoor barbecue lunch with hot chocolate and hitting the slopes again—together, as a community.  It was Ted Pope Day.  My mind was refreshed, my body relaxed, I was happy. A fellow Head of School, Adam Pencier (Trafalgar Castle School), recently commented that “January is the toughest time for schools, particularly boarding schools.” He said this in reference to the challenges that come with winter.  As the Head of a small, rural predominantly boarding school located in the heart…

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