Moving Forward, Together
“Do not confine your children to your own learning, for they were born in another time.”
As autumn arrives and we settle into the routines and rhythms of the school year it is as good a time as any to take note of where we are as a school community and begin the conversation about where we would like to go over the next 9 months, and beyond.
I’m grateful to our Park Avenue team for helping launch this school year in a smooth and professional manner. The complexities of settling over 400 children, aged 3 to 13, from hundreds of different families and homes is a task we often take for granted. Certainly, there will always be a few bumps and boo boos with the start of a new school year (and we had a few) but, for the most part, our staff have done a remarkable job. And on top of that, they had to ‘break in’ a new principal!
Of course there are challenges that we face as a school and a district that are mirrored across the province, but those are not for us to dwell on now. Now, our focus as a school community ought to remain on the learning and well being of our students, our staff and our families. We can all agree that this is the most important work we do as educators and parents, and the good news is there is evidence of this work everywhere in the halls and classrooms of Park Avenue Public School.
In my mind, there are few things as complex as what we call a ‘typical’ public school and I’ve always believed that complex systems are best operated within simple structures. The world we live in now is evolving in a rapid and significant ways. Likewise, our schools and school systems will need to evolve in order to ensure that our children will have the skills and dispositions to thrive in this world. Over the next few months you will hear me talk and write about the structure that I shared with our staff in order to focus and guide the work we will be doing together. You’ll hear us talk about three I’s: Inclusion, Inquiry and Innovation, as the structures that we will use organize student and staff learning. I’m offering a brief point summary of each one:
- Inclusion: creating the conditions where every student, staff and community member has the voice, the tools and the agency to learn and contribute in our school community.
- Inquiry: using our questions and curiosities as the starting point for learning; and to teach the critical thinking and communication skills required in the world we now live.
- Innovation: using the tools of the 21st century (along with the tried and true) to seeking creative and more efficient ways to learn and collaborate, both within our school community and beyond.
We will incorporate the ‘three I’s’ into our work as we review our school-based and EQAO assessment evidence and begin to plan for both student and staff learning in the year, and years, to come. Please feel free to join us on this journey; at home with your child, here at the school and through our @ParkAvenuePS twitter feed and my Principal’s blog The Open Office.