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Ponderings From Our Principal

I am excited! The learning reports for term one are going home this week Friday. If you received report cards last year, you will immediately notice the change in the title, format and content of the learning reports. The reason for my excitement is that you will notice that our assessment practices have reached another level of excellence.

In the envelope containing the first-term learning reports, you will find two extra sheets of paper. One sheet of paper is a hard copy of the three-part series our Director of Learning, Mrs. Edith van der Boom, published in the November Parent Updates answering some important questions you may have about the new assessment practices and the new reporting format.

The second sheet of paper is a letter from our technology department talking about preferred devices for our Bring Your Own Device program in grades 5-8. While no final decisions have been made as yet, know the Technology Committee is looking for your feedback regarding a change from a system that has tried to support all devices to a system that supports one device that we know our filtering system support well.

Look at this week’s video to meet three grade 5 students with different stories about their devices and how they connect to our system.

Know that our goa isl to to continue to use technology in a balanced manner to bring our students’ learning to deep levels in the most efficient and safe way possible. Please join in the discussion as we continue to pursue that goal with energy and vision.

In Christ,

Mr. G. Petrusma
Principal

Evaluation is an interesting concept. Some people love to receive feedback about how they are doing, others would rather not submit themselves to that kind of scrutiny.

I can remember that when I was young, I only appreciated feedback from my parents and teachers that was positive and represented success. The suggestions for improvement were met with less gusto. Today is a different story. I like getting feedback from people. I enjoy engaging people in their perspectives about our school and my work as your principal. Even when the feedback is not all positive, I view it as potential for growth.

I can imagine that our students may fall into either category. Some may use the feedback to spur themselves onto a new level of development. Others may read the feedback and feel as though they are supported and encouraged.

I am reminded of this topic as our teachers use Friday, November 25 to write learning reports. On Friday, December 2, the reports will be sent home. On the evening of Thursday, December 8 and during the day of Friday, December 9, we will get together as parents, teachers, and students to talk about the progress made.

I like this time of year. It is very good, wise, and healthy for teachers to talk with parents and students. Watch this week's video blog for some student perspective on reports, what they mean, and how they can best be used. May the Lord bless you as you give leadership to your child(ren) on how to take feedback and use it for growth!

In Christ,

Mr. G. Petrusma
Principal

I just returned from a Toronto District Principal’s meeting. We meet four times per year and talk about important matters as they relate to the character, competence, and courage needed for leadership.

Today’s discussion was based on the book, The Road to Character by David Brooks. In the book, this insightful man examines the lives of historical leaders and thinkers, and what has led to them developing a strong moral character. Our principal's group had a great discussion after watching Brooks unpack some of his thoughts via a YouTube video.

That discussion made me think about one of our five graduate profile goals, called “character.” Not to be confused with personality; character is the development of habits, motives, morals, and thoughts. I encourage all parents to be very deliberate in family structures and discussions to cultivate the strong development of character in their children.

Brooks poses a great question about character, “Are you living for your resume or your eulogy?” Another question all parents should wrestle with is, “What am I teaching my children (either consciously or subconsciously) about the meaning of life and their purpose in it?”

Watch this week’s video to see what some of our students think and feel about character development. You will be impressed with their perspectives. As we partner together as home and school, may the Lord grant us the wisdom and discernment in developing our children’s characters.

In Christ,

Mr. G. Petrusma
Principal

We need your help. Our Strategic Planning Committee is working hard this week. On three separate occasions, we will get together to talk about the next priorities which need to be included in our next strategic plan.

The reason we are eliciting your help is that we need many people to pray to God for wisdom and discernment. It is our hope and prayers that our human ideas, thoughts, and plans would be guided by God. Psalm 33:11 is our calm assurance. “But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of His heart through all generations.”

I have been through many strategic planning meetings and events. I appreciate hearing about people's dreams and ideas for the school. In the middle of the discussions, it is always a prayer of mine that our hearts and wills would be in submission to the will of God. That is why prayer is so crucial. We believe in the power of prayer.

Check out this week’s video to hear some of our students talk about the importance of prayer. You will also hear our Director of Student Life and Leadership, Mrs. Betty Panza, talk about where in our school the students are provided opportunities to be in prayer for a variety of things.

Thanks for praying with us.

In Christ,

Mr. G. Petrusma
Principal

It’s November. While some people might think of November as the month before December, we here at John Knox give the month some of its own uniqueness through the Celebration Dinner held on November 18. You are encouraged to sign up and join in celebrating this place with our teachers as they share stories and music with the gathered crowd.

In addition, we are spending much time talking about learning reports, and are having meetings with rotary teachers to discuss the “grade” each student will receive in the “learning skills, work habits, and social skills” section of the report.

If you are a family who was at our school last year, you will notice that our Grades 1-8 learning reports have changed and are now more closely aligned with the format of the Ontario Report Cards, with a number of alterations that accurately reflect who we are as a Christian school.

Check out this week’s video to hear me explain some of the specific features of the learning reports that will be distributed on Friday, December 2, which will reflect the good work completed during the first term of the school year.

It is my hope and prayer that this process of assessment will be one which encourages and challenges each learner to use their God-given gifts. May our students be so excited about learning at our place that their wonder is ignited about God, neighbour, and creation!

In Christ,

Mr. G. Petrusma
Principal

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2016-2017 Support Goal

$ 140,000
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$ 42,000
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30%
Updated
24/11/2016

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Wed Dec 21st @ 6:30pm-8:00pm
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Fri Dec 23rd
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Mon Dec 26th
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Mon Jan 23rd @ 7:00pm-8:00pm