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Principal's Weekly Messages

petrusma11Clear communication is one of the many key components of a great school.  Part of the clear communication process is ensuring that you receive a principal’s perspective on the various aspects of our school.  On a weekly basis, I will write an article about various aspects of our school community. I look forward to comments about our vision, our students, our parents, our staff, our curriculum, and our extended community.  Feel free to stay in touch as we work together as home and school. 

George Petrusma, Principal

Wow! Where has the time gone? Time is an interesting concept only because it remains constant, but people view it differently depending on their circumstances. When you are eating an ice cream cone, the time tends to move quickly; but when you are having a tooth filled at the dentist, it seems as though the same amount of time moves slowly.

I am pleased to report that this school year has moved very quickly. That must mean that I enjoyed myself! When I reflect on what I love most about leading this school, I can’t help but think of the energetic and eager students, the dedicated teachers, and the wonderful lessons that have ignited wonder for God, neighbour, and creation.

I am very thankful for the way in which the Lord has worked in the lives of our students this year. We have seen and heard of marvelous ways in which the Lord has touched the lives of our students. We hope and pray the words of the poem below reflect what we have tried to do with your children this year. Watch this week’s video for a quick summer blessing from some of our staff.

His absolute truth will light our way;
He’ll lift us with His love and grace.
The Bible is our cornerstone;
In God’s word, we take our stands;
Role models we will strive to be,
Examples of our Lord’s commands.
Dear Lord Jesus, strengthen us
To complete the tasks you’d have us do;
We pray you’ll lead us, guide us now
To know and love and follow you.
By Joanna Fuchs

In Christ,

Mr. G. Petrusma
Principal

Last week, I received a great e-mail from Mr. Shelley. He periodically e-mails me about a variety of different matters, but this one was very special. Let me tell you why.

You see, each year our grade 7 and 8 students participate in a contest sponsored by the University of Waterloo which tests students on content that is based on the Ontario curriculum standards. Many students across the province participate. This year, 1,676 students from 66 Christian schools participated in the contest.

Each year, Mr. Shelley shares the results with me. He gave me a clue that our students had performed well. When I opened the e-mail, I discovered our school--from a “pool” of 66 Christian schools--placed sixth in grade 8 and first in grade 7!

This is cause for rejoicing. This is a reason to celebrate as our teachers have been working hard to ensure a solid foundational base mixed with an inquiry-based approach. That vision has brought our students into some very good results in a well recognized test based on Ministry standards.

Check out this week’s video to meet some of our high-performing grade 7 math students. After watching it, join me in celebrating their giftedness, their hard work, and our school’s math program. Thank the Lord!

In Christ,

Mr. G. Petrusma
Principal

Celebrations are great! There is a good reason why we call many of our events “celebrations” here at John Knox. The concept of celebration is very familiar to the people of the Old Testament. Passover was a central part of their lives.

When I was young, I could hardly sleep the night before I was about to celebrate my birthday. The excitement level was high because I knew there would be a celebration!

It has been 150 years since Canada became a nation. This week, we set aside a day and celebrated as a school. Our inspiring guest speakers showed us how Christian Canadians can serve the Lord and serve others. Each classroom worked on a piece of a map of Canada. We assembled this map at the end of the day. We had a variety of fun, Canadian activities--and ate delicious cake to celebrate our country's birthday. Our students gained a real appreciation of how blessed we are to live in Canada.

Check out this week’s video to see some of the great sights and learning opportunities that took place during our Canada Day Celebrations.

We thank God for our country. We thank God for the freedom that we experience. We thank God for a land in which peace reigns, and we can operate our Christian school in which we teach the truth of the Holy Bible. Please celebrate with me!.

In Christ,

Mr. G. Petrusma
Principal

Periodically, my hip reminds me that it was broken a few years back. My knees are sore most days from my earlier soccer, track, and cross country careers. My torn right rotator cuff tells me I can’t use it like I once used to. Sigh…

I tell you these things about my body because these days I am excited that I can still play in the annual staff vs. grade 8 softball challenge. I am not sure how long the tradition has been going, but I know tht it's been longer than my time here as principal.

Each year, the grade 8 students ask why we need to play softball instead of a sport like soccer or basketball. Other than “this is what has always been played,” I am not sure. Maybe it’s because people like me, a little older with bodies who do not work as well as they once did, decided the only sport within the competency range is softball.

Whatever the reason and history, I am thankful for a relaxed setting in which we can enjoy each other’s company and play a friendly game of softball as a way of working on some school spirit. Check out this week’s video, shot live on the scene of the game, to sense part of that atmosphere.

Oh yeah...I made two fielding errors and neglected to chase down a reachable pop fly. But it doesn’t matter, we had a good time!

In Christ,

Mr. G. Petrusma
Principal

If you read this article the moment you receive it, the weather may be wet and cool. The weatherperson tells me today (Thursday) it will stay around 12 degrees. Our spring time weather has been a moving target.

That weather analysis brings me to my topic. In stark contrast to cold weather, I want you to think about our upcoming event designed to raise friends and raise funds. That’s right, our annual JKCS Fundraising Golf Tournament will be held one week from Saturday.

Even though I do not golf regularly, I find this day to be one which allows people to gather around a sport which lends itself to relaxation. I find challenging all golfers to a game on the green to be engaging. I also find the bantering and conversation around what happens on the course to be quite entertaining.

How about you? Would you like to join us? You don’t need to be a golf expert. The format is a best ball. That means that if four people take a shot, all team members are eligible to move their golf balls to the spot they deem the best. And you don’t even get accused of cheating!

Watch this week’s video for a demonstration of my golfing skills. I am warming up for my appearance at the tournament! My hope is that you will be there too, and we will have a great day of raising friends and funds. See you on Saturday, June 3!

In Christ,

Mr. G. Petrusma
Principal

I am in Ottawa as I write this edition of the “Principal’s Ponderings.” No, I have not moved or switched schools, I am on our annual grades 7 and 8 trip. Each year, we bring our students to places in which they will gain a better understanding of Canada. One year we go to Ottawa, and the next year we go to Quebec City--all in an effort to bring our learning off the property into a totally different setting.

Many things happen on a trip like this one. Besides getting a clear understanding of who knows how to keep a bedroom neat and tidy, we have the privilege of walking beside our students and giving them an idea of various events, ideas, and processes that make Canada what it is today. For a good understanding of what we have visited, check out this week’s video taken just outside the National Gallery of Canada.

I am thankful for our country’s 150th birthday. I am thankful we live in a land of freedoms which values people. My hope and prayer is that our students--the next generation of leaders--gain a crucial understanding of our country, of how God works within our created societal structures, and of a sense of thankfulness for living in this part of the world. See you soon!

In Christ,

Mr. G. Petrusma
Principal

I am writing this entry the morning after our Membership Meeting. I came away from that event with all kinds of appreciation for our JKCS community. It was a beautiful display of energy, praise and worship, and thankfulness.

During Membership Meeting, I found myself focusing on the role of the Board and the tremendous work they do. One led the meeting, one took the minutes, one gave a financial report, and three thanked our staff members for their years of service.

As a not-for-profit entity, we must maintain a membership and be governed by a Board of Directors. Eight people who give their time on a regular basis to ensure the health and vitality of John Knox. What a blessing!

As we welcome Dr. Allan Okrainec to the Board this month, we also must say goodbye to Diane Stewart who has given six years of faithful service to our school. She has tirelessly represented the Board to various people and agencies, and given us her insight and discernment. Check out this week’s video interview with Diane as we honour the contributions she has made to make John Knox a better place.

Join me in thanking God for all of our Board members. If you see one on the property, be sure to thank that person. If you don’t access the property, feel free to send an email of thanks. It is a pleasure to serve with this committed group of people.

In Christ,

Mr. G. Petrusma
Principal

Periodically, I find the need to write about the role of technology in our school. I want to ensure that everyone is aware of the way in which we seek to position the role of technology in our building.

Recently, our Board of Directors approved additional funding for the goal of equipping all classrooms with sufficient technology to ensure it is a used tool as we “Ignite Wonder for God, Neighbour, and Creation.”

Check out this week’s video to hear Jason Jarvis, our Technology Educational Support Person, share with you the plans for the next school year. You will be pleased with the direction.

Once again, I would like to remind everyone of our balanced approach to technology. While we have successfully deployed access to technology in every classroom, we never want to abandon our desire for students to have rich discussions about moments in history, an engaging math problem, or the role of Christians in society today. We also don’t want to abandon the necessary basic skills of phonemic awareness, printing, writing, and spelling, among others.

In each learning opportunity, our thoughtful educators will use the filters of “What do my students gain from using technology for this task?” and “What do my students lose from using technology in this task?”

As we continue to position technology in a balanced way, we pray the Lord will use this tool to unpack His creation in our classrooms and halls so we can say with the Psalmist, “In His Hands are the depths of the earth, and the mountain peaks belong to Him. The sea is His and He made it, and His Hands formed the dry land” (Psalm 95:4+5).

In Christ,

Mr. G. Petrusma
Principal

This week, you received an e-mail which included some attachments that pointed you to what will happen at the JKCS membership meeting in our gymnasium on Wednesday, May 10 at 7:30 p.m. Why do we have a membership meeting?

There are two answers to that question.

First, in order to fulfill the requirements of a not-for-profit corporation, we must call an annual meeting with our members. All of our parents are members.

Second, we wish to give our members the opportunity to receive information, to provide input, to ask questions, to celebrate, and to be inspired. It is important that we engage in the education of children together.

Be sure to read through the well done Membership Report sent to you this week. It gives you a very good idea of the past plans and the future plans that have guided and will guide our growth as a school. Check out this week’s Principal's Ponderings video to receive a glimpse of the subject areas that will be discussed.

I encourage you to set aside the date and time so you may participate in the life of our school. Your participation is valued! Hope to see you there.

In Christ,

Mr. G. Petrusma
Principal

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