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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

When I was much younger than I am now, I thought leaders were people who stand behind microphones and speak to many people. Martin Luther King Jr.’s 1963 speech called “I Have a Dream” was the stuff that made leaders.

To be sure, that is a leader behind a microphone at his finest; however, the definition of leadership is much wider today. At JKCS, we place our students in situations and circumstances in which our students are called to give leadership to one or more people from behind a microphone or not.

We also talk a lot about “Growth Mindset” as we talk to our students about setting goals and using their God-given talents so the Lord can work through them to affect the lives of others. Our school is working hard to ensure that our students are challenged to grow in their leadership skills.

Last week, three events challenged thinking around leadership development and growth mindset. Our grade 8 students took part in a Leadership Retreat at Ontario Pioneer Camp, our grade 6 students experienced the “Light Up Your World” program, and I travelled to Finland to research best educational practices.

Check out this week’s video to hear how these events shaped the participants to grow in leadership and learning. May you be blessed by what you hear!

In Christ,

Mr. G. Petrusma

Our school experienced a tremendous blessing this past week. Through much prayer and conversation, our students, teachers, and some parents had the privilege of meeting Dr. Charles Mully.

Putting not only personality, but a God-loving disposition on a man seen previously only on movie trailers was inspiring. His rags-to-riches-to-large-family story is worthy of notice by the Hollywood film makers. We heard his story, we asked him questions, we told him how his story inspires us, and we prayed for him. There were a number of moving moments.

Check out this week’s video to hear our students answer the question, “How does Dr. Mully and his story inspire you?”

I pray that the Lord will continue to use Dr. Mully, the world’s largest family, and his story to inspire the hearts and minds of our students. My hope is that they dream God-sized dreams as they continue to figure out God’s will for their lives. Be inspired.

In Christ,

Mr. G. Petrusma

Welcome to a new year!

Excitement has hit the halls and classrooms of John Knox Christian School! We have welcomed returning students, staff, and parents. We have made special mention of our new students, staff, and parents, and tried to create a warm environment in which each can flourish.

Every other week, you will see a short, reflective piece of writing from me and a video which complements the writing. Although this week’s video shows only my image, know that in the future you will see more student involvement.

By clicking on the television image below, you will find a video in which I explain the essence of our school’s theme and the Bible verse on which our theme is based. Watch for your children to come home from school talking about growth in a variety of areas through the school year.

May the Lord bless and keep you as you and your family continue to adjust to the new routines of school life, and the ebbs and flows of homework, events, rest, and family times. Talk frequently with your children about their life here at school. We pray each child will grow in a variety of ways as they seek to use their God-given talents to His glory. Have a tremendous school year!

In Christ,

Mr. G. Petrusma

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

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

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

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

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

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

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