Saturday, 28 October 2017

Head's Up - October 2017 Edition

Head's Up - Your Monthly Update From The Headmaster
Dear Rundle Community:

The month of October has come and gone in the blink of an eye. As we recap the last thirty days, I thought it may be interesting to look at what’s been going on through the lens of our values, “Together: Be Kind, Be Curious, Be Well.”

Together,
Jason B. Rogers
In this edition of the Head’s Up, you will find: 
  • Together: Literacy Week is in full swing at the Collett School
  • Be Kind: Volunteering with Dementia Friendly Communities
  • Be Curious: IDEO visits Rundle Academy
  • Be Well: Emotional Wellness
  • Living Our Values: The Headmaster’s List
  • On The Shelf
Together:

It is easy to get excited about literacy when you see the bevy of great parent volunteers in our learning commons and hallways, when you see great guest readers such as David Bouchard and Will Ferguson and you see enthusiastic principals like Mr. Clark and Ms. Danis!

Thank you to all who have made this reading initiative such a tremendous success.
Be Kind:

Rundle College has partnered with Dementia-Friendly Communities and all four of our divisions are actively engaged with clients from Wentworth Manor. Some of the many activities have included classroom visits to the care facility, invitations to special ceremonies and teas at our various campuses, and student volunteers helping with community projects such as a Memory Cafe to educate others on how those living with dementia can still live well. ~ contributed by Ms. Ross.
Be Curious:

Rundle Academy was fortunate to welcome a team from IDEO to work with students, parents, and staff to envision what the future of the Rundle Academy program could look like. Through their facilitation, using human-centered design, the group inspired generative conversations and reinforced many of the amazing facets currently ingrained in the Academy program. As we move forward, we are excited to continue talking about creative spaces, supporting student learning and maintaining the amazing community that characterizes the school. ~ contributed by Mr. van der Meer.
Be Well: 

Rundle College Society has initiated an Emotional Wellness Task Force led by the school counsellor Ms. Danelle Spence. The mission of this task force is to promote wellness, identify the stressors of the student body, and provide resources for the Rundle Community to promote a reduction in anxiety-based concerns. In connection with community partners, Danelle kicked off this initiative by speaking to 700 parents as part of a Girl Power Hour, organized by a local foundation that strives to empower adolescent girls and young women to achieve strong mental health and well-being.
The Headmaster’s List - Living Our Values

We are excited to announce the creation and implementation of a new student distinction at Rundle College Society; The Headmaster’s List.  The Headmaster’s List will serve to celebrate those students who embody our school’s mission, vision and values.

The recipients of this distinction will have demonstrated excellence in academic achievement in conjunction with togetherness, kindness, curiosity and wellness.  The dream is that the Headmaster’s List will become the top honour for all of our students as it is a true articulation of the renaissance learner who will ultimately graduate from our Rundle College Society programs.

There will be more information coming home from your school’s principals with respect to each school/division’s process and criteria for attaining placement on this list.
Head’s Up - The Podcast
New episodes include:
  • Madeline Warme - Grade 12 Student, Prefect and Ascent Leadership Candidate
  • Faculty Interviews: Danelle Spence, Nicole Jordan and Taryn Knorren
  • Rundle’s Australian Exchange Students
  • IDEO and the Academy Design Process
  • Talking Heads - Interviews with Heads of School from across Canada  
If you are interested in giving it a listen, go to the Apple Podcast Store and search, “Head’s Up” (include the apostrophe) and you will see this image pop up.  Feel free to give it a listen and provide me with any feedback you might have. 
Important Upcoming Dates:

Please be sure to refer back to your school’s weekly update for all upcoming school events.

Sunday, 1 October 2017

Head's Up - October 1, 2o17 - The Podcast, Diversity & Strategic Planning

Dear Rundle Community:

As we wrap up the inaugural month of our 2017-2018 school year, I have a sense of pride, calm and optimism. I am proud of our community’s resilience and strength. I have seen this strength in our faculty who have returned to school rested and enthusiastic about helping the students in our care reach their potential. During this month, I have also seen the calm that comes with predictability and routine. At both the Academy and the College, the school year has started up with routines and structures that have allowed all members of our community to come together and support one another as we face the inevitable changes that come with new classes, teachers and routines. Finally, I am optimistic about our students’ future at Rundle and beyond. I am witnessing our community reflect deeply on important questions that will have a lasting impact on our students and our society. Some questions I hear being explored are:
  • ‘What impact does screen time have on our kids?’
  • ‘What is emotional wellness and how do we support it in our population?’
  • ‘How can Rundle give back to our community, country and world?’
  • ‘What is diversity and who do we aspire to be at Rundle?’
  • ‘What are maker spaces and how are they used to improve educational delivery?’
  • ‘How do we foster critical and design thinking?’
  • ‘How do we foster and inspire leadership in our students?’
Over the course of this year, I am committed to continuing these conversations with our students, our faculty and with you, the parents. I hope that today’s Head’s Up serves to start this exciting dialogue that will focus on improving our children’s futures.

Together,

Jason B. Rogers
 
In this edition of the Head’s Up, you will find:

What’s New:
  • Head’s Up Podcast with Jason Rogers
  • Diversity at Rundle
  • IDEO to visit Rundle Academy
  • Focusing on the strategic plan: Our Fabric
  • On The Shelf
Head’s Up - The Podcast 

Over the summer, I became transfixed with a couple of podcasts.  In particular, I could not stop listening to Malcolm Gladwell’s “Revisionist History” and much of the NPR content.  Nevertheless, I got curious and decided to try to record one of my own.

This curiosity project has lead me to produce around 10 episodes so far.  I’ve conducted interviews with Andrew Buckley, Dave Hauk, Danelle Spence, Nicole Jordan and others.  

If you are interested in giving it a listen, go to the Apple Podcast Store and search, “Head’s Up” (include the apostrophe) and you will see this image pop up.  Feel free to give it a listen and provide me with any feedback you might have.
Thoughts on Diversity at Rundle

In light of recent national and global events, I thought this might be a timely opportunity to share Rundle’s outlook on the matter of diversity.  Personally speaking, I believe that at Rundle, we have the opportunity to build citizens of the world who embody fine character and a universal understanding of humanity, and this includes inspiring the children in our care to understand the multifaceted nature of diversity.  Although, I recognize we have some ways to go, I think this communication may help set the direction and a common understanding for our ongoing growth. 

In the spirit of an Elementary language arts lesson I taught many moons ago, I thought I might present the multiple dimensions of diversity in the form of an acrostic poem.  
  • D - Differences
    • Similar to the central tenets of democracy, diversity is rooted in differences and a mutual understanding of these differences.  We know that our beautifully diverse Canadian society is only possible because of our belief and adherence to multiculturalism.  
       
  • I - Identity
    • We believe that each person’s identity, and expression of that identity, is unique and should be honoured in its own right.  This is true across  race, religion, colour, gender, age, ancestry, place of origin, family status and orientation.  
       
  • V - Vision
    • In leadership, vision is defined as ‘an essential means for focusing attention on what matters most.’  Our vision at Rundle is to ‘develop inspired minds and unparalleled character.’  This vision fits perfectly with the development and understanding of diversity, differing opinions and beliefs.  
       
  • E- Everybody Plays A Role
    • We believe that the role of honouring diversity is shared amongst our entire community: our students, our faculty, our parents and our alumni.  Our shared experience and backgrounds create a brilliant mosaic which is worthy of celebration.
       
  • R - Race, Religion, and Rights
    • The ‘R’ reminds us that diversity is more than just a part of our culture, and it is protected by provincial and federal laws that stand as a model for other nations to emulate.
       
  • S - Safe and Caring Schools
    • We will continue to follow the direction set by Alberta lawmakers with respect to our obligations to create safe and caring schools for our children.  This said, the Rundle advantage of individualized education and small class sizes allows for us to have individual conversations about diversity in an attempt to create greater understanding and clearer communications.  
       
  • I - Inclusion
    • At Rundle, we value our student population who demonstrate a diversity in talents and thinking.  We know that the ‘Rundle Experience’ is one where we want students to try different activities in the safety of our schools so they can decide which areas will further fuel their passions.  There’s never a prouder moment that when we see a student on stage or on the court and you hear from the audience, “I didn’t know they had it in them!”
       
  • T - Talk, Talk, Talk
    • We are at ease with the fact that the conversation around diversity is far from over.  We believe that the only way to come to a common ground and a shared understanding is through talking.  We invite conversations about diversity and look forward to having them in the years to come.
       
  • Y - Yes
    • Yes to difference.  Yes to understanding. Yes to togetherness.
IDEO at Rundle Academy

Roughly two years ago, while on a professional development trip to San Francisco,  Mr. van der Meer and I were invited to visit IDEO’s headquarters. Our host was an inspirational educational designer by the name of Caryn Voskuil. The relationships started during those days in San Francisco have turned out to be very fruitful. Our ongoing dialogue and collaboration has resulted in many of the learning spaces we currently see at all of our schools.

As we continue to look forward, we have again engaged IDEO to help us consider the future. To this end, Caryn and a team of educational designers will be joining the staff, parents, and students of Rundle Academy in October to start envisioning ‘What is the future of the Academy?’  

I look forward to exploring this question with our community and reporting back about what our community believes would make the ideal learning environment for Rundle Academy.
 
Strategic Plan - Pillar One - “Our Fabric”

As you have likely heard by now, Rundle College Society is excited to roll out our newest strategic plan this year. The plan consists of five pillars: Our Fabric, The Rundle Experience, Happy to Be Here, Rundle 365 and The Ascent. In each of the Head’s Up communications this year, I intend to give our community a deeper look into each of these important priorities and how they manifest in our hallways, classrooms and community.  

Our Fabric

The essence of the first pillar is to recognize the strength of the contributions of those who have come before us, starting with our founders and following up with all of the great teachers, staff members and leaders who have brought Rundle to such an enviable position.

Among others, you will see these two core strategic initiatives that aim to reinforce ‘Our Fabric’ over the coming years.
  • Alignment of our school’s House Teams & Team Names.
    • On first blush, this may seem like a small and inconsequential implementation; however, we believe this will stand to remind our students of the grassroots of our program.  We will see names such as: Conklin, Collett, Hauk, Johnston, Reed, and Holowaychuk become more remembered and recognizable. We hope that by subtly inserting the remembrance of these great leaders, we will encourage all members of our community to remember the lasting impact these individuals have had on our schools.
       
  • The Headmaster’s List
    • At Rundle, we value the development of true renaissance learners. That said, often our top awards and recognitions go to those students who excel in just one aspect of their learning: academics. Examples of this recognition can be seen on our schools’ Honour Rolls. Over the course of the coming years, we’ll continue to develop and implement an alternative indicator of overall success: the Headmaster’s List. Students who achieve this recognition will have demonstrated a high academic standard along with tangible success in the areas of Togetherness, Kindness, Curiosity and Wellness.
On The Shelf:

Bored and Brilliant: How Spacing Out Can Unlock Your Most Productive & Creative Self.
By Manoush Zomorodi

Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging. By Brene Brown
Head’s Up with Jason Rogers - iTunes Podcast Store

Making Time for Nothing: Teens and the Art of Zoning Out: Huffington Post by Gina Maier

Sunday, 18 June 2017

Heads Up
March 1, 2017

The Rundle Experience
It's the dawn of a new day.  Rundle's youngest students put on their fresh new uniforms, dawn their new Rundle mittens, slip their backpacks on and head to school.

Upon arriving, they are greeted by their teacher at the front door - their day together has officially begun. 

In the morning, they learn how to read, write and perform the basics of math.  They make friends, share adventures and explore the values of kindness, curiosity and wellness.

As mid-morning approaches, recess is upon the students. On the playground, our students learn by falling down and picking themselves back up.  A series of non-catastrophic failures shapes them as resilient and resourceful individuals prepared for the next stages of their learning.

After recess, the students start to develop a better sense of their individual passions in learning.  They complete science fair projects and STEM competitions; they participate in recreational team sports for the first time; and they celebrate cultural events.  In these hours, students also learn about acceptance and diversity.

Lunch arrives all too quickly, and students are officially halfway done their learning journey.  They have graduated from the elementary phases of their learning into a whole new world of adolescence.  The world of clubs, organized team sports, rotating classes and lockers gives them a new sense of independence. 

Character development is now overtly central to their overall development and success.  They are finding their voices and creating friendships that will last a lifetime.

The afternoon seems to pass in a blink. These students have gone from playing with toys to building them. Their minds are inspired and their character is unparalleled.  Each student cheers on the other and celebrates their uniqueness.

Before we know it, those children who were just dawning their new mittens  are all grown up. As they prepare to cross the stage, we sit back and wonder where the day has gone.  

The one treasure we can be sure of is that this journey from morning to night, from childhood to adulthood, from beginning reader to critical thinker, is one to be appreciated and enjoyed. 



Postscript

On the heels of some of the busiest days for our senior students, I would like to congratulate our Academy and College Grade 11 and 12 students on their spectacular demonstration of learning. This past January, our senior students wrote their diploma exams with poise and confidence. Their achievement is unparalleled. Congratulations to one and all.

Well beyond 95% of our Grade 12s from the Academy and College have already gained acceptance to one or more universities. Congratulations to each of them on their hard work! Last year’s Grade 12s received nearly $500,000 in scholarships. We anticipate we’ll see a similar number this year.

More than anything - we’ve worked together to  graduate happy and well rounded students whose grades are impressive - but the  least impressive thing about them.
"We are all running our own race"
 
A few weekends past, my wife Sarah, my son Emmett and I entered the Calgary Police Half Marathon Road Race. The three of us opted to walk the 5km route and enjoy the Sunday morning. While walking and observing 5km, 10km and half marathoners it was fascinating to see different levels stamina, varied paces and a wide assortments of running gates. In that moment it occurred to me - “we are all running our own race.”

   

With each step we took towards our goal of 5kms, the metaphor, contextualized to Rundle College Society, became more and more ingrained and reinforced in my mind.  At Rundle, we can look at this race from many different angles.  Are we in the race for:
  • A personal desire to gain entrance to the university of choice, or perhaps,
  • The race is a place in your life where you feel vulnerable, or perhaps,
  • It is simply learning to spell your own name by the end of kindergarten.  
Each of these goals require each of us to display resilience, perseverance and grit.

The races that we run, on our own and as a member of a team, are an integral part of our human experience.  When we train, learn from our coaches, take care of ourselves; we continually see improvements towards our ultimate goal,  whether it is walking a 5km or running a half marathon.

At Rundle, we hope that we are assisting our students to identify their individual goals, understand their strengths, embrace their personal running ‘gate’ and ultimately meet their aspirations!

To conclude this ‘Heads Up,’ I’d like to highlight some of the events that have either just passed or will be taking place at our schools in the coming weeks:


Academy
  • Moves Mountains Breakfast - May 4th
    The Moves Mountains Breakfast brought students, parents and their teachers together to celebrate the often unrecognized achievements that are related to personal grit and perseverance.
     
  • Track and Field Day
    In late April, Rundle Academy opened our track and field season by braving snow and cold.  What was inspiring about this particular track day is we see all our students, from Grade 4-12, working together to compete and run the events!  The mentorship shown by our senior students inspires our youngest students to put everything they can into running their own race.
Primary
  • United Nations Week & Music Monday
    These two celebrations brought together the values of diversity, talent, creativity and togetherness.  Not only were there dozens of cultures celebrated during UN Week, there were dozens of talents shared during the parent appreciation tea and the Music Monday festivities!
     
  • The Art Show
    The hallways of the Collett School came to life with the vibrant work of our students!  We were able to enjoy everything from a giant adirondack chair that represents the ethos of ‘student first’ to the totem poles and to a recreation of Maud Lewis’ house and studio!  Curiosity was everywhere.
Elementary
  • STEM Competition - May 12th
    Nothing will articulate our value of ‘be curious’ better than the upcoming city wide STEM Competition hosted at Rundle Elementary this week!  Thank you to all those parents and companies who have come forward to support this initiative.
     
  • Spring Fling
    For the first time in Rundle’s history we hosted a joint Primary/Elementary dance and fundraiser.  The evening raised nearly $50,000 that will go directly to creating a one of a kind outdoor classroom and patio eating/learning spaces!  Thank you to all parents and staff who gave so freely of their time, talents and treasures.
Junior High
  • Cheakamus Trip
    A few weeks past our Grade 8 College students attended an outdoor adventure camp.  In a day and age where it is increasingly difficult to pull ourselves from our devices, it was encouraging to see our students pursuing wellness through lowtech outdoor endeavours!
     
  • Feed the Hungry
    In late April we had roughly 150 staff, students and parents come together to give their time and talent to prepare meals for those in Calgary who need them the most.  It was inspiring to experience Rundle’s kindness in action!
Senior High
  • Rugby Homecoming Game - May 11th
    We are already looking forward to seeing our alumni return to enjoy our Annual Rugby Homecoming Game!  With a College/Academy Rugby program that boasts over 100 members, it is no wonder there is energy around this day’s events!
     
  • CAIS Student Leadership
    A few weekends past we saw 8 College/Academy students travel to Toronto to take in the CAIS Student Leadership conference.  It will be exciting to see where these new found leadership skills will take our student body in the years to come.
I can say with absolute confidence that this is merely a small sampling of the things that have been happening inside and outside of our schools.  In the course of mentioning the above items, I have managed to leave out countless events including Speech and Debate/Reach for the Top travelling to National Competitions, Drama Productions at the Academy/College which involve hundreds of students, National Championships in wrestling, robotics competitions, graduation celebrations at all levels, awards days and nights, soccer, badminton, and ultimate frisbee to name just a few!  There’s no doubt that Rundle continues to succeed in helping students find their passions, inspiring their minds and in creating unparalleled character.

I look forward to seeing all members of our community in the coming weeks as we start to ‘celebrate with them, when they do.’
On The Shelf:

“Rising Strong: The Reckoning. The Rumble. The Revolution.” By Brene Brown
“Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy.”  By Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant
“Search Inside Yourself: The Unexpected Path to Achieving Success, Happiness and (world peace).”  By Chade-Meng Tan
How does life live?”  - NYT Documentary - an amazing take on our values of Curiosity and Kindness… and it reminds me of the genius of our ‘Wonder Wall’ in our new school.