We know our students well
Knowing our students is integral to understanding them, motivating them, supporting them and making wise choices while working with them. Every Collingwood student is known well by several adults at the School — not just their names, but importantly, their nature. These significant connections enable our faculty and staff to teach with more precision, counsel with more confidence, empathize with more insight, and direct with more meaning.Hundreds of times a year, teachers meet with their students with no other agenda than discussing their welfare and progress. Through considerable cross-referencing based on firsthand knowledge, we put rational plans in place for the success of each student. These plans work because we know our students very well.
We care deeply about each student’s success
Once we accept students into the School, we accept the responsibility to care unconditionally for them as if they were our own children. This commitment to care is centred around teachers, but extends to every member of the faculty, support staff and administration. We have a tacit yet steadfast contract with our parents: ensure that the young people entrusted to our care are safe, valued, respected, surrounded by good role models, and given every possibility to succeed solely through their own merit. Simply put, we care not just about how Amin and Ava are doing in math, but how they are doing in life.
We invest fully in every teacher
We know a school is only as good as its professional teaching faculty. We pour significant resources in recruiting, retaining and refreshing our teachers. We look for teachers who are captivating technicians in the classroom and passionate advocates for their subject. Importantly, we also search for teachers who buy into a culture that says their influence and duty does not end at 3:15 p.m. Collingwood teachers embrace the long hours and the unglamorous parts of the job because they like the intrinsic thrill of changing young lives. Once we have the right teachers, we safeguard these incredible assets by ensuring they are paid properly, celebrated often, and given exciting and relevant opportunities to grow professionally.
We partner honestly with our parents
We are in a vital collaboration with our parents. Like all moms and dads, we want the best — in the broadest sense — for the children who are entrusted to us for six or seven hours a day. This association is symbiotic and symbolic, and children need to know that home and school are on the same team. Fundamentally, Collingwood needs parental support to be effective and parents need Collingwood communication to be supportive. There can be no surprises and no confused messages when it comes to home and school dialogue. It all comes down to timely, honest communication — most of which pivots around a strong guidance and counselling system at Collingwood.
We maintain a sense of perspective, humour and humility in dealing with young people
What we do as educators is neither minor nor easy. School is only one factor in a child’s development, but we know we can have a profound effect on children and we choose to do it without fanfare or pretention. We openly concede we do not have all the answers in dealing with young people, and retain faculty and staff who embrace the inherent peaks and valleys in dealing with kids. Our faculty and staff genuinely enjoy working with young people, because it is fulfilling, fun, often unpredictable, and at times noble.
By all accounts, Collingwood is a good school — some would say a very good school. Our enrollment is robust and our alumni are thriving. We have a skilled, caring faculty and new, preeminent facilities. We know what it takes to develop in our students those abilities and attitudes that the 21st century will demand and reward. But we cannot be complacent. In order to move from good to great, we must be unassuming, uncommon and unbounded.
What is it about Collingwood that makes exchange students rave, or new students say that they have found “their place”? What makes young alumni return to the halls with screams of joy and hugs for their teachers? Is there a “special sauce” at Collingwood? We think so. We have been told our learning community is welcoming, accepting, empowering and fun, and we think the essence of this resides in our energetic and exceptional teaching staff. Our teachers loving what they do, care deeply about their students and measure their own success by their students’ success. This makes for such a positive, edifying environment to learn.
We want our students to have no limits to their learning - today and tomorrow. Accordingly, we put significant resources outside the formal classroom into experiential and travel opportunities as well as into our Arts, Athletics and Service Strands. These fun and often life-changing activities enable our students to feast at a banquet of unscripted learning and character development. Looking to the future, we are building capacity through an endowment that will maintain momentum and options. Our endowment will fund technologies not yet invented, programs not yet identified, facilities not yet contemplated and promising students not yet born.
Despite having a solid national reputation and through-the-roof demand, we are not taking anything for granted. We can always be a better school and be better educators. We realize that we don’t corner the market in wisdom in educating youth, but we can plan and prioritize to be relentless in our commitment to school-wide improvement and be genuinely interested in knowing our students very well and caring for them as if they were our own children. If we are anything, we are two things - dogged about professional growth and interested in meeting our students’ needs with energy, patience, perspective, humility and good cheer.