Collingwood School is my second home and second family. This is my 28th year at the School, I am proud to reflect upon its evolution and growth and how I’ve been fortunate enough to experience many of the changes – both uplifting and challenging – over nearly three decades.
One of the key reasons that I have stayed at the School so long is the people: we have a strong sense of community. I knew from my first days at Collingwood that the students were bright, engaged, and wanted to do well. They are still children and prone to making mistakes, but the depth of the relationships between students and adults is unparalleled. We call ourselves the “Collingwood Family” and we are there for one another in the good times, and the not so easy times. One of my favourite stories is of a Grade 10 girl who entered the school and told me in the first term that she “hated teachers knowing everything about her: what activities she was involved in and how she was doing in other classes”. Two short years later, this same girl remarked that she, “loved that all my teachers know my name, how I learn best, and what I’m good at”. The focus on the individual student and knowing their strengths and areas of growth remains true today.
Another important aspect of life at Collingwood is the infinite opportunities offered to students and staff alike. We encourage our students to be curious and to enjoy a “buffet of opportunities” in their younger years, allowing them to explore a range of classes and co-curricular offerings, in order to find what they are passionate about. This emphasis on what brings you joy is also an important aspect of teaching and learning at the School. Teachers are encouraged to go deeper with their curriculum planning, creating links and learning opportunities that are unique for our students. Whether this is “wonder walls” in Kindergarten, or Advanced Topics in Mathematics that cover second and third year university level material, students are urged to be creative thinkers and problem solvers and to work collaboratively with others around them. Because we are an independent school with the resources to enhance what occurs in the classroom, our students enjoy learning and experiences that will help them in school and in life.
It takes courage to give a speech in front of your class, never mind to the entire school as part of the annual Public Speaking Competition. At Collingwood, we focus on developing students’ “toolkits” so that young people have the confidence, resilience and skills necessary to be successful in an ever-changing world. We believe that students learn when they have to step out of their comfort zone, and provide a myriad of opportunities through our Four Strands – Academics, Arts, Athletics and Service – to allow students to take risks and to learn about who they are within the safety-net of the school. Being courageous takes many forms, from stepping onto the stage of a play or musical, to debating a challenging topic in competition, to joining a sport’s team or club. Being a well-rounded student is something that we celebrate at Collingwood School.
As we look to the future, our gaze remains focused on what is best for our students. Our Mission is “preparing young people for meaningful lives” and we believe this is best accomplished through our values of community, curiosity and courage. We strive to graduate young people who care for and respect one another, and who seek to make a better future for the world through their contributions.