Head Lines: June 2019

Well, here we are at the end of another year. Our Yorkies’ tunics and kilts will be put away for a couple of months to be replaced with shorts, sun hats, bathing suits, and flip flops. As summer begins, I can smell the hot dogs roasting on sizzling hot BBQ’s and hear the splashing and laughter of our Yorkies as they enjoy spending quality time with family and friends. Many will be off to summer camps and others will be learning new skills as they start their summer jobs or internships. Many of our families will be packing up their bags and heading off to create memories at their summer cabins or with friends on the beach. Whatever your plans are, this is a time for busy families to take a break and enjoy the best of what summer has to offer.

As we wrap up our year-end activities, it is a great time for us to reflect on an outstanding year. Our dedicated faculty and staff, having offered yet another incredible year filled with engaging learning experiences, also look forward to a well-deserved summer vacation. As I officially complete my first year as Head of York House School, I can’t help but be extremely grateful for their incredible hard work and devotion to our girls and their learning.

Recently at our commencement ceremony and the graduation banquet, our 2019 grads also expressed their deep appreciation for their teachers. They, along with all our Yorkies, have enjoyed a year filled with exploration, learning, and self-discovery. In my commencement speech, I shared with our grads that as they move on with their post-secondary journey, they will at times be faced with challenges and opportunities and that in addressing both, they will certainly be faced with taking risks. These are the tips I shared with our grads which I think can be applicable to many students and as adults as we refine our ability to take risks and make sound decisions.

On that note, whatever decisions and vacation plans you have made for your family this summer, my sincere hope for all our families is that you enjoy an incredible and restful time with your loved ones. I leave you with a little video compilation of summer vacation suggestions offered to “Marshmallow” (my lovable bear) by some of our creative Junior School students. Happy summer everyone!



Head Lines: March 2019

On International Women’s Day, a dear friend and mentor of mine texted me, Michelle Obama’s quote, “The future of our girls is only as bright as the future of our world.” What an inspiring and truly meaningful statement for the work that we do at York House and for the hope that we have for all girls throughout the world.

I often ask myself, “What does the future hold for our girls?”, “What knowledge, employability skills, and global competencies will our girls need to succeed and address problems and tackle important issues?” and of course, “What are we doing to prepare our Yorkies to be the leaders that tackle these challenges and issues?” Of course, strong foundational literacies such as reading, writing, numeracy, and physical literacy as well as the arts in its many forms continue to be a focus. However, it is increasingly important that we develop what some call, 21st century skills or what Dr. Tony Wagner calls, the 7 Survival Skills. The development of these skills will foster continuous learning, active and informed citizenship, and will lead to ongoing success in our Yorkies’ chosen careers.

The empowerment of these skills is a key focus for us as we develop learning experiences both in and outside the classroom. Our successful STEAM program at the Junior School truly allows for a synergistic merge of subjects and an interdisciplinary approach to learning. Innovation remains tightly coupled with Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math, but by adding Art and Design to the equation we provide our girls the opportunity to enhance their critical thinking skills and understand the learning intersections of STEM + ART= STEAM. Early photographer, Charles Nègre (1820-1880) wrote, “Where science ends, art begins.” A talented artist and inquisitive scientist, he was a classic example of the combination of art and science in one creative personality.

With the success of the Junior School STEAM program, we look forward to expanding these types of learning experiences into the Senior School. With this in mind, we are creating a new STEAM coordinator position at the Senior School and will be working on revising our ADST (Applied Skills Design & Technology) Grade 8 and 9  courses for 2019-2020. The STEAM coordinator will collaborate with teachers in the Senior School to continue to expand opportunities for interdisciplinary and hands-on learning. I look forward to sharing more about the expansion of STEAM to the Senior School in the coming months.

With STEAM in mind and In light of  Women’s International Day, I invite you to view “The Unlikely Scientist”, a TEDX talk by an inspiring Canadian woman, Dr. Eugenia Duodu, who shares how she successfully managed to pursue her passion for science and community advocacy through her involvement in STEAM education.

Finally, I want to wish all our York House families a restful and soul-nourishing vacation during the March break. We look forward to seeing you in April and embarking on our last push for our final few months of the year.