We are well into the throes of another busy year at York House with much positive news to report. We started the year with several outdoor education trips to Lynn Canyon (Grade 3), Camp Elphinstone (Grade 5), Camp Summit (Grade 6), Manning Park (Grade 8), Alouette Lake (Grade 9) and Garibaldi (Grades 10 and 11). These trips are an invaluable part of the girls’ education and overall YHS experience. While on these trips, they learn new skills, challenge themselves, and make friendships and memories that will last a lifetime.
We are so appreciative of the girls’ enthusiastic participation this year and the support of so many of our 20+ teachers who accompanied them. It was also a great opportunity for many of the girls to get to know our new Coordinator of Outdoor Education and Risk Management, Robin Friesen.
I am truly thankful that Director of Senior School, Kimberley Harvey, and I were able to start the year getting to know our Grade 8 girls by going with them on the Manning Park trip. We thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to engage in casual conversations with the girls individually and in small groups along the beautiful hiking and biking trails of the park. I think they particularly enjoyed seeing us in our full outdoor gear – something that they don’t get to see on a daily basis!
I know that Deputy Head, Kathy Kealey truly enjoyed being on the Grade 10 Garibaldi Trip, despite the physical challenges posed by the terrain (and she is very fit!). The scenery was stunning and the girls took some amazing photos that capture some of the best vistas in the world. Shelley Lammie, Director of Junior School (JK-Gr.7) and our new Assistant Director of Junior School, Jenn Skelding also challenged themselves and learned some new ways to build teamwork in the outdoors while having some fun on the Grade 6 trip to Camp Summit in Squamish and the Grade 5 trip to the Sea-to-Sky Outdoor School at Camp Elphinstone.
It is hard to believe that so much has happened at the school since then. We honoured our history and traditions at Founders’ Day, reunited with alumnae at the Golden Alumnae Luncheon and on Alumnae Day, welcomed new families at the New Parents’ Dinner, and launched this year’s Annual Fund campaign.
Visiting classrooms has given me a great opportunity to see the unique learning opportunities that your daughter is engaged in this year. In the Junior School, Jennifer Ford Sharpe, our new STEAM (Science Technology Engineering Arts and Math) Coordinator, is working with teachers across the grades in the Junior School to tap into your daughter’s imagination and stretch her learning in new ways. The explosion of creativity, from the fairy homes created in Grade 3 to the complete transformation of the reception area in only one hour, is impressive, to say the least!
I want to thank those of you who came out to our Master Planning Open House on October 19. This was an exciting first step, as we explore how to ensure a 21st Century education for our students for decades to come. The purpose of the Open House was to share our preliminary plans for our vision for the future and provide an opportunity for public input as our Master Plan continues to be developed and refined.
It was only last February that we launched YHS 2030: Shaping Our Future Together. In the following months, we engaged with faculty, staff, and students in an extensive master programming process where we asked for them for feedback regarding our current programs (both curricular and co-curricular), the potential for exciting new programs, and the ideal learning environment that would support our YHS 2030 strategic priorities.
The guiding question for our 28 focus groups was: “What will today’s JK student need to be successful when she graduates in 2030?” Our preliminary Master Plan is a direct result of the feedback we received from this master programming process and was created to guide development of the York House property in the years to come.
The goal of the Master Plan is to address how the school’s facilities could be upgraded to increase and diversify the range of educational programs offered, in keeping with a 21st Century learning environment that equips students to be successful now and in the future.
The next step will be for us to submit a rezoning application to the City of Vancouver in support of this Master Plan. Early in the new year, the City of Vancouver will host another Open House followed by a public hearing in the spring. There are many steps in the process. Once we receive the necessary approvals, we expect that it will be at least three to five years before we can begin any construction. I will continue to keep you updated at each step along the way.
We were happy to receive so many positive comments and suggestions from those who attended the Open House. If you were unable to attend, I would encourage you to review the display boards on our website and share any feedback that you have.
As we move forward, it is important that we share any support from our community. I will continue you to update you along the way in the process.
I hope to see you at Bid Night on November 17. If you are unable to make that event, I do hope to see you at our annual Celebration of Community at the Chan Centre on December 14.
Head of School