Head Lines: Spring 2022

With COVID and travel restrictions lifting and spring just around the corner, I’m sure many of us have a desire to break out from under the veil of the pandemic and get back to exploring the world, connecting with others, and resuming our normal activities. It’s hard to believe it’s been two years already. In March 2020, one day before Spring break, I remember meeting with our staff in the auditorium to share with them that in essence, the world was shutting down. There was a clear sense of disbelief, uncertainty, and palpable fear for what lay ahead.

Now, looking back, as a school community, we’ve learned so much in two years. We’ve learned that we are capable of finding solutions to problems that never existed, that clear and timely communication is key, that empathy, critical thinking, and that collaboration are skills essential to finding ways to be adaptable in meeting the needs of all members of our community. We learned from our mistakes, we created networks where we intentionally shared our key learnings and gained knowledge from others who also faced the same challenges we did. We learned that we are courageous, caring, and resilient and that a community of care is vital when facing unprecedented challenges. Thank you parents for the support you have displayed towards each other and of course, for your trust in us. 

Most importantly, we learned to put into practice the very skills and competencies we seek to develop in our students in order for them to be successful in facing various challenges and opportunities in an ever-changing world. Never have I felt stronger about York House School’s mission to “empower young women to be active global citizens with the courage to act on their beliefs and make a difference in the world.”

We certainly are a global community connected not just by our common humanity, but collectively through our struggles with COVID-19, climate change, the fight for social justice, and the global conflicts. Never, in most of our living memories, have so many challenges confronted our ability to navigate uncertainty while continuing to live our lives and fulfill our aspirations. 

It has never been more important for educators and parents to join forces in helping girls develop the skills and mindsets necessary to ensure their readiness and curiosity to navigate successfully in this complex world. No doubt, their future success depends on their ability to seek to understand the world around them, investigate issues that matter and have the confidence to take action in ways that are meaningful to them. 

If you wish to explore what teaching students to become global citizens really means, I am sharing the newest episode of the National Coalition of Girls’ Schools Educating Girls podcast, where Clare Sisisky, Executive Director of the Global Education Benchmark Group, shares her experience, wisdom, insights, and actionable recommendations for educators and parents. I’m sure you will find it insightful. 

I want to thank our staff and students who have worked so hard this past term and wish them a wonderful holiday. I also hope that you spend a wonderful time with your family and friends over the break.

In April, we also look forward to meeting Deryn Lavell, our newly appointed Interim Head of School, who will be joining us on April 19, 20, and 21, for a few days to connect with staff, students, and the YHS Board. 

Once again, we will make sure to provide you with timely information related to the easing of restrictions following the break. Be well everyone.


Head Lines: Winter 2021

To Our York House Community,

Just recently, while chatting with a teacher about the upcoming holidays, she shared with me her teenagers’ disappointment when she suggested that maybe they might not engage as a family in their annual “hide the elf” tradition. She shared how surprised she was that her daughters expressed disappointment and insisted on the tradition even though they have grown up. Of course, she conceded, much to their delight as they continued to find unique places for the little elf to show up on a daily basis. This led me to reflect on the importance of traditions. 

The holiday season brings with it a variety of cultural and familial traditions. The lead-up to important celebrations is filled with traditions that help build excitement and joyful connections. Without a doubt, with our fast-paced lives and with the number of challenges and ongoing turmoil the world is facing, traditions are more important than ever. Traditions offer a sense of familiarity, a semblance of order and predictability to our lives. I invite you to consider what are the traditions you hold dear to your heart?

As for myself, I have such fond memories of the beautiful holiday dinners and gatherings I had as a child. I have vivid memories of the extravagant decorations in our home, the delicious scent of my mother’s famous apple pie, the laughter of my siblings as we played board games in our pyjamas, and the great anticipation of my many cousins visiting during the holidays. 

I also find myself truly attached to the traditions I have created with my very own children, who as grown adults still seek to dissuade me when I propose a new dish or suggest doing things differently (…likely because I’m hoping they will cook instead of me!). But really, I can’t help but feel blessed and grateful when they ask for the same traditions. 

Oh, there were some mess ups along the way and these little anecdotes typically make their way to a dinner conversation filled with laughter and chuckles. Maybe it’s about the time when someone used salt instead of sugar when baking a cake (not me!) or when the dog ate the entire charcuterie board (minus the olives) before the guests arrived. Somehow the stories seem to get embellished over the years, but the memories remain and they keep us grounded and grateful for each other and for the bonds we hold as a family. 

And that’s what is great about traditions. They comfort us, give us a sense of belonging and make us feel safe and secure. Traditions are intertwined with emotions and memories, which is why we treasure them so much. Have you ever noticed how people enjoy sharing their traditions with each other? When we do this, we really are sharing the story of who we are, where we come from and what has shaped our lives. 

As we head off into our winter holidays, It is my sincere hope that you are able to spend special moments with your family and friends and that you are able to create long-lasting memories that will be retold for years to come. 

I want to take this opportunity to thank our faculty and staff at York House School for a tremendous first term and to our Yorkies for all of their hard work and dedication towards their learning. Have a great holiday everyone. May the new year ahead be filled with love, light and laughter. 

With care,