Now that we have met with one another at “Back-to-School” night, September seems complete. I want to thank you all for taking the time to attend last night’s parent-teacher evening. Your interest and participation are signs of healthy engagement with your children’s education and very much appreciated by our teachers. We hope that you found the sessions interesting, informative and encouraging. Our parking lot was full and the attendance impressive!
Last night we highlighted a number of new initiatives and projects we are undertaking this year. Special thanks to Ms. Alana Hepworth, our Director of Student Learning, for sharing these with us last night. We touched on the inherent benefits of backward design when planning inquiry-based programs, the value of integrated projects and the exciting opportunities of “Genius Hour” and Google Classroom in Grades 7 and 8 respectively.
Our vision for 21st century education at Matthews Hall is the establishment of educational experiences for our students that go beyond planning lessons that only “teach the standards”. The purpose of education is not to increase standardized test scores. In all the best schools, learning is much more than marching through teacher-directed content. We are committed to stretching beyond this standard and aspire to an experience where “marks have 21st century meaning” – a meaning that goes beyond the basics and one which is recognized in high school and beyond.
If we do this together, learning and teaching retain meaning and joy. How is this to be accomplished? As we learned last night, by the presentation of relevant, real world and rigorous curriculum in an authentic way that increases student motivation, engagement and achievement.
Educators, like their students, are unique individuals. Just as a group of students comes into a classroom with a wide range of experiences, understandings, ideas, talents, and skills, so do the educators in any given organization. And the only way to be successful in adapting to a 21st century model of learning is to personalize and differentiate in the best interests of students; by beginning with where they are and moving forward.
We are so pleased that you have joined us for our centennial year! The school founded by Kate Matthews has always been focused on building a solid foundation for children’s learning, exemplified by the values of excellence, integrity and personal growth. By keeping these values at the heart of all our decisions, we remain true to our roots and mission – as well as to our vision for the next 100 years.
Please keep the conversation going, share and collaborate with your child’s teachers and help us make 2017-2018 a year to remember.
Ric Anderson, Head of School