Back to School Days

Posted by on Jun 25, 2016 in GPS Blog Posts | 1 comment

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In early June as Canadian kids (and their teachers) begin to dream of summer holidays, staff and students at Global Pathways School were gearing up for the start of the 2016 – 17 school year.  While we all had hoped for our new campus to be ready, alas, it remains a few weeks from occupancy. So, with all our classroom furniture, supplies, equipment, whiteboards, bulletin boards, books, baskets, and bins packed up and ready to move, we had to swing into action. The great ‘unpacking’ went very well with teachers, helpers – Dan Schechner, Max Valentine, and Sabrina Leon Landegger, three great volunteers from Canada, and Ms. Vanitha, a local college student who worked over her summer at the school – all pitching in.

However, with the addition of 40 new lower kindergarten students and the grade eights graduating into grade nine, we also had to find actual new classroom spaces. Thankfully, the landlord at our old Campus 2 was more than happy to have us back as returning tenants. (I really don’t know what we would have done if he had already rented out the space!) Grades two, three, four, and five quickly got settled back into Campus 2. Campus 1, the old match factory, was going to remain our Primary Section this year anyway, so it was easy to set up our new double cohort lower kindergarten, upper kindergarten, and grade one class there.  The tricky part was finding space for grades six to nine. All we had was the guest house and it was already pretty packed.

With some creative shuffling, we managed to turn a bedroom into the grade six classroom, the living room into the grade seven classroom, and a storage room into a teacher’s ‘lounge’. (Lounge is a deliberate exaggeration…) I would like to extend my sincere thanks to the entire staff and volunteer crew. You did it! We opened for our first day of classes on schedule June 20th with 301 students enrolled.

Somehow, while the great ‘unpacking’ was going on, we received and distributed hundreds of new notebooks and textbooks, organized stationary supplies, and even found time to hold some very productive staff meetings. On our first day back as a staff we did some team building activities to reconnect and to help acquaint our new teachers and then we did two learning style inventory activities. One involved lots of movement as teachers had to go from place to place collecting numbers that best corresponded to their responses to questions about their preferred learning style. The other, was a sedentary paper and pencil inventory. The results of both inventories revealed some distinct patterns among the teachers. Some were very kinesthetic learners, some preferred visual learning, some auditory, and some were a blend of all three.  Taking learning style inventories has significant implications for teachers. Just as they have preferred learning modalities, their students also have preferred learning modalities. This year, we will make it a school wide priority to be mindful of different learning styles in both lesson and assessment planning.

On Saturday June 18 we held a very well attended parent’s information meeting where we discussed the time lines for moving into our new building, school policies and procedures, and our community health program. We opened with a welcome back assembly on Monday the 20th. Our students are happy to be back at school and have been remarkably adaptable in our new (temporary) spaces. Thanks to a generous donation from Glenn Coull, we enjoyed a special chicken lunch on Friday afternoon and finished the week by distributing KOBO e readers to all the teachers. GPS Book Club, here we come!

Jim Brickell

June 25, 2016

One Comment

  1. Jim, great going in a trying situation. Kudos to the teachers,volunteers and helpers who are involved in the ‘unpacking’. Cheers !

    Rajkumar TM

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