Thursday, 7 June 2018

Graduation Address
Rundle College Society

Image result for red balloons

Faculty, parents, board directors, special guests, students and graduates:

A couple of weeks ago after dinner, I was sitting on the deck with my family.  From nowhere, a red balloon drifted over our heads, just out of reach, and gently rose into the evening’s sky.  My boys, both under age 3, were crushed that someone would have let go of a balloon and that their daddy couldn’t reach high enough to grab it.  As you can imagine, there was excitement, then concern, then full blown tantrums. All I can say is that I am happy we live close to a Safeway that sells Red Balloons.
The balloon brought back a flood of memories, and I suspect that some of you are like me in this respect.  When you see a balloon, you may picture the Disney Movie Up or perhaps you think of a circus clown, Pennywise, or of Curious George floating away while holding tight to hundreds of balloons.  Since becoming a father, I have spent my fair share of time thinking about balloons.
Within a day or two of what is now known as the ‘red balloon catastrophe’ at the Rogers household, I happened to be reading ‘The Culture Code’ by Daniel Coyle.  In his book, Coyle describes a high-profile research project which includes 10 red balloons.
You see, in late 2009, while each of you were studying diligently in elementary school, the US Department of Defense announced that it would hide 10 red balloons in random locations all over the 3.1 million square miles of the United States.  They called it The Red Balloon Challenge.
The Department of Defense wanted to know if it were possible for anyone to locate all ten balloons and report their exact locations back to Defense headquarters.  The reason they decided to run this experiment was that they wanted to mimic real-life dilemmas such as the outbreak of an infectious disease or a terrorist attack.

They offered $40,000 to the individual or group who first located all ten balloons.  Many in the department believed the challenge was virtually impossible, and as result it was likely they would never need to pay out the prize.
Hundreds of groups signed up.  The groups were wide-ranging: technologists, research universities, entrepreneurs and tech companies.  Many of the top minds in the country were working to solve this problem.
As expected, these groups leveraged satellite photography, tapped into vast networks of technological solutions and built open-source software.  Many groups spent well beyond the $40,000 prize money just in their preparations.
As the contest date drew closer, one last group joined the challenge.  On December 1st, just four days before the start of the challenge, the MIT Media Lab, fielded a team.  They didn’t have time to tap into advanced technological systems or create custom software - so they did about the only thing they could do, they leveraged the power of human connection.  They encouraged everybody they knew to tell everybody they knew to tell everybody they knew that they were about to start looking for random red balloons – all the while offering to split the prize pool with anyone who assisted in finding the balloons.
The challenge started at 10AM eastern time on December 5.  Department of Defense experts estimated that it might take a week or even weeks for the winning team to complete the task.  Much to their surprise, in just under 9 hours, the MIT Media Lab and their network had located all ten balloons.

Which brings me to the point of today’s talk - what did we learn when the MIT Media Lab won the Red Balloon Challenge and more specifically, graduates, what does it mean for you and your future?
What I take from this victory is that although the future may be filled with advancements such as artificial intelligence, autonomous cars, travel to Mars, augmented reality and cryptocurrencies - nothing will supersede the advantages arising from human qualities such as empathy, kindness, compassion, curiosity, connection and teamwork.
The Red Balloon Challenge is a real-world example of how connected humanity can often solve problems more effectively than raw technology.  Together – the MIT Media Lab friends proved it!
MIT Media Lab’s win was a powerful example of how teamwork and cooperation can work.
To close, consider the floating red balloon as a metaphor.  You, Grade 12 students, can be represented by the outer layer of the balloon.  Before you reach your potential, you are small and uninspired.
As you fill with hot air, I mean, Helium, you expand and begin to rise.  This Helium is really anything that inspires you or stokes your curiosity.  It can stand for your passion for a topic, a powerful friendship that serves to make you a better person, a personal practice that creates balance and wellness or bit of wisdom that nurtures your soul.
The string represents your parents and your loved ones.  No matter how high you rise, they will always be there to connect you to your roots.  Take care of the string. Without it, you can potentially float away without direction or control.
And finally, if you look further down, you’ll see that your red balloon is anchored by a bit of Rundle stone, the rock you can always count on.  Graduates, my wish is that you see your time at Rundle as the foundation for your future successes. Please remember that we will always be here for you, whether it is tomorrow or 40 years from now.   Be sure to come back and let us know where you have gone and what you have achieved.
Much like the winning team at the MIT Media Lab - you too will go forward to achieve the impossible if you nurture your close relationships and use your human network to reach your potential.  

Perhaps after today, you will never again look at a red balloon the same way.
Congratulations and best of luck!

Sunday, 3 June 2018

Head's Up - Your Monthly Update From The Headmaster
The Future

Over the course of the past months, it doesn’t seem to matter where I go, what I read or whom I talk to, the topic of ‘the future’ arises. I’ve been engaged in stimulating conversations with our faculty, with our parents, and with our students. Out of these chats, there have been several consistent themes.


Often times, the conversation about ‘the future’ starts with technology, coding, artificial intelligence and STEM. In these spaces, I am reassured that at Rundle, we are on the right track. Evidence of these future-ready engagements come in the form of the c.Lab offerings and in the implementation of Global Online Academy at the College Senior High. I also see our technology integrators exploring 3D printing, laser cutting, and augmented reality. We see it in the vibrant maker spaces that are expanding each and every day. I also see our students exploring and succeeding in academics as a co-curricular pursuit. After some deep reflection, I can see that if Rundle is not leading the pack, we are certainly in stride with the world around us.


Another place the topic of ‘the future’ takes us is to emotional well being. The omnipresence of technology is our new reality, and as result, we are needing to adapt. Part of this adaptation is a consideration of our individual and collective emotional wellbeing. As these dialogues turn back to Rundle, I again think of some of the work we are doing and feel confident we are heading down the right track. Examples of Rundle’s commitment to our community’s wellbeing can be seen in the Emotional Wellness Task Force, in strong student leadership, and in an ongoing focus on student services support. Furthermore, wellness is at the core of our current strategic plan and lives in the pillar, “Happy to Be Here.” As we enter the 2018-2019 school year, we will be reaching out to the parent body to engage with us on this important journey. We will be looking to have discussions about demonstrations of learning, demonstrations of resilience, enhancing executive function, and allowing students to settle their own agitated nervous systems. I acknowledge that we are just scratching the surface of this essential topic but remain excited that we are on the journey together towards wellness.


In these conversations, it doesn’t take long for us to leap to ‘the future’ of Rundle’s facilities. It is exciting to see the imminent changes with the Rundle Academy Moving Walls project. In just a few short weeks, the Rundle Academy community has raised nearly 50% of their target. If you want to hear more about the staff’s involvement, feel free to listen to what IDEO has to say about the project or what the staff and students have to say about designing their spaces. We would like to thank the entire community for their ongoing generosity. In addition to the Moving Walls Campaign, we are also anticipating the development of an exciting space at the Conklin School called ‘The Learning Studio @ Rundle.’ I am going to spare the details here, but I look forward to its reveal in the fall of 2018. I would also like to mention that our board has been working very hard on the behalf of our community to look well beyond the next five years and into the foreseeable future. There have been wonderfully generative conversations that may eventually result in some exciting developments for all of our students in Rundle College Society. It is clear that Rundle remains agile and committed to creating future-ready environments for our teachers to teach in and our students to learn in.

Character and Connections

Although these conversations almost always start with technology, then to emotional wellbeing, then on to spaces, the conversations almost always end with a similar theme: personal connection and character. It is in strong relationships where Rundle will continue to find success in the future. We see the fabric of this as we observe Grade 6 and 12 students work as buddies at the Academy, or when we see our College program connect with Calgary’s Dementia Friendly Communities, or when we see our WEB program welcome new Grade 7s to our school. We are also seeing these character connections happen as the Academy and the College students continue to support each other through drama productions, the arts, rugby, football and volunteerism. In fact, you’ll hear this theme come through in a recent conversation I had with one of our Grade 7 students!  Finally, we see it when our teachers talk about the idea of ‘R+’ and what it means to them and to the young men and women in their care. I stand proud with our community as I know we are leading in this area and, as such, the students in our care are extremely well equipped to face the uncertainties of what the future holds.


Jason B. Rogers
In this edition of the Head’s Up, you will find:
  • Alberta Education Curriculum Update
  • Rundle 365: Summer Camps at Rundle
  • On the Shelf
  • Head’s Up: The Podcast (new episodes)
Draft K–4 Provincial Curriculum Development: 
Spring 2018 Parent and Guardian Information Sessions

Alberta Education is working with the Alberta School Councils’ Association, the Association of Independent Schools and Colleges, Fédération des parents francophones de l’Alberta, and the Alberta Regional Professional Development Consortia to gather parent and guardian feedback on the draft K–4 provincial curriculum.

Twenty (20) face-to-face meetings will be held in communities across Alberta from May 31 to June 15, 2018. Each session is limited to 100 participants. Confirmed registrants will be notified by email with additional information, including the session agenda and event details.

For more information about the sessions available in your area, or to register for an upcoming session, please visit the Alberta School Councils’ Association website.
Rundle 365: Summer Camps at Rundle

Summer is fast approaching and our SPORT & STEAM camps are filling up! For added flexibility, we are now offering both half-day and full-day camps. Space is limited in our STEAM camps, so be sure to sign up soon. Details found here. 

Camps are open to all children entering Grades 1-7 in any school in the fall so feel free to share our camp brochure with families outside of the Rundle Community.  

If you have any questions about the camps or the offerings, please do not hesitate to reach out and contact Laurel Adolphe (
On The Shelf

This month’s selections are a few of my favorite podcasts:

Revisionist History by Malcolm Gladwell
WorkLife with Adam Grant
10% Happier with Dan Harris
Head’s Up - The Podcast

Feature Episodes:
If you are interested in giving it a listen, go to the Apple Podcast Store and search, “Head’s Up” (include the apostrophe) and you will see this image pop up.  Feel free to give it a listen and provide me with any feedback you might have.
Head's Up - Your Monthly Update From The Headmaster
Dear Rundle Community:

It was just after 4 AM last Sunday morning. Unexpected sounds from my backyard startled me and I jumped out of bed. In the haze of my sleepy mind, I was uncertain and confused about what was happening. Soon, I came to my senses and stumbled down the stairs to the back patio to investigate. I then realized that the sounds I had heard were the songs of birds. After such a long, cold, and snowy winter, that telltale sign of spring was music to my ears! Needless to say, I was too awake to go back to sleep so I brewed a pot of coffee, opened the back door and settled in to enjoy the morning ahead.

For that quiet morning, the solitude was interrupted only by the lyrical songs of those birds, and the still ambience invited reflection.

Floods of memories from the past school year flowed through my thoughts. Memories ranging from celebrations to tragedy, and from achievement to failure.  

In time, I was left inspired by an appreciation of our community. 

On one side, our community has endured actual floods, personal losses of all magnitudes, and challenges that have tested our perseverance. On the flip side, those among us have found phenomenal success in the classroom, on the stage, on the court and in the pursuit of rigorous character. 

Along with appreciation, I am also filed with hope. I am hopeful that spring will bring us all the opportunity for a little solitude and reflection. I am hopeful we will take time to share our reflections with those we care for, value, and love. I am hopeful that our community continues to rally around the importance of mental health and emotional well being. I am hopeful that the months ahead will provide enduring memories of the warmth and togetherness of our community. 

To close, I am hopeful that in this edition of the Head’s Up you will find the essence of our community and join us as we support and celebrate one another in the days ahead.


Jason B. Rogers
In this edition of the Head’s Up, you will find:
  • Emotional Wellbeing Taskforce
    • The Road Ahead
    • Hats On For Mental Health - May 2, 2018
    • A Day to Play; A Night for Remembering - June 1, 2018
    • Giving to the Headmaster’s Fund - Focus on Emotional Wellbeing
  • Moving Walls Academy Redesign
  • Rundle 365: Summer Camps at Rundle
  • On the Shelf
  • Head’s Up: The Podcast (new episodes)
Emotional Wellbeing Taskforce

The Road Ahead
  • For the past 16 months, a team of caring professionals has been working hard to create a plan to ensure our community is well informed and positioned to deal with any challenges to our emotional wellbeing. To this end, we have been working with several groups in Calgary, including the Mathison Center for Mental Health, Research and Education and the Calgary Center for Suicide Prevention. These groups have brought us valuable research, insight, and perspective. As a part of the work, we have conducted an internal audit of our wellness initiatives and have piloted a couple of projects to help better support our students. To hear more about this work, give a listen to the “Head’s Up Podcast, Episode 42 - featuring Danelle Spence”.
  • In the days ahead, we will involve our teachers, parents, and students in the dialog in an ongoing attempt to support one another. Please review the weekly Principal email updates for the information on these initiatives.
Hats On For Mental Health - May 2nd
  • On May 2nd across Alberta, there is a ‘Hats On For Mental Health’ initiative to raise awareness around mental health. We will be encouraging our community to take part to raise awareness.
A Day to Play, A Night for Remembering - June 1st
  • During the day and the evening of June 1st, we will be remembering our friend, teacher, leader and colleague, Bruce Buchanan. More details will come in the days ahead, but for now, here are a few important details:
    • A Day to Play - Bruce was a huge lover of games and competition. To honour his memory, we will be hosting an afternoon of lawn games and friendly competition. We encourage any student, parent, or friend to come out and enjoy the afternoon together. The afternoon’s events start at 2:15 and end at 4:30.
    • A Night for Remembering - Over the course of the month of May, we will be constructing lanterns to remember Bruce and to bring awareness to mental health. As the sun falls, we will place the lanterns on our playing field and gather to enjoy a BBQ together. In the coming days, there will be an RSVP for the event so we know how many people to expect. The event will start at 7 PM and will end after sundown.
Headmaster’s Fund - In Support of Emotional Wellbeing Initiatives
  • Often we receive undirected donations to a fund titled the ‘Headmaster’s Initiative.’  I am happy to announce that all funds donated between January 1, 2018 and December 31, 2018, will be used to support mental health initiatives across Rundle College Society.  
  • These funds will go to human resources, supporting programs, and teacher and student learning opportunities.  
  • Thank you to all who have participated and who participate in the future!
Moving Walls - Academy Redesign

On Wednesday, May 2nd, we are excited to be hosting the kick-off for our Academy Redesign project at theDIRTT warehouse!  The evening promises to be packed with Academy spirit, information items on design, food, beverages, great conversations and virtual reality!  We look forward to seeing many of our Rundle families join us for a sneak preview of the upcoming changes to the Academy facility!

For more information on the event, the project or fundraising, feel free to contact Mr. Keith van der Meer ( or Mr. Aaron Goettel (
Summer Camps at Rundle

After much planning and anticipation, we are proud to launch the registration for our Rundle Summer Camps Program.

We hope to bring students from Rundle and all over Calgary to join in our programs and to benefit from the excellence of our coaches and our activities.

If you have any questions about the camps or the offerings, please do not hesitate to reach out and contact Laurel Adolphe (
Space is limited - so be sure to sign up soon

On The Shelf

7 Simple Steps to Understanding Your Teenager
(Just Kidding, That’s Impossible)
 by Danelle Spence

Article: They Were Trained for This Moment by Dahlia Lithwick

Finding the Space to Lead by Janice Marturano

The Third Teacher: 79 Ways You Can Use Design  to Transform Teaching & Learning by Inc. OWP/P Cannon Design, VS Furniture, Bruce Mau Design
Head’s Up - The Podcast

Feature Episodes:
  • Episode 41 - Dr. Rod Conklin - One of our founders
  • Episode 42 - Danelle Spence - Emotional Wellness Task Force
If you are interested in giving it a listen, go to the Apple Podcast Store and search, “Head’s Up” (include the apostrophe) and you will see this image pop up.  Feel free to give it a listen and provide me with any feedback you might have.
Head's Up - February 2018

“Imagine This Scene”

Dear Rundle Community:

You look outside and see the worst winter storm in Calgary’s recent history. Furthermore, you are a teacher and you are sitting at the Calgary International Airport and it is approaching 10 PM and you are there with with 38 students between the ages of 12-14.  Your flights were scheduled to have left at noon and you have no indication as to when or if you will ever get into the air.  Each time you speak to the airline counter staff, they tell you they are trying to find a flight for you and your students to Ottawa.  Each inspection of the departures board brings nothing but disappointment, as it is strewn with ‘cancelled’ and ‘delayed’ notifications.  It is obvious that the probability of a flight becoming available is very low.

Given these bleak circumstances, it would be easy and fair to become disenchanted and discouraged. However, this would not be the case for these teacher or students.

The story above describes the plight of the Academy Junior High travel club and their trip to Eastern Canada to study our history. In the end, after waiting over 30 hours, the group was able to get into the air and enjoy the final few days of their trip.

What makes this story remarkable is the students and their resilience in the face of adversity. According to the supervising teachers, there were no complaints; in fact, the students were unflappable in their positivity and support for one another. They were able to adapt to changes on the fly and, more than anything, exude kindness to each other and to all whom they encountered.

It is instances like these that make me so proud to be a part of our community; times when our kids and teachers face challenges head on and make the best of the adversity.

Countless times we see this same scene reenacted locally and around the globe. Between February and March, we will see students travel to Hawaii, El Salvador, Victoria, Thailand, Peru and Spain. With each trip will come new challenges and new opportunities for students to demonstrate resilience. In addition to these character developing moments, the students are giving back their time, talents and treasures. 

Please join me in congratulating all our students and teachers on their incredibly successful journeys!

Jason B. Rogers