Wednesday, 16 December 2015

"Why It Took Me So Long To Craft My 
AGM Headmaster Update...."
"Rundle Cares"

December 2, 2015

Faculty, Board Directors, Parents, and Society Members, it is my pleasure to deliver this year’s Headmaster’s report.

Before I begin, I would like to extend a special thank-you to the founders of our school, Dr. Collett and Dr. Conklin for their enduring vision of an attention to excellence and to Mr. Dave Hauk his mentorship and never ceasing support.

As the 2014-2015 school year drew to a close, I reflected on my inaugural year as Headmaster and the remarkable achievements that were made possible by the dedication the staff, administration, students, alumni, parents and friends of Rundle.    

As in past years, Rundle delivered on its promise of ‘small classes – big experience.’ Whether in Grade 6 or Grade 12, at the College or the Academy, the academic results of our students are among the finest in Alberta and the entirety of Canada.

The quantitative data, however, tell only part of the story.  The ‘Rundle Experience’ is also defined by students in our hallways who are engaged, helpful, respectful of one another and are kinder than is necessary.  It is this development of good character – in all of its dimensions – that complements academic achievement and is a hallmark of our programs, our schools and our students.  

Over the past several weeks, I have been contemplating what I could possibly say that might better articulate this non-quantitative measure that continues to make Rundle such a special place to work and learn.  It would be easy to list the dozens of championships won, scholarships earned, individual academic achievements garnered - many of which are immortalized in the photos of the Annual Report - however that tact didn’t  seem to bring me any closer to the true essence of the report I wanted to deliver tonight.

My contemplations brought me all the way to a 5AM morning earlier this week when I was still vexed by the challenge of summarizing the essence of the 2014-2015 school year.  When I woke, my wife, knowing that I have been struggling with this task, asked me what I was going to say, and I explained that I had yet to get the words out of my head and onto paper.  She, in all her wisdom, simply asked me ‘why - what’s the main struggle.’  My response was, “I want to make sure it’s perfect, I really want to give justice the great things that in our schools.”  Her immediate retort was, “It’s your deep care, that’s what is holding you up.”  It was in that moment the true essence of my address came to light, “Rundle Cares.”

Rundle is unique because of the deep care that the staff and faculty put into their day to day.  If you wander our hallways, every day you will see teachers, administrative assistants, care takers, directors, or the administration making connections with students through extra help in their classrooms, through coaching or co-curricular clubs.  Our Rundle staff works hard during the day with our students and and sometimes to their own detriment, take their work home with them at night.  Each and every conversation I have with them comes back to the fact that they only want the best for their students.

Rundle is also unique because of the deep care that our students take in themselves, their peers, their academics, their character development and in the pursuit of their passions.  This point was perfectly articulated by Alumni, Noah Cooke, at a recent evening of the Academics.  I am excited to share a portion of his speech here tonight.  Noah said:

“As a whole, the high school is intensely passionate about learning; you don’t have to be afraid of being nerdy; everyone has caught the bug.

Noah went on to say… Now let’s expand into the balanced education piece.
Rundle understands that a successful education is a holistic one. There are many avenues for learning to occur. I first developed discipline and grit in my skiing and running, and then applied them to my academics. Supported academically by my teachers and athletically by my school cross-country running and track coaches, I grew in both of these dimensions. Rundle encourages synergy between academic and extracurricular interests, and the reward is greater success across the board.  

To conclude Noah says...
For me, this balanced high school education also included travelling to Scotland on a school exchange and hosting my exchange student at Rundle; competing in competitive speech; and being a member of the CAUSE steering committee, which involved planning charitable initiatives. Of course this list is just a small sample, one experience, of what the high school has to offer.”  

Wow - pretty inspiring words - I couldn’t have said it better myself.

The second shining example student caring came in the mail just yesterday.  It was a birthday card, which left me a little perplexed as my birthday had passed by nearly 6 months ago.  However, when I opened the card, a cheque for a substantial amount dropped out.  Inside, in children’s writing, it stated, “Instead of presents, I asked for money to put to the playground at the new school.”  Signed Student, Grade 2.

It’s clear - from our earliest grades to our alumni, Rundle student’s care.

Finally, our community cares.  Whether it is the countless volunteer hours our Board of Directors give or support our parents give to our entire staff - it’s clear that we share a very caring community.  

I believe it is this deep and enduring ‘care’ that really best summarizes our Rundle Experience; past, present and future.  

In conclusion, in an effort to give a flavour or the multidimensional complexities of the Rundle Community, I am happy to report on our progress in our schools and business operations.  Here are a just few of the highlights to illuminate all the hard work that goes on to support our school’s mission:  

  1. At Our Primary/Elementary - “We continued to innovate by introducing STEAM (Science, Technology Engineering, Art and Mathematics Curriculum).  It is with this initiative that encourages our students to grow in all areas these thinking including robotics, application design, critical thought, inquiry, design thinking and science application.”
  2. Admissions - "Interest in all our programs remains constant, even amidst economic downturn.  In addition, to remain current and innovative, this year our admissions department has moved to an on-line application process and payment option.  In the year 2014-2015 our enrollment was 1035, Rundle’s largest enrollment ever."
  3. Student Life - "We continued to support the enrichment of the curriculum through Field Trips.  On top of the 100's of in city field trips, Rundle College staff took a combined, incident free, 85 out of city field trips, with over 1500 students to 4 provinces and more than 6 countries.  In addition, our students have given 1000’s of hours of service time through year round initiatives."
  4. Communications - “In keeping with the notion of "keeping it small" we are focusing much of our efforts on recruitment and retention and providing a positive experience during these important decision-making stages. As result, our retention rate was 96% for the year 2014-2015. "
  5. Facilities - “We have embarked on the largest capital project in the history of Rundle College Society.   The team effort that has gone into this project will create a legacy that will serve inspire generations of Rundle families to come.”
  6. Alumni - "The Rundle Alumni Association has increased their group membership over the past year to 1150 members. Along with minor functions and class reunions, they also host 4 major alumni events during the school year.”
  7.  Jr. Sr. High  - “There were several highlights, including:
    1. The frequency that our alumni are streaming back into the school to connect with students in academics, sports, fine arts and service.
    2. The number of students in older grades that are helping students in younger grades, from peer tutoring to helping coach teams, to working together in arts and music classes.
    3. The way that staff came together to support staff members during times of tragedy and loss.
    4. The genuine and fun engagement of our students in theme days and special events like Friday Night Lights, Spirit Day, Halloween, Frosted Formal, …”
  8. Advancement continues to acquire donations towards the building of our new school and is pleased with the success of Project 20.15, our bursary program initiated last spring, which has raised over $150 000 in the past 6 months. The department's continuing goal is to foster the culture of giving in the Rundle community."

This is just a small sampling of the many magical things that happen in our programs on a daily basis.  Rundle College continues to be a place where “We Inspire Impressive Minds and Cultivate Unparalleled Character.”  

It is incredible that Rundle College Society sits among the top 10 largest independent schools in Canada, but manages to maintain the ethos of small.  It is evident that members of our society care deeply about the elements that make Rundle what it is.  

The Rundle Experience is one that recognizes the fact that every member of our community counts.

I begin my second year as Headmaster with optimism, pride, confidence and the certainty that our students will be prepared for whatever awaits them, academically and personally, when they graduate from Rundle.  

Thanks for your continued support.  


Jason B. Rogers

Headmaster, Rundle College Society

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