Sunday, 1 October 2017

Head's Up - October 1, 2o17 - The Podcast, Diversity & Strategic Planning

Dear Rundle Community:

As we wrap up the inaugural month of our 2017-2018 school year, I have a sense of pride, calm and optimism. I am proud of our community’s resilience and strength. I have seen this strength in our faculty who have returned to school rested and enthusiastic about helping the students in our care reach their potential. During this month, I have also seen the calm that comes with predictability and routine. At both the Academy and the College, the school year has started up with routines and structures that have allowed all members of our community to come together and support one another as we face the inevitable changes that come with new classes, teachers and routines. Finally, I am optimistic about our students’ future at Rundle and beyond. I am witnessing our community reflect deeply on important questions that will have a lasting impact on our students and our society. Some questions I hear being explored are:
  • ‘What impact does screen time have on our kids?’
  • ‘What is emotional wellness and how do we support it in our population?’
  • ‘How can Rundle give back to our community, country and world?’
  • ‘What is diversity and who do we aspire to be at Rundle?’
  • ‘What are maker spaces and how are they used to improve educational delivery?’
  • ‘How do we foster critical and design thinking?’
  • ‘How do we foster and inspire leadership in our students?’
Over the course of this year, I am committed to continuing these conversations with our students, our faculty and with you, the parents. I hope that today’s Head’s Up serves to start this exciting dialogue that will focus on improving our children’s futures.


Jason B. Rogers
In this edition of the Head’s Up, you will find:

What’s New:
  • Head’s Up Podcast with Jason Rogers
  • Diversity at Rundle
  • IDEO to visit Rundle Academy
  • Focusing on the strategic plan: Our Fabric
  • On The Shelf
Head’s Up - The Podcast 

Over the summer, I became transfixed with a couple of podcasts.  In particular, I could not stop listening to Malcolm Gladwell’s “Revisionist History” and much of the NPR content.  Nevertheless, I got curious and decided to try to record one of my own.

This curiosity project has lead me to produce around 10 episodes so far.  I’ve conducted interviews with Andrew Buckley, Dave Hauk, Danelle Spence, Nicole Jordan and others.  

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.
Thoughts on Diversity at Rundle

In light of recent national and global events, I thought this might be a timely opportunity to share Rundle’s outlook on the matter of diversity.  Personally speaking, I believe that at Rundle, we have the opportunity to build citizens of the world who embody fine character and a universal understanding of humanity, and this includes inspiring the children in our care to understand the multifaceted nature of diversity.  Although, I recognize we have some ways to go, I think this communication may help set the direction and a common understanding for our ongoing growth. 

In the spirit of an Elementary language arts lesson I taught many moons ago, I thought I might present the multiple dimensions of diversity in the form of an acrostic poem.  
  • D - Differences
    • Similar to the central tenets of democracy, diversity is rooted in differences and a mutual understanding of these differences.  We know that our beautifully diverse Canadian society is only possible because of our belief and adherence to multiculturalism.  
  • I - Identity
    • We believe that each person’s identity, and expression of that identity, is unique and should be honoured in its own right.  This is true across  race, religion, colour, gender, age, ancestry, place of origin, family status and orientation.  
  • V - Vision
    • In leadership, vision is defined as ‘an essential means for focusing attention on what matters most.’  Our vision at Rundle is to ‘develop inspired minds and unparalleled character.’  This vision fits perfectly with the development and understanding of diversity, differing opinions and beliefs.  
  • E- Everybody Plays A Role
    • We believe that the role of honouring diversity is shared amongst our entire community: our students, our faculty, our parents and our alumni.  Our shared experience and backgrounds create a brilliant mosaic which is worthy of celebration.
  • R - Race, Religion, and Rights
    • The ‘R’ reminds us that diversity is more than just a part of our culture, and it is protected by provincial and federal laws that stand as a model for other nations to emulate.
  • S - Safe and Caring Schools
    • We will continue to follow the direction set by Alberta lawmakers with respect to our obligations to create safe and caring schools for our children.  This said, the Rundle advantage of individualized education and small class sizes allows for us to have individual conversations about diversity in an attempt to create greater understanding and clearer communications.  
  • I - Inclusion
    • At Rundle, we value our student population who demonstrate a diversity in talents and thinking.  We know that the ‘Rundle Experience’ is one where we want students to try different activities in the safety of our schools so they can decide which areas will further fuel their passions.  There’s never a prouder moment that when we see a student on stage or on the court and you hear from the audience, “I didn’t know they had it in them!”
  • T - Talk, Talk, Talk
    • We are at ease with the fact that the conversation around diversity is far from over.  We believe that the only way to come to a common ground and a shared understanding is through talking.  We invite conversations about diversity and look forward to having them in the years to come.
  • Y - Yes
    • Yes to difference.  Yes to understanding. Yes to togetherness.
IDEO at Rundle Academy

Roughly two years ago, while on a professional development trip to San Francisco,  Mr. van der Meer and I were invited to visit IDEO’s headquarters. Our host was an inspirational educational designer by the name of Caryn Voskuil. The relationships started during those days in San Francisco have turned out to be very fruitful. Our ongoing dialogue and collaboration has resulted in many of the learning spaces we currently see at all of our schools.

As we continue to look forward, we have again engaged IDEO to help us consider the future. To this end, Caryn and a team of educational designers will be joining the staff, parents, and students of Rundle Academy in October to start envisioning ‘What is the future of the Academy?’  

I look forward to exploring this question with our community and reporting back about what our community believes would make the ideal learning environment for Rundle Academy.
Strategic Plan - Pillar One - “Our Fabric”

As you have likely heard by now, Rundle College Society is excited to roll out our newest strategic plan this year. The plan consists of five pillars: Our Fabric, The Rundle Experience, Happy to Be Here, Rundle 365 and The Ascent. In each of the Head’s Up communications this year, I intend to give our community a deeper look into each of these important priorities and how they manifest in our hallways, classrooms and community.  

Our Fabric

The essence of the first pillar is to recognize the strength of the contributions of those who have come before us, starting with our founders and following up with all of the great teachers, staff members and leaders who have brought Rundle to such an enviable position.

Among others, you will see these two core strategic initiatives that aim to reinforce ‘Our Fabric’ over the coming years.
  • Alignment of our school’s House Teams & Team Names.
    • On first blush, this may seem like a small and inconsequential implementation; however, we believe this will stand to remind our students of the grassroots of our program.  We will see names such as: Conklin, Collett, Hauk, Johnston, Reed, and Holowaychuk become more remembered and recognizable. We hope that by subtly inserting the remembrance of these great leaders, we will encourage all members of our community to remember the lasting impact these individuals have had on our schools.
  • The Headmaster’s List
    • At Rundle, we value the development of true renaissance learners. That said, often our top awards and recognitions go to those students who excel in just one aspect of their learning: academics. Examples of this recognition can be seen on our schools’ Honour Rolls. Over the course of the coming years, we’ll continue to develop and implement an alternative indicator of overall success: the Headmaster’s List. Students who achieve this recognition will have demonstrated a high academic standard along with tangible success in the areas of Togetherness, Kindness, Curiosity and Wellness.
On The Shelf:

Bored and Brilliant: How Spacing Out Can Unlock Your Most Productive & Creative Self.
By Manoush Zomorodi

Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging. By Brene Brown
Head’s Up with Jason Rogers - iTunes Podcast Store

Making Time for Nothing: Teens and the Art of Zoning Out: Huffington Post by Gina Maier

No comments:

Post a Comment