Whenever I think of a ‘new year,’ it does not start in January but in September. I suspect even down the road when I retire, I will always think of my new year as starting at this time of year. For students and teachers alike, it is a time for new beginnings: a new school, a new grade, a new role. As with any new year, one reflects on the past and lays down hopes for the future, understanding that a year is but a part of a longer journey.
When I left the school on Friday I reflected on just how fortunate we are at St. Clement’s. Staff members were setting up the foyer in anticipation of the girls’ return and their enthusiasm was tangible. Our faculty and staff have been preparing for this year for several months and are looking forward to starting another year of feeding the passion of St. Clement’s students.
It was with this sense of new beginnings and excitement about our students’ return that I read Elizabeth Renzetti’s article in the Globe and Mail about global concerns regarding education. Renzetti spoke of Amanda Ripley’s new book entitled The Smartest Kids in the World and the author’s perspective on what factors contribute to a successful education after having travelled around the globe to see for herself. While I have not yet read the book, her findings do not surprise me. According to Renzetti, Ripley highlights the importance for rigour and the need to ensure that students are taught how to analyze and apply reasoning to solving problems. Ripley also highlights the role of outstanding teachers.
It was a pleasure to read this particular article this weekend as it confirmed exactly what we have always aspired to ensure. At St. Clement’s our focus is providing an education that stretches our girls beyond even the enriched curriculum to the task of pushing through the messiness and uncertainty of problem solving and application. Coupled with this, as a small school, we are fortunate to have a true spirit of community, supporting each other as we learn.
I wish everyone a Happy New Year!