Greetings From Principal Shaw
This week marks the end of the 2019 school year. We are most thankful for the link between school and home because, together, we best influence the learning environment and optimize student achievement.
We believe that success happens in and out of the classroom. Research suggests that students who engage in school activities experience a greater sense of belonging. For this reason we appreciate the unlimited number of activities happening at our school. There is something here for every student to participate in and grow as a learner.
This semester, students in Health and Physical Education have demonstrated their expertise with a number of team sports and leadership opportunities. Senior Girls' Basketball went all the way to City finals and left as the south Regional Champions. The cross country team competed in City Championships and the OFSAA Championships in Sudbury. Winter sports are now underway including girls' and boys' ice hockey, girls' volleyball, boys' basketball and the swim team. A big shout-out to staff advisors and community coaches who continue to support the awesome Athletics program at Malvern.
In keeping with an emphasis on well-being, a group of Grade 9 students attended a mental health symposium with Jack.org. School-wide initiatives with the Jack.org club focus on healthy coping strategies to deal with the stresses of adolescence, including initiatives to prep students for Semester 1 final exams; and a mindful minute to ground us in our activities of daily living. I would be remiss not to recognize the students and staff from the Jack.org club, who on November 30th, jumped into the lake at Woodbine Beach as a part of the Brain Freeze fundraiser for youth mental health. Well done! Brrrr...
I would also be remiss not to recognize the extraordinary work of the Music and Drama departments with their numerous productions and events. If you missed out on the fall drama performances, please ink in April 17th for Grade 11 Docudramas and May 21st and 22nd for the Grade 12 performance of Anne Frank. A series of music events including Santa Claus parades across the GTA, lighting of the lights at Kew Gardens, school events such as Remembrance Day, the upcoming Holiday Assembly and School Council's Winter Blues are examples of our musical showcase. Malvern's music is everywhere!
The Arts also continues to thrive. Students in Grade 12 are creating door murals, and they are popping up throughout the school. We are inspired by their artistry and collaboration as they have worked with various departments to reflect subject and thematic expertise and make connections to learning through the arts. We are also looking forward to the Malvern Art Show, featuring works from students in Grades 9-12, as well as projects by students in Technological Education. The Art Show is scheduled for January 20th from 3:30 pm to 8:00 pm. Our "Artist in Residence" program this year, introduces Philip Cote. Cote is an artist, historian, ancestral knowledge keeper and Ojibway. He is also a graduate of OCAD University's Interdisciplinary Art Media and Design Master's program. Cote will work alongside students in the Grade 9 Expressing Indigenous Cultures course to explore ways to depict painting through oral traditions of storytelling and spiritual perspectives. Thank you to Malvern's School Council who are supporting, among other things, the creation of wall murals, one on the second floor near the art rooms and the other at the entrance to the main office. Watch for that student work beginning Semester 2.
The upcoming Holiday Assembly on Thursday of this week is a compilation of student voice as the various groups and councils shared in the coordination. Fashion Show is up and running in preparation for a spring performance. The new Peer Leader Equity Council's strategy is underway and driven by the voice of Grade 9 students. Based on a grade-wide survey, peer to peer training deals with topics of student interest. Malvern's United Cultures Council supports the work of equity at our school and they are currently preparing for African Heritage month, which is marked in February. "Hackers for Good" at our school are thriving with coding and engineering. A number of competitions and demonstrations have taken place or are about to occur. We are extremely proud of a student in Grade 12 who was recognized with an Aspiration in Computing award at the Canadian Celebration of Women in Computing conference in Toronto. This student was one of the 29 winners from across the country. As well, Can Hack Cyber Expo and the FTC Provincial Robotics Competition engages students in Grade 9-12, and paves the way for a more fulsome launch of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) across the curriculum. Thanks to the Robotics and Engineering clubs who have promoted STEM and helped to build capacity for September, 2020.
From the French Immersion & French Extended programs, comes a new plan to transition students from feeder schools in our pathway. A talent show, to be held in the spring, will demonstrate language skills, promote school spirit en français and build an understanding of the depth and breadth of the French Immersion/French Extended programs. At the co-curricular level, Conseil Français continues to support language acquisition through various initiatives.
As you can see, co-curricular activities are immensely popular and very well supported. Our classrooms are also vibrant with complimentary forms of experiential learning. From visits to the Court of Justice to Financial Literacy, mathematics competitions, planning for the Remembrance Day ceremony and so on, teachers continue to embed opportunities for hands-on learning and creativity. Learning by doing and reflecting correlate with strong evidence-based strategies.
Did you know?
Credit rescue will be held on January 10th if your son or daughter needs to catch up on work prior to the end of Semester 1; the midterm credit rescue session yielded on average a 6.7% increase in students' marks between the date of the credit rescue session and their mid-term report card mark; 28 students came into the session with a failing grade and over 1/3 of the students were able to achieve a passing grade for their mid-term report; and 7 students were able to increase their mark from <55% to over 60% on their mid-term report card; For Semester 2 - Resource room support will be located in Room B1 and Learning Strategies (GLE) will be scheduled in Room 315; New bike racks have been installed in our parking lot; Final exams begin January 22nd; Study skills based on proven techniques are worth reviewing: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL7BImOT2srcGCCjBBwNvU5zaB9F30lWye Free college courses are available to senior students – Dual Credits offer students the chance to attend college; earn a college credit and an additional secondary school credit; and test-drive post-secondary learning; Grade 10, 11 & 12 students thinking about a career in the Sports and Wellness industry sector should consider Malvern's Specialist High Skills Major in Sports http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/morestudentsuccess/shsm_fact_sheet.pdf Our School Improvement and Department Improvement Plans focus on well-being, achievement and equity.
Finally, I would like to acknowledge the work of our stellar caretaking team, who are responsible for our shiny floors and so much more! Last but not least, to our office staff, a big thank you for keeping us organized and supporting the whole learning community.
On behalf of Vice Principals Jenna Greenfield, Tino Barkas and I, we wish all of you a Happy Holiday Season, safe travels and a healthful New Year.