Our Kids
Glen Herbert - Editor

Glen Herbert
Editor/Writer, Our Kids Media

August, 2020

This is a telling moment, one fast becoming an inflection point not only within the pandemic, but within education itself. Parents (as outlined in gritty detail in a piece this week in Toronto Life) want real measures and clear, well delivered protocols to ensure the safety of students and staff. But they also want a quality offering, online if necessary, and they want strong leadership: administrators who are able to operate above the din, making informed decisions quickly and effectively based first in the needs and preferences of their students and families, not the political needs of the moment. And when school starts, they want educators who aren't just looking at where to put the desks, but also thinking creatively about how to maintain all the relationships—faculty to student, peer to peer—that are the bedrock of learning.

"That's exactly what happened in the private school system, where there was widespread adoption of synchronous learning," writes Raizel Robin in that Toronto Life piece, referencing the pivot last March. "The teachers' focus was on keeping students engaged in learning—real, live learning, face-to-face with their teachers and classmates, right from the start of lockdown. … school was never treated as optional." It's not a race, of course, and public schooling is essential to the life of the nation. That said, it was a moment in which private and independent schools demonstrated the value that they, specifically, can offer: responsive leadership, the maintenance of learning relationships, effective programs, and largely undisrupted delivery.

That's a story we've been telling through the covid pages of our site, and the additions you've made to your profiles. It's a story that we'll continue to tell through the fall and beyond, one that will also find an appropriate place within the messaging around the Admissions Pathway, our new, annual multi-week student recruitment drive. That event, taking place through the month of October, sits in the calendar when our live expos would have been. That said, it's envisioned as more than an online expo, particularly because of the context that we're all living within. Parents aren't just looking for private schools, they're also really gaining a sense of the value that schools provide. Our Kids is uniquely positioned to speak directly with families who are engaged and focused around finding the best options for their children. Throughout the event, messaging around what private and independent schools uniquely offer—particularly now—will be highlighted, within the information sessions and beyond. This is a time of heightened awareness, one that we'll address throughout the Admissions Pathway events.

Ultimately it's not about either/or, or us versus them. It's about demonstrating best practices and how they are reflected within an important aspect of the Canadian educational system: private and independent schooling. The information you share through your profile and the Admissions Pathway events will help us do that. You've already noted how you've been operating during the pandemic, including through a field within our online profile. We've now added additional fields to tease and provide more concrete detail about the road ahead. You can access those and update them here. Guided by question prompts, the content you enter there will appear on your profile and will be used in articles and hubs in the months ahead.

We are living through a crisis, though when it ends this story will still be with us precisely because it's not just about a virus. Entwined within it are all the basic questions of education: what students need to thrive, what schools can and should provide their constituents. How we respond in a crisis says a lot about who we are and what our values are. It's an important story to tell, and to tell well.

For more ...

  • Shown below are images of the new fields that have been added to your c-panel. The information you enter here will be invaluable in delivering some important messages, and will appear on your profile and elsewhere across our platforms.

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