I am one of the fortunate ones that enjoys the renewal of September. For 45 years, I’ve experienced the swirling tummy of nervousness, excitement and anticipation of a new school year. From the start, the 2016-17 school year has been energetic, positive, and every bit the renewal I was looking forward to.
In recent years, I’ve invited the Grade 12 class, by house, to join me for a fall BBQ and chat. One of our principles is continuous improvement and asking for feedback is very much part of this process. The use of surveys – student, parent, employee, and alumni – are most helpful, as is the intimacy of these Grade 12 house gatherings. After sharing our meal, we sit around our fire pit to discuss four questions.
- If we change everything about the school, what would you want us to keep i.e. What do you hold most dear to your heart?
- If you had one wish, what would you change about the school i.e. How can we improve?
- What is our unique value-proposition i.e. What is our most important differentiating factor?
The replies to these key questions are most illuminating and heartening. Below are the top responses for each category.
Things that we value.
- People – students and staff
- Tripartite program and schedule
- Campus and facilities
- House system
Things to improve.
- More uniform options.
- Review Saturday mornings.
- More Sunday activity options.
- Don’t know
Things that make us special.
- Diversity – in all aspects – culturally, geographically, thinking, etc.
- We are a family.
- Staff care about us doing well and support us.
- It’s cool to do well.
The conversations took about 1.5 to 2 hours per house. If TIME, as is said, is the most precious gift one can give, then I was fortunate to spend these intimate moments with our Grade 12s. The Grads of 2017 have already set a positive path forward for our school and I thank them for this GIFT.
De Manu In Manum,