Looking back at 2019
2019 has been an incredible year at The Booker School, one that has seen our not-for-profit, charitable society grow in so many ways. In January 2019, we started our second term with eighteen students enrolled at The Booker School from Pre-Primary to Grade 5. In March 2019 we grew to twenty-two, and we started September with thirty-three students.
With new students, new dedicated families joined our community. During the March Break this year we had a group of enthusiastic parents helping us freshen up the school with a new coat of paint. We have built four wonderful raised vegetable beds which our students have enjoyed harvesting and eating from. We built the stage and improved our Performing Arts space, The Mercer Studio. We have had regular and delicious hot lunches. Many families have contributed to maintaining our buildings and grounds. The problem with highlighting specific individuals is that I am sure to miss others. Please know that all contributions to our community are incredibly appreciated and welcome!
The faculty have worked tirelessly behind the scenes to continue to develop the Educational Program at the school. Last spring, we introduced our new Educational Program document which laid out the four areas of what we do here at The Booker School. We continue to compare our curriculum to international and local standards, to ensure we are challenging our students with meaningful and significant learning experiences. We have been able to host and train student-teachers and Early Childhood Educators on local courses. The faculty and board members have been working together to review and extend our policy documents. As well as with our educational program, the society has invested in improving security at the school, with the installation of new access and security systems over the summer.
Our school has taken an increasingly active role in the community, modelling to the students what it means to be a good citizen. Our students ran the Mock Jail in Port Williams last spring, as well as having our campus host the Spring Fair for Port Williams Days. In September, we collaborated once more with the Terry Fox Foundation and had a wonderful family day to raise funds for a good cause. In December we had a big toy drive for the Kids Action Program. Our annual fundraising events have made the school more accessible to local families through financial aid and scholarships.
For our small school, 2019 has been a big transitional year. It is thanks to the faculty, the Board, our parents and our alumni that the school continues to grow and we can provide this opportunity for the children in our care.
Looking forward to 2020
The school's motto is to 'Think, Act, Become'. As we enter the year 2020, it is important that we review what it is we want The Booker School to become. As the school continues to grow, with more students expected to join us internationally as well as locally, the society is developing the Strategic Plan. This plan includes the target of accreditation with CAIS (Canadian Association of Independent Schools) and the PYP (Primary Years Programme) from the International Baccalaureate. It also includes plans for expanding the classroom spaces as our student numbers increase.
With our small faculty, we also hire specialist teachers throughout the year to give students opportunities within different disciplines. In term 2, we have Kim Bartle coming in to teach music to the two Early Years classes, PreK-K and Grade 1. Our Grade 2-6 classes will be heading off to Martock every Friday morning for Term 2 for PSHE, where they will be in small group tuition for skiing or snowboarding (email to come soon). Ms Colleen Gerritts will continue to deliver visual arts instruction throughout Term 2 & 3. In Term 3, we look forward to continuing the development of biking and road safety skills across the school. We also plan to continue our overnight trips with a focus on outdoor education and/or service and action. We introduce overnight stays at the Grade 1 level with a night on campus; this is sure to be an exciting one for Ms Jamie's class!
We are looking at launching a new and improved website after the March break. This website is being designed to reflect our new educational program, digitize much of the admissions process of the school, and create systems for families to keep track of items such as policies and payments. This is only achievable due to the kind support of one of our families. If you are not sure how you can contribute towards your forty hours of the Parent Participation Program, please let us know and we can find a way.
With the expected growth in student numbers, we may be looking to hire an additional teacher for September 2020. It is important to us that we hire experienced, qualified and caring educators who align with the school's mission. The school's online presence is attracting educators internationally, with some local teachers who have moved away from the Valley to work abroad looking to return home. Once we advertise for a position, if you know someone who would be a good fit for our community, please ask them to connect with Mr James directly.
We will be doing a push for our Middle School Program and our Early Years this term to try and attract September enrolments. With Grade 6-7 spaces available for September, we are trying to reach families who may be looking for something more from a Middle School program. Our current families have the opportunity to be ambassadors for the school, and if a new family enrols after a recommendation, that 'Ambassador' will receive a 10% discount on their tuition fees for next year.