Sunday, March 16, 2008

A Day at Springwood High School

I spent my first vocational day with my host-mum, Marilyn Kenney. In addition to being a terrific cook and a thoughtful host, Marilyn happens to be Deputy Principal of Springwood High School (a DP is equivalent to the role of Assistant Principal). Springwood High School is a secondary school comprised of about 800 students in grades 7-12. Like the administrators at my local high school, Marilyn is the lightening rod for all sorts of student-related challenges. She no sooner walked into the building—at the early hour of 7:15am—when she was called upon to help two students reexamine their rather liberal interpretations of the dress code. Another student came by to inquire about the upcoming Vaccination Day, which is when students receive all the nationally required immunizations free of charge. A parent called. Kids stopped by. The principal touched base about a few students. Another parent called. Two parents showed up unannounced to talk with Marilyn about their son. Two teachers came looking for advice and guidance.

Before I knew it, we were gobbling down our lunches while Marilyn listened to a student describe her challenges in French class. Marilyn, or Ms. Kenney to the kids, administered a dose of tough love with a side of support and sent the student on her way.

We made it to the Deputy Principals’ In-service Workshop just in time to enjoy a “cuppa” and some talk with fellow colleagues. The theme of the workshop was Cyber-Safe Schools. We viewed examples of cyber-stalking and cyber-bullying; we were also lucky enough to be participate in a panel discussion with several experts in the field.

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