Volume 17 Issue 4
Keeping Parents Informed
December 19, 2013
Happy Holidays to you & your loved ones from all of us at Crescent School
CPa NeWS happy holidays
he Fall Term seems to have vanished in a flash. A number of CPA events have now come and gone until another year. On a social note, our Grade Parents successfully organized 10 social evenings this fall (one per grade) which were all well-attended and much appreciated. Thank you to our 29 Grade Parents who organized these parties and to the generous families who hosted in their homes. The annual Holiday Sale and Cocktail in November was a special event. Alison Smith and a committee of talented volunteers transformed the CCL into a festive market complete with one-of-a-kind vendors, an art show, holiday decor and food and drink. If you visited the Incredible Edibles table you enjoyed baked goodies made by Crescent parents. You may be interested to know that the chocolate bark was made by a group of past parents. Thank you to all Crescent bakers and to these special past parents who continue to support the CPA. If you purchased potted paperwhites, these were also
the work of a team of dedicated parents who planted and gift wrapped over 100 pots in support of CPA fundraising. Thank you to Theresa Burke and friends. Looking forward to the New Year we hope you will join us at the Annual Parent Luncheon on February 11. We are excited to introduce Spencer West as this year’s speaker. The afternoon will be a great way to connect with friends and hear Spencer’s incredible story of persistence. On behalf of the entire CPA Committee we extend our thanks to all Crescent parents, staff and faculty for supporting our programs this term. We wish you a happy holiday and send our best wishes for the New Year.
Men of Character from Boys of Promise
—tara Borg, President & lynn Porter Zechner, Vice President
FaCultY PrOFIle—Welcoming Michael Bribois Where did you grow up? I grew up in Toronto about 10 minutes away from Crescent School and went to St. Mike’s. Where were you before Crescent? For the previous three years I taught at, and was the Athletic Director at Northmount School, a small all boys school in Toronto. Why did you become a teacher? Teaching was something that had always been a part of my life. As a teenager I worked at overnight camps and helped run hockey schools. Working with children and teenagers was always something I enjoyed, so it seemed like a natural fit when it came time to choose a career, and I could not be happier with my decision. What do you teach? I teach Upper School Health and Physical Education. Did you have a favourite teacher growing up? Who was it and why? My favourite teacher growing up was Mrs. Lalonde. I had her for both Grades 4 and 5. I liked her because she expected a lot out of us and held us accountable.
What’s your favorite thing about Crescent? Other than the lunches, I think my favourite part about the school is the people. The staff at Crescent is like no other, and is always willing to lend a helping hand. As for the students, I was blown away early on with how polite and respectful the student body is here. If you could change one thing about Crescent, what would it be? I would love to see the fitness centre/ weight room expand. It would also be nice if one day, somehow a hockey rink could be added to the facilities. What do you do in your class that is specific to boys’ learning? We know that boys like to be active and engaged, so in my class I try to limit my instructional time. The more the boys can be involved in a wide variety of games and activities that promote healthy active living, the better.
If you had to change professions, what would you do? Professional athlete. What changes have you seen in education during your career? I am still relatively junior in my career, but over the last 4 or 5 years I have seen a massive change towards technology in the classroom. (Something I am still trying to keep on top of as there is so much going on out there) Big fish in a small pond or small fish in a big pond? Small fish in a big pond. Of what are you most afraid? Complacency in my life and career. What is your greatest joy? Spending time with friends and family. Favourite movie? Remember The Titans. If you were a professional athlete who would you be? Sidney Crosby (but I would want to be traded to LA so I could play golf on my days off).
Although I may not have loved her at the time, she made us work harder than we knew we could and didn’t treat us like we were little kids. I think of all my teachers, she prepared me the most for high school, even though it was Grade 4 and 5. how are you liking Crescent? I am absolutely loving every day at Crescent and so thankful to be a part of this truly special community.
Men of Character from Boys of Promise
SChOOl meSSaGeS From the upper School
have had a few queries about why Crescent doesn’t have a Guidance Department; I thought I would take this opportunity to respond. Ten years ago we did, in fact, have one. However, we made the decision to divide Guidance into its constituent functions in order to provide a higher degree of expertise and experience for our students and families. We created a University Counselling Office with a staff of three and the resources to thoroughly immerse themselves in the university landscape across North America and in Europe. Mr. Haag and Ms. Porteous have visited university admissions offices throughout Canada and the United States, in the UK, and in continental Europe. They have seized the opportunity to help many of those universities—potential destinations for our Grads—to understand Crescent and the value that our students can bring to their campuses. They also fully understand the admissions procedures for each program. The third indispensable member of the team is a very experienced assistant who facilitates all aspects of the application process. All of this is critical full-time work. Similarly, at the same time, we created Crescent Student Services (CSS) in order to provide academic, social/emotional and wellness support for students. CSS today is staffed by a number of people representing a broad range of expertise. We have an Upper School Head, Anjelien Slater, and a Lower School/Middle School Head, Margot Beech-Kennedy. In addition, in the Upper School, there is a counsellor, Andrea Kaye, and a program support liaison, Nick Morris, who provide individual and group counselling as well as social/emotional learning initiatives addressing bullying, drug and alcohol use, healthy relationships, and mental health.
There is also a coordinator assisting with learning skills programming and organizing learning plans addressing individual student needs. Seamlessly integrated into the classrooms, there are two learning coaches—one focused on numeracy and the other literacy. We also employ a writing coach (after school hours) several days each week; students may book appointments with her for help with essays. In addition, our two school nurses work closely with CSS staff in order to effectively understand students: what presents as a stomach ache might in fact be provoked by test anxiety, or by difficult personal circumstances. Appropriate support depends on accurate diagnosis. Further, the Director of University Counselling and Upper School Head of CSS, along with the Head of Academics and the Head and Assistant Head of Upper School meet regularly to discuss individual students and share information—you might think of this as a kind of “super-guidance office” where all of the available information about students is brought together so that we can make sure that we are doing the best job we can to support each boy. I hope that this brief description of our internal structure, together with the reasoning behind it, is useful in helping you to understand how we work to provide the best possible individual support for all of our students, beyond the conventional guidance model. And finally—I wish everyone the very best of holidays and hope that you spend it in the embrace of family and friends, in the true spirit of the season. —mr. lowndes, head of upper School
From the middle School
y mother always told me that it is often the small things in life that mean the most—mind you, my Mum is 5 feet 2” so perhaps she has a vested interested in that being true. I would add that it is often the small, unexpected things that impact us the most. As I sit here looking out at the frost covered formal gardens at Crescent, with the sun just coming up, and think back over the term and what has impacted me most it is not the big things that come to my mind. It is the small, unexpected things.
A couple of weeks ago I took our dog for a walk. It was cold and damp and to be perfectly honest I didn’t fancy it at all. As I was bundling myself up, my son, Callum, decided he would come with me. As often happens when we walk he started talking and never shut up—he thinks he is hilarious and I find him hilarious, so we make a good wee team. And then he did it—without conscious thought he reached out, in mid-flow, and held my hand. He’s 10, my days of having my hand held are numbered, and I know that. But this was spontaneous and genuine and I felt like a million dollars. It was a small, unex-
Men of Character from Boys of Promise
SChOOl meSSaGeS pected thing and it was powerful. I had the wonderful opportunity to join the Choir trip that went to Scotland this term. It was brilliant. I loved it. On my return I received a letter, a hand written letter (Do you remember those?) thanking me for going to on the trip. Thanking me for going to Scotland is sort of like me thanking my son for the eating the ice cream I just got him. But a hand written note, with the time and thought that it implies—I felt great. It was a small, unexpected thing and it was powerful. The morning after the Middle School production of Coyote Night Live, I was sitting at the entrance to the Lau Family Wing with a much-needed cup of coffee watching the boys come into school. Our boys arrive and gravitate towards their friends and the social hum of the day begins. I watched a Grade 8 boy walk by a Grade 7 boy. To the best of my knowledge they don’t have any social overlap. “Great job last night, you were hilarious,” said the Grade 8 boy. That was it, he moved on and
towards his friends. I wish I had taken a photo—the face of the wee Grade 7 boy was one bursting… BURSTING with pride. It was a small, unexpected thing and it was powerful. At this time of year, both the stories of Hanukkah and Christmas celebrate the small and unexpected and the power in each. Whatever your own culture or faith tradition, we are afforded a two week break at the year’s end. It is a time where we can, if we choose, stop, reflect and focus on what matters most to us. A Middle School boy, your son, is not well placed at this stage in his life to show profound or grand moments of appreciation, or love, in the midst of that reflection. However, I bet, if you are looking for it, and are open to it, you will find some brilliantly powerful moments in the small and the unexpected. It is where your boys truly excel. Happy Holidays. —mr. Young, head of middle School
From the lower School
s you know, last weekend I flew back to Winnipeg to celebrate an early Christmas with my family and have a belated birthday visit with my father. Upon arrival, I went to work helping my Mom purchase gifts for other family members, and generally do the running around on her behalf. It was fun, tiring and rewarding. At Winter Celebration this week, Geoff Roberts told the boys a childhood holiday story that he wrote, entitled “My Father’s Gift.” It was a heartwarming story of giving and sacrifice, magically presented through the eyes of a fouryear-old Mr. Roberts. Both the boys and the audience were entranced. This year, my focus with the boys has been on our “core:” our core values, our mission, our inner stregnth. I believe at this time of year, we are even more focused on who we are and in what we believe. It struck me, that a similarity exists between Mr. Robert’s story and
my weekend trip to Winnipeg. As the oldest of four and a daughter living away from home, I can see the subtle changes in my parents when I visit. When I was little, I loved the holidays, the snow, the excitement, and yes, the gifts. Now, as someone much older than four, the gift I cherish the most is the opportunity to visit and spend time with my family; the actual presents are immaterial. At my core, I am very aware of the time I spend away from my family.
This holiday season, my wish for you is balance, to find that blend of actual gifts, with gifts of time with family, friends and rest. Have a wonderful holiday, and when we return to school, may it be with renewed energy and enthusiasm for making the year ahead a very special year, indeed. —Dr. Boyes, head of lower School
As a boy of four, Mr. Roberts loved his gift of a car he could actually sit in and “drive,” but even at that age, realized that it was a gift his parents could ill afford. At his core, he was thrilled with his gift, but then (as now) is aware the gift came from a place of great love. That is the part he treasures. Whether you are a daughter or a son, a mother or a father, the gift of time with family is to be treasured.
Men of Character from Boys of Promise
aDVaNCemeNt NeWS thank You for your Support of Crescent’s Parent annual Giving Program!
ach year, we have the privilege of thanking the vast majority of Crescent School parents who faithfully support Crescent’s Parent Annual Giving program. This yearly initiative garners over $1.1 million in support of funding priorities that directly enhance the educational experience of all our Boys of Promise. During the life of the Great Boys campaign, Parent Annual Giving will help to underwrite campaign priorities that include the new Library and Latifi Family Commons, the Lau Family Wing, the Margaret Donnelly Lower School Library, Innes Field and programmatic endowments for International Outreach, Robotics & Technology, Crescent Student Services/Research & Development in Boys’ Education and Student Financial Aid. If you have not yet made a gift in 2013, please consider donating in the manner that is most convenient for you.
To make a secure gift online, you may visit https://greenroom. crescentschool.org/Donate. Cheques made out to Crescent School may be mailed to the following address: Crescent School Advancement Office 2365 Bayview Avenue Toronto, ON M2L 1A2 You may also make a credit card gift over the phone by calling Jill Cannon, Director of Advancement, at 416-449-2556 ext. 276. All donations received or postmarked by December 31, 2013 are eligible for a 2013 charitable tax receipt. Whatever donation method you choose, please know that your gifts help make possible new facilities and School initiatives that are not covered by tuition. We are deeply grateful for your financial endorsement of Crescent School—thank you!
alumni Survey update
n March, the Advancement Office, partnering with the Crescent Alumni Executive, conducted an alumni survey in order to better understand this important constituent group. The results of the survey were received in October, and they reflect the insights, opinions and feedback of 473 alumni across all ages. These findings will be used by the Advancement Office and the Alumni Executive to shape and enhance alumni programs, events and opportunities made available to our alumni. Below is a snapshot of the results: • Alumni rated their level of satisfaction with their Crescent School experience as a 4.5/5—the highest rating our surveyor has ever seen amongst other surveyed independent schools • The interaction with faculty and the academic program were rated at 4.5/5 • Interaction with fellow students and the calibre of faculty were rated at 4.5/5 • 41 per cent agree and 34.7 per cent strongly agree that they were provided with comprehensive university preparation • 50.2 per cent strongly agree they were well supported in their efforts to meet their full academic potential • 58.6 per cent of alumni strongly agree that their days at Crescent were happy ones • 93 per cent had at least one faculty member, staff coach or
administrator have a strong and favourable influence on them • 89 per cent of our alumni were enthusiastically involved in co-curricular activities while students at Crescent • Alumni rated their level of satisfaction with their relationship with Crescent as an alumnus as 3.5/5—this was not the most favourable score we could have had, but it was an increase from the 2008 survey and there are many strategies in place to increase that number • 59.2 per cent strongly agree that Crescent is among the best independent schools in the GTA, and 62.8 per cent strongly agree that if circumstances permitted they would send their son to the School • 69 per cent strongly agree with the statement “I am proud to be a Crescent graduate!” • 44.3 per cent strongly agree and 22.5 per cent agree that Crescent alumni are amongst their closest friends
As evidenced by the above results, the 2013 Alumni Survey showed overwhelmingly positive results from our alumni community. And while they reaffirmed many things that we already believed, they also provided us with some very relevant information that will be used to ensure our alumni are receiving the best Crescent alumni experience as possible. Should you wish to learn more about the 2013 Alumni Survey or see additional results, contact Kathryn Rutherford, Alumni Relations Officer at email@example.com or call 416-449-2556 x260.
Men of Character from Boys of Promise
IN aND arOuND the SChOOl
nce or twice a term, a Grub Day is called and a toonie is expected from each student to support one of Crescentâ€™s Outreach partners. When Hurricane Haiyan hit the Philippines suddenly, Crescent felt it was fitting to support the Philippine community who is supportive of so many of our Crescent families. One student in particular, Grade 3 student Luca Alagheband, made a special contribution. His letter reminds us to put ourselves in the place of others, be empathetic, and repay kindness.
Men of Character from Boys of Promise
great picture! T
he Fall Term finished on the 19th of December with a full school assembly in the lower gym filled with music and thoughtful messaging. Head Boy Alex Karayannopoulos and Headmaster Geoff Roberts both spoke to students about a successful first term and what to expect from themselves over the holidays and into the new year. Among other topics, Mr. Roberts suggested the boys rethink consumerism, especially having the latest most up-to-the-minute gadgets, while Alex gave the OK to sleep in past noon on the first day of Winter Break!
math league results
n December 3, students participated in the first of six Math League contests this year. We had a very impressive participation of 40 students. Thank you and a big pat on the back to everyone who came out! There were two perfect scores this time by Ian Lo and Adam Murai. Here are the current top 10 standings: 1. Ian Lo, Grade 11 16 4. Ronald Chow, Grade 10 13 9. Jacob Kachura, Grade 12 11 2. Max Liu, Grade 11 14 6. David Ferris, Grade 12 12 9. Tim Melis, Grade 12 11 2. Adam Murai, Grade 11 14 6. Jake Fisher, Grade 12 12 3. Matt Allion, Grade 11 13 6. Winston Xing, Grade 11 12
Hudson House is taking the lead with a whopping 79 points! Massey is close behind with 74 points, and Cartier is in 3rd with 50 points. Please encourage your son to come out and write the next contest on the 14th of January! â€”Sean Chung, Grade 12 Crescent School | 2365 Bayview Ave. Toronto, ON M2L 1A2 | 416.449.2556 | www.crescentschool.org