Volume 15 Issue 11
keeping parents informed
March 2, 2012
VISIT from DR. COX CONFIRMS and INSPIRES
hen we learned that Dr. Adam Cox was going to be in Toronto last week, we scrambled to get him here.
it means to be a man: How do they get there? How will they know? What are the landmarks, the rites of passage?
He agreed to spend a day with us last Thursday. Dr. Cox had spoken at Crescent a few years ago about his book Boys of Few Words. This time he was following up on his just-released research project Locating Significance in the Lives of Boys, and we have the full report available for you in the Green Room. Dr. Cox had recently spent two years travelling around the world. He visited boys’ schools in Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, the States, Canada, the U.K. and South Africa. At each stop he spoke with boys in depth about their lives.
And third, that boys are highly motivated to do meaningful work. They want to work hard, to throw their whole being into a task, but it helps if it’s seen as important and makes a tangible difference to something that matters to them.
Dr. Cox spoke at the Lower School, Middle School and Upper School Assemblies, presented highlights of his report to faculty and staff, and spoke with parents in the evening. It was a rich and full day. Dr. Cox had 15 minutes to address the boys in Upper School Assembly. He presented them with a list of what he had learned from boys. I wasn’t sure how well he had been able to connect—with so little time for such a complex message. I needn’t have worried. After Assembly, I dropped into Crescent Student Services where a group of grads were in animated discussion about what he’d said. I was in the grade 10 locker corridor at break, and again the boys were eager to talk about Dr. Cox’s presentation. Later in the day at the parent event, several parents said that they hadn’t intended to attend, but their sons came home to say that they had to go and hear this guy: he had “got it right” about them. Rarely has a speaker provoked such a response from our students. So what is it that Dr. Cox learned about boys? You can read the report in the Green Room for the complete answer, but for me, a few key messages stand out. First, that boys are hungry for authentic conversation with an adult who cares—parents, of course—but also with someone more objective, who is, in a sense, a historian of their lives, and can give them the straight goods about their strengths and challenges; this is the value of an involved teacher/mentor. Second, that they are very engaged by the question of what
Dr. Cox was very flattering about his experience of Crescent. He felt that we had got many things right in terms of providing a positive environment and a variety of paths to manhood. We, in turn recognize that there is always more work to do, and thanks to Dr. Cox, we are re-inspired to engage with the work. —Mr. Lowndes, Head of Upper School
feedback from parents
thought Dr. Adam Cox’s comments on the benefits of providing boys with purposeful work were particularly interesting. They gave me incentive to promote the idea that, in the midst of the School improvements, we should try to find a way for the boys to contribute: painting rooms, assembling furniture and hanging artwork. As Dr. Cox suggested, think how proud they would feel walking into the [new] Learning Commons knowing they had helped. —Karen Holland P’18
r. Adam Cox captured beautifully the contradictions endemic to the developing male mind. His presentation gave insight to the rich interior world of our sons. They clearly think about much more than they say! His comments on boys’ appreciation for nature, in general and animals specifically, spoke directly to our experience of the transformative time spent at the cottage, and the deep connection between our son and our dog. I enjoyed his presentation immensely! —Janet Griffin P’13
From the Middle School
he first school I worked in was in a small town called Consett, in the North East of England near Newcastle. It was a crumbling town struggling in the aftermath of the steel works closing, a defiant community trying to maintain a culture without the lifeblood that drove the culture in the first place. Think Billy Elliot and you aren’t far wrong. Tony was a boy of 10 in my first ever class. His father was in jail and his mother struggled with various substance addictions and played no daily role in his life. He has a wee brother several years his junior. Each day, Tony and his brother would arrive at school, more or less on time, in clothes that didn’t fit and hadn’t seen the insides of a washing machine in weeks but they were there. The responsibility of getting himself and his brother to school fell solely on Tony’s young shoulders and he took that responsibility very seriously. He was a stoic; fiercely quiet boy who wore a constant frown on his face but the tenderness with which he supported his brother was by turns the saddest and most beautiful things I have ever seen. I recall a day when his brother’s class was to go on a school trip. The trip had several requirements – a signed consent form, a packed lunch, a waterproof jacket and, toughest of all, a nominal fee to cover the cost of the public bus ride. I watched that morning as Tony took his brother by the hand to line-up with all the mothers and their kids, I saw him zip up an oversized raincoat on his brother and hand the teacher a plastic bag full of pennies for the bus and a crumpled signed sheet. He stood
determinedly until the children all left on their trip and then came to class. It would be easy to romanticize Tony but that wouldn’t be the truth. He wasn’t always a pleasant boy or easy to deal with, he was angry and at times even violent, but he was capable of a gentleness and compassion that I would never have assumed he, as a boy, was. Last week we had the opportunity to hear Dr. Adam Cox speak to us at the end of a two-year study during which he interviewed thousands of boys from all over the world. His findings, published in Locating Significance in the Lives of Boys, is an optimistic reminder, driven from the authentic accounts of boys, that boys are full of wonderful potential. Despite what the media feeds us about boys and men, and against the unhealthy images of manhood that pervade, boys at their core are caring and compassionate creatures with a competitive drive to find significance in what they do. I have the pleasure of working with your Middle School sons. It is inspiring to be guided by these interactions, again and again on a daily basis, and to discover the capacity of the boys to excel in areas where we have mistakenly assumed they cannot. It is too easy to pigeon hole boys, and to limit their potentials because of generalized and sexist expectations. Our boys are capable of deeply intuitive, highly authentic personal traits and skills, as long as we provide them with the supportive landscape and scaffolding on which they can grow and celebrate these areas of boy driven excellence. —Mr. Young, Head of Middle School
From the Lower School Recognizing Character: The Final Chapter
inally... what the boys want to know about the most: what are the recognition levels?
The committee decided that there was a need for two levels of recognition, so that every boy had a way to "pass" character for the year, and still have an opportunity for the boys who want to go "above and beyond" to shine. The shield pins have been designated the "Merit" level awards. It is the expectation that each boy should receive the following level by the end of their year in each grade: Grade 3: Green Pin (three awards) Grade 4: Bronze Pin (six awards) Grade 5: Silver Pin (nine awards) Grade 6: Gold Pin (12 awards) In other words, this averages to one award per term. Boys can achieve any award level in any grade; this is to ensure that each boy feels valued, and a part of this programme. There are two
award levels after the "Merit" level. These awards are round pins with an embossed crest and a crystal stone. Emerald Level: 18 awards Diamond Level: 24 awards The boys are very excited about the emerald and diamond pins! I can tell that the boys are re-connecting with the programme because they are choosing to wear their blazers so that they can show off their pins. Boys new to each grade will be able to earn the merit pin for that grade by the end of the grade, with the expectation of earning one merit award per term. So there you have it. A character programme for students, designed and created by students. It is their voice, their hopes and desires and their aspirations that have infused every component of this initiative. I am proud of their hard work; it isan inspiration to all Lower School boys.
Men of Character from Boys of Promise
—Dr. Boyes, Head of Lower School
ADVANCEMENT NEWS Join Us for the Formal Opening of the Margaret Donnelly Library!
e hope that all members of the Crescent Family will come together on Tuesday, March 6 from 4 – 6 p.m. to celebrate the official opening of the Margaret Donnelly Library. Remarks from Geoff Roberts, Headmaster, will begin at 4:30 sharp, and we look forward to welcoming students, parents, alumni, current and former faculty, and members of the Donnelly family for this very special occasion. The event, which will include an official dedication, ribbon cutting and reception, will take place in the Margaret Donnelly Library (currently known as the Lower School Resource Centre), located at the end of the Lower School corridor. Named in honour of the late Margaret Donnelly, Crescent’s beloved former librarian, parent of Michael Donnelly ’88 and grandparent of Matthew Donnelly ’18, this newly-renovated space has greatly enriched the educational experience of our youngest students. The capital improvements were made possible through transformative individual donations to the $30 million Great Boys campaign, and we look forward to thanking those members of our community who have paid tribute to Margaret’s dedication and love for Crescent School in such a meaningful way. To RSVP to attend the opening, please contact Lizz Armstrong at larmstrong@ crescentschool.org or 416-449-2556 x265. We hope to see you on March 6!
MATH LEAGUE RESULTS
e had another two great showing at Math League on February 14, with many returning writers as well as some new faces. The current individual standings are as follows: 1. Joshua Lee, grade 12 1. Tudor Datcu, grade 12 3. Kevin Chien, grade 11 3. Warfa Jibril, grade 11 5. Patrick White, grade 12
26 6. S. Whittaker-Lee, grade 11 25 7. Andrew Leung, grade 12 2365 Bayview Avenue 23 Jethro Kwong, grade 12 Toronto, ON M2L8.1A2 23 8. Adam Noble-Marks, grade 12 T 416 449 2556 • F 416 449 7950 21 10. Adam Murai, grade 9
20 19 18 18 17
Massey holds a strong lead, while Cartier overtakes Simcoe to take second place. All Houses are quite close—the sixth and CRESCENT SCHOOL final Math League contest of this year will be the deciding factor in the House standings. MASSEY 91 Joshua Lee Kevin Chien Taylor Keating Philip Winterton Scott So
CARTIER 85 Warfa Jibril Patrick White Adam Noble-Marks Jack Hayward Max Liu
SIMCOE 81 Tudor Datcu Andrew Leung Adam Murai Jonathan Pearce Quinton Yau
The Math League is a great way not only to improve in math, but also find enjoyment in solving problems. Students from all grades are welcome, and House points are earned by all writers. I encourage everyone to come out again and write the final Math League of the year: Tuesday, March 6! —Andrew Leung, grade 12
Men of Character from Boys of Promise
Beren Academy’s Basketball Quandary
n Tuesday, the Beren Academy (a modern Orthodox Jewish day school in Houston) learned that their appeal to reschedule a basketball playoff game had been turned down. The championship game was scheduled to be played tonight at 9 p.m. For Beren Academy, that created a dilemma; play in the championship, or honour their faith and observe the Sabbath (Shabbat). When Beren joined the league, they were aware of the schedule, and the potential conflict. Since the appeal was rejected, the school has decided not to participate in the championship final; therefore forfeiting the game. Their decision has gained national attention in the United States. During Dr. Adam Cox’s visit last week, he and I talked about the educational power that ethical dilemmas present. What interests me most about ethical dilemmas is that there is often not a correct answer. The power, as I see it, is in the discussion itself. Dr. Cox spoke about how boys will call forth their ethical values, and articulate themselves in a way that they wouldn’t have if you had asked them a direct question about their values. I was impressed with two things about Beren’s decision. First was the fortitude to not be seduced by the glory of trophies and championships. This tells me that Beren Academy has a long-term developmental approach to their students’ growth. This is a concept that I talk about, as it correlates strongly with what we would describe as focusing on a boy’s long term character development. The second thing that impressed me was that the coach communicated to his team that how they responded to the league’s
decision will be a direct demonstration of their character. Character, so often, is not about the incident, but more often about how we respond to the incident. The teacher/coach is key to articulating this for the students so that they can make the connection between the incident and their character development. What is particularly interesting about this case is that the league’s decision can be interpreted, or misinterpreted in many ways. The league has said that they feel that they are being fair to the rest of the teams, and following through on their responsibility to the league, and to the state playoff schedule, to which the winner of this game was then supposed to progress. When I heard this, I thought of the news last week that described how the Koran was burned in Afghanistan by the U.S. military. The U.S. felt that the taking of the Korans was part of an initiative that is defensible from a justice perspective. This made me think that even when you are in the right—or feel that you are in the right—you can still do things that are perceived as offensive to others. Acting on behalf of justice does not always mean that your implementation of that justice is just. Essentially, this emphasizes the importance of being sensitive to the perspective of others. Discussing this allows students to learn empathy, while at the same time checking to see if our actions reflect our values; in character terms, we call this personal integrity. When we take a moment to see how our actions reflect our personal integrity, we can avoid occasions where our actions unintentionally offend others. —Mr. Dubrick, Director of Character and Leadership
HERE IS A GREAT CHECKLIST TO HELP ASSESS PERSONAL INTEGRITY
Men of Character from Boys of Promise
CPA NEWS CRESCENT GARAGE SALE— A Success Story in Community Building A CPA Fundraising Programme
he Garage Sale is a unique event at Crescent School. Organized by the CPA for over 20 years, it is held in the spring, and this year on Saturday, April 28 from 8 – 11:30 a.m. Mark your calendars! The benefits of the Garage Sale are far-reaching and touch many people’s lives as it builds community, raises funds and provides a service to our metropolitan community. More than 1,000 visitors acquire everything from everyday household items to small treasures. People find just what they need to decorate their apartments, furnish student lofts, and provide fine clothing to fast growing kids. Many newcomers to Toronto find what they need to set themselves up in their new places. This event is unique and valued for bringing parents together, in building relationships and strengthening the bonds among the various members of our community. In addition to the expert assistance of the School faculty and staff, over 2,000 volunteer hours are needed over three days to make the Garage Sale a success. The combination of veteran, experienced and new volunteers allows us to spread the knowledge on what this Garage Sale is all about.
you do your spring-cleaning. Remnant items from the sale are then donated to various charities, so everything is used. The truck to collect your donations will be parked by the circle and is scheduled to arrive on Friday, April 20. A list of items that cannot be accepted will be posted in the Green Room as we get closer to April. We want to take the opportunity to thank the Garage Sale Section Heads. Section Heads are the pillars of this event, and the force behind the transformation of the Field House into an efficient marketplace. They are:
• Vivien Greenberg, Tara Borg (Accessories) • Lynn Porter, Catherine Demeroutis, Christine ten
Brummeler (Books) Val Salvati, Charlotte Youngson (Café) Maria Davidson (Cash) Cathy Bongard, Sarah Mills (Clothing) Nicole Swales, Christine Montgomery (Electronics) Jenny Kwok, Rita Cheng (Furniture and Bedding) Cathy Carl, Liz Kennedy (Holding Area) Laura Nadalini, Sheila MacNicol (Housewares) Susan Hogarth, Ann Pearce, Detlef Doerge (Sporting Goods) • Natasha Rockandel, Alex Chesney (Toys) • Susan Frostad, Shaki Ravindran (Treasures)
• • • • • • • •
Thank you to the large number of parents who have already signed up to be part of the fun, however, additional volunteers would be very much appreciated. You can sign up in the Green Room or contact one of the Garage Sale chairs to get involved. Many shifts are available, and student volunteers are welcomed.
Looking forward to seeing you at the Garage Sale. Thank you.
The money raised will go towards the Great Boys campaign. Please consider donating items in good condition for resale as
—Carolina Melis, Chair email@example.com —Ivy Lit, Co-Chair firstname.lastname@example.org
CRESCENT SCHOOL | 2365 Bayview Ave. Toronto, ON M2L 1A2 | 416.449.2556 | www.crescentschool.org
March 2, 2012