Spirit CONFIDENT GIRLS. INSPIRING WOMEN.
ST. MARGARETâ€™S SCHOOL | Winter 2017
Into the Wild THE EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING ISSUE
30 years of educating girls outdoors
You aren’t going to save the world on your own. But you might inspire a generation of kids to save it for all of us. You would be amazed at what inspired children can do. Jane Goodall
The mountains are calling and I must go. John Muir
Spirit Magazine Spirit is a publication for the entire SMS community: our students, parents, staff, alumnae, and friends. editor
Jennifer van Hardenberg
Jeanine Stannard, Jennifer van Hardenberg, John Yanyshyn–Visions West Photography, and other SMS staff
Cathy Thornicroft, Kevin Paul, Lisa Langford, Annie Maki, Jennifer van Hardenberg, Ruth Wilson–West Coast Editorial Associates
contributors Laurie Darrah, Christine Godfrey, Megan McCrady, and other members of staff and SMS families 2 The Experiential Learning Issue
Cathy Thornicroft | Head of School
Explore, Experience, Enjoy! The three words we try to embed in everything we do at St. Margaret’s are “explore,” “experience,” and “enjoy.” As an inquirybased school, we value experiential learning and encourage our girls to step out of their comfort levels to explore new things, to challenge themselves, and to experience the joy of accomplishing something they did not think they could do. An integral part of that exploration is our Outweek program that occurs every September. In recognition of this long-standing tradition, it is with great pride that we acknowledge our 30-year partnership with Strathcona Park Lodge, Canada’s oldest and leading outdoor education centre.
All of these opportunities reinforce our belief that student growth is enhanced through our connections with the community and the natural world.
Outweek is the cornerstone of our experiential learning program. It aims to provide a wide range of activities that push learning outside of the four walls of the classroom and into the community, our local parks, and Strathcona Park. During their time outdoors, our girls learn about natural science, geography, environmental studies, outdoor living skills, team-building skills, and adventure living. All these activities align with our strategic plan, focusing on those goals that help our girls build and practise confidence, competency, and capacity—essential skills to becoming self-reliant and appreciative of the natural world around them. In other areas, St. Margaret’s provides girls with multiple opportunities and different pathways to connect learning both within and outside the school and to explore their passions: OWL, Explorations, Genius Hour, Innovations, Program of Distinction, work experience, service trips, international travel, and corporate sponsorships in STEM. All of these opportunities reinforce our belief that student growth is enhanced through our connections with the community, the natural environment, and with other organizations locally and globally. In striving to balance innovation and tradition while being bold in anticipating the challenges and opportunities our students will face, we believe we can help our girls build tomorrow’s possibilities. The SMS faculty is committed to innovative teaching practices, inquiry-based learning, opportunities to stretch student thinking, and finally, the importance of linking learning outcomes across curricula, across grades, and to the world around us. Our collaborative learning environment with high expectations and a personalized approach allows our girls to play to their strengths and develop a sense of worth that supports the school’s belief that “Little girls with dreams become women of vision.” 3
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Special moments from from fall 2016 | This page, top: Middle Years Clash of the Tartans dance off, bottom: mother-daughter yoga during Intâ€™l Day of the Girl Child conference. | Facing page, clockwise from top: rowing team, housewarming cheers and tug of war (x3), Foundation Years choir at carol service
Experiential learning in action | Clockwise from top: A work experience in ECE | Students contributed to new school videos both as performers and production assistantsâ€”watch the final videos at stmarg.ca | A work experience at a local boutique, also part of a Program of Distinction | A student rendition of Peter and the Wolf, one of numerous performance and public speaking opportunities | CoderGirl summer campers tinkering with robots | Building parts for a 3D bee in Explorations | A work experience at a local pharmacy (centre)
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INTO THE WILD Celebrating 30 years of Outweek Story by Jennifer van Hardenberg
It’s 7 a.m. and there’s a chill in the air despite it not yet being fall. There’s a ripple of anticipation in the assembly of parents, teachers, and students. Young children weave between piles of outdoor gear strewn among the rocky outcroppings of the front of campus, calling to each other in excitement. And then there’s a hush… followed by a cheer in response to a low rumble approaching at a distance. The coaches are here; it’s time to depart for another Outweek. Hugs are exchanged; final head counts are taken; laden backpacks are hoisted. Students look excited and just a little sad saying goodbye; their parents look a little concerned but a little relieved; younger siblings look on with envy, wishing it were their turn. Everyone waves as the buses pull out, casting off from the everyday. The next five days will challenge youth and mentors alike to step outside their comfort zone and accept the challenges that await them at the end of the four-hour drive north into the wild.
SMS Spirit 7
Outweek is a cornerstone of the SMS co-curriculum, and a beloved tradition to boot. It affords girls a variety of opportunities designed to challenge and educate them using our coastal environment and travel abroad. Integral to Outweek’s success is the school’s 30-year partnership with Strathcona Park Lodge (SPL), Canada’s oldest and leading outdoor education centre located at the edge of BC’s oldest and Vancouver Island’s largest provincial park. Strathcona’s outdoor education programs challenge, inspire, and enlighten students in a positive and exciting environment. Through a combination of teamwork initiatives, outdoor sports, and engaging instruction, shy students shine, new leaders emerge, accomplishments bolster confidence, and bonds form. Starting in the Foundation Years, students focus on developing leadership and basic survival skills, and practising courage and teamwork during Outweek on campus. In Grade 4, they move on to an overnight at a nearby site, like Camp Thunderbird. All students in Grades 6 to 12 attend the Strathcona Outweek to further develop important “soft skills” (leadership and global mindedness, courage, and perseverance), an appreciation of service, and the natural world. As students progress through the program they are offered greater choice in advanced challenges (including sailing, backcountry camping, and scuba) and have the option to join a service trip or cultural exchange abroad. Included in the cost of tuition, Outweek is a significant investment, taking a week out of class time every year and involving months of careful planning. In fact, the timing of the outing in early September is a considerable challenge amid back-to-school busyness paired with logistics of sending 200 girls to the lodge at a time (most other groups are much smaller). SPL works very hard to accommodate the school’s needs, not only to find enough beds, but to innovate and create new programs in collaboration with SMS—many of which later are adopted into the offerings for other schools. However, the benefits of the experience warrant the hard work of planning, and the third week in September is now a spot highly 8 The Experiential Learning Issue
coveted by other school groups. “If we gave it up it would be snatched up in a second,” says Jeanine Stannard, veteran phys ed teacher and steward of the Outweek program at SMS. “Sure, it might be easier to go in spring, but you set up the whole year on the student successes and shared experiences at Outweek.” Ask any staff member about the buzz on campus the week after Outweek: there are new friendships, stronger rapport between teachers and students, and a special kind of giddiness that can buoy students through academic struggles for weeks. Ultimately, Outweek is an example of doing something hard for all the right reasons. “This is what you do for people you care about,” explains Paul Chatterton, SPL program director who has been managing SMS’s visits for the past 12 years. “We’re building something bigger together.” In the 1980s, SMS was searching for a new edge in a changing educational (and economic) landscape. Nestled among the trees at our semi-rural campus, the decision to focus on outdoor education may seem natural enough in hindsight, but it was “kind of edgy back then,” according to retired teacher Gregor Campbell. Gregor chaperoned many of the early Outweek trips alongside Jeanine and brought the Duke of Edinburgh Award to the school, another key experiential learning program. “Our students had never been challenged this way,” recalls Gregor. “Outdoor education in the schools was still in its infancy, but Jeanine had the mindset that SMS would prosper by incorporating it before most other schools.” Jeanine presented her idea to the school’s administrators, including Mickey Sendall, the Head at the time, and the rest is history. Although some of the activities and methods may have changed— even the girls have changed—since SMS’s first Outweek in 1986, the core goals and benefits of learning outdoors have not. Remove the classroom and the comforts of home and you have changed the learning dynamic entirely, which is why every girl needs an outdoor education.
Itâ€™s 11:30 a.m. and the first lunch bell is ringing clear and piercing outside the Whale Room. Itâ€™s been raining since yesterday, but if you look around all you see are smiles and excitement. Girls are running from all corners of the property, rubber boots slapping, all the colours of the rainbow in their Gortex jackets. They are flush with discovery, accomplishment, and anticipation of further adventure. Challenge meets you where you are at SPL and then fuels you with great food and warm words to get you ready for your next feat.
Above: Students gather to receive instructions from an SPL instructor upon arrival at the lodge. Facing page, L to R: Playing a team-building game. Working together to empty a kayak after practising wet exits under water. SMS Spirit 9
EMBRACING CHALLENGE As Jeanine puts it, “Even though the activities themselves may not be more difficult than what we demand of them at home, by taking girls outside their normal environment we are upping the challenge.” In fact, stereotypical gender roles are often flipped on their head in the outdoors: even in co-ed groups. Paul has noticed that it’s the girls who inevitably shine, which he credits to girls’ greater levels of maturity, but also their mental toughness. Activities present infinitely scalable challenges. Students are introduced to new activities of incremental difficulty: from a low ropes course to a zip line in the forest canopy, from indoor climbing walls to tackling the cliffside, from water games at the beach to paddling across the lake. However, even within a given activity there are many levels, and girls are free to advance at their own pace, finding success wherever they are: for a girl who is grappling with a fear of heights, maybe climbing the first ladder of the ropes course is an achievement; for others it’s sleeping outside for the first time, learning new skills in a second language, or launching down a waterfall in a whitewater kayak. This is the essence of challenge by choice. The calibration of challenge also represents a shift in SPL’s approach to find ways to “connect with kids where they are,” according to Paul. As kids arrive with a changing set of needs and skills in this digital age, “maybe this isn’t the time to make the kids drink their dishwater,” says Paul, explaining the shift in how instructors are trained to focus more on empathy and creating positive experiences outside. Mastery of survival skills is still present but de-emphasized; each new obstacle overcome gives girls a sense of ownership and confidence to step further outside perceived boundaries. On the other hand, once students have a few skills under their belt, they are ready for advanced challenges like whitewater kayaking, rock climbing, and alpine hikes—additional options opening up in Grades 11 and 12.
CONNECTION Extraordinary experiences can create bonds that bridge perceived differences, which is why Strathcona is used as the kickoff for the school year. There is a key challenge to team building at Outweek, where girls are faced with both unfamiliar activities and unfamiliar faces: “Fear of the unknown can bring a team closer, but it can also be debilitating to team building if not aired,” says Paul. This is where the expertise of the outdoor instructors comes in. Connections made during Outweek are multifold: student to student, student to teacher, and the special bonds of students to the SPL instructors themselves. Interpersonal connections are only half the story, though. Equally important is the communion with the natural world. “There are very few things I love more in life than being outside, specifically hiking. But like most people, I have a busy life. I’m juggling a lot,” says Caroline Erickson, SMS Senior Years math teacher, mother of three girls, experienced outdoors woman, and chaperone of this year’s advanced hike. “I’m so glad we take our students on trips that give them a glimpse of the beauty and restorative qualities of nature, while offering the challenge of something out of their comfort zone.” The environmental aspects aren’t lost on the students, either. Ask any Outweek participant and they tell stories of amazing phosphorescence and thrilling encounters with elk, owls, eagles, and bears. “It’s so important for people to see the natural world, so that we as the next generation know what we have to protect,” explains Alice Brown, Class of 2017. “There’s no way to look at Strathcona without thinking ‘this is really beautiful,’ and having that point of reference is so important.” (See Two Perspectives, One View from the Summit, page 12.)
After two days of rain the sun is shining. A colourful group of kayakers have gathered in the shallows after descending a waterfall, looking like a flock of tropical birds at a distance. A black bear sow and her two cubs are fishing a little further upstream, and there are salmon leaping out of the churning rapids. The water is like molten gold reflecting end-of-summer sunshine and early autumn leaves. One girl finishes a mouthful of cookie and leans over to say to her instructor, “This was worth putting on the cold, damp wetsuit this morning!” At right: Examples of various Outweek 2016 activities, and the SPL core values. 10 The Experiential Learning Issue
Challenge by Choice Providing the opportunity for individuals to choose to take appropriate risks in a safe environment where success is guaranteed
Stewardship Caring for one’s local environment and teaching others to care too
Living on the Edge Being open to new experiences, new ideas, and people’s differences
Generosity of Spirit Thinking of others with kindness and charity, giving others the benefit of the doubt, treating people with respect
Happy Warrior Going at tasks, including the mundane or daunting, with gusto, being a positive contributor to a team and always pitching in
More with Less Minimizing one’s impact on the planet through one’s choices
Two Perspectives, One View from the Summit ALICE BROWN & VENUS CHEUNG
Although there are a number of level-up challenges students may choose in Grades 11 and 12, few are as physically demanding as the advanced hike. Paired with two days of preliminary backcountry hiking and camping, students and their guides cover 40 kilometres over four days—summiting Mt. Albert Edward is not for the faint of heart. Participating girls often share a profound experience and come back as a tightly bonded group after going through such a huge challenge together. “When you’re at Outweek, you create a bond with the group you’re with because you’re doing something outside your comfort zone,” says Alice Brown, Class of 2017, a self-professed “nature person” who has attended several Strathcona Outweeks, but admits nothing could have prepared her for the challenge she faced on the mountainside. Alice points out that no matter what a person’s skill level or strengths, they find their own struggle outside. “You’re pushing yourself and facing obstacles, but everyone is dealing with something,” says Alice. “In math class, some people are good at it and others struggle, but when everyone is really pushing themselves as hard as they can, you feel a sense of community. Every year, especially for new students, it’s good to start with that bond of sisterhood being reinforced.” Venus Cheung also decided to take on this ultimate challenge, even though this year was her first and only Outweek at SMS. “I often hike with my dad, but I wanted to challenge myself,” she explains. “In Hong Kong, I never had the chance to do an alpine hike. After I signed up I had some doubts: I didn’t know whether I could do it.” Things got worse when the realities of the backcountry set in. “It was very cold and I didn’t sleep. It really shattered my expectations of what camping is.” Over subsequent days Venus got increasingly fatigued, and on the final day’s summit trek she pulled a muscle. “My leg hurt so badly, and my feet kept slipping on the rocks, but I also felt my determination was really strong, and that’s something that I’ve never felt before.” In the end, Venus credits her team, including Alice, for helping her pull through. “They held my hands when my feet were slipping, pulled me up when I couldn’t climb, switched packs with me so I wasn’t carrying as much weight, and never complained that I was slowing them down,” says Venus. But amid the pain and vulnerability she discovered something else: strength. “I had no idea how I was going to make it, but I was determined to persevere.” At the summit the whole team cried, and then held each other’s hands and sang as they made their way back down the mountain, legs shaky but strong. The combination of team building and self-discovery are what Venus points to as the key strengths of the Outweek experience: “It’s the opportunity to find something out about the self that [students] cannot find. At school you’re always focused on academics, and this experience can help somebody discover the true self, or abilities they didn’t think they had. It also helps to create bonds with other students. When I registered I didn’t care if I was going with my existing friends; I just wanted to meet new people. It’s a great chance to expand your social circle.” In spite of pain and demands, the experience was positive. “It’s the same as with travel: the experience at Outweek is rounding you out as a person,” says Alice. Both she and Venus spoke about having greater faith in their own abilities, and having left behind some insecurity. “Whenever I’m doing something difficult or something I don’t think I can do, I just remind myself: ‘I climbed a mountain! I can do this,’” says Alice, ever insightful. “I know I’ll always have doubts ...but now maybe a little less.” 12 The Experiential Learning Issue
SKILLS YOU SIMPLY CAN’T TEACH IN CLASS Experiential learning is really where it starts and ends. It is about creating meaningful hands-on experiences that allow for trial and error and empower students to tackle new challenges. Outweek seeks to cultivate an openness to new experiences, and being exposed to new social situations and activities contributes to emotional and moral intelligence that simply cannot be taught in a classroom—which is why outdoor education has been successfully adapted for therapeutic purposes for at-risk youth and professional retreats. When girls step out of the classroom, the wilderness becomes a tool for personal development that gets imported into everyday life. “Taken outside their normal context, girls who may not be leaders in the classroom are given the chance to shine,” says Jeanine. Whether learning hard skills, like how to turn a canoe or tie a knot, or soft skills, like problem solving as a team to turn a bunch of materials into a tent, success here is guaranteed, encouraging the girls to try new things back at home and in their future.
EMPATHY THROUGH SERVICE Service at Strathcona is a great example of the strength of the partnership between our two organizations. Originally developed for SMS, service options at SPL are now offered to other school groups. While past examples have included trail building and cleaning greenways, this year’s service project was building a new backcountry camp at the site of a former squatter’s colony at Paterson Lake. Donna Holmwood, SMS leadership teacher and a chaperone of this year’s service project, was impressed by the buy-in from her young charges and how interested they were in the history of the community, though very different from their own. Although a fire forced the squatters out of their homes and the site was in ruins, the girls were fascinated by what was left behind. “Seeing the remnants of toys, plates, and clothing really brought it home for these girls that people actually lived here. They started inventing narratives from the traces left behind and were very invested in the work.” The same group later visited a local hatchery to help harvest salmon roe as part of population restoration initiatives. They also served at a food bank, actively participating in different yet ultimately connected parts of the food chain. “A family came into the food bank while the kids were working. It was a single mom picking up a birthday cake for her son. I think the girls really got it at that moment—not just the need but the human element in service, and that a small gesture can mean so much.” continued on page 16
At left, clockwise from top: Advanced hikers at Mount Albert Edward, the sixth-highest peak on Vancouver Island (two photos from Letong Li, Class of 2016). Service group students at a food bank in Campbell River. A broken plate found at the squatter’s colony at Patterson Lake reads “Happy Mother’s Day.” SMS Spirit 13
A shared history outside The timeline here highlights some of the influences that shaped outdoor education as we know it today in context of the institutional histories of SMS and Strathcona Park Lodge. It also underscores the perennial tension between society and the natural world, and acknowledges the indigenous peoples of Vancouver Island, on which the school and lodge are now located, now commonly grouped into three regions: Coast Salish, Nuu-chah-nulth, and Kwakwaka’wakw. IMAGES ABOVE (L to R): Tent at Beaver Lake Camp, 1925 | Buses lined up in front of campus for an outing, n.d. | Brownies, 1924 | Children at the beach, n.d. | Students at Strathcona Park Lodge, c. 1990 | All photos care of the SMS Archives | email@example.com
Time Immemorial: Mowachaht/Muchalaht First Nations of the Nuu-chah-nulth inhabit traditional territories that later become home to Strathcona Park. 1774 & 1778: Spanish Navy and Captain James Cook encounter indigenous residents at Yuquot/Nootka Sound, establish footholds there.
1908: St. Margaret’s School is founded in Victoria. 1909: Girls show up at a Boy Scout rally in the UK and declare themselves Girl Scouts. 1910: Girl Guide Association is established under the leadership of Agnes Baden-Powell.
1843: City of Victoria is founded by the Hudson’s Bay Trading Company.
1903: Surveying begins to build a road to connect Goldstream and Cobble Hill.
1885: Last Spike of the Canadian Pacific Railway is driven by Donald S. Smith, the Lord Strathcona, philanthropist and railroad pioneer.
1911: Strathcona Park is established. Malahat Drive, a gravel road connecting Victoria to Duncan, is completed.
HISTORIC CONNECTIONS While outdoor education only found a formal home in St. Margaret’s co-curricular program in recent history, school records show a long tradition of outdoor pursuits at SMS, including a robust equestrian program for several decades, and that an appreciation of the natural world has been emphasized since the beginning. As well, the school has a couple of interesting historical connections to both Lord Strathcona, for whom Strathcona Park is named, and the Baden-Powells of the Boy Scout and Girl Guide movement. Prior to founding St. Margaret’s School, Edith and Isabel Fenwick had plans to emigrate together from England to Canada with an 14 The Experiential Learning Issue
1920: Kurt Hahn’s Salem Schule opens in Germany.
1941: First Outward Bound program is conducted in Wales. New chapters spanning the globe will follow.
1920s: First references to organized adventure outings appear in the SMS archives.
1953: HRH the Duke of Edinburgh becomes Patron to Outward Bound.
1923-24: Brownie and Girl Guide units are established at SMS, as well as an equestrian program.
1956: Duke of Edinburgh Award is established. 1959: Strathcona Park Lodge is founded by Jim and Myrna Boulding.
1920s: Much of Vancouver Island is as yet undeveloped, making travel for leisure and school field trips a rarity.
1953: Highway 19, known locally as the Island Highway connecting Nanaimo and Campbell River, is paved. 1955: Construction begins on the BC Power Commission dam that will lead to rising water levels in the waterways throughout Strathcona Park.
eye to educating and caring for other young emigrant girls. In 1907, Isabel and their mutual friend Margaret Barton—first head mistress of SMS—had already installed themselves in Victoria, but Edith was still looking for support for her own voyage. She wrote to Donald Smith, the Lord Strathcona and Mount Royal, who was high commissioner for Canada in England at the time, but unfortunately he was not immediately encouraging, despite having received glowing character references from Edith’s friend, Lady Frances Baden-Powell (sister-in-law to Robert BadenPowell). In the end, Edith went to work as a governess for the Baden-Powells for a year until she received a plea from her sister to join her in Victoria as a teacher to help with an increasing number of parents interested in education for their daughters.
1960s: Guiding is revived at SMS; students go on organized camping and hiking outings. First summer camps for school children at SPL. 1977: Canadian Outdoor Leadership Training is developed at SPL to train outdoor instructors. 1978: SMS equestrian program ends as Carley’s Victoria Riding Academy disbands. 1971: British Columbia establishes Ecological Reserves Act, the first province in Canada to do so.
1983: Outward Bound International is developed. 1986: First group of St. Margaret’s students goes to SPL: Grades 6 and 7 in the spring and Grade 8 in the fall. Outdoor education becomes a co-curricular focus. 1988: Outweek is established as mandatory outdoor education program for SMS students. 1987: Friends of Strathcona Park successfully resist government plans to remove large areas from the park for logging and other industrial uses.
2012: Outside While Learning (OWL) is introduced to JK and Kindergarten at SMS. 1990s: First service trip is created by SMS and SPL; students engage in trail building in the park, and the model is adopted for other school groups. 1999: Duke of Edinburgh Award is adopted at SMS. 1993: BC approves Protected Areas Strategy, doubling the amount of protected land over the next decade.
OUTDOOR EDUCATION Outdoor education programs evolved out of the Boy Scout and Girl Guide movement that Baden-Powell initiated in Britain in the early 1900s, the Kurt Hahn schools in Germany in the 1920s, and later programs founded by Hahn like the Duke of Edinburgh Awards and Outward Bound. While early school-based camping programs were experimental in nature, their success led to a rapid spread of outdoor ed initiatives in North America in the 1950s, reaching a height of popularity in the 1970s. Experiential learning is the process of learning through reflection on doing. More than merely hands-on learning, outdoor education exposes students to wilderness-based activities that
2004: Alternative activities and certifications are added as options for SMS Outweek including SALTS (sail training aboard tall ships). International service trips and cultural exchanges follow.
2013: First Outweek on campus for the Foundation Years, completing the continuum of naturebased learning at SMS.
2000: Clayoquot Sound is designated UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and added to Strathcona Park catchment.
2016: Around 162,000 hectares of land are protected in BC’s 150 ecological reserves.
2016: Over 200 Middle/ Senior students at SPL for the 30th anniversary of SMS Outweeks.
2017: Government of Canada offers free year passes to all federal parks as part of the country’s 150th celebrations. (Get your pass: www.pc.gc.ca)
challenge them to apply democratic principles and individual responsibility, and to reflect deeply on their experience in nature.
STRATHCONA PARK LODGE Strathcona Park Lodge was founded in 1959 by Jim and Myrna Boulding, two school teachers from nearby Campbell River. It was originally a summer project that focused on tourism, but the Bouldings eventually realized their dream of providing programs for school children, developing a centre for outdoor education, outdoor leadership, eco-tourism, and a model sustainable village.
SMS Spirit 15
continued from page 13
PERSPECTIVE TAKING Even in a jam-packed schedule there is time to pause for reflection. And that means more than taking in the views (which are exquisite, by the way, whether admired from one of the nearby peaks, up a tree in the climbing area, or out on the water). Breaks on a hike are spent sharing discoveries and moments the girls are proud of. Small progress and moments of courage are celebrated early to build on throughout the week as activities escalate in difficulty. Through being encouraged to share, girls build empathy for each other’s experiences, both in understanding different points of view, and similarities that bridge age, background, and cultures. In the end-of-the-week sharing circles, students each gather a stone, a stick, and a leaf to reflect on their journey: a stone to represent an obstacle they overcame, a stick for a memory that will stick with them, and a leaf for what they will leave behind. The challenges and memories vary greatly for each student, but there is a common theme when it comes to the leaf. Students speak time and again about leaving behind uncertainty. The bar has been adjusted. Each new challenge will be measured against the mountain they climbed or the fear they overcame. As another Outweek draws to a close, staff and students alike look slightly bedraggled, yet flush with accomplishment and a bit of sun. Decades after the program was first introduced, support for it has never been stronger, with teachers keen to integrate what happens at Outweek throughout the school’s programming, encouraging girls to embrace adventure for life. “To 30 years of sending teenagers into the woods,” toasts Jeanine with a wry smile, at a round table with staff and SPL instructors just before the buses load to go home. And here’s to 30 more.
After 40 kilometres in four days, a group of girls sits in a sharing circle on the rocky beach, their summit hike finally at an end. Some muddy hiking boots are discarded a short distance away, and one girl is curling her bare toes in the sunshine. The girls and guides share stories of the obstacle they have overcome, something they’ve left behind on the trail, and something that will stick with them after they go home. They pause in reflection and catch each other’s eye across the circle to validate each other’s truth. The energy is magnetic. They struggled together, and shared in something transformative. They will never forget.
At top: Tackling the ropes course. Above: Whitewater kayakers navigate some rapids along the Campbell River. 16 The Experiential Learning Issue
FIELD NOTES STUDENTS, STAFF, AND ALUMNAE SHARE WHAT STICKS WITH THEM ABOUT OUT WEEK. LAUREN EBATA CLASS OF 2018 When I look at my boots all scratched up, I see all the rocks I walked over. What will stick with me is all the ground I covered.
PALOMA PULIDO GONZALEZ CLASS OF 2021 I didn’t think I could but I made it to the top [of the clmbing wall]... You may not like it at the time, but at the end you realize, “Wow, that was really cool.”
LOUISE HUNECK SENIOR ART TEACHER YEARS AT OUTWEEK: 26 FAV ADVENTURE: THE TOUGHEST TRIPS IN THE WORST CONDITIONS WHAT’S IN MY PACK: MY TRUSTY SEABEE KNIFE
I have enjoyed every single experience, especially when I was challenged to the max. Why? Because those are the ones that stay with you. The girls learn so much about their capacity for resilience and discover how tough they actually are, both emotionally and physically. We have no other experience for the girls that provides such a rich growth opportunity. Every year I leave with an enduring memory that makes me smile or choke up with pride. I am always grateful to have shared the experience with them.
NICOLE FORMOSA GR. 4 TEACHER YEARS AT OUTWEEK: 2 | FAV ADVENTURE: KAYAK SLIDE | WHAT’S IN MY PACK: WARM SOCKS
What sticks out for me is that everyone—students and staff—takes risks that challenge their comfort zone. Everyone grows as individuals and as a group.
HARRY DUIMERING SY SCIENCE TEACHER YEARS AT OUTWEEK: 24 FAV ADVENTURE: ALPINE HIKES WHAT’S IN MY PACK: MY LITTLE TENT– MUCH WARMER THAN A DAMP TARP
The best trips occur when there is harmony within the group and everyone contributes to a positive atmosphere. Inevitably the participants encounter various challenges, but by supporting each other everyone grows stronger. Especially touching for me have been trips with Grade 12 groups where the participants feel emotional at the end of the week because they realize that this is the last of a rewarding series of outdoor activities they have enjoyed during their years at SMS.
XIMENA FRUTIS CLASS OF 2021 It’s about the friendships! I might never have gotten to know some of these girls, but now we hang out all the time.
ALICE BROWN CLASS OF 2017
LETONG LI CLASS OF 2017
I leave behind the pain. When I look back I’ll remember the determination and the views. I won’t look back and think, “My feet hurt.”
My perspective has changed. Before when I looked at the mountain it seemed so far away. Standing at the top, I didn’t feel superior; it just felt peaceful. I realized the mountain is not that big, and the challenge is not insurmountable.
GREGOR CAMPBELL RETIRED TEACHER YEARS AT OUTWEEK: 23 FAV ADVENTURE: BREWSTER—PORTAGES, HIKES, AND CANOEING THROUGH AREAS THAT LOOK LIKE SOMETHING OUT OF TOLKEIN’S MIDDLE EARTH. WHAT’S IN MY PACK: TRANSISTOR RADIO (RECEPTION IS CRYSTAL CLEAR AT NIGHT UP THERE)
Students and teachers are pulled together by outdoor activity. There is no better way to build respect and understanding among people. It really is a quintessential bonding experience for girls in the journey to becoming confident young women.
PAUL CHATTERTON SPL YEARS AT SPL: 12 FAV ADVENTURE: ROCK CLIMBING WHAT’S IN MY PACK: A LIGHT-AND-FAST WAY TO MAKE COFFEE
One of my favourite jobs is leading the safety talks for beginner rock climbers. By going step by step, even those who are hesitant have such a sense of accomplishment and pride at the end. It happens over and over. It’s not about having fear but how you manage it.
CAROLINE ERICKSON SY MATH TEACHER YEARS AT OUTWEEK: 2 FAV ADVENTURE: CLIMBING MOUNTAINS WHAT’S IN MY PACK: MY THERM-A-REST CHAIR FOR MY MIDDLE-AGED BACK
What sticks with me the most about this trip is how the right amount of challenge, along with the determination to help each other, empowers the students to do something that they would have never thought possible. Hiking is hard. It’s uncomfortable, gruelling, and at times monotonous. Some of this year’s advanced hike group found the physical part of the trip harder than they bargained for. If each of us had attempted it alone, we’d have given up, but together we made it through. What a joy it was to reach the peak and celebrate with these ladies. There were a lot of hugs, tears, and dancing, and in 15 years of teaching I have never been so proud.
SMS Spirit 17
Harry Duimering sports vintage Canmore spirit wear at SPL
Jessie Fanucchi doing field work with northern saw-whet owls
JESSIE FANUCCHI CLASS OF 2000
MEGAN BLACKEY MY TEACHER
YEARS AT OUTWEEK: 6 | FAV ADVENTURES: ADVANCED HIKE (FOR THE PEOPLE) AND CAVING (FOR THE ACTIVITY) | WHAT’S IN MY PACK: AN IPAD! (FIELD WORK IS MOSTLY DIGITAL NOWADAYS)
YEARS AT OUTWEEK: 1 WHAT’S IN MY PACK? MY NALGENE: HYDRATION BY DAY, HOT WATER BOTTLE BY NIGHT
As a lifer, I was able to attend the Strathcona Outweek from Grades 7 through 12. I look back now and see what an incredible opportunity it was to experience what Vancouver Island has to offer and to be introduced to so many outdoor activities. The week always pushed the boundaries of what made me comfortable. It made me learn to adjust to new surroundings and situations, physically and mentally. Particular memories include Grade 8, where, for some reason, my friends and I decided that trail building would be a good skill to learn. I’ll never forget being stuck lugging around a pickaxe in my pack during the overnight. Another highlight was caving in Grade 9: I’ve never been so dirty in my life. Finally, the advanced hike to King’s Peak in Grade 12 really stays with me. It was our graduating year and our last Outweek, and I got to spend it hiking and singing with my best friends, and camping next to a glacier.
JAMIE BOULDING SPL YEARS AT SPL: 55 | FAV ADVENTURE: EXPLORING SOMEPLACE NEW IN SEARCH OF TRUE WILDERNESS WHAT’S IN MY PACK: EXTRA TOQUES
It has been special to work with St. Margaret’s School for the past 30 years. What sticks with me is how gung-ho the girls were on the whitewater kayak trips back when I was instructing.
I vividly remember sitting in my kayak, surrounded by nine strong young ladies glowing with pride. We all had just successfully paddled down our first waterfall. I’m so appreciative to have been asked to go on this whitewater trip and so thankful that I had the courage to say “yes.” I know the girls feel the same, and that they each have stories of success etched in their veins, and an echo in their heart of the shouts of encouragement from their teammates. When we pass each other in the hallways, we will be able to smile, and know that together we have the courage to take on anything.
Letters to the Editor & Story Ideas: firstname.lastname@example.org SMS Spirit, c/o 1080 Lucas Avenue, Victoria, BC, V8X 3P7 Check out current news on the blog: www.stmarg.ca Join the conversation: #smsoutweek #smsredblazer /saintmargarets | @st_margarets | @stmargarestsschool 18 The Experiential Learning Issue
Room with a view at the SPL LYNDSAY ARSENAULT (BOWERS) CLASS OF 1998 YEARS AT OUTWEEK: 2 WHAT’S IN MY PACK: ALL THINGS FLEECE
The kindness of absolute strangers is what sticks with me. Mr. Campbell, my social studies teacher, lent me needed camping supplies (I had no sleeping bag or backpack). Mr. Duimering was also the best at keeping morale high and having a good sense of humour during my Grade 11 hike up Bedwell Mountain.
VENUS CHEUNG CLASS OF 2017 I will never forget picking and eating blueberries right off the trail. That is something you would never do in Hong Kong.
WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU
A Career Outdoors My name is Kate Hives. I was an SMS student for 10 years, from Kindergarten to Grade 9. I now spend more than half my year with a beach as my office and a tent as my home. I suppose what I do might be considered an unusual line of work to call a career—being a wilderness guide, sea kayak coach, and outdoor educator—but if you tell a story enough times it starts to become real. When I do tell my story, I include different details to suit the audience. The element of the story that always stays the same, however, is the telling of my time as a young girl at St. Margaret’s and my first experiences at Strathcona Park Lodge.
in the warm waters of Malaysia with Outward Bound, working with school students as we paddled with sea turtles. When I was a student at SMS, I never thought that my passion for the outdoors would take me to all these places. I have, of course, had other life adventures that do not involve kayaking—among them a brief stint in the circus as a tightrope walker and a 1,000 kilometre trek across Spain on the Camino de Santiago. But whatever the adventure has been, at the heart of it was the spirit of one of Strathcona’s core values: Living on the Edge—Being open to new experiences, new ideas, and people’s differences. The foundation for my love and passion for wilderness travel by kayak was, indeed, built at Strathcona during Outweek. But it was not that experience alone that gave me my compass. SMS offered a spectrum of ongoing experiences ranging from learning to string a decent sentence together, to the expectation that I do well in mathematics, to being encouraged to fully explore all the skills I possess. The math, science, and grammar, along with the wilderness experiences, all became a part of who I am.
The raw beginnings of my current lifestyle and career path were set, even without my knowing, the day I signed up for whitewater kayaking at “Strath.” I now feel deeply drawn to the wilderness and hear the sweet call of the wild places, and I don’t think I could live without them. Having ongoing opportunities for outdoor experiences as a student at SMS opened the door for me to pursue my passions. I had a glimmer of a vision, felt empowered As a wilderness guide I have seen hundreds to follow a less-trodden path, in part thanks of people experience the wonders of the to my mom and dad, and had the academic outdoors. I have watched as they begin to foundations to follow up my vision with a explore how it feels to be themselves in plan. I have gone on to complete my honours wild places. It seems obvious to me now LINDA HOGAN bachelor degree in outdoor recreation at that learning to spend time in the natural Lakehead University, and I am continuing my world and experiencing a sense of place, studies working on my master’s in environmental education and stepping outside of comfortable boundaries, communications at Royal Roads University. and learning to see through new eyes are skills that need to be cultivated as much and as often as learning grammar and In the 18 years since I was last a student at SMS, I have travelled mathematics. There is so much to learn from the land; Linda around the world with kayaking at the heart of the endeavour. Hogan, Native American writer and environmentalist, has said, I have guided wilderness trips in Patagonia, Chile; paddled the “There is a way that nature speaks, that land speaks. Most of the mystical shores of Scotland and other parts of the UK; explored time we are simply not patient enough, quiet enough to pay the vast and wild coasts of British Columbia; and kayaked 21 days attention to the story.” SMS
“There is a way that nature speaks, that land speaks. Most of the time we are simply not patient enough, quiet enough to pay attention to the story.”
SMS Spirit 19
A Year in Beaujolais
travel journal and photos submitted by proud SMS dad Lucas Corwin
“Good morning from Anse.” This was how we started our regular written updates to family and friends this last year from Anse, a lovely little town in the southeast corner of France where we lived from July 2015 to July 2016. Our plan for the adventure began in the fall of 2014: Viv would take a study leave from UVic, I’d take leave from my work, and we’d head out on a great adventure with Alix (Grade 10), Nina (Grade 8), and Naomi (Grade 5). We were motivated by the opportunity to escape the wellworn grooves of family life and jobs, to experience something totally different, and to shake us up a bit—to feel not quite settled—giving us a chance to see different sides of each other and hopefully be pulled even closer together. Our goal was to experience a new language, meet new friends, form new habits. My parents had done this twice when I was growing up, and those two years were formative: full of very deep impressions and vivid memories. When someone told us early on during our visit, “Les années sabbatiques ont un but. Alors, c’est quoi, votre but?” (translation: Sabbatical years have a goal. So, what’s your goal?”), we answered by gesturing around the room we were in. “This… la France.” 20 The Experiential Learning Issue
So we jumped. We found a house to rent near Lyon, and before we knew it, we were waking up in a small French village enjoying the daily greetings of shaking hands and exchanging kisses, saying hello to everyone in the street, even strangers, and getting happily accustomed to adding two tablespoons of butter and a cup of crème fraiche to everything we cooked! Our house in Anse was on a large, grassy acreage in the middle of the town, seconds from the nearest bakery and the village church, which rang its bells every half hour from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. everyday. Like so many places in France, Anse began as a Roman village, and that history is still evident. In the three-minute walk from our house to our favourite bakery, we’d pass by remnants of the old Roman walls from the third century, and one of the four sides of the playground outside Naomi’s school was the wall between two 11th century towers that used to form a defensive rampart around the town. A five-minute walk in the other direction took us into the rolling Beaujolais hills that were blanketed in grape vines.
The school system in France made us appreciate SMS even more than we did before we left. French schools are very hierarchical with a heavy emphasis on rote learning. Some of the teachers, we found, were very sympathetic and helpful and viewed the girls’ presence in the classroom as a real benefit to the rest of the class. Others were somewhat less sympathetic and helpful. Alix recollects being frustrated at not being able to express that she understood certain lessons. “In Canada I get it all, but even where I do get it here, I can’t express it!” she said one day. But each of the girls made some very, very close friends, and they still keep up with them today through Facebook and Snapchat. We also took advantage of being in Europe and travelled to other locales, including northern Spain and other regions of France. Visiting Omaha and Juno Beaches in Normandy was a particular highlight. None of us have ever been particularly interested in military history, but the memorials there were very moving, and the museums and cemeteries that dot the area are quite something. Nearing the end of the year Viv and I were sitting on our bedroom window sill at night, watching lightning flash across the Beaujolais hills. We wanted to be looking at exactly the right spot to see the lightning flashes when they came. But it seemed we were always looking off to the side or in the wrong direction. We talked about how it was the same with that particular moment, hands on the cool stone of window sill, warm wind in the night air, birds still singing despite the thunder, the light of the set sun still visible on the undersides of the thunderclouds, and the sounds of the girls getting ready for bed. Just like the brief flashes of each crack of lightning, we knew that this would be all that would be left of that moment on the window sill—traces of what it was like to be here, in Anse, at night, with a storm passing over. That said, in other ways the town was very different from the rest of France. For example, in this part of the southern Beaujolais, they’ve preserved a unique spring celebration dating from the Napoleonic Wars. Each town across the region has commemorated Napoleon’s annual conscription with La Fete des Conscrits, where anyone turning 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, etc. engages in a week-long party culminating in a massive parade through the town streets. It’s like Victoria Day in Victoria, but on a much larger scale. One nearby town’s Conscrits celebration has World Heritage status. By happy coincidence, Naomi turned 10 this year, and so was part of the 2016 Conscrits class. All three girls had an incredible year. We enrolled them in the public school system to have a truly French immersive experience. Early in September I asked Naomi what she found to be the biggest difference between her new school and SMS, hoping to elicit some deep reflection on the differences between French and Canadian culture. Her response was simply, “The classes are French, Dad.” Of course, having boys in the classroom was a significant difference for them, and not always entirely welcome.
And then, in a flash it seemed, the year was over. As we thought about returning, we knew that home would be the “unfamiliar familiar”: the stores being open on Sunday afternoon, meals without baguettes, sea salt in the Victoria air, the sun a little lower in the sky, no church bells marking the time, the five of us a year older. But Anse is a gift that keeps on giving; it gave us what we wanted—that feeling of being not quite settled, and of remembering it all. SMS
Lucas and Vivien Corwin have three daughters at SMS: Alix, Naomi, and Nina. Although they will miss the adventures of the past year, they are pleased to be home and cite the values celebrated at SMS—like courage and resilience—as a strong foundation to prepare their girls for studying abroad. SMS Spirit 21
INNOVATIVE PROJECTS & PRACTICE
What makes a great education? Uncountable tiny moments that inspire new neural connections. That special magic that teachers bring to the table. Opportunities to learn both inside the classroom and out. And much more. The following examples of innovative projects and practice that are part of the St. Margaretâ€™s education seek to make visible some important pieces of the picture that are less visible to those who are not at school with us every day. They demonstrate the ways our faculty are responding to research, anticipating the BC curriculum redesign, innovating to challenge convention, and collaborating to draw on the strength of our teaching team. They are examples of reflective and deliberate experiential learning and of leveraging critical thinking and inquiry-based learning. They provide a view of the SMS picture: grounding girls in the fundamentals while providing preparation for the future.
Interviews by Annie Maki Intro by Jennifer van Hardenberg Puzzle by SMS students
22 The Experiential Learning Issue
“We may be small, but together we can change the world!”
–Grade 1 students presenting at a Whole School Assembly
INNOVATIVE PROJECTS & PRACTICE
Foundation Years: Grade 1 teacher
What is the project? In early 2011, Project Somos co-founders Heather Knox and Greg Kemp took 145 acres of newly donated land in the Guatemalan highlands and began work to establish a children’s village and an organic farm to partially support it. What started out as an initiative to provide homes with foster mothers for orphans evolved to help keep families together: orphan prevention. Today Project Somos is home to families, the land is transformed, and the lives of many young Guatemalans have been positively impacted. Classes in the Foundation Years wanted to get involved to support the initiative. Which grades or classes are involved? Students in Grades 1 to 4 created puzzles to send to the children who live in the Project Somos village. This project was particularly poignant for Grade 1 students as they continued their learning about community. It helped them understand and connect to children living on a different continent through the joy of puzzles and play. What ‘s involved? What are the goals? Foundation Years students worked together in groups to create colourful puzzles for the children and their families who live in the Project Somos village. The Grade 1 class made over 20 puzzles! The goal was to have the girls create toys with a purpose. As Grade 1 students Sophia and Sarah describe it: “The boys and girls in the village do not have a lot of toys, and kids love puzzles. So playing with puzzles will make them happy.” Students used prior knowledge and personal experience to inform their puzzle designs. Our class recently visited Swan Lake as part of our science learning and the girls decided to incorporate what they know of their neighbourhood into the puzzle designs. One group planned their picture and puzzle design to showcase the stunning nature of Vancouver Island as they have experienced it. They divided the puzzle into pieces to be decorated with drawings of wildlife, waterways, and trees. As artists and designers, the girls took inspiration from the nature they interact with each day. They worked so diligently and with careful concern to ensure that the puzzles were beautiful and functional.
How does this differ from the traditional way of teaching this course or subject? A more worldly perspective was opened up to the girls through puzzles and play. Play is an instrumental foundation of learning in the early years, and this project harnessed play to deliver the project to my students, teach a concept in a way that would resonate with them, and create an object of play to share with others. When learning about community in the Foundation Years, students often learn about connections by location. This experience allowed the girls to learn that connection has a bigger meaning: it is about sharing in the same human experience, and acknowledging that kids of all ages like to play. The project also provided the space to allow the girls to dive deeper into thinking about the ideas surrounding citizenship and how being a community member impacts others—even families that live far away. They had recently been discussing the rights, roles, and responsibilities of community members, and the puzzle project connected to the girls’ emerging ownership and stewardship of the community circles they are a part of. This project helped the girls stretch that understanding to the Guatemalan children of the Somos community, who they understand have the right to play and to be happy. How has this impacted girls’ learning? After the puzzles were donated, students spent time together in a sharing circles where they agreed that it is better to share something that brings you joy with others. One student demonstrated she understands the idea that arts and crafts have a universal ability to create connection. Celine told her classmates that “it is good to donate to other children because a beautiful craft should be given away to kids who don’t have anything and should have something beautiful.” These students have learned the importance of our school motto, Servite in Caritate ~ Service with Love.
SMS Spirit 23
INNOVATIVE PROJECTS & PRACTICE
INTEGRATING INDIGENOUS WAYS of Knowing
Middle Years: Grade 5 teacher
What is the project? The goal is to incorporate traditional ways of knowing to honour the land we are on and the community we belong to, while forging genuine relationships between the SMS students and staff, and local first peoples and culture. In November, Dr. Nick Claxton (“Dr. Nick”), a professor at the University of Victoria and a member of the Tsawout First Nation, led Grades 5 and 6 students on a nature walk around campus. Which classes or grades are involved? Students in Grades 2 through 6 have been exposed to Aboriginal perspectives in various ways, as have boarding students in residence, who have invited local elders to special dinners. We are now working with the Senior Years outreach students and teacher Lisa Ziebart to bring the whole community together in this project. Where did the idea come from? This fall the two of us began to collaborate to inject the Grades 5 and 6 curriculums with authentic learning experiences that encourage students to acknowledge the indigenous ways of knowing. We looked at our surroundings and decided that a good first step would be to introduce the origin story of Pkols (commonly known as Mount Doug), which we can see through our windows. What’s involved? What are the goals? The redesigned British Columbia curriculum asks teachers to attempt to embed Aboriginal perspectives and understandings in a meaningful and authentic manner toward a stronger society for all. We have been inviting members of local First Nations into our school to honour the relationship we have with them and the natural environment we learn within. In the case of the nature walk, Dr. Nick shared the origin story of Pkols and helped students identify indigenous plants, teaching them about their traditional uses. Our goal is to continue to find connections within our school and the wider community to embed First Nations teachings and traditions into St. Margaret’s.
24 The Experiential Learning Issue
Carol Nahachewsky teacher-librarian
How does this differ from the traditional way of teaching this course or subject? The girls are learning new vocabulary authentically: the first lesson involved students reading an article and exploring new words. They were able to apply and expand this learning during the nature walk with Dr. Nick—showing, doing, and passing information by word of mouth. Indigenous ways of knowing also involve storytelling, and when we spotted deer during the walk, Dr. Nick was able to weave in the creation story of the first deer. Later the girls recorded what they had learned in their journals. This type of place-based learning demonstrates the interconnectedness of concepts and of all living things. It reflects on how the parts create the whole—and even mirrors the school’s overarching goal of creating a School of One. How has this impacted girls’ learning? We have seen new vibrancy in the classroom in the practice of both literacy and communication skills. Grades 5 and 6 students have learned about the importance to our local First Nations communities of reclaiming traditional names (like Pkols) and practices (like reef-net fishing, which had previously been banned). Through the nature walk, the girls found a place to reflect and examine organizational structures around fairness and equality, enabling them to engage with each other while offering varying perspectives. Great empathy and understanding has been demonstrated as girls learn about previous treatment of Aboriginal Peoples in Canada, and they will continue to explore social justice concepts. The girls are taking on the role of ally to the land and Indigenous People, and are able to transfer this relationship to the special places in their own lives. Additionally, the girls are exploring how they can use indigenous ways of knowing to help them navigate as active members of the communities. They have demonstrated strong motivation and understanding that respectful engagement with other cultures helps shape one’s thoughts and actions, and ultimately can change the world.
INNOVATIVE PROJECTS & PRACTICE
Skills for Students by Students
Senior Years: Leadership Instructional Leader & Teacher, Duke of Edinburgh Award Lead
What is the project? Certification Day is a student-driven class project for our leadership students. This fourth annual learning event grew out of a line of inquiry: how can we invite the outside community in? Which grades or classes are involved? Certification Day is designed for students in Grades 7 to 12, and is designed by the Grade 11 leadership class. Community members are invited to lead one-day workshops for students to be certified in a specific skill. By acquiring new skills—such as first aid, FOODSAFE, or car maintenance—students are provided an opportunity to get more involved with their community in the future. We had 250 students and staff participate this year. What is involved in the project? What are the goals? The leadership students design the day with the purpose of giving girls the opportunity to learn for the future by exploring something new that they wouldn’t expect or that didn’t have time for before. As a team, they set out to ensure there are interesting opportunities for everyone who participates, acknowledging that organization and communication are essential to the project’s success. They aim to define and achieve a clear goal, that being that all Grade 7 to 12 girls and staff are able to participate in activities that teach new skills with an open mind and positive attitude.
was set out in year one, and the first Certification and Service Days took place in 2013–14. By the next year skills workshops were expanded to include Grades 7 and 8 students. How does this differ from the traditional way of teaching this course or subject? It fits well with the current British Columbia curriculum because the learning is directed by students and is for students. The girls reverse engineer the project, and we engage in mini-lessons that directly reflect their planning experiences. This is the Senior Years’ first planning project and it organically develops many of their time and resource management skills, including brainstorming, problem solving, and communication. The project is truly integrative because it involves engaging with students across the grades and creating a meaningful experience for everyone involved, including the external training providers and other members of the community as girls go out and apply their newly learned skills. How has this impacted girls’ learning?
This project gives the leadership students the space to direct their own learning. It is especially impactful when the class meets to share their piece of the project, and to observe the girls strategize and move the project forward together. A secondary impact is students realizing that they are bringing the entire community together, and they are proud to share this experience with their Where did the idea come from? family and peers. Planning a day for so many students and staff members at once requires the girls to continually operate in the The project is the practical application of service in love: the creative zone and make choices that help them develop their leadership students wanted to create a meaningful way to give back to their fellow students right here on campus. Service Day and resiliency and consider their communication tools and skills. The Certification Day were simultaneously developed by the leadership girls are building their toolbox of essential skills for the 21st century that will empower them to be confident women. SMS class four years ago. Jenna Allan (Deputy Head Girl 2014) and Amanat Brar (Head Girl 2014) were the instigators. The framework
Sean Holland retired. Nancy Pekter published a novel. Several members of staff presented at conferences, celebrated nuptials, and welcomed new babies. Our heartfelt congratulations to them all. If you would like to pay tribute to a teacher, submit your idea to email@example.com. SMS Spirit 25
Annual Report 2016 THE CLASS OF 2016 BY THE NUMBERS
34 98 40 $227k 57%
offers of admission universities in Canada, Japan, UK and USA.
in awards & scholarships
degree programs in science or mathematics
The 2016 Annual Report features a dynamic new mobile-friendly format, fresh visuals, and engaging stories, including student testimonials.
Jeremy Mannall-Fretwell | Chair, Board of Governors
On November 29, 2016, the St Margaret’s School Society held its annual general meeting for all members, which includes current parents, staff, alumnae, and board members. The school’s solid financial standing and growth in enrolment were celebrated, as were a number of successful projects completed and partnerships initiated in the past fiscal year (July 1, 2015 to June 30, 2016). This was another busy year for the Board in supporting the Head of School in her role. In addition to all of our usual tasks (approving the budget and fees, supporting the implementation of the school’s strategic plan, reviewing policies), the Board worked with the Head and the Director of Finance on the development of a 10-year plan, supported the efforts of the advancement office, and worked with the Head to develop a plan, process, and governance structure for campus renewal. It was also a year of self-assessment and analysis as the Board prepared for the CAIS accreditation process with a comprehensive governance review and evaluation. This included a full-day retreat to analyze the results of a governance survey and work through all the accreditation standards that applied to the Board. Ultimately, the time dedicated to this process will help the Board be stronger, more professional, and more effective (and hopefully more efficient, too!). I’m very proud to say that the Board met its own standard for giving by once again achieving a 100% participation rate in the Annual Fund campaign. And, of course, the biggest gift that all the governors gave was the gift of their time, with countless hours devoted to meetings, research, and preparation.
View the complete report online: ANNUALREPORT.STMARG.CA 26 The Experiential Learning Issue
Finally, it was a year of change for the Board as we said goodbye to several long-serving governors and welcomed several new ones. We thank our departing colleagues for all their efforts over the years, and greet our new ones with excitement and anticipation. The Board is eagerly looking forward to 2017 as we are beginning to see the fruits of our labours over the past year, and we know that while the work will remain challenging, like the school we govern, we are on a bright path moving forward.
THANK YOU TO OUR DONORS
(July 1, 2015 to June 30, 2016) Diana Abbott Alexandra Alexis Jenna Allan Pamela Allan Dawn Anderson Russell Anderson Sherry Arlt Kent Banks Lisa Banks Gail Bateman Elaine Bell Faith Bergevin-Beilin Marcelo Bergevin-Beilin Julie Bernhardt James Best Pamela Best Sharon Bleuler Lynda Brown-Ganzert Patrick Bryant Kathryn Bush D. Cai Carmen Campbell-Hewitt Deanna Chan Kathy Charleson Lei Che Bao-Fong Chen Ronghui Chen Chaohui Chen Joyce Clearihue Floyd Colins Darlene DeMerchant Julie Dobranski Yumei Dong Bing Dou Rongmei Dou Rob Ducharme Donna Dupas Debbie Dykes Margaret Dykes Page Ondine Easson Marlene Ehret Showers Saibishkumar Elantholi Parameswaran Katherine Evans Ted Evans Sandra Fairey Barbara Felsing Brad Frazer Susan Frazer Joan Gandza Christine Godfrey Rebecca Grant Sally Green Morgan Harker Alistair Harrigan Jane Harrigan Julia Hashim Smyth Jiang He Megan Hedderick Neil Hewitt Rosalyn Hillditch Liping Huang Michael Ji Zhang Li Jing Kathleen Johnson Douglas Kelly Kathleen Kirkpatrick Sointula Kirkpatrick Nancy Lam Elisabeth Langford Anthony Lanni Cory Laprade Lisa Laprade Evan Leeson Huaizhi Li
Jieli Li Muhan (Sophia) Li Jiabing Liao Xiuyan Liu Yangwei Lou Zhehua Lou Wei Lu Dawn MacPherson Marilyn Mair Jeremy Mannall-Fretwell John Marsh Pat Marsh Lisa Matthews Owen Matthews Marnie Mayhew George McMeekin Shauna McRanor Annette Millar Ahmed Mtiraoui James Neilson Stephanie Neilson Michelle Nelson Sara Paolo Sara Patine-Turcotte Nancy Pekter Philip Pierce David Poore Julie Prindiville Peng Qin Dorie Rabang Ricardo Rabang Mackenzie Rampton Ross Rampton Yongsheng Ren Faiza Rezgui Mary Richardson Ambere Rosborough Michael Rostad Lixin Shen Joan Smith Lori Smith Colin Smyth Orchid Starzun Sal Starzun Jitong Sun Zhengxi Sun Pat Tancock Davinder Thandi Cathy Thornicroft Andrew Timmis Sally Tinis Scott Tinis Michel Turcotte Silvina Valenza Barbara Webster-Evans Yuanzhi Weng Joyce Wheeler Gregg Wiltshire Yingjun Yan B. Yang Luo Yang Hong Ye Alia Zawacki Xueyue Zhang Shengkui Zhang Yulin Zhang Yue Zhu BC Transit - Victoria Bentall Kennedy Donald McKnight Law Corporation Finn & Izzy Ltd. Provincial Employees Community Service Fund Salus Systems Ltd.
“Smile because you belong, smile because you’re a part of the sisterhood, smile because you’ve changed.” Inspired by Student Council’s guiding theme for the year, smile, here are a bunch of winning smiles from around campus.
St. George’s School visit
Snowfall on campus
Hugs for Dudley at Terry Fox Run
Big & Little Sisters
Above: Students and instructors gather for a farewell photo as the 30th annual Outweek draws to a close. In the foreground, Art in the Park students hold up the painting they created for Strathcona Park Lodge to commemorate the anniversary.
St. Margaretâ€™s School 1080 Lucas Avenue Victoria, British Columbia, Canada V8X 3P7 1.250.479.7171 | www.stmarg.ca
Published on Feb 7, 2017
Spirit is a semiannual publication by St Margaret's School for girls. SMS provides empowering education for girls from Junior Kindergarten t...