As my second year at GNS comes to an end, I am often asked about my impressions of the school. There are three particular strengths that stand out the most clearly: a strong shared commitment to students as individuals, a focus on continued, sustained improvement and a collective desire to ensure we continue to be a great school in the years to come.
Committing to Each Student
The dedication demonstrated by faculty and staff is the most commendable trait I have witnessed at GNS. Every day, they ensure each student is challenged, supported and inspired to do their best. I treasure the fact that everyone works to create a strong, positive community where every student is known and celebrated. Faculty, staff, parents and alumni all work together toward the GNS vision, helping prepare each graduate to be an outstanding person of character who will contribute to the world through leadership, a commitment to service and an understanding that we are all responsible for the future of our communities. It is so rewarding to see every student engaged in powerful learning with the ultimate goal of making their world a better place.
As one of this country's leading independent schools, we have a strong desire to continue growing and evolving as an organization. This was evident both from the intensive preparations we undertook in anticipation of the Canadian Accredited Independent Schools (CAIS) re-accreditation process and in our continued work to develop and updated Strategic Plan. It was inspiring to see the collaboration shown by faculty, staff and board members as they created the internal report submitted to the CAIS visiting committee. They did an admirable job of identifying areas that needed improvement and developing strategies to make these changes a reality.
As we celebrate earning our re-accreditation, we also recognize the additional effort that will be required to address the recommendations and suggestions noted in the visiting committee's report. Meanwhile, the work done amassing information and feedback from surveys, focus groups and research has been extremely effective, and will fuel our strategic planning work with a professional facilitator. We are confident we will be able to share our new five-year visions with you by October.
Continued Greatness in the Years to Come
As a celebrated school with 104 years of history, it is essential that we take a long-term view of our continued role as a leader in education. In our rapidly evolving and competitive world, we are dedicated to ensuring that we are always able to deliver the very best programs while supporting each student as an individual with great potential. We are solidifying our own unique GNS version of the IB that inspires students to seek answers to great questions, integrate their findings, think critically and take action in a manner that adds value and improves situations.
We are also focused on connecting with our alumni and keeping them engaged with the school community. In the fall, we will launch a GNS mentor program that will let alumni and current and past parents connect with senior students who are just beginning their post-secondary journeys. Mentors will be able to offer advice and support while making valuable connections with the school community.
Finally, we are creating the infrastructure necessary to ensure that each student is able to thrive in an inclusive community with a modern, effective educational program. The beginning of the Beach Drive Campus Transformation is the next in a series of important projects that will further enhance student learning.
I am so excited to be a part of GNS as we work to combine tradition and innovation in a manner that allows us to respect our past and embrace our future.
by Glenn Zederayko, Head of School