Road to Lauremont School Information Hub


Updates from Andrew Cross

Andrew Cross, our Head of School, will send out monthly communications to the community to provide insights and updates into all the happenings during the school year; opportunities for students, parents, faculty, staff, alumni and board members to participate and engage with the school community; and to celebrate milestones as we achieve them. These communications will be placed here for easy access should you wish to reflect back. 



February 8, 2024

What associations come to your mind when you hear the word “Sustainability”?

If you are like most people, your mind probably turns first to images of the environment. You might think of ways in which your family household has tried to reduce non-recyclable waste, or initiatives at your workplace to limit paper use.

"We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.”

Indigenous proverb



As a school we are taking significant steps to reduce our carbon footprint. As one of many examples, we have had solar panels on the rooftops of both campuses for many years. Currently we have 102 panels at the Lower School and 164 at the Upper School.

In 2023 TMS generated 41,000 Kwh (Kilowatt hours) of solar energy at the Lower School (5.6% of all energy consumption) and 67,000 Kwh at the Upper School (9.8% of all energy consumption).

We know that there is much more to be done but these baseline data points allow us to aspire towards further growth in the use of renewable energy sources.



We are also taking measures to reduce our paper use. Business cards are one small example. We are working with a company that produces business cards made of wood and utilizing a technology that allows for the wireless transfer of data over short distances. The card owner simply taps the card on the other person’s mobile phone and all the pre-selected contact details are downloaded onto the device. Instead of an order of 100 cards, the staff member only needs one.

And for every card produced, the company will plant a tree!

We are also working on a plan to move away from single use tableware, glasses, cups and cutlery and replacing them with washable, reusable options for community events where practicable to do so.



As part of our change of school name, stationery items bearing the TMS name will need to be retired before the start of the new school year. Instead of simply shredding these materials and hoping that they will be recycled, we plan to find new uses for these paper items as part of our Discovery Day Camp sustainability program. The plan is to create new parchment paper that will be used by the Camp for its programming and additionally by T/CH and Elementary students in their art classes.

During the last school year, Elementary students and teachers planted a variety of vegetables in garden boxes near the Book Nook. Zucchini, carrots, peas and tomatoes were harvested and some of these were given to the dining hall staff where our chef and his team included them in some of the meals they served to the community. Our catering partners at Aramark have a number of measures in place to reduce food waste, which has both financial and environmental benefits.

Initiatives like these are important and have value. They are part of a sustainability plan which will be developed with short, medium and long term measurable objectives. We have not yet achieved all our goals, but the conversation is well underway, momentum is building and there is no turning back. Input and expertise from within our community of parents, alumni, faculty, staff and students will be most welcome as we tackle the challenges and opportunities of climate change and help to preserve the natural world for our children and future generations.


December 15, 2023

As we continue our exploration of our new Strategic Direction, I would like to focus on a second pillar and explain what it is and why it matters to all of us who work, study or have children in schools.

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion—often known by the acronym DEI—can be described in its simplest terms as a framework for promoting the fair treatment and full participation of all individuals within an organization. While our emphasis is on the lens of education, DEI work can be found in the corporate and non-profit sectors as organizations of all kinds seek to create a more welcoming and safe workplace for everyone.

Schools must comply with specific non-discrimination laws and regulations found in the Ontario Human Rights Code and the Education Act. But for TMS and our peer schools in the CAIS network, our primary motivation for doing everything we can to promote a diverse community, fair treatment of all employees, students and other stakeholders and feelings of inclusion and belonging is not legal but ethical. 



In short: DEI is about doing what is right. It is a journey that does not reach its final destination overnight, nor does it come without bumps in the road and sometimes challenging conversations.

Our peer schools are also moving forward with clear commitments to the values described above, and we must be part of these conversations. DEI is changing the landscape of schooling for the better and we reflect these goals in our Mission and Vision statements and in our daily practices.

You can read here about 9 specific examples of actions and measures we are taking at TMS across the school to implement Diversity, Equity and Inclusion:

Read more about our Initiatives Around DEI



CAIS and CIS have recently updated their Strategic Directions and in both organizations DEI is front and centre in their guiding statements.

What is DEI not about?

It is not about an agenda to promote the interests of one or two specific groups within our school communities at the expense of others. That would be completely opposite of the goal of building a community that respects and listens to all voices.

Instead, DEI is about taking specific actions over time to send positive signals to individuals and groups which may not have felt that their particular identities or personal characteristics have been recognized or valued. Too often, this has resulted in school cultures that have been less rich and vibrant as marginalized groups have not felt able to fully contribute their unique perspectives.

I will conclude with a reflection from the Hanover Research Report that I think expresses well why we make the effort to create communities of learners who can feel free to show the world their genuine selves and know that they will not be judged or overlooked.

“"Ensuring that all students feel a sense of belonging in school is paramount, as belonging contributes to school success, social-emotional wellbeing, and positive academic outcomes. A sense of belonging can positively predict student achievement, and students with a strong sense of belonging are also more likely to exhibit positive behaviors, beliefs, and confidence; contribute positively to the school community; and report an interest in helping others and the importance of treating all people with respect."”

Hanover Research Report





November 9, 2023

For this edition of Updates from the Head I would like to shine a spotlight on our new strategic pillar of Innovation. According to the Collins English Dictionary, “innovate” means “to introduce changes and new ideas in the way something is done or made”.

This is an easy word to include in a Strategic Plan, but it has little value unless it is visible in the daily practices and culture of an organization. For this reason, I am particularly proud of what has already been achieved here at TMS, and we will only intensify these efforts as we move forward.

“The children of today will make all the discoveries of tomorrow. All the discoveries of humankind will be known to them and they will improve what has been done and make fresh discoveries…The future generation must not only know how to do what we can teach them, they must be able to go a step further.”

Maria Montessori
The 1946 London Lectures

 

Both the Montessori and IB pedagogies are committed to the notion of cultivating innovation in learning. As one of the few schools to offer both, we celebrate the educational journey we offer to the innovators of tomorrow.

Maria Montessori was an innovator and forward thinker who believed that we must help the child adapt to their place and time. The pedagogy she created over 100 years ago and its understanding of the developmental stages of children has not changed. What has changed are the external and societal influences on our children.

Fundamental to our practice is creating a community of collaboration and ensuring that we support the pursuit of academics through the lens of inquiry, innovation and a child centered approach.

Here are some ways we are currently seeing innovation in learning at our Lower School:

  • Observing the unique and unanticipated ways our Toddlers use new materials in our play spaces including a versatile sand/water/sensory table, Montessori stairs, balance beams, and a Pikler climber.
  • Cultivating new techniques for breathing, calming strategies, wellness and positivity with our Children’s House students through Mindfulness Circles as a way to help students manage the transition back to school.

  • Encouraging our Elementary students to use their “heads, hearts and hands” as they approach problems to think critically, feel openly and take action for the betterment of others. Some of the work planned this year includes:
    • Introducing a design thinking partnership with Boreal Farms to find solutions to food insecurity and building a foundation for the TMS Schulich Innovation and Entrepreneurial Experience.
    • Promoting experiential learning and exploration of real world projects through community partnerships and initiatives across the grade levels.
    • Introducing our new Integrated Arts program to make meaningful connections between disciplines.

An innovator needs to have competencies like creativity, critical thinking, communication, strategic thinking, digital literacy and problem solving to find and develop creative solutions for the complex world in which we live. Every IB course fosters the development of these skills, and uses design thinking as a backbone to do so.

Here are some ways we are currently seeing innovation in learning at our Upper School:

  • The TMS Schulich partnership and the extension of the student projects into their CAS (Creative, Action, Service) and/or Personal Project (PP) studies.
  • Our design thinking program is delivered through the design technology curriculum from Grades 7-10.
  • Real life experiences so that learning is both engaging and authentic including:
    • Upper School students designing chairs for Toddlers
    • Grade 10 students designing Canadian currency notes and bills through a lens of inclusion and diversity that are then judged by a panel from the RCMP.
  • The DECA competition where students design business solutions to real life case studies

We are excited by the possibilities of continuing to build a culture of innovation in all our practices as we know that is the foundation on which to prepare our students for life after TMS.

I invite you to read more about our Innovation Pillar and the goals we have set for ourselves this year:

Read more about our Innovation Pillar

 


October 4, 2023

I am pleased to share with you a brand new section to our school website, the Road to Lauremont School Information Hub. This is an exciting step forward in the life of our school and we hope you will find it useful as you move through its different sections. It has taken some time to create and we wanted to ensure that it addresses all of the elements and information that our community will need as we move forward with our new name in the summer of 2024 and our new Strategic Direction. Your patience has been greatly appreciated. This site will continue to evolve and grow as we add material in the coming weeks and months, so please do be sure to check in regularly for updates. We would love to hear your feedback on your experience of using this site so that we can ensure it meets your needs.

To give you a brief roadmap of the site, it includes the following tabs:

Updates from the Head
Monthly articles focusing on various aspects of our name change and new Strategic Direction from the Head of School. The first one is on the theme of Innovation and can be found by clicking on “Updates from the Head.”

Our School Story
This section touches briefly on the history of TMS over the years and then focusses on the elements of the community survey which contributed to the new strategic direction of the school.

Our Strategic Pillars
Clicking on this tab will take you to information about our new Strategic Pillars of Innovation, Sustainability and Diversity, Equity & Inclusion.

Journey Milestones
This section shows the exciting events and special moments relating to the preparation and roll-out of our new Strategic Direction and name change on a monthly basis.

Upcoming Events
As you know, we have a very full calendar of community activities at TMS! Click on this tab to sign up for Coffee Mornings with the Head, and learn about other very special events like the Holiday Marketplace and the opening of our new Middle School. More events will be added as we move through the year together.

FAQs about Lauremont
Here you can click on a list of questions and become better informed on a range of topics relating to the new Strategic Direction and name change.

As always, you are welcome to write to me at: strategicdirection@tmsschool.ca with any questions, feedback, comments or concerns.

I wish you and your families a restful and enjoyable Thanksgiving Weekend, and stay well.

Sincerely,

Andrew Cross
Head of School