Archive for April, 2022

Desperate for Rituals

There is an interesting contrast happening right now in schools.  In some ways, they look very different than they did in 2019, and this shift is being met positively, and in other ways there is a desperate push to return to rituals that we used to have, that have been on hold for more than two years.

The simple view I take of this is that with so much different in our world, there are some rituals that people are looking towards to be simply as they remembered them in the past, a reassurance that the world has not lost all its good parts.

I am seeing that, for example, with graduation events.  There is more interest than I can ever remember.  And particularly from parents who want to be sure that this year’s students have experiences just like students used to have.

And at the same time, there are new structures and experiences, completely different from pre-pandemic.  I can’t go to an elementary school now without seeing some outdoor learning experience going on – no matter the weather!   And I can’t go to a high school without some new way that time is being organized to give students greater control over their learning. And throughout the system, it is clear everyone has a new set of digital skills that they are using.

So, we have these seemingly contrary narratives at play.  The world has been turned upside down, and we are desperate for the rituals of schools – the ones that are like those of our parents and grandparents to return – as a reminder that everything will be ok.  And we have lived through the last two years and learned we will forever want to do some things differently, the pandemic has exposed issues of equity, made us question what we value in schools, and given us brand new skills and outlooks that are making schools so different from a couple years ago.

The trick of leadership over these next few months  is to not see these different views as actually in opposition.  We can, and should, live with a foot in both worlds.  In one world, we have rituals we all remember and reassure the community of the stability of school, and in the other world, we are shifting for the changes we have seen and continue to see in our world, ensuring our schools remain centres of relevance.

The importance of the next few months in our schools cannot be overstated.  A narrative will emerge – one based on going back to good times of the past, or one that says we know better and we are going forward to a new way.  Or maybe a third narrative, which might disappoint some in both camps, that holds onto some of the practices and customs of pre 2020 schools, but still creates space for the new ideas of the last two years to flourish.

As I often say here, it is an exciting time in education.

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There has been a lot of attention around school nicknames in recent years.  You will have seen the controversy in some communities as schools have looked to update their nicknames.  If you want a complete look at all the high school nicknames in British Columbia, my friend Howard Tsumura did an exhaustive list HERE

As per usual when others Zig, we Zag in West Vancouver Schools.  We are not going to look to update one or two nicknames, we are today announcing new nicknames for all of our schools.  We know that nicknames are important for branding, so we want all our schools to have modern up-to-date nicknames that are relatable for our students.  We are also committed to updating them every 10 years.  We are absolutely committed to staying hip in West Vancouver.

As a side benefit, we think we are going to sell a lot of school merchandise as everyone will want to represent their schools and our modern new nicknames and logos will appeal to the masses beyond our schools.  We are also launching our district-wide online store today so you can buy your favourite swag from any of our schools.  So without further ado we are pleased to announce brand new nicknames for all our schools today.

Bowen Island Community Pokemons

Caulfeild Mini Millennials 

Ecole Cedardale Cobra Kai

Chartwell Crypto Cheetahs

Cypress Park Virtual Vultures

Eagle Harbour Emojis

Ecole Pauline Johnson Peloton Pirates

Gleneagles G.O.A.T.S.

Hollyburn Zoom Bombers

Inglewood Jumpin JOMOs

Irwin Park Snapchatting Sharks

Lions A. I. Bay

Ridgeview Podcasting Penguins

Rockridge Tik Tokers

Sentinel Selfie Squad

West Bay Bitcoin Ballers

West Vancouver Wandavisioners

Westcot Wild Memes

Today’s announcement is the latest in the long line of innovative actions from our school district.  Here is the list of those from recent years:

In 2012 I launched my FLOG.

In 2013 I made the announcement of Quadrennial Round Schooling.

In 2014 we formalized our System of Student Power Rankings.

In 2015 we created our Rock, Paper, Scissors Academy.

In 2016 we introduced the Drone Homework Delivery System.

In 2017 we introduced the Donald J. Trump Elementary School of Winning.

In 2018 we announced the construction of Soak City Elementary.

In 2019 we went back to the 80’s with the launch of the Belvedere Learning Academy.

In 2020 we embraced the latest in learning styles with our PBL (Pajama-Based Learning) Program.  

In 2021 we announced we were going out of this world with our Galaxy High Program.

We know COVID can easily make us not look for ways to innovate, but sometimes we need to keep looking for new ideas.  You can look for all our new school clothing to be available just until noon today and also, happy April 1st.

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