Semester Two Begins
We are halfway through the 2016-17 year, and we are starting to stabilize from a year of changes. Students expressed support and demonstrated restraint and maturity upon hearing that Isfeld would be smoke-free and vape-free due to new legislation imposed on September 1st, 2016. I do not believe the few smokers in our school suddenly quit, but those students have, in the vast majority of cases, honoured the law and we appreciate it.
The other big change for students is working within a new model that calls for teachers to move their prep time to Friday afternoon, which has caused a shortened day. With this change, we saw an opportunity to allow students one day per week where they could take charge of their learning goals and manage their time to their own best advantage. Our returning graduates have told us that managing their learning tasks independent of professors' direction has been their most challenging adjustment, and we are hoping students will acquire those skills at Isfeld, in a lower risk, higher support environment. In actuality, we aren't there yet. Too many students still see Friday as catch-up day and nothing more, so we still have work to do. Ideally, our students will see differentiated learning time as their opportunity (and their responsibility) to get on top of their studies and to push themselves in ways conventional instruction may not be.
I am pleased to hear that many of our graduating students are already talking about giving back to their school and broader community. The Interact club is looking at a legacy project that will serving our biking students for years to come. Some senior students have undertaken learning tutoring skills to support younger students. Our older athletes continue to work with, support and encourage the younger students tasked with carrying on Isfeld's tradition of competitve excellence in our region. Our Grad Executive is looking beyond their own class and their own year to seize opportunties to leave behind a stronger, happier school.
Semester two represents a re-start to the year, and this change is inherently invigorating. That is a good thing, because we have an ambitious second half of the year ahead. I would like to take this opportunity to welcome some new teachers who are boarding our moving bus for this ride, and to thank all of our staff for coping with the challenges of this year while always putting the needs of students first. Finally, this year has asked parents to place their trust in us as we move into uncharted territory, and all of us appreciate the patience, support and collaborative efforts that parents bring to our common cause.