Category Archives: Holidays

Wishing You A Safe & Happy Summer

The last week of the school year is an exciting yet emotional time for students, parents, and the staff at school. We have an opportunity to enjoy end of year activities and celebrations, to complete the year’s academic requirements in high school exams, and to celebrate the individual accomplishments of our students at various assemblies of recognition and graduation. We do however also feel a little sentimental at recognizing that it is the end of the term 3 and the academic year is now drawing to a close.

To all of our families we extend our thanks for the opportunity of working with your students and communicating with your family. We have had a very successful school year, and we are already planning and looking forward to the 2017-2018 school year at TEAM School and Mentor College. We wish you a safe and happy summer.

If your schedule allows, we hope you have the opportunity to attend some of the year end activities this week.

Best wishes for a wonderful summer!

Chuck Macdonald
Director – Mentor College/TEAM School

Season’s Greetings!

macdonald-cThe holiday season offers us the opportunity to extend goodwill greetings to all, as we look forward to spending time with friends and family. Our school holiday also offers us the chance to rest and to reflect.

As always, term one is very busy and includes many events that take place from the start of school in September until the holiday assembly on the last day of classes in December. As we reflect on all of those activities where we watched our students perform in an ensemble, take part in a club or activity, or play in a sport event, we also had the opportunity to see and to recognize the dedication and enthusiasm of our staff members who supervise, lead, and coach these activities.

As teachers, we work with fantastic students who challenge us, and who remind us daily of those positive reasons why we want to be educators. Our students are great kids that come from families who put an emphasis on education. The end result is that parents, teachers, and students all come together and share the same goals.

As families, and administrators, we are fortunate to have excellent teachers for our students. They are teachers who put great effort into their daily academic instruction, but also organize, lead, and support our students through various clubs, sports, and activities.

It has been a very busy term, so it is now time to reflect, be thankful, celebrate, rest and recuperate in order to be ready for the next term.

We wish you and your family a restful and meaningful holiday season. We look forward to seeing our students, staff, and everyone in the TEAM and Mentor community in the New Year.

Season’s Greetings and Happy New Year!

Chuck Macdonald
Director – Mentor College/TEAM School

Holiday Board-om

School Year Calendar 2016- 2017

School Year Calendar 2016- 2017

One of the jobs I have at the end of November each year is to prepare all of the registration documentation for the following school year. Because the first round of 2017-2018 registrations go out on January 2nd (for current Mentor JK to Grade 7 students), we need to have the school holidays set before we leave for our Winter Break.

The Ministry of Education sets the holidays three years in advance and we follow their lead with regard to when the Winter and March Breaks will be. Setting the holidays should be easy for everyone based on that but this year, public education boards started thinking out loud in the early part of this year that they would like to finish one week later in December and then return to classes January 9th. The “catch” is that Boards need to pre-obtain permission to go against the Ministry guidelines but when they released their list of holidays, there was an asterisk saying “pending Ministry approval”. Even if we had a way of knowing when the Ministry would approve the dates, it was already 4 months since we set our holidays and 2 months after we had given those dates to our families in the registration packages. I cannot understand how the Boards would not know three years ago (let alone two years ago or even 12 months in advance) what they wanted to do or why the Ministry would create holidays that their Boards would not want but I guess that is why I am (glad to be) in the private system!

I have spoken to many teachers, students, and parents who are part of the public boards and have yet to hear anyone say that they are excited to spend an extra week in classes with excitable students during December. When I walked through the Primary Campus front lobby this morning, there was an appreciable increase in the decibel level of the kids just because the holiday decorations were up so I know this will only increase throughout the month of December. The parents in the public school system are very jealous that we are going to be back in school on January 2nd. My personal experience with kids and the winter holidays is that after New Year’s Day, children are ready for the routine of a school day again because the excitement of new holiday gifts has worn off (eg: a week after dropping a few hundred dollars on the latest video gaming system, we just love to hear “We’re bored…there’s nothing to do”!). More importantly, parents need to get some semblance of normalcy as soon after the holiday as well.

Our holidays (or as I like to say “their” holidays) have proven to be a challenge for our high school sports in particular as we have three weeks of the winter season that are not common to most of ROPSSAA but that has been the only stumbling block. I hope that those who like to travel are finding good deals with two weeks of “uncommon” holidays and that those students who do their own gift-giving in December will take advantage of the extra shopping time. As for next year’s Winter Break, you can see on the Ministry website that the Christmas Break will be from December 25, 2017 to January 5, 2018. But you can also see on the site that, despite the modifications made by most Boards, the Ministry holidays for the current year (see the image above – click to enlarge) have not been amended…

Chris Starkey
Administrative Principal
Mentor College / TEAM School

What It Is Like Traveling Internationally With A Group Of Mentor/TEAM Students

I have three rules of thumb when it comes to travelling internationally with our HS students and yet again this March Break, they each came to fruition while I was with the music and art trip to Italy.

Rule #1: I will be asked for directions in the airport.
Even with my nametag prominently announcing that I am the administrative principal of Mentor College and TEAM School, at least one traveller will ask me an airport-related question like “where is the Qantas counter?” I guess we do not own a monopoly on navy blazers, ties and grey pants…

Rule #2: I will see more than one school family during the trip.
One family was in the Air Canada line when we left Pearson and when we got to the security check, a Grade 9 boy and his family let me cut in front of them to allow me to stay with the group. Mr. Hoare met a man who had just organized a music educator’s conference and had worked with a former student of ours (Julian Lam) in one of the seminars. And when we were making our connection in Frankfurt on the way home, we were approached by a Grade 8 grad from the early 90s named Michael Lista. Michael was “Aladdin” in the Intermediate musical way back when and is now a professional poet!

Rule #3: I will get many compliments about our students.
From airline employees to tour guides to bus drivers to members of the public, the teachers and I never tired of hearing how nice/smart/well-behaved/clean/respectful our students were. Whether we are travelling halfway across the globe or just up the street to the Living Arts Centre, our students always represent Mentor College and TEAM School very well. They are just wonderful people to be around…so wonderful that the chaperones actually start thinking about the NEXT trip to take while the current trip is taking place!

Chris Starkey
Administrative Principal
Mentor College / TEAM School

Make the Most of Your Holidays

This past winter was a very nice one compared to last year when, at March Break, we had not seen a temperature on the humane side of zero since November! Still though, I imagine most students and teachers are looking forward to March Break 2016.

Our school breaks are a chance for teachers and students alike to finally vanquish the cold they have been fighting, to get caught up on some reading, to binge-watch a season or two of a favourite show or to get away for a vacation full of activity. Getting relaxed and refreshed is really important this year in particular because with the Easter holidays falling within the March Break, it will seem like a LONG time until our next holiday. Yes, we get an extra day for March Break but starting Tuesday, March 29, we have 38 straight weekdays until the Victoria Day long weekend!

So whether you are doing vacation or “stay”cation in the next two weeks, I hope that you and your family enjoy yourselves before the final term of academic and extra-curricular activity begins.

Chris Starkey
Administrative Principal
Mentor College / TEAM School