Now that the office is closing and the staff and students have headed off into their summers,
It has been another unusual year. I remember June 2021 as we were closing the office, we were looking forward to a more normal fall. It didn’t work out that way, with a whole-school mask requirement in September, followed by the complicated January start up. The year finished with something closer to normal, however. Staff and parents were thrilled to meet face-to-face in classrooms during student-led conferences this spring. In May and June we also appreciated more all-school and multi-class events. It seems reasonable now to think that this coming September will start in a more typical way. Watch for more info in late August.
Looking back at the year for our students, what stands out is how well our students did at bringing their best selves to school. While Covid restrictions continued to affect us, especially in the first half of the year, your children came to school ready and eager to learn. Classrooms were still rich with talking, thinking and problem-solving and recesses were full of energy. We even managed to run some interschool sports including Rugby and Track. The optimism and energy of our EMJS students reflects your work as parents and families. You send us wonderful people every day, and we are very grateful for that!
With our staff, one thing that really stands out is the spirit of collaboration that our EMJS teachers and support staff bring to work. I have taught in many schools around this district over the last 25 years and have worked with many terrific colleagues, but the way the Margaret Jenkins staff works together is exceptional. It has been often said in educational research that the students learn best in environments where the teachers are also learning, and the best way for educators to learn is to plan, assess and reflect with their colleagues. COVID restrictions have meant some changes and limitations on that – nevertheless, collaboration is central to their teaching and learning and they have made sure to find meaningful ways to do so. Primary reading is a good example. Each day primary teachers, educational assistants, our librarian and learning support teachers went into primary classrooms and worked as a team with students to emphasize reading. As the school year ended, we could see the efforts paying off. Staff members have worked very hard over the last year and it was rewarding to see how classrooms had come together and students were growing in their learning.
Through this year (and the last) we have really appreciated family support. Including students, families and educators, we have about 1500 people in our Margaret Jenkins community, with a variety of different experiences and views. Throughout this pandemic, families have had and shared different perspectives on dealing with Covid. I really appreciated people taking the time to share their thoughts and give us feedback. A school with a community this size necessarily involves complexities and feedback from families is an important part of a school running well. I also appreciated parents engaging in these conversations respectfully as we tried to find the best balance for our community at the same time as following provincial and school district rules.
Thank you for your part in the EMJS community this year. I wish all of you a wonderful July and August. For those of you who will continue to be part of EMJS, we look forward to seeing you in the fall. For those of you whose children are moving on, thank you for being part of EMJS, and best wishes next year!
École Margaret Jenkins School