At our most recent assembly I shared a video and song by Christian artist Micah Tyler called Different. The intent was to help convey the point behind why we have spent the whole year looking at the different characteristics we find in the passage from Galatians 5:22-23 about the Fruit of the Spirit. The hope, I said, was that by looking at love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control every day. Praying for these things to be evident in our lives, that we would somehow be different. That God would be more visible to others when they saw us. That I would be different than I was at the beginning of the year, and every year to come.
As I sat down to write this end of year review and about the plans to come, I was also struck by the concept of being different. Things changed. New principal, new teachers, new class setups, new buildings, new concepts. Things are different, it is inevitable. I know I have changed, the school has changed, students have changed. That is kind of the point of school though, right? We are never called to stay the same. Always changing, always moving, preferably closer to God and His will for our lives. Different is a good thing when it is for the right reasons. It isn’t easy or familiar, which can be a little disconcerting, but if it is for His glory, focused on His vision, then we learn to adapt, change and become different ourselves, more like Him.
And what about being different in the future? As a school we are experiencing enormous growth in interest and enrollment. I believe that is also because of the fact that we are different. People are looking for “different”. They are fed up with the old, the same, the things of this world. That growth will undoubtedly lead to us being larger, but we will do everything possible to maintain that difference that makes us stand out. We have no intention of letting our size impact who we strive to be as a school and community. We may need to get used to some new ways of things happening (anyone want to talk about how we accommodate 40-60 new students into our space or how drop-off and pick-up are gonna work?), or changes to the traditional ways things have been done in the past, but if it is all about opening the doors to more students to be in a “different” environment where God is at the center, it is all worth it.
So with all that said, what do the changes for next year look like and how will it impact PCS? As I mentioned earlier, we are growing. Currently we have 220 students. As of right now, we have 260 students pre-registered for next year and there are many more inquiries, tours and visits planned before the end of the school year and throughout the summer no doubt. With this enrollment, we see the following breakdown of classes being in place for September. I have included the proposed location for those classes as well, seeing as movement is necessary to make things more efficient. I have also included any staffing that lines up with those classes that have been confirmed, or a status of in flux positions.
Junior Kindergarten - Same room - Mrs. Dellandrea
Senior Kindergarten - Same room - Mrs. Passchier
JK/SK Split - current Grade 1 room, same hallway - teacher secured, awaiting contract
Grade 1 - Main portable (old Grade 6 room) - Ms. Pennycooke
Grade 2 - Main portable (same room) - Mrs. Kauffeldt (returning from maternity leave)
Grade 2 - Main portable (current Grade 1 room) - Mrs. Phillips
Grade 3 - Main portable (current Grade 7 room) - Mrs. Holt
Grade 4 - Main portable (same room) - Miss Grant
Grade 4 - Main portable (old Grade 5 room) - teacher secured, awaiting contract
Grade 5 - New portables - position currently posted
Grade 6 - New portables - Mr. Derr
Grade 7 - New portables - Mr. Laur/Mr. Webb/Mr. Ogborne
Grade 8 - New portables - Mr. Laur/Mr. Webb/Mr. Ogborne
Music - Music Room - Mrs. Ullman / Mrs. Immanuel
Art - Science Room - Mrs. Ullman / Mrs. Immanuel / Mr. Webb
French - Grade 4 through 8 - currently seeking, posting shortly
Gym - Gym - Mr. Ballanger
Currently Grade 1 and Grade 3 are capped, however if the Lord blesses us with enough enrolment to split those classes then we will make some shifts of classroom spaces and personnel.
We do not intend to split Grades 5 through 8, so those are capped up to the maximum of 1 class (approx. 25)
Lots of moving parts, lots of change, but excited about what God has in store for us. As you can see from the list, we are looking at having a few more portables to meet our needs. We actually have purchased 4 additional units to add to the current 2. What I want to make clear is that our intention is to not make this a permanent response to our growing space issue. These are meant to be temporary options to buy us some time so the new Board can begin in depth discussion and planning for an expansion and renovation of our space. The hope is that a new strategic plan will be in place by the fall of 2023 announcing plans for a capital campaign and build with an occupancy target of fall 2025. Those are aggressive timelines but given the continued growth in the Durham Region and what we believe will be continued interest, we have to be aggressive to not fall behind and meet the demand. Stay posted for information on a current short-term financial fundraising campaign to help acquire, install and equip the new portables.
Also, with these additional classes, I want to chat a little about how we go about determining who goes into whose class. While we all love our existing staff and even have some history with them through siblings, or for some of you even had them as your own teachers :) , we can’t accommodate everyone being able to determine their preference. Rest assured that we spend a lot of time as an Admin team, with the teachers who have taught and are going to teach the students, to discuss best fits from social, academic and behavioral standpoints. We also look for opportunities through the schedule for interactions between classes through other subjects (music, gym, etc). In the end, it is not like they will never see that friend they had in last year’s class. They still have before school, recess and after school to connect and it is a positive thing to continue to make new friends.
So in closing I want to ask you one last thing. We need you to continue to pray for the school. There are so many moving parts. There are still things that we need to work out such as portables arriving, installing power and acquiring additional furniture for the classrooms. We continue to pray for additional students in order to expand the impact of God’s kingdom message. We need to pray for the Board as they sit down and discuss the many key components of the strategic plan and establishment of expansion plans and building campaign. Lastly, we need to continue to pray that the school will be that “different” that people are looking for. That we will continue to follow the wisdom found in Romans 12:2 - Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
Gentleness in Action
Amazed and Challenged
The Goodness of God …. And Our Call to Follow Suit
As we enter the month of March, begin to prepare for March Break and start to see the somewhat return to normal, we as a school begin our look at the Fruit of the Spirit called goodness. Now it seems unfair in a way that we will have a limited number of days in school this month to really focus on this particular fruit as we have every other month for the ones before. However, there are so many opportunities for us to tangibly take note of the examples of goodness we have experienced in our own lives, that it kind of makes up for it.
Personally I can think of the many blessings He has afforded me in my role as principal, the amazing friends and connections that have crossed my path through the years, my children, and countless other times I have been blessed through no effort or good reasons of my own. Even as I write this blog, sitting here in a hotel room in San Diego at a Principal’s Conference given as a gift, I am reminded of God’s amazing love for us and the goodness he pours out to us every day, even when we maybe feel that we don’t deserve it. This ultimately points me back to the cross and the goodness of God, that even in my sinful nature, wholly undeserving of His saving grace, He chose to be open-hearted and generous with me, and with you, beyond and above what we deserve.
And this is the definition that we are using to unpack the truth of this Fruit of the Spirit. Goodness is the selfless desire to be open-hearted and generous to others above what they deserve.
Now it would be all well and good to stop here and make sure we are all aware of God’s goodness, and we should acknowledge it every day, but, we need to understand that we are also called to exhibit this fruit in our lives. God’s goodness is carried out through His children. It started with Christ’s selfless desire to give of His heart to us above what we deserved. As we are called to emulate His life, we are tasked to follow His lead.
When I think of those blessings and goodness I spoke of earlier, many of them are the direct result of someone heeding that call. This conference for example was made possible by a group of people who don’t know me or my situation, but want to bless principals who want to grow in their leadership and their roles to serve their communities. I can speak of countless times where people have extended grace and mercy when I was clearly wrong. I didn’t deserve it, but it was given freely and selflessly. Take time today to consider the times others have lavished goodness on you.
And on the flip side we are called to the same selfless desire to be open-hearted and generous. What does that look like in your life? How have you chosen to build into and develop this selfless desire to extend God’s goodness to others above what they deserve? As we break for March Break my challenge to the students and our families is to take time to discuss and then actively look for ways to extend God’s goodness to those we come in contact with even when we maybe don’t know them or if they deserve that goodness. How do we build that desire within us and then act? When we return I hope to discuss with the students about some of their examples and experiences of extending God’s goodness to others. As a school we will be discussing ways for us as a community to extend this goodness into the community and world beyond our walls on a more consistent basis and I look forward to sharing those with you at the end of the month.
And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith. - Galatians 6:9-10
Called to Be Kind
Balancing The Teeter-Totter
By Dr. P. Ogborne
The Jellybean Gospel
By Dr. P. Ogborne
PCS Board Update-Principal Search
By Mr. Kelvin Kaufeldt
Rethink - Don’t Cancel
By Dr. Paul Ogborne
As we close in on a year of COVID concerns, it is a worthwhile activity to reflect and plan on what was and what is and what can be.
It has been a long journey of masks and separation and lock downs. Is the turning point just ahead as the vaccine is being rolled out to the public? Maybe. But until the official report is given, we continue in this season and work at living smart, not fearful.
At schools all over the province, many traditional activities have been outright canceled and students are left with a shell of what they formally had in school. Sports teams are gone, field trips are non-existent, and many classroom activities are suspended.
At PCS we know some things are gone but can we reinvent them, change them or come up with new activity within the health guidelines? We think so. One such activity is basketball. Combined with other Christian schools, PCS will be competing in a Free-Throw event. It involves students setting a score through the program. Top winners of each section will move on to compete at a school in Lindsay. All of this fits under the guidelines of social distancing and safety. Basketball skill reinvented not canceled.
Carnival has not been canceled but moved outdoors as soon as the weather is agreeable. Some activities will change, others will be added and sanitization protocols put in place. Reinvented not canceled.
The postponed March Break has created an extra long gap so the school has extended the February Fun Fridays into March Madness to lift the morale of all involved. Reinvented not canceled.
There are other activities being assessed and thought through so as to provide an enjoyable, safe continuation of the culture at PCS. (online chess?)
What about your family? Are you rethinking Spring Break and what to do? Even further, what about the summer months? Destinations changed? Activities changed? We would love to hear from you and possibly share some of the inventive ideas that you send us. The next blog could centre around this sharing platform. Your ideas might spark other ideas and so on and so on.