Wednesday, 20 July 2016

What can we Learn from Pokemon Go?

Before this week, I only had a vague idea about what Pokemon are. I had seen students at school with cards featuring cool little monster like creatures with funny names. My daughters even had a few cards lying around the house that they had received from school friends. Other than that, only recollections of images that I could not 100% identify as Pokemon related from television and other media sources.

And then over the last couple of weeks, I started hearing about this Pokemon Go on the new and seeing Facebook articles about it and how there was a craze going on and there were newsworthy stories of individual hurting themselves.

When I started to see that people I know from Facebook or Twitter were involved in Pokemon Go, I decided to check it out for myself.

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Dust yourself off and keep going

Okay, I will admit it, I am not a huge fitness buff. I love playing sports and as a kid, I loved practices, too. But, to go for a run or a bike ride or go to the gym as a form of exercise, that was never really my thing. As I get older though, I recognize the value in being more healthy. Ensuring that I eat right, get enough sleep and get enough exercise is becoming more  and more important.

This post will not be about fitness or exercise, but rather it sets up my story. In trying to be a bit more healthy, I decided to go for a bike ride. Easy enough, I figured a hard bike ride for a half hour or so would get the heart rate up and all would be good. About 20 minutes into the ride, I came to a curb and tried to pull the front end of the mountain bike up to get a softer landing off the curb.

It is at this point of the story, that I confess that I am not the most mechanically inclined individual and I have a certain level of trust in the mechanical devices that I use, mostly because I don't know any better. The bike that I own has a quick release front wheel that allows you to easily remove the front wheel. I will admit that I did not check to see if it was tight enough before I began riding, but when I pulled up on the handle bars and the front wheel came down, the rest of the front of the bike kept going. Somehow, when the tire came down, it was no longer attached to the front fork of the bike. I can honestly say, I don't know how it happened. Regardless, I ended up sort of doing a front roll / shoulder roll (I don't think it was very pretty) in the middle of the street onto my right side. My right elbow and right shoulder are scraped up, but I will survive.

Saturday, 2 July 2016

The Traditions of School

July 1, 2016, a short 149 years removed from the birth of our country, Canada. Today, my family and I took in the parade and festivities surrounding Canada Day in Sherwood Park and then spent time with family for a BBQ. This has become a tradition in our family and it is one I look forward to every year.

Traditions are so important to my family and I. From my lovely wife making a second turkey at Thanksgiving because she knows how much I love turkey, her delicious stuffing, potatoes with a hole for the corn to go into and the gravy to go on top to our watching of White Christmas after 9:00 mass on Christmas Eve partnered with the yummy ham sandwiches and eggnog or chocolate milk. These are small family traditions that we have created over time, but they mean so much. The traditions of our Church are so very important as well. The rites that we follow as we follow our faith; baptism, reconciliation, communion, confirmation, and marriage are so critical to our development as a larger community.

School traditions are no exception. It is vital that we hold on the the traditions that have been created and are ongoing within a school environment. As a new principal enters a school, it is imperative that the principal learn the traditions and develop an understanding of and respect for the traditions of the school. Traditions are created over long periods of time and become a part of the culture of the school.

Merriam-Webster defines culture as, "the beliefs, customs, arts, etc., of a particular society, group, place, or time".

As a new principal to St. Martin's I am very curious about the cultural aspects of the school that are important to the school. What are the parts of the school that are non-negotiable mainstays, what are the historical traditions that need to stay? This will be a big part of my early time at St. Martin's. Despite my experience at the school, I want to make sure that any changes that may occur do not impact the history, traditions, and culture of the school as it exists.

With this in mind, please feel free to share what you love about St. Martin's. What are the beliefs or customs that the St. Martin's community shares that make St. Martin's what it is today, a high quality school that engages it's students in meaningful learning that prepares our students for their future.