Against a backdrop of a significantly changing global landscape evinced by the rapid enhancement and proliferation of technology and the growing interdependence and contact between different peoples of the world, the Board of Governors, with the assistance of the Strathcona-Tweedsmuir School community, embarked on an ambitious strategic planning exercise to position the School as a centre for educational excellence within the independent school community both nationally and internationally.
Why a Centre for Excellence in Teaching?
Dramatic leaps in innovation have significantly impacted both knowledge production and distribution, revolutionized research and produced information at rates unprecedented in human history. Rapid advances in the fields of brain research and teaching and learning require practitioners to be simultaneously teachers in the classroom and students in their own rights. Where once an undergraduate degree may have marked the end of an individual’s formal education, the current reality could not be further from this notion. An evidence-based approach to teaching and learning, one that relies on the best research, is increasingly becoming the expectation and not the exception among parents who value and take a keen interest in their children’s learning.
Exceptional faculty, who embrace best practice pedagogy, have choice as to where it is they would wish to teach and learn. In Canada, faculty can apply to work in CAIS (Canadian Accredited Independent Schools) schools that apply best practices in all areas of their academic programs and operational procedures. Each of these schools seeks to foster in their students the values of lifelong learning, leadership and citizenship. Each of these schools also seeks to recruit and retain the best teachers – those committed to continuous personal and professional development and whose teaching employs best practice methodologies. As schools bring on board excellent faculty, they also become more attractive to discerning parents seeking the best education for their children. The more students a school is able to attract, the more likely it is that it will continue to have the wherewithal to continue to recruit exceptional teachers.
Ultimately, exceptional teachers are able to foster scholarship, leadership and character to enable students to live a life of purpose because they themselves both embody and exemplify these qualities. Fortunately, as the alumni of the Strathcona-Tweedsmuir readily attest to, the school has provided students with tremendous learning opportunities. However, Strathcona-Tweedsmuir School cannot afford to rely only on past success to ensure future growth. The School’s vision to be recognized as a leader, both nationally and internationally, in providing students with an exceptional, well-rounded education and an enduring sense of community places a heavy responsibility on the school to continue to strive towards benchmarks of excellence that are ever-moving targets given the growth of understanding regarding best practice pedagogy.
White Paper Executive Summary