Saturday, 10 March 2012


Dear Parents, Guardians and Adult Friends of our Students,
Recent news reports and incidents throughout North America (including Forster) have driven home the great promise of Facebook as well as many dangers.
Without getting into specifics, or trying to sound alarmist, please talk to your children about their Public on-line face!
We all should know that companies search the web for people who apply to them for jobs. The excuse of "youthful indiscretions" does not hold any weight with companies that are worried about their own reputations. Pictures at parties, holding beer bottles or bottles of vodka don't fit well with the images of IBM, or McDonalds. Please have them look at their profile pictures, and any comments that everyone can read. If they wouldn't be happy having you read them, or their grandparents, they should probably think about removing them.
Also, the harsh reality is that as soon as you press "send" or publish a comment on facebook, you have lost all control over where it goes and who ends up reading it. It becomes a public record. Every Principal I know has had to deal with this.
Here's another reality - every Principal I know has had to suspend students for what they've written on Facebook. The excuses, "I was only joking," "I didn't mean to scare anyone," and "I didn't think they'd believe me," have to mean very little to us, and sometimes even less to the police.
Please, Please, Please - Talk to your children about this, no matter what grade they are in, or how old they are. Your help and advice will go a long way to making a much better situation for your children at school and in the community.
Thank you

    The Caring Adult

    The Caring Adult

    When I started this blog, I conceived it as a potential listing of hundreds of different ideas to help students who move from school to school, often more than once a year, and often several times in their academic careers.

    As I High School Principal I'm often disheartened to look at the cover of an Ontario Student Record and see that a student has changed schools 13, 14, 15 or more times before coming to my school.  In once case a student had moved so many times that a second cover had to be stapled to the front of the O.S.R. - meaning the student had moved more than twenty times.

    Sometimes, these students are incredibly resilient, and bright.  For a time, they shine at my school, but invariably they move once again and have to start over.  Probably, these students have caring and involved parents who feed their children's self-esteem, and help them with their school work, and help them create interests and activities that need no geographic centre, such as reading.

    Often though, the students that move again and again, are not stellar students.  They come to us with "chips on their shoulders," a reluctance to get involved, a history of poor academics, and an almost physical armor that keeps fellow peers and teachers at a distance.

    It is these students that I worry about.

    It is these students that need our help.

    On my computer at work I've generated a list of things we can do for families and students who move into our school's area.  Some of them are reasonably innovative, but they can almost all be categorized simply under the umbrella of - be a caring adult.

    We may not have time to even dent the armor that the student has fastened on.  We may never know that we have dented it, or given a student the idea to remove at least a piece of it.

    But maybe we will.  And really, it doesn't make a difference if we do find out.

    What makes a difference is that we try to make a difference.