One of the many unique pathways of our journey this year has been the Board of Trustees’ decision to pause any new registrations at our school ~ as a short-term solution to slow down the excessive growth. With a population of close to 1000 students, we were closing in on a record 200% capacity and our facility was at its maximum number of portables ~ 17 in total. The long-term plan, to build another school, is still in its infancy and scheduled to be completed within 42-48 months. Although registrations have been paused at our location, our wonderful Northwest London community continues to welcome new families with school-aged children. Currently any new families are now bussed to Knollwood Public School. A school that is nestled in a lovely subdivision located in the eastern quadrant of the London, with a catchment area that includes some government assisted housing.
When the Trustee motion passed in November of 2021, our community, who advocated strongly for families to stay together ~ knowing that the flipside of that advocacy would mean that any new families would not be attending Sir Arthur Currie, made a commitment to do their best to embrace our “sister school”. They realized that their new neighbours would be attending Knollwood, a school which may not have the same level of family involvement or the same access to financial support that we are so blessed to have at Sir Arthur Currie.
So, our School Council and Home & School under the leadership of our Fundraising Chair, Carla, became determined to find a way to support our neighbours and their school community. The Home and School became the logical choice for the fundraising piece as it is more streamline than navigating school board accounts/CashOnline/school-based budget lines within the guidelines for School Councils.
Hence the idea of a Cake raffle, just prior to the Mother’s Day weekend was proposed and approved. The excitement grew as masterful creations were donated and our students excitedly purchased tickets with the anticipation of taking home something sweet to celebrate a special person. We had close to 40 donations.
When all was said and done, the Home and School raised close to $2000, which financially brought them to the finish line of their multi-year goal of a school sign as well as meeting their target of $500 to support the breakfast program at Knollwood. As a school we were very intentional in sharing with our students that the money they were donating towards the cake raffle was going to go to another school ~ a school that needed our help. I am so proud of our community and their deep desire to make a difference in the lives of children (not just their own children, but the children in their broader community).
Today we had the pleasure of delivering the cheque to Brenda Williams, the amazing, gentle, and compassionate principal of Knollwood. She has been there for 4 years and is about to transition to a much larger school in the west end. I could tell that although she is excited for the change, she is heartbroken to leave a community that has indeed imprinted itself on her heart. She will forever take the lessons from Knollwood to her next school community.
Listening to her and Carla talk about the breakfast program and the need to nurture their community as they strengthen their Council and Home & School Association was both enlightening and refreshing. These two women, who just met each today, share a common philosophy of giving what you can, even if you do not have enough for yourself.
As we drove home, Carla was so passionate about our next project to support our sister school. I cannot wait to be a part of her next passion project.
At times we find ourselves so inwardly focused on our own school community, we forget that at the end of the day, we are all a part of a larger community. The strength of the larger TVDSB community can only be truly measured when all school communities feel responsible for each other.
We share mentor texts and stories about social justice with our students. We talk about the value of helping our neighbours. But unless we put actions to those words, our students will never genuinely understand what it means to be an agent of change.
One of the cakes at the cake raffle was a butterfly. Today that butterfly metaphorically took flight in the hearts and minds of two incredible women who instinctively understand and appreciate the power of bringing communities together, that teaching our children to give rather than receive is paramount to good citizenship and that the possibilities of more passion projects to support others are limitless.
Has your school community reached out to support another school community?
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