Strategic Plan 2011–21


List of 9 frequently asked questions.

  • What are the trends in education on which you have based your plan?

    Forward-looking schools around the world are confronting a number of issues that we are: the need to design an approach to learning that respects different learning styles; research that is suggesting boys and girls learn differently; the transition of a teacher from being a deliverer of information to one who facilitates and guides a learning process; the implications of technology and the internet and a young person’s instant access to information, albeit not always accurate information; the increased importance of character development; taking the learning process outside the classroom and developing diverse co-curricular programs; instilling in our students the importance of giving back to their community through service; the move away from a parochial education to one that encompasses global sensibilities; and, the recognition of our collective responsibility for environmental stewardship.
  • This all sounds good, but I thought St. George’s was already doing much of this?

    True. Much of what is envisioned in this plan has been evolving organically over the last few years. What is needed now is a more purposeful approach – one that will ensure a concerted and cohesive strategy that is systematic and sequential from Grades 1 through 12 and which engages the whole community in a common vision. The reality is, the world is not what it was 20 years ago. Technology, a global society, team-based work places, new research into how boys and girls learn, the demands for multi-tasking, and world-wide environmental challenges mean that St. George’s needs to transform its overall approach to learning so that it properly prepares our boys for a world that is fundamentally different from when we went to school. Of course, transformation does not mean abandoning who we are as a school and the values we have always espoused. On the contrary, it means ensuring that these values are reinforced within a 21st century context.
  • Are universities around the world reflecting these same trends and looking for students who have been educated at schools that incorporate these trends into their programs?

    Absolutely. More and more, universities are putting emphasis on the student’s life experience and demonstrated teamwork skills, and less on marks alone. Our experience has shown that boys who have been fully engaged in co- curricular activities, programs that promote problem- solving and character development, and authentic service-based experience, have a greater likelihood of being admitted to the world’s top universities and colleges and to adapting to the culture of those institutions.
  • You have mentioned that boys learn differently. Is this what you mean by relational, competitive, visual, and kinesthetic?

    While we must always be cautious about over-generalizing, those of us who were involved in developing this plan spent time reviewing some of the growing research that does suggest the brain develops differently in girls and boys. This research suggests that in girls, language areas of the brain evolve before areas used for spatial relations and geometry. The opposite appears to be true for boys. The research further suggests that brains in boys and girls are wired differently. In girls, expressions of emotion are processed in the same area of the brain processing language. Girls are therefore able to express emotions more readily. In boys, emotion is processed in a separate area of the brain, making it more difficult for them to express how they feel. There are also unique behavioral characteristics which we can now attribute to boys: for example, the need for boys to move, be more hands-on, take part, and engage in an activity as an active rather than passive learner, i.e. kinesthetic learning. We have also witnessed first-hand the tendency of boys to be tribal as a group, often competitive, with a heightened awareness of how things and people relate to each other. Looking at ways to capitalize on all of this research in a positive manner will make our learning environment more meaningful for our boys.
  • You have indicated that there will be an “intentional approach” to being a boys school. Can you give specific examples of what this will look like at each campus?

    With the backdrop of research into how boys learn and their unique needs, an instructional design on both campuses will ensure that we reflect this research in terms of staffing, instructional space, equipment, timetabling, and co-curricular opportunities. The specifics of how this will look will be identified as we begin to roll out this plan.

    Preparing our boys to be fine young men also means ensuring that they have been in learning situations with the opposite sex, including being exposed to their perspective on issues, and being sensitive to those issues that may be specific to girls. A collaborative relationship with girls schools is one way for us to achieve this objective. The grades at which we introduce these collaborative classes will be examined more fully as we start to unroll the plan.
  • When you talk about more diversity among the students, what will that look like? Are you planning to increase boarding or change the population?

    Having a diverse community, including both diverse students and faculty, means ensuring that, where possible, we make the school accessible to anyone, regardless of their ethnic, cultural, or socio-economic backgrounds. Financial assistance is one of the keys to attracting a diverse student community and leading schools around the world typically have large endowments that generate revenue to support such programs. Evaluating the breadth, depth, and size of our Boarding Program will also be a factor in ensuring that it has the capacity to provide significant representation of national and international diversity. Human Resources will also examine more closely what a diverse faculty would look like and how it would impact the school in positive ways.
  • Can you explain how you plan to use technology in learning?

    This is a bit of a loaded question, in that technology and its use are changing on an ongoing basis. Currently we have in place two groups of faculty who are known as the Education Technology Cohorts. Part of their mandate is to do research and development behind the scenes, work with our faculty to integrate technology in meaningful ways, and ensure that technology is viewed first and foremost as a tool, which helps each one of us achieve an end, rather than an end in itself. Additionally, we know that our students have ready access to information that previously would have been delivered by our teachers. The role of the teacher in the classroom will therefore be changing. Teachers will become more facilitators, showing students how to properly access information on the net while they analyze, infer, criticize, contrast, and compare. In short, the skills that we would have previously taught our students using traditional media will now be taught in a slightly different way using 21st century technology.
  • What is a Service Learning Program, Environmental Stewardship Program, and Global-Mindedness Program?

    A Service Learning Program ensures that our students are properly informed of key communities of the world that are in need, while encouraging them to search out potential solutions as well as opportunities to give back to these communities themselves, either through volunteer service or targeted fundraising. An Environmental Stewardship Program both integrates key environmental issues into our curriculum as a form of awareness and problem-solving, and looks at our overall operation as a school and how we can minimize our carbon footprint. Likewise, a Global-Mindedness Program looks at ways to ensure that our curriculum properly reflects global awareness and diversity while looking at authentic real-life experiences like exchanges, tours, inter-school relationships, and the like that bring these sensibilities to life.
  • Are you planning any new buildings and will the implementation of this plan increase tuition?

    As the specifics of our plan are identified, there will be capital needs that will emerge and some form of capital campaign will probably be established to help us realize these needs. For each year the plan is in existence, there will be yearly operational action plans that will address the most immediate priorities. The cost of these plans will be financed, in part, out of operations and to a greater extent from targeted fundraising and specific campaigns. While tuition fees typically increase each year in order to support cost of living and salary increases, the intent is not to raise fees to specifically finance this strategic plan.
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