I recently spent four days in Ottawa with our Board Chair, Rob Wittmann, attending the annual conference of the Canadian Association of Independent Schools (CAIS).
With workshops, notable guest speakers, and presentations, the conference offered an excellent opportunity for influential people in the Canadian independent school system to gather in one place to learn and share with colleagues, to engage in discussions around school improvement, and to consider this year’s theme: Place, Pedagogy and Purpose. This was particularly relevant for us as we develop our campus, and it was good to hear experts talk about ways of looking at spaces for learning and working, which very much chimed with our own plans.
As well as the opportunity to network with people from other schools, Rob and I had the chance to hear from several interesting speakers, such as Jim Watson, Mayor of the City of Ottawa, former Olympic athlete and human rights activist, Waneek Horn Miller, Dr. Mark Milliron, and Dr. Joel Westheimer.
Dr. Milliron is an award-winning author, speaker, and consultant, who is Co-Founder and Chief Learning Officer of Civitas Learning, a social-purpose corporation committed to using the best of data science and design thinking to help students learn. Dr. Westheimer is University Research Chair in Democracy and Education at the University of Ottawa and education columnist for CBC Radio. Both had really interesting things to say.
Towards the end of the conference, we had the opportunity to hear from, and question a panel of ambassadors who talked about the educational systems in their own countries, and who shared their thoughts on the challenges facing young people across the world today.
The conference is a part of a CAIS professional development program that has a real impact on educational excellence, leadership development and continuous school improvement, and it proved to be a valuable few days.
We enjoy and value our membership of CAIS, which indicates that the quality of education offered at HTS is of a very high standard. Of the 2,000 independent schools in Canada, ours is one of only 90 that commit to meeting the 12 National Standards of CAIS, and which are validated by this independent, non-governmental organization. That makes a good case for CAIS!