Parents, students, and community members,
I’m not sure if it’s the time of year or the fact that this is the last time I’ll be writing this letter, but I am feeling particularly reminiscent about the years that I have spent at Borden School. It is difficult to summarize all of the amazing things that I have experienced during my time in your community, but today seems like a good time to try!
First and foremost, Borden School has amazing students. Rarely do teachers stumble upon a place where the kids are as engaged, respectful, and mature as they are here. I have spent the last seven years in awe of the way that students here learn and behave – they rarely argue, almost always complete assignments on time, and seem to believe that it is cool to do well in school. I can’t begin to tell you how many compliments I have received about our students on field trips or at sporting events, or how many substitute teachers describe our kids as being perfect. The culture that has emerged and continued in this school is nothing short of spectacular, and the students are really what makes this such an incredible place to work.
A big part of my time in Borden has involved working with amazing athletes. Not many coaches my age can say that they have attended five volleyball provincial championships, or been to two sportsmanship banner presentations, or bragged about seven consecutive Kirkpatrick Ratio awards in track and field. I have traveled to every corner of this province to see unbelievable displays of athleticism from students who somehow find time to prioritize school sports despite the dozens of other activities in their lives. Rarely does an educator encounter a school with students who are as talented in the classroom as they are on the court, field, or sheet of ice.
It almost goes without saying that amazing kids are attributed to amazing parents. I have felt nearly constant support from the parents in this school community, whether it be when making difficult coaching decisions, trying to implement a new band program, or throughout my constant requests for volunteers. Because Borden parents support the school and their children so entirely, I am able to enjoy a very close relationship with almost all of you. You are willing to chauffer your kids (and others) on excursions, completely fill our parent-teacher interview schedule, and donate whatever time or money you have to the many events that we coordinate. Your children are extremely fortunate to have your support, and our school could not operate the way it does without you.
A particularly amazing group of parents sits on our School Community Council. They are often recognized for their unique ability to organize special events and manage fundraising efforts, but this is only a very small part of what SCC members do in this community. They are passionate about this school. Most of our meetings run significantly longer than planned because these parents want to know about everything that is happening in their school, and contribute ideas about how we can make improvements. They engage in learning opportunities for and with students, respond to emails on evenings and weekends, and are truly the model of parent engagement that other schools dream of. I am grateful to and proud of our SCC, and can’t wait to hear about the many great ways that they continue to contribute to Borden School.
The most amazing part of my experience in Borden has been working with staff who give their all to this school and community. None of the teachers that I have worked with are from Borden, yet all of them care for school as if it is their second home. We have teachers who are willing to sacrifice time with their family and friends to attend sporting events (some of which they aren’t even coaching!), overnight field trips, and school events. They were willing to spend a full week filling sandbags, come early and stay late to work with students who need extra help, and coordinate an infinite number of trips and activities for students that they genuinely care about. We also have an EA team who, in addition to working with many of our struggling learners, have a more extensive extra-curricular resume that some teachers have over the course of a career: library club, cross country, book fairs, track and field, Marafun, Remembrance Day, and a myriad of others. Borden School also has the most talented, organized, dedicated, and ambitious administrative assistant that I could imagine working with – amazing doesn’t even begin to describe the work that she does for this school. Although some staff have come and gone during my time in Borden, I can honestly say that all of the people I have worked with have inspired me with their contributions to this school.
One letter certainly does not give me the opportunity to acknowledge all of the amazing people and experiences that Borden has brought into my life. It does, however, give me a chance to thank all of you for welcoming me into your community and showing me what it feels like to be part of a small town school. After all of the math classes, volleyball practices, parent-teacher interviews, and graduations are behind me, what I will really take with me is the feeling that I have spent a large chunk of my life in one of the best places there is. Looking back at all of this, I wouldn’t trade any of it for the world.
I hope that everyone has a great June – I know that the school calendar is full and the race is on to summer holidays. Let’s enjoy the many events to come and have a fun, sunny, and successful end to the 2017/2018 school year!
Mr. Mitch Luiten