These were our incredible volunteers working at Headwaters to finish our building and start our outdoor landscaping on sunny May 13th . It takes a community to build a school – our volunteers take this to heart!
Ann & Ted Herbert
Gail & Marty Nisbet – Marty BUILT our whiteboards, donating an incredible amount of skill and time!
Headwaters Academy is pleased to announce that Shannon Foley has accepted a position on the Headwaters Academy Advisory Team.
Shannon joins the Headwaters Academy Advisory Team from the Red-Tailed Hawk Forest School which she founded and operates near Collingwood. She has over twelve years experience teaching both inside the classroom and outside. Shannon began by developing and implementing outdoor education programs in a private school setting with a local environmentalist. This is where her inspiration for nature-based education grew from! She performed extensive research on Forest Schools before developing and launching one of her own. Shannon is currently enrolled in Forest School Canada’s Practitioners Course. Her aim is to have Red-tailed Hawk recognized by Forest School Canada and the Child and Nature Alliance. Her focus is on providing quality nature-based education through an inquiry-based approach, and fostering a life-long love of learning in our natural environment for her students. Shannon is an active outdoor enthusiast who enjoys time running, hiking, SUP-ing, skiing, and snowshoeing with her young family when she is not teaching at Red-tailed Hawk!
Shannon will assist Headwaters Academy in curriculum development with a particular focus on our outdoor education and ‘step outside’ programs.
In two weeks my Grade 5 students here in Bermuda will host the 8th Annual What Matters Conference. This is a conference that my students started back in 2010 and it includes research projects by students on topics that matter to them. This year’s conference includes over 30 projects ranging from the Impact of Brexit on British Agriculture, to A Plant-Based Diet, to Jobs That Robots are Taking from People and How They’re Doing It. It is an incredible time and it has grown in popularity – over the years we’ve had the Minister of Education visit, a ton of community members, and even classes from other schools.
It is also a time that I have an opportunity to reflect upon student learning, and thus upon my year. This is a bit more true this year than most as I will leave Bermuda for Headwaters Academy at the conclusion of this school year. Over the next two weeks I will tell the three stories that stand out to me as ‘What Mattered’ to me during these eight years in Bermuda.
One of my great joys in teaching in Bermuda has been working in mathematics, as a lead teacher, a support teacher, and as the lead teacher in our extended math program. One September a few years ago I identified a student as obviously quite able in math and thus proceeded to start the process of enrolling him in our extended math program. His homeroom teacher warned me before I contacted the parents to invite him to our class – “read his file,” she said. What I found, upon review, was that this particular student had been held back a grade for a ‘math disability’, one that had been confirmed by a Boston clinic.
I decided, after another day of working in math class with this boy, to invite him to our extended math class anyways – regardless of the report. To make what could become a long story short let me jump to the conclusion. In June of that year that boy won the subject award in mathematics as the top math student out of 40. He became a leading member of the school’s robotics team and he continues to thrive, identifying math as his top subject.
What lessons did this teach me as a teacher? Three things:
1) Ability does not always reveal itself in test scores.
2) Treat a child as they are, and they will stay as they are. Treat them as though they are what they could be, and perhaps they will become that.
3) A child’s past achievement level need not have a bearing on their future achievements.