The Head's Tales: Peak Moments 2016/17

As the school year comes to an end, SMS has lots to celebrate and reflect upon before we transition into the summer months and begin preparations in earnest for the 2017/18 school year.  Some of those peak moments, those “times when it all comes together and a true sense of joy follows” this past year include:

Achieving Excellence via the CAIS and BC Provincial Accreditation Process

As noted in our recent SPIRIT magazine, SMS was acknowledged for its strengths in STEM education, inquiry based learning, and student leadership.  For me though, the process of engagement and collaboration was a highlight as new connections were made between school divisions (Foundation Years, Middle Years, Senior Years), Day/Boarding and between disciplines. In the end, SMS met the standards in both evaluations receiving many commendations around our Strategic Plan, our strength of programming, the power of community engagement, and the development of student voice.

STEM Conference – Heads and Hearts to Action

Girl Power was certainly evident as 400 plus girls were invited to share in the stories of female role models, who pursued their careers in STEM, and to participate in a variety of design thinking activities to promote creativity, critical thinking, and environmental stewardship. The synergy of that many girls on campus with a common purpose, reinforced my belief that the collective is stronger than the sum of the individual parts.

Establishing Traditions with Our Alumnae

It was such a treat to share a new tradition with our “oldest” Alumnae at our most recent May luncheon.  Lifers who had reached the grad reunion milestones of 50 years or more each received a pearl necklace to honour their 13 years at SMS many years ago.  We had six lifers in attendance and they were thrilled to be the recipients of this new tradition!  I learned that it is never too late to build upon community.

Community Building Activities

This year, the school hosted many events that recognized the breadth of SMS supporters within the community, including the Moms’ and Daughters’ Wellness activity in the fall, the Golf Tournament in April, Grandparent Day in May, and the Fathers’ and Daughters’ Hike in June. This was also our first year hosting a Volunteer Recognition Reception in our new Middle Years Courtyard.  Except for the unwelcome visitor (a crow!), who swooped down to interrupt our celebrations, the event was a great success. I learned that showing appreciation and welcoming people to be part of the SMS community is the best team building exercise you can engage in.

Celebrating Student Success in a Variety of Venues

While we can more easily measure academic achievements, we also know that increased self-confidence—the willingness to take new risks and to try new things—and being comfortable sharing one’s talents with others are also measures of success and personal growth.  This past year, we saw our girls put themselves out there.  Examples include:

  • Our student-led theatrical production Who Are You? highlighting the impact of social media on friendships and self-esteem
  • Numerous opportunities (both at school and in the community) showcasing the incredible talents of our girls: the Outreach Benefit Concert, the Maggie Music Recital, the involvement of our choirs and band in the Greater Victoria Performing Arts Festival —and more recently, the Grade 4/5 Choir’s first place standing at Provincials and on to the nationals
  • Changes in our student governance model and election process
  • The expansion of the Model UN Club and its focus on the importance of global awareness and diplomacy and the AP Human Geography’s sustainable garden project
  • Read alouds/poetry readings (particularly with our youngest learners)
  • The GSA Club and its mandate, especially the importance of honouring and celebrating diversity
  • Introduction of bees on campus and the contribution of the FY students who created the signage leading up to the apiary above the outdoor classroom

There is a myriad of ways our girls can find and nurture their passions at SMS. This does not happen without our incredible staff members who listen to the students, learn about student interests, and incorporate those passions into the curriculum.  On that note, I want to personally thank the teachers for their dedication and for always trying to make the learning exciting.

I also want to thank the parents and the Parents’ Auxiliary for their commitment to SMS and their willingness to create a sense of community through the planning of events, as well as their fundraising efforts to support our programs.  Finally, to the girls—thank you for making every day exciting and allowing us to be part of your success stories.  I look forward to seeing everyone in September.

Have a wonderful summer full of new experiences, time with friends, and reconnecting with family.

“Life is too short not to celebrate nice moments.”

Anne Hathaway


“There are women in every genre having a lot of success.  Why not celebrate that?”

Sarah McLachlan


Note: The Head’s Tale will also take a break but will be back in September.

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