The Bishop Strachan School
As Canada’s oldest day and boarding school for girls, The Bishop Strachan School (BSS) opened its doors in 1867 and has served more than 6,000 alumni around the world. Today, the Toronto-based independent school offers leading educational programs for more than 900 female students from Kindergarten to Grade 12. Founded on the premise of leadership and innovation, The Bishop Strachan School offers a dynamic learning environment and an encompassing cultural experience.
“We have very rigorous academic standards for preparing our girls for a successful post-secondary life but also success for life,” Deryn Lavell, Head of The Bishop Strachan School, told The Canadian Business Journal. “We engage our students to be good citizens of the world and to explore diverse subjects like athletics, science and the arts.”
The Bishop Strachan School provides a valuable educational experience based on curiosity for knowledge and strong traditional values. Accordingly, BSS programming promotes powerful learning that readily prepares students for the post-secondary environment and builds the character needed to achieve their goals on the path ahead.
“Our culture of powerful learning is a part of our mission,” explained Dr. Angela Terpstra, Principal of the Middle and Senior School at BSS. “It is about nurturing the whole girl. We expose the girls to multiple viewpoints and voices. We want to make sure that when a girl graduates, she is curious, has excellent self-confidence, a strong voice, and ethical citizenship.”
This culture of powerful learning inspires students to reach their full potential, and to be transformative and lifelong leaders in their respective fields. BSS points to its valued curriculum as well as its teaching methodologies as a means for achieving the greatest student successes.
“The perspective of our teachers is that our students come in as capable learners and their thoughts are valued,” said Patti MacDonald, Principal of the Junior School at BSS. “Our teachers often talk about a pedagogy of listening, so their methodology includes much more observation and listening to students and then building from there, rather than considering them to be empty vessels to be filled with information.
“This philosophy starts with our youngest students and continues all the way through to Grade 12. Our teachers are innovators and are very committed to our students.”
Culture of Innovation
The Conference Board of Canada has defined a skill set that it believes is required for the workforce of the future. From the basic fundamental skills, like communication, personal management skills such as adaptability and responsibility, and working with a team-oriented approach, BBS focuses on these key areas to develop the wide-ranging skill sets of its students.
From independent study, to collaborative work, to ongoing support BSS offers an inclusive community that encourages day and boarding students to gain a deep knowledge so that they are able to develop new ways of understanding, and to grow and become stronger leaders.
“Our culture for powerful learning sets us apart. We have high academic standards and our core values guide the girls to develop the character, skills, and confidence they need to thrive in today’s world,” Lavell added. “The other piece of the puzzle is that any school is only as good as its teachers, and our teachers are experts in their field. They really understand how girls learn and are continuously engaging in professional development and raising the bar.”
The face of education is changing and its future is driven by key factors like demographics, economics, and technology. The Bishop Strachan School remains committed to its tradition of innovation and its leadership recognizes the needs and goals of the future.
“As we go forward, our strategic vision has three priorities: people, program, and sustainability,” Lavell concluded. “Our board is very visionary, very entrepreneurial, and committed to education and the role of women in the world today.”