Dr. Katrina Samson
If you came to Toronto and visited the CN Tower, took in a Raptor’s game and had dinner by the waterfront, would you be able to say you’ve seen Toronto? I would argue that you’ve seen a piece of Toronto, but only a particular view through a specific lens. You wouldn’t get a sense of the city’s many eclectic neighbourhoods, or its Indigenous heritage or even some of the major challenges like traffic, housing or transit; you would miss all the the rich diversity of cultures that make up our incredible city, and this applies not just to Toronto, but to every city around the world.
While incorporating global experiences at Havergal in the curriculum and through our Exchange Program is a priority, we are equally proud of the fact that we take a thoughtful approach to the curation of global education experiences. Wary of the limited lens we sometimes have on the world through the news, we push students to be more nuanced in their conversations about and understanding of new places and the people that inhabit them. When students participate in a service-learning experience, they don’t just parachute into an area. We’re careful to start slowly with trip meetings where we research the economy, history, conflict, social structure, food—everything that builds a culture—including trying to gain an understanding of how women are viewed in that society. We have a rigorous process for selecting project partners so that any service-learning project work is developed with a long-standing commitment to communities, and an understanding that as outsiders we are there to learn, grateful to our gracious hosts for welcoming us and sharing parts of their culture and lives.
That careful approach extends to every aspect of our goal of developing global citizens who can work, learn and explore the world. Our focus is not just on a single exchange experience abroad, but on how to build cultural competency and global fluency within our graduates. Likewise, our position as a Boarding School allows us to have a diversity of global perspectives within our student community. As we welcome and learn from international students who call Havergal home, we encourage the exploration of our global city, celebrate different cultural holidays, incorporate international authors in text choices and give students practice in global awareness and skill-building by partnering with schools internationally, both in-person and online. Just last week, five students from Havergal travelled to Ottawa to participate in a Round Square Regional Conference making new friendships with students from around the world, while learning about Canada’s North—and the hopes for a new year of strong Indigenous engagement, partnership and leadership. The growth in cultural and global competence—key 21st century learning skills—are best learned and practised alongside other students and faculty from across the globe, with varying perspectives and experiences that challenge and grow our understanding of the world.
All of these different experiences are worth pursuing because of the effect they have on us as individuals. Developing comfort outside of your familiar spaces is important for many reasons, from developing self-efficacy to cultivating empathy. Our world is one where physical borders have softened with the adoption of collaborative technology, and being more globally aware helps us understand our impact on society and our position in the world. When we know better, we are called to do better, and as such, fostering conversations about our global impact helps students to think about ways they can develop a better world alongside the life they cultivate for themselves, and that will boost their chances for success in so many ways.
Havergal Joins Round Square
This year, Havergal has joined as a member of Round Square, an international network of 230 like-minded schools in 50 countries that connect and collaborate to offer world-class programmes to students so they can explore, learn more about and engage with Internationalism, Democracy, Environmentalism, Adventure, Leadership and Service. These “IDEALS” help students live our mission of preparing young women to make a difference; also, being a member furthers our Forum for Change programming such as our Global Learning Projects, Exchange and our Global Learning and Leading Diploma (GLLD). This past February, five students and Mr. Nichols attended the North Americas Round Square Regional Conference, hosted by Ashbury College in Ottawa. With delegates from as far away as Australia, the UK and South America, they learned about the North and Canada’s Arctic from the perspective of Indigenous, political and environmental voices. Keynote speakers sparked intriguing and engaging discussions about climate change, Arctic sovereignty and the shared stewardship of a fragile ecosystem with exceptional biodiversity. They also enjoyed a two-night stay at the Chateau Montebello resort, where they enjoyed a variety of winter sports that students aren’t usually exposed to: dog-sledding, outdoor curling and more. Added to this experience was that Ashbury families hosted our students and they got to live the rhythm of life of others and with other students from around the world. Experiences like this, offered through Round Square and many of our other partnerships, generate excitement for the school and students. We are looking forward to having students travel on our Global Learning Project to the Kingdom of Bhutan in March, and stay tuned for more information on our next Round Square Conference that will take place in Nairobi, Kenya. Each of these partnerships and experiences further Havergal’s Portrait of a Grad.
Global Exchange Opportunities
Jennifer Russell, Manager, Experiential and Global Learning
Havergal’s Exchange Program is active this year for the first time since 2020 and we’re thrilled to have already welcomed Exchange students from across the globe on campus. During the upcoming March Break, Havergal Exchange students will experience a new rhythm of life by embracing the unknown, building relationships and practising courage by going abroad. This year we have 16 students in Grade 8, 21 students in Grade 10 students and 17 students Grade 11 participating in our program, and we wish them all the best as they pack their bags and set off around the world!
For those interested in our Grade 8 and 10 Exchange Programs for the 2023-24 school year, applications open at the end of the academic year for students in Grades 7 and 9. More information will be shared with students and their families after the March Break, with family information evenings to help kick off applications in early May.
Both programs are reciprocal in nature, with students in Grade 8 spending two weeks abroad and hosting an Exchange student for two weeks; and students in Grade 10 spending three to four weeks abroad and hosting an Exchange student for three to four weeks. For Havergal students, hosting can happen at any time of the school year, while travel abroad always happens to overlap with March Break.
Please check out our video about the Exchange Program to learn more about why we offer this program to our students.
Grade 6 Bloorview School Authority Community Project
Darryl Reiter, Junior School STEM Coordinator
Bloorview School Authority (BSA) is a Kindergarten to Grade 12 school within the Holland Bloorview Children’s Rehab hospital, located on Bayview Avenue. As a special project, a group of 12 Havergal Grade 6 students spent three afternoons at the BSA learning about the issues that surround ableism and thinking about developing assistive technology in the form of computer-controlled carnival style games that are accessible to all young children.
Using Makey Makey, a USB hardware interface device that is simple and powerful, the team designed hands-on games to satisfy the question: “How might we make carnival games that are fun and accessible to all primary-aged children?” The team of 12 was further divided into four groups, and each group member was assigned one of three roles: hardware engineer, software engineer or communications specialist.
Following our first visit to BSA, students began brainstorming games that would satisfy a diverse group of children with varying cognitive and physical abilities. Taking into consideration each child’s range of motion, grip strength, gross and fine motor skills, etc., the teams applied the Engineering Design Process to design and build prototype games for testing the following week.
When we returned with our first four prototypes, BSA students circulated through the activities while the student engineers were hard at work testing, troubleshooting and modifying their solutions in real-time while the communications specialist worked closely with the children to better understand their challenges with the devices and document the areas that needed improvement. For example, observations of a child using his chin to operate a game led to notes about modifications to handles, wands and other apparatus so the devices could work with a range of dexterity and strengths.
On Wednesday, February 22, the teams visited BSA with the final iteration of their designs and had the students play with them once again. The outcome was fantastic. The initial goal was met and our team of young engineers did an amazing job of demonstrating the school’s core values of compassion, integrity, inquiry and courage so well throughout the phases of this special project.
Indigenization in the Upper School
In 2015, the Truth & Reconciliation Commission of Canada published its 94 Calls to Action, aimed at redressing the legacy of residential schools and advancing the process of reconciliation in Canada. Havergal believes that the education of our students, mission, vision and values are enlivened and enriched when we learn and engage with Indigenous ways of knowing, learning and leading. To support Havergal meeting the Calls to Action, we are engaged in an Indigenization journey, with a focus on doing the work to educate ourselves as we explore our own past and future as an educational institution. We are fortunate to have a long-standing, established relationship with Mike Carlson, who is a mixed Indigenous Educational Consultant. Mike has been supporting our faculty and students via Zoom every Tuesday since September, and from February 7 to June, Mike will be on campus every Tuesday to work alongside faculty, staff and students. As part of this journey, and with the support of Mike Carlson, several faculty from the Junior School and Upper School are taking their Additional Teaching Qualification course “First Nations, Métis and Inuit Peoples – Understanding Traditional Teachings, Histories, Current Issues and Cultures Part 1,” with a goal to integrate Indigenous voices and ways of knowing into their courses. As well, many of our academic departments are examining their curriculum to explore intersections with Indigenous knowledge. One highlight has been with the development of a GLLD module, co-constructed with the Forum for Change staff and Mike Carlson, utilizing our campus. In this learning experience, students explore the land around the school, particularly the Lisa Hardie Trail. This three-part learning experience is tied to the solstice calendar, connecting how the natural world impacts our relationship with the land and the importance of mindfulness when exploring the outdoors. Themes such as story-telling, gratitude and acknowledgement have guided our visits, which are accompanied by Mike Carlson, as we explore concepts of renewal and legacy. These guided visits will wrap up in the spring.
TEDxHavergalCollege is Back!
Havergal is hosting its first TEDx event in 10 years! From 4 to 7 pm on Friday, March 31, Havergal students and faculty (and students from different CIS Ontario schools) will hear from engaging speakers on the theme of “The Outliers.”
“TEDxHavergalCollege is a celebration of individuals who dare to push the boundaries and challenge the status quo—those who are often referred to as The Outliers,” explains Grade 12 student organizer Jessie Jin. “We hope to foster a community of like-minded individuals who are driven to make an impact in their lives and the world around them. By bringing together many outliers who share a common goal, we can create an experience of support and inspiration.”
Working with Jessie are Havergal students Alison Liu (Marketing), Angelina Tseng (Curation), Errita Xu (Operations), Helena Hu (Marketing), Irina Jiang (Operations), Jessica Cheung (Curation), Kaitlyn Leung (Sponsorships), Kelly Wang (Marketing), Kristin Cho (Operations), Madison Yang (Sponsorships) and Sarah Cooke (Marketing) and Sunny Zhao (Operations). This team of Senior School students has been working hard to prepare an engaging speaker series for the Havergal community. “We have observed that overly-dogmatic discussions can cause a loss of discourse based on highly diverse perspectives,” Jessie says of their decision to focus on those who think outside of the mainstream. “At a time when intellectual conformity seems to be prevalent, the theme ‘The Outliers’ is more relevant than ever. In a world where we are constantly exposed to pieces of information that compete for demands of our attention, it takes special individuals to rise above the noise and create a substantial impact. By celebrating those who have done just that, we hope to inspire others to strive for excellence in all areas of their lives.”
Tickets are invite-only and will go on sale in March. To learn more, please contact Garth Nichols, Vice Principal, Experiential Education & Innovation.
HCPA Nominations for 2023-24 Are Open Now
Are you interested in becoming more involved in the Havergal community? Now’s your chance! The nomination process for the 2023-24 Havergal College Parent Association (HCPA) is now open and there are a wide variety of positions (including a few brand new ones) for parents in both the Junior and Upper Schools. Please read our nomination letter for more details and a full description of each open volunteer position.
It’s very easy to become more involved, connect with an amazing group of parents and have some fun along the way. Nominate yourself or another parent for any of the open positions. Don’t delay, the deadline for the first round of submissions is Tuesday, March 28 at 9 am.
More detailed information about the nomination process, timeline and code of conduct can be found on the new and improved HCPA portal page. A complete list of all HCPA Committee positions can be found here.
HC Spring Spirit Wear
For a limited time, the HCPA is pleased to offer green and white fleece pullovers that feature Havergal’s crest. These cozy, made-in-Canada pullovers will arrive just in time for spring and are perfect for those in-between days when we don’t need winter coats (a cheerful thought on a winter’s day!). They are available in adult and youth sizes for $105 each.
Please note that this fleece is not part of the Havergal uniform, but is great for wearing while going to and from school or showing HC pride on the weekends.
Be sure to place your order by the deadline of Friday, March 10. Pick up details will be communicated after March Break. All proceeds will go toward supporting the HCPA’s fundraising goals including parent engagement activities and our final commitment to the Limitless Campaign. Do you have any questions? Contact Amy Cheung ([email protected]).
JS A-mazing Race: Tickets on Sale Now!
The A-mazing Race has become one of the highlights of the Junior School calendar! This year’s event is being held on Sunday, April 30 (12:30 to 4 pm) and you won’t want to miss out on this fun-filled day.
Students can invite one parent/guardian of their choosing (or any other adult over the age of 21) to be their partner for an afternoon of friendly competition. There’s also an option of joining another team if an adult partner is unavailable.
House teams will compete against each other in a series of all-new, friendly challenges–appropriate for participants from JK to Grade 6 and their adult partners–followed by snacks and refreshments.
Tickets must be purchased by Friday, March 3 (this early deadline gives organizers enough time to order House-themed clothing sized just right for each participant). Get your ticket by using this link!
Questions? Contact Richard Denis ([email protected]), Dan Kamiya ([email protected]) or Phil Lee ([email protected]).
Gator Gala: Don’t Be Candy-Crushed!
We are thrilled with the response to ticket sales for the Upper School’s Candyland-themed Gator Gala! To avoid anything going sour (get it?), this is a last reminder that tickets to the highly-anticipated event on Saturday, April 1 at Parkview Manor are on sale now (ticket sales are open to US students and their guests only)! We’ve extended the deadline to purchase until Friday, March 3.
The earlier tickets are purchased, the more easily we can accommodate table requests, dietary requirements and other custom elements that will make this a very sweet and special night for you and your daughter(s)! Look for the launch of our amazing silent auction (coming soon) with one-of-a-kind items you’ll find absolutely irresistible. If you would like to make a donation to the silent auction, please contact Donna Wilson at [email protected] OR Jennifer O’Campo-King at [email protected]. Sports and concert tickets are always popular as well as unique experiences such as a “Day in the Life of…” (vet, heart surgeon, TV reporter, etc.).If you have any questions, contact Jennifer Newton at [email protected] or Charlotte Stanley at [email protected].
Save the Date for Moms’ Night Out!
Mark your calendars for Moms’ Night Out (MNO) on Wednesday, May 24. This elegant evening event returns to Nordstrom–this time at the Yorkdale location. In addition to food and drinks, MNO will feature a DJ, express beauty services, private shopping and more. If you’ve attended a Moms’ Night Out event in the past, you’ll know what a great opportunity the evening is to catch up with friends, make new connections and have fun!
The official invitation and more information will be sent in April.
Supporting Students through Guidance
Heather Johnstone, Head of Guidance
In my 19 years working at Havergal College, I have seen the vast and complicated challenges of our greater society mirrored in our student population. Rising mental health concerns coupled with high expectations from institutions of higher education have necessitated a responsive Guidance Program that is nimble enough to evolve with the changing needs of students and families. It also must be intentionally designed to equip students with the skills and confidence to manage themselves when they launch into adulthood and leave the safety and familiarity of Havergal College. This tension between preemptively giving students everything they require and teaching them how to seek the assistance and answers they need is a tricky dynamic, and one we are constantly balancing when creating Guidance programming.
I thought it would be helpful to outline how our Guidance Counsellors work with students one-to-one and in groups, how the program is designed to promote student belonging, confidence and wellbeing, and, ultimately how we lead students to develop a capacity for self-advocacy. Our model is based on an evolution of support, moving from more direct instruction and delivery of resources to gradually teaching adolescents how to reach out and get the information and assistance when and in the format that best suits their needs. This development of self-advocacy is a key component of student agency and is an invaluable skill as they move on to university and into young adulthood.
The Guidance Program begins in the Middle School, when our students are introduced to the concept of having a Guidance Counsellor and understanding the type of support we provide. In Grades 7 through 10, our counsellors schedule appointments with students to check in on them at different points throughout the year and students are taught how to book a meeting on the Guidance page on the Student Portal.
By the time students progress to the Senior School, they have developed a good understanding of the role of the Guidance Counsellor. In Grades 11 and 12, students meet their counsellors through group sessions targeted at specific social-emotional or university admission topics. Information is made readily available to students and their families on the Guidance page on the Student and Parent Portals. By Grade 11, students book individual appointments whenever necessary. The progression from a “hands on” to a “hands hovering” approach allows practice of self-advocacy and resourcefulness, and is an important training ground for moving forward into post-secondary education.
Our goal as a department is to carefully transition students from the direct delivery of information and resources to a place where they develop the self-awareness to know what they need and the skills to source the information they require to be successful. We understand that students have different comfort thresholds surrounding seeking help and, given this, we work closely with, and rely heavily upon, partnerships and communication with teachers and parents to do the work of student support successfully.
For more information about the Guidance and University Counselling Program, please visit https://portals.veracross.com/hc/guidance.
ChatGPT: What Parents Need to Know
Garth Nichols, Vice Principal of Experiential Education & Innovation
As a parent, your top priority is the wellbeing and education of your children. With the advent of technology, there is a growing interest in the use of AI-powered chatbots, such as ChatGPT, to support students in their learning journeys. However, as with any new tool, it’s important to understand how to work with ChatGPT in an ethical and responsible way to ensure the best outcomes for your child.
ChatGPT is not a substitute for our incredible teachers and the relationships they form that support your daughter’s learning. It can be a complementary tool in education, so long as we all can build an understanding of how the technology works. It’s important to educate students on the limitations of machine learning and chatbots. Additionally, it’s crucial to help students understand the difference between information provided by ChatGPT and information obtained through other sources. This will help to promote critical thinking skills and encourage students to question the information they receive.
Keep in mind that, properly used, ChatGPT can be designed to support learning. Encourage your child to use the chatbot as a tool for supplementing their understanding, rather than relying on it to provide answers to assignments or tests.
Havergal’s Innovation Hub: HC-X, recently hosted a faculty conversation about ChatGPT and what our concerns are, but we also discussed what we are enthusiastic and optimistic about. Marshall McLuhan once said: “The future masters of technology will have to be lighthearted and intelligent. The machine easily masters the grim and the dumb.” Through our Digital Wisdom course, Grade 5 to Grade 8 students get to engage in such conversations, practices and reflections on the role of existing and emerging technologies and the impact they have on their lives.
To dive deeper into this topic, take a look at these resources:
Meet Our Faculty & Staff
Executive Director, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion
Ms. Cozier joined Havergal College in January 2023 as its inaugural Executive Director, Equity, Diversity & Inclusion. She brings more than 25 years of experience as a trainer/facilitator, program designer, strategist, leader and social change agent in the direct service, philanthropic and advocacy sectors. Her work focuses on deepening equity, inclusion and belonging, and is steeped in fostering connection, competency and collaboration that allows people to engage authentically and bring their best thinking and innovation in the pursuit of the organization’s core mission and strategic goals. While most of Ms. Cozier’s career has been focused on women’s and girls’ issues and gender equity, in the words of American writer, womanist, radical feminist, professor and civil rights activist Audre Lorde – “there is no such thing as a single-issue struggle, because we do not live single-issue lives.” As a result, the principles of intersectionality, cultural competency and humility, and the lenses of diversity, equity and inclusion have always been central to her work and approach to life. For the seven years prior to joining Havergal, Ms. Cozier has led the EDI work of the largest LGBTQ+ civil rights organization in the United States.
As as a published poet, Ms. Cozier uses poetry as a vehicle to create human connection and enrich EDI learning. She holds an MBA in Health Administration and an MS in Health Care Financial Management from Temple University in Philadelphia, PA, and an Honours BSc in Human Biology, Sociology & Women’s Studies from University of Toronto. Ms. Cozier is a Certified Dare to Lead™ Facilitator, a certified administrator for the Intercultural Development Continuum (IDI), and a Certified Diversity Executive (CDE).
As an alum of Branksome Hall (and a boarder), Ms. Cozier describes her return to the independent school system in this role as “a perfect culmination of her experience and her passion for work with deep personal significance.” She grew up in the GTA and recently relocated back to Toronto with her wife, daughter and two dogs — after nearly 30 years in the United States — to be closer to her family. She has lived in Washington (DC), Philadelphia, New Jersey, US Virgin Islands and Barbados. Besides work and family, her passions include dance, building Lego and various other creative outlets.