September 2021

Inside Havergal

Headshot of principal Katrina Samson

Principal’s Message

Katrina Samson

After a year of starts and stops, openings and closings, ups and downs, our campus is once again alive with the chatter, excitement and energy of students, faculty and staff. With the return to campus, I appreciate that there is some worry that our time on campus might not last amidst this fourth wave in Canada, and that we may be, once again, required to go remote. These are real worries, but we cannot let those worries, those “what ifs,” stop us from safely enjoying our time together. I am proud to report that our pandemic mitigation plan, which includes significant investment in air filtration, indoor masking, cohorting, enhanced routine cleaning and mandatory vaccination for eligible staff and students has been embraced by our community. In our Return to Campus Plan, the team at Havergal has prioritized connection, ensuring that we offer as many opportunities for students to build healthy, positive relationships with their peers and trusted adults within the parameters of the pandemic guidelines. Having watched our students over the last three weeks, I am proud to say that they have embraced those opportunities for growth and connection with great enthusiasm. 

In Principal Prayers in the Junior and Upper School, I spoke about failure and challenged students to think differently about it. Rather than seeing failure as something to avoid, something to be embarrassed or ashamed of, we should recognize failure as a critical part of learning. I shared some of the highlights from my own “failure résumé” with students to highlight that making mistakes, when learned from, is one of the most powerful pathways to learning and growth that we have as humans. I cited an article by Tim Herrera from The New York Times that inspired me to consider my obligation as a leader to share my own journey, including my failures, with others as a way to normalize struggle as a critical element of learning. As parents, teachers and leaders, we inspire hope, confidence and determination in our children when we share the times where we didn’t hit the mark and how we learned from those experiences. I encouraged your children to ask the adults in their lives about the times they failed and how they learned so they can recognize that the pathway of growth is not linear and we should not expect it to be.  

Over the coming weeks and months, I’m looking forward to connecting with many more members of the Havergal community. I want to thank you for the warm welcome you have extended to me and my family.

Warmest wishes,


Debbie Simpson

Message from the Board of Governors

Debbie Simpson, Chair of the Board of Governors

Hello to everyone—the Board wishes you all a huge welcome back! Whether this is your first year as a part of the Havergal community or you are a returning family, I am sure you share my excitement in having all of our wonderful students back on campus. This year kicks-off with the return of co-curricular and athletic activities and I am particularly delighted to share that Dr. Katrina Samson, our 13th Principal, is enjoying getting to know our school and community. Dr. Samson has had the opportunity to connect and meet with some of you already and we will continue to make that a priority—of course, working within the necessary safety restrictions and health protocols.

I hope that you and your family are well and have enjoyed some special moments together over the summer. At the school, the level of activity remained high throughout the summer as Faculty and Staff worked to prepare the campus for the safe return of our students. Safety remains our top priority and we thank you for your ongoing support of our health protocols. The campus was also busy over the summer as the team closed out the final touches on the new spaces at both the Junior and Upper School. I truly hope that this will be the year where we can have you back inside the buildings to see and appreciate these new spaces that the students are already enjoying. In the meantime, this link will give a sense of the completed spaces.

Some of you may have noticed the big sign at the entrance of the Upper School announcing that the Limitless Campaign is complete, exceeding its goal and raising a total of $21.8 million. This project would not have been possible without the generous donations provided by you, our community members. I would like to thank everyone who has supported the campaign, including the gift of time invested in the project from many, making this build possible.

I will close by wishing everyone continued good health and encourage you all, new and old, to be active members of our vibrant community. There are many ways for you to participate in school life, including the Havergal College Parents Association, Havergal Old Girls Association, the Foundation, the Board of Governors or its committees. We appreciate the time you devote to our community.

Warm regards,


This Month

students standing outside of the school with the Gator mascot

Health & Safety Reminders

A warm welcome to all new students and families and a welcome back to our returning community members. Over the past year, we have all been asked to adapt and shift in many ways. 

As we start the new school year, we realize there is a lot of new information and questions you may have about Havergal programs and protocols. The Family Handbook is a key resource that outlines Havergal’s wellbeing, academic and co-curricular programs as well as key policies and school-based information. The Return to Campus COVID 19 Protocols 2021-2022 can be found in the Family Handbook; it’s an important document as it outlines the strategies we have put in place to help keep our campus safe and healthy as well as details about how programs have been modified. It also contains information about Toronto Public Health requirements and steps to take if your child is not feeling well. I recommend that you bookmark these documents and refer back to them regularly, especially when you have questions about policies, procedures and school programs. 

We appreciate your continued partnership as we work together to support all students to have a healthy, safe and engaging school year.

Lindsay Norberg
Associate Head of School

image of a desk with pencil crayons, a mask, an apple and textbooks

Campus Safety Protocols

We appreciate the care and diligence our community has taken to stay up to date with COVID-19 protocols. We have successfully implemented SchoolPass for wellness screening and for daily attendance. 

For guidance with wellness screening questions, please see our Havergal College Student Wellness Screening Procedure

For detailed instructions on when a student must stay home from school and go for testing, or for the requirements for returning to school after any COVID-19 related issue, please see the Havergal College Returning to School After Illness, Exposure or Travel Procedure for Students

Lastly, as a reminder, please continue to have a daily wellness screen completed in SchoolPass for each school day, regardless of whether your child is coming to campus. 

For further questions feel free to contact one of our nurses at [email protected] or the Junior School Health Centre (ext. 6516) or the Upper School Health Centre (ext. 4712).

Image of the College Blog on a computer screen

The College Blog

Havergal’s Heads of Schools distribute key messages to parents about school life through The College Blog. The Upper School message will come out every other Friday and the Junior School message will be published weekly on Fridays (or the last day of school, in case of a Professional Development day or a holiday). The Heads of Schools will send out a link to parents/guardians of the most current message, which will include previous issues if you continue to scroll down. 

Junior School Blog:

Upper School Blog: 

The Blog provides information specific to each school (Junior School and Upper School) that is pertinent to daily school life (such as up-to-date operational information, invitations to events, important dates and deadlines). Stay current by reading and bookmarking it.

SchoolPass logo

Enhancing Safety & Efficiency Through SchoolPass 

Last year we spent a lot of administrative effort managing wellness screenings for students and employees. In order to address our needs, we explored a number of different solutions in the spring and selected to implement SchoolPass. 

While we were seeking a wellness screening solution, we found that SchoolPass offered benefits in wellness screening, convenience and safety:

  1. Quick and efficient wellness screenings: All wellness screenings for students, employees and visitors are collected and managed in one system to allow us to review our status at a glance and quickly follow up when they are incomplete.
  2. Automated notifications for follow-ups: Our Health Centre is notified automatically if a student, employee or visitor fails a wellness screening.
  3. Approved pick up lists: Junior School parents can manage their approved list of people who can pick up their child.
  4. Manage school attendance: Parents can manage their child’s school attendance through the SchoolPass app—no more phone calls or emails needed.
  5. Late arrival/early dismissal notifications: Parents and our administrative offices are automatically notified when students arrive late, leave early or go off campus for their lunches (Grades 9 and up) or spares (Grade 12).
  6. Emergency management: By having students, employees and visitors scan in and out when they arrive and leave campus, we have real-time information about who is on campus for use in emergencies. Knowing who is on campus at any given time allows us to focus our efforts on ensuring the safety of students on campus instead of spending valuable time trying to find students who are not actually on campus.

Overall, SchoolPass offers us the opportunity to enhance our approach to safety while also offering some additional conveniences to parents.

Chartwells logo

Food Services at HC

Havergal is excited to partner with Chartwells to elevate our food service offering and provide a variety of healthy and fun dining options to students, faculty and staff across campus. Led by General Manager Christilyn Manzano, along with Executive Chef Liri Jonuzaj, the Food Services team is looking forward to introducing some innovative concepts over the coming months to help transform the dining experience at Havergal. As we transition to working with Chartwells, we are starting the new Food Program with a simplified menu of quality meal options with several lunch combos to choose from each day. Be sure to keep an eye on our menus because we will refresh the available options throughout the Fall term by expanding the selection to add new seasonal items in order to keep things interesting. Don’t forget to place your lunch order online every Wednesday using our quick and easy order form. There are three different order forms to note, depending on your grade or if you are a faculty and staff member:

Junior School

Upper School

Faculty & Staff

If you have any questions about the Food Services program, please email the Chartwells team at [email protected]. We look forward to serving you!

image of a stack of textbooks

Upper School Fall Used Textbook Return

Tuesday, October 5, 7:30 to 11:30 am

Did you miss the spring Used Textbook Return? Or perhaps you have new textbooks you wish to return because of a class change? If so, the HCPA has arranged for the Canadian School Book Exchange (CSBE) to be at Havergal on Tuesday, October 5, to accept your donations and to facilitate your returns.  

Students will be able to drop off their new or used textbooks directly into the CSBE truck, which will be parked in the South Parking Lot of the Upper School. 

For those planning to return a new textbook due to a course change, please follow these instructions:

  1. Visit the CSBE website
  2. Log into your account and navigate to “My Orders.” 
  3. Locate the order with the item you wish to return and click “View/Edit Order.” 
  4. Click “Request a Return” to return items that are in policy for a return. Select “Yes” for the item you wish to return and “No” for the items you are keeping. 
  5. Click “Create Return.” 
  6. When complete, a Return Authorization Number will show on screen and you will receive an email with further instructions 
  7. If you are returning your textbooks at the school, place the Return Authorization Number and/or QR code slips in a sealed box and bring it to Havergal’s South Parking Lot for drop off on Tuesday, October 5 between 7:30 and 11:30 am.

You may also call CSBE to obtain a Return Authorization Number and instructions at 1-800-335-5043. These textbook returns should be brought in a separate sealed box from used textbooks with the Return Authorization Number inside.  

For those who wish to sell gently used textbooks, please follow these instructions:

  1. Visit the CSBE website
  2. Log in to your account and navigate to “Sell My Books.”
  3. Click “Intake/Drop Off.”
  4. Print the QR code.
  5. Place the QR code in a sealed box with the used textbooks you wish to sell.
  1. Have your daughter bring the box to the South Lot of Havergal on Tuesday, October 5, between 7:30 and 11:30 am.
  2. You may also click “Print & Ship” and follow the instructions if this date does not work for you.

Please ensure your books are placed in a sealed box with the Return Authorization Number and/or QR code slips inside. For multiple boxes, please place a printed copy of the QR code in each box. We ask that students bring their books to the truck and parents remain in their vehicles. 

When your book is sold through the CSBE, a percentage of the sale will go back to you and a percentage will go toward the HCPA’s fundraising efforts. It’s a win-win!

homepage of new website

Announcing Havergal’s New Website

We are pleased to announce the launch of Havergal’s newly designed website. This refreshed online presence puts the user experience first and is designed to attract new families; communicate the value of a Havergal education; attract top talent; be accessible by all people; and reflect HC’s values, program and brand. 

Our new site is built on WordPress with a design that is responsive, making it easy for visitors to access information on a variety of platforms, from mobile devices to desktop computers. When you visit, you will notice that the Havergal narrative is more cohesive and visually appealing, supported by an updated navigation system, and the content is organized by school (Junior, Middle, Upper and Boarding Schools). There is an intentional call to action to apply now and the benefits of our second-to-none education are highlighted on designated grade pages. 

For prospective families looking to join our community, information about the admission process and requirements is tailored to ensure a seamless enrollment experience. We are also very proud that our new site is compliant with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA), meeting and exceeding World Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 Level AA standards.

The Communications and Marketing team would like to thank the select parents, current and prospective students, faculty and staff who participated in our user testing and contributed content.

Inside Focus

image of new Upper School addition
Photo courtesy of Tom Arban Photography.

Inside the HC-X Innovation Hub

HC-X is the hub for the development and delivery of innovative teaching and learning. As an integral part of Havergal’s Strategic Direction—Havergal 2020+:Future-Proofing the Next Generation—the HC-X team and the programming developed within represents the future-ready mindsets, strategies and learning experiences that will be a differentiator for Havergal students and faculty. 

This fall, we launched the second year of our Digital Wisdom Course for students in Grades 5, 6, 7 and 8. This course is a personalized, responsive learning experience that supports students in navigating a digitally-mediated world while maintaining a stable concept of identity and values. The course design incorporates Wellbeing and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion as key outcomes.  

HC-X also leads a team of Junior and Upper School Faculty through the development of a Blended Learning Model that prioritizes student agency through the use of blended learning practices. 

Havergal’s Global Learning & Leading Diploma is an innovative, application-based program from HC-X that provides student-driven experiences in which they develop and practise global knowledge, skills and mindsets, combined with experiential learning. Students gain a foundation to deal with complexities and tackle their big questions using transdisciplinary approaches and supported by strong Faculty mentorship. 

At Havergal’s HC-X, the future of education is being designed with intention, applying research and consultation within and outside the educational sectors, to find ourselves as we pursue the North Star of HC 2020+.

Meet Our Faculty & Staff

Katrina Samson with the School Captain

Dr. Katrina Samson


Katrina Samson is a vibrant, passionate educator who is committed to a student-centred approach. She held the role of Head of School at Appleby College since 2010 and previously held positions as Director of the Upper School and Assistant Head of School, Student Life while teaching English literature throughout her tenure. 

Her energy and enthusiasm underpin her solid professional credentials. Dr. Samson has an impressive educational background with a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Education from Queen’s University and continues her involvement with the school as a member of the Queen’s University Council. Her post-graduate studies include a Master’s degree from the University of Ottawa and a PhD in Educational Leadership and Administration from the University of Toronto. Her dissertation and research focused on leadership and succession planning in Canadian independent schools. 

A strong advocate for the advancement of women and children, she has carried her passion to her volunteer role as a board member for Armagh (a transitional housing and support program for women who have suffered domestic abuse), and as a co-teacher of the “Women in Leadership” module for the Canadian Accredited Independent Schools Leadership Institute. 

Her life experiences as an established educator with a focus on innovation, wellbeing and experiential learning—combined with her passion for creating leadership structures that allow for the growth and development of leaders within schools—is an asset for the Havergal community.