Avalon: “Where Legends Begin!”
Dear Avalon Community,
My name is Sandra Stewart and it is an honour to welcome new families to Avalon Public School, a new and vibrant school, located in the east of Orleans. Avalon opened its doors to families in September 2008. We began with 465 children in grades Junior Kindergarten to Grade 7 – learning in 2 streams: Regular English and Early French Immersion. In September 2009, our student population grew to 575 and we added our first grade 8 class. We expect to add to our numbers in September 2010 as our community continues to grow.
It is a wonderful honour to be the principal of a brand new school, to have the opportunity to hire the staff and to work with the community to do all of the many tasks to open a school. I was appointed principal of Avalon in February 2008, when the school was a hive of construction workers in a field of snow. Working with Anne Berkley, our Office Administrator, we set up a temporary office at Trillium Elementary School and began to register the Kindergarten students for our new school. During those months, we interviewed many marvellous, talented teachers who applied to be part of the opening team. We selected the team and held many meetings to plan for the needed resources, the classroom organizations, the opening routines and rules for the new school.
At the same time, many parents stepped forward to act as an Interim School Council and to help plan the opening events for the school. With the tremendous support of the new Council, we planned a team building event for the children and the community as part of the Maple Ridge Family Fun Fair in May 2008. The new Avalon children were able to meet their new teachers and help to “build” the new school! In addition, the Council participated in a School Naming Committee and established the name of the school as Avalon (drawn from more than 50 submissions). Once the school opened, Council supported all of the opening events – especially playing an essential role in our formal opening ceremonies. The positive community support has continued in that opening tradition and the staff and students at Avalon appreciate the strong bonds with our families.
We are now mid-way through our second year and we still have many tasks to accomplish. We have a name, a mascot (our royal lion), school colours (garnet and gold), and our motto: “Where legends begin.” As well we are a Tribes school and follow the value statements of a Tribes community: 1. mutual respect, 2. attentive listening, 3. appreciation/ no put downs, and 4. right to pass/ the right to participate. Add to this, we firmly support our school board’s approach to character education through the “Community of Character” Wheel. Next we need to look at deepening these ideas through a process of identifying the core beliefs or values of the Avalon school community. Our School Council has established vision statements to guide the operation of the council. Council’s sound philosophy will help to guide the discussions at the school level.
Thank you for joining the growing and dynamic Avalon Community. Watch for news about the new traditions that we are adding to enrich our school – one example is the “Multicultural Pot Luck Dinner” we are planning for April 29. Take part in your child’s education through volunteerism, involvement with the School Council and by keeping connected with what is happening at school through our web site.
Learning is exciting at Avalon!
Sandra R. Stewart