As the Victoria Day long weekend approaches, students, staff, volunteers and parents prepare for the final push towards the end of the school year.
At Bowmanville’s Knox Christian School, the push is marked by today’s track and field day, (provided weather holds), or the Grade 8 class’s recent return from the annual three-day trip to Ottawa.
For principal and CEO Terry Van Leeuwen, it also marks a time to reflect on his recent experience as a new principal under the Ontario Alliance of Christian Schools (OACS) umbrella.
Van Leeuwen came to Knox Christian School with experience as a principal in the Alberta education system; a system he says offers great potential in its progressive approach to publicly funded independent schools.
“Alberta has the highest performing jurisdiction in the English speaking world,” he says, “and Ontario is lagging behind — they don’t want to accept some of the choices that parents have, such as in Alberta,” he says.
He says he’s seen great strength in his students during his first year on the job at Knox. He’s also been especially struck by the sense of family and community he feels there.
“There are so many things happening behind the scenes with committees and volunteers and everyone is involved,” he says.
“Parents, grandparents, and other community members who maybe have never had kids here, or whose kids have been long through the system, they still come together and make sure they support the school.”
He says informing people in the region about what the school has to offer will continue to be a major focus moving forward.
Bowmanville is part of a growing municipality, the evidence of which can be seen in the sub-divisions sprouting up around the school grounds, and taking an active role in community events during and outside of the school year is an important aspect of the job, he says.
He considers the school’s motto, “shaping hearts, souls and minds,” as he reflects on his approach to the job, and how its message can relate to potential Knox families.
“We know that the students come to us as a whole person with different needs and as a faith-based school, we can provide the support in all those areas, including the spiritual aspect,” he says.