Orangeville Christian School welcomes new principal
Paul Marcus says his journey from a teaching position to the principal at Orangeville Christian School (OCS) was made easier thanks to a transition year with the previous principal.
Marcus, who is one of the younger Ontario Alliance of Christian Schools (OACS) principals at 27, is in his fifth year at OCS. He spent the 2007-2008 school year transitioning into his new role.
When Henry Lise, the school’s previous principal, made the decision to retire Marcus became the vice-principal with the intention to gradually transition into the principal role. Marcus met weekly with a leadership team.
Marcus started taking over duties like scheduling and leading staff meetings and by the end of the year was reporting to the board for Lise and going to committee and membership meetings.
“It was a very smooth transition,” says Marcus, adding the society, staff and students all expected him to transition to the role of principal and knew what it was like to work with him in a leadership role.
Because the community expected and welcomed him to be the new principal the transition was easier, says Marcus.
Marcus also helped organize the send-off for Lise and emceed the retirement event. The event also had the feel of handing the torch from Lise to Marcus, he says.
As principal there are several goals for the school that Marcus is working on.
The school is currently going through the School Quality Assurance Program (SQAP), which is offered to OACS elementary member schools to help them provide quality Christian education.
The five areas or domains that the SQAP examines are school identity, school management, academic performance, school culture and community relations.
Marcus says the SQAP process enables him to organize things as he would like them and to take an in-depth look at where the school is with everything.
“I started the process last year so it was a good ‘getting my feet wet’ (activity),” he says, adding it has helped him to learn the school history.
The school aims to be accredited through the Canadian Hallmarks Institute, a public accreditation program.
Another new initiative at OCS is a before and after school program that kicked off this fall.
“We are hoping it can really be a draw, something that will fit with the community needs,” Marcus says.
Currently the program has two full-time families and other families who use the program when needed. Many Orangeville families travel to Brampton or Mississauga for work and most of the area schools offer a similar program, says Marcus. Though the program is currently not making a profit he says they hope the program will become self-sustaining.
Marcus says another priority considering the school’s decrease in enrollment is to get more exposure. The school moved locations about seven years ago, and went from a very visible location on the highway to a country school.
“One of our main focuses this year is trying to get a face in the community, get out there and get people to know who we are,” says Marcus.
“As Orangeville continues to grow out towards us I think it will get better, but in the meantime we really need to work on getting our face in the community and letting people know that we are a valuable service to the Orangeville community.”