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Lynn-Rose School:
The Our Kids Report
Grades JK TO Gr. 12 — Mississauga, ON (Map)

Lynn-Rose School:

Leadership interview with Sara MacDonald, Lynn-Rose School

  • Name
    Sara MacDonald
  • Title
    Head of School

Sara MacDonald is the Head of School of Lynn-Rose Schools. She is a passionate educator, and she believes that it’s of the utmost importance to get to know each child. At Lynn-Rose, they do that the old-fashioned way: by putting in the time to build the relationship. The school offers an IB curriculum, a range of external resources, and a strong sense of community. It’s also a school rooted in values: caring, confidence, passion, and a strong sense of integrity.

Video Contents

Highlights from the interview

  • One thing that students said was that they have classes that are engaging. The teachers are asking them to think, challenging them to express their ideas freely in a comfortable environment. They definitely have that sense in their day that they can advocate for themselves, that they can question, they can challenge a teacher in a respectful way. I think one of the things that the students have always said through all of this, with the introduction of the IB program is they really do feel comfortable and at-home and they’re comfortable to be themselves. And so from the day that they join Lynn-Rose, that they walk through the doors, they get that sense, and it just continues to evolve so that they have fun.

  • We are an International Baccalaureate school, so we do have a certain philosophy. The philosophy is really important. We want to have teachers that are definitely passionate about education, that are in it for the day-to-day to make a difference, and that really want to work on developing the whole child. It’s a very holistic approach to education, not just academics, but that social-emotional approach, which is also extremely important.

  • At Lynn-Rose, we are a blend.  We are an IB continuum school, so from K to 12, all of our students from kindergarten to Grade 8 participate in the IB program. So whether it be the primary years or the middle years, that’s very important because we do have a very diverse student population. We have students with many different needs, and we work very closely with the family, with the students, to get to know them as an individual and to make sure that we’re working towards their personal goals.

  • We really do have a community feel. We recently went through an accreditation with (international education non-profit) Cognia, which is the world’s largest accrediting agency, and we had four team members come in. They spent three full days at our school, went through all of our classrooms, went through our whole facility, all three of our locations. And one of their findings was that our mission statement was evident everywhere you looked. It really was very clear that we’re not just giving lip service, for lack of a better term.  That was one of the key findings: that our mission statement really was alive.

  • Bringing the values of the school to life—it’s just in our day-to-day interactions. Even little things: it’s getting to really know the students and making sure that their needs are met. Interestingly enough, we have students that came to us for elementary, left, and then came back to us for their senior years—and it was because they knew that we knew them as an individual. We take the time to make sure that we know what their goals are. Our guidance counsellor, for example, at the secondary level—who is also our VP—she meets with every student to talk about their post-secondary goals. Getting to know them as an individual, I think, just takes that time.

  • We do have a very diverse student population. We do accept students with many different learning styles and different learning needs. We do not have a dedicated Special Ed program. We do have staff members that are trained in specific areas, and what we will also do is we will meet with families to determine the best way to meet their child’s needs in an educational setting, and have that one-on-one time to connect with the family.

  • With the smaller class sizes, the smaller environment  you can see students start to say, ‘Hey, wait a second, my teacher is actually getting to know me. My teacher is actually understanding what my needs are, and I’m going to do some work here. I’m going to be part of this process.’ All of a sudden now they see that their teacher is invested and does care—and it makes a difference.

  • We’ve had lots of students that have come to us, and their families have come back and said that they’ve been so happy that they made a change because we just took the time to meet with the family, make them part of the learning process—whether it be that their child was struggling or whether it be that their child was excelling and not being challenged enough. We’ve had many parents come back to us and say that they’re very thankful that they did make the change and that they’ve seen the success and the growth in their child.

  • There’s opportunities within the day to provide that little extra to students where they may have those gaps that need to be filled in—whether it’s done in the classroom, or we will have specialist programs that will run outside of regular classes to help with literacy and to promote reading for students that may have had some gaps in their learning. It’s getting to know that child, and we do that not only through day-to-day interactions, but through these Canadian Cognitive Abilities Test and Canadian Test of Basic Skills results. It’s through meeting collaboratively and regularly as a staff as well  so that we can formulate a plan to make sure that we’re meeting that child’s needs.

  • I think we’re always growing and evolving. Part of being an accredited school with Cognia is you do have a continuous improvement plan, and you’re looking 5 or 10 years ahead, and you’re strategizing on where you want to go. One of the things that’s really important is that we do stay current and we do stay connected. That goes back to making sure that you’re engaged with other professionals in your field outside of the school and that you’re part of that educational community on a larger scale so that you’re up-to-speed with educational trends that are happening, what new ideas might work to try at your school to implement. There’s so many things that are changing in education. It’s an incredible field to be in because there’s many different philosophies. It’s always evolving.

  • “We do have a lot of specialty events that happen. We have a large theater production where we have our Grades 1 to 8 students participating in it. They come together for that. We do different events throughout the day as well, too. So we have our French café. We have a Literary Premier where students will come from one campus to the other campus to visit and experience it. It’s nice for our junior students to come over to the College to have certain activities there as well, too. We try to do different events throughout the school year where we do have that connection. The older students get to act as mentors. For the younger students, making those connections is very important.

  • The parents are in charge of how much they want to get involved. We do have parent volunteers that can come into the school. We have a parent roundtable: we have a group of parents from various grades, they’ll come and we’ll discuss and they’ll give us feedback. Some parents like to be more involved and other parents have a lot happening for themselves as well, too, in their own life. And so it’s really up to the parents’ choice if they can join us. We try to make sure that we do it at different times and we provide different opportunities to meet. Our parents are professionals, so we want to make sure that we’re meeting a schedule that hopefully can fit for them.

  • There would definitely be an element of respect as a characteristic of the school. I think integrity—that’s very important, integrity is something that we try to promote all the time with our students. Confidence—developing confidence in our students and our staff, making sure that that’s part of it. Caring, passionate. Those are also very important character traits that I think we have at Lynn-Rose.



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