Writings on the people, programs and philosophies behind BSS.
Learning out Loud
A Day in the Life

Exploring the Culture of Powerful Learning in practice at BSS

Posted: April 26, 2018 at 1:13 pm   /   Learning out Loud

It was the first snowfall of the winter and as the taxi approached BSS, the driver observed “how pretty the buildings look” and asked me, “so you’ve come to spend a day at the school to see what it’s like?” “Yes, but more than that,” I said. “I want to understand, why, for generations, more than 150 years, parents have trusted this school to educate their daughters. Why generations of alumnae, I hear it’s more than 6,000, have been proud to actively retain ties with the BSS community.”

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City Connections

Posted: April 26, 2018 at 1:13 pm   /   Leading the Way

When Alphabet’s Sidewalk Labs won the competition this past fall to turn 12 acres of Toronto waterfront into a smart, sustainable neighbourhood, it helped reinforce the sense that the city could become a model for innovative living in the future. As it happens, months earlier a group of BSS girls from a Grade 8 class were surveying an as-yet-undeveloped part of the Port Lands…

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Art in Our Environment

Posted: April 26, 2018 at 1:11 pm   /   Learning out Loud

Showcasing the talent and creativity of visual arts throughout the school.

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Cheryl Pounder

For the Love of Sport

Posted: October 17, 2017 at 11:13 am   /   Learning out Loud

Cheryl Pounder’s path to multiple ice hockey Nationals, Worlds and, ultimately, Olympic golds started at home. Her mother was an athlete; her grandmother was offered (and declined, for family reasons) a baseball contract at Wrigley Field in the 1940s; she and her three siblings spent winters playing on their backyard rink.

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National Indigenous Anglican Bishop Mark MacDonald

Truth, Reconciliation and Education

Posted: October 17, 2017 at 11:13 am   /   Learning out Loud

Barely a week before the new BSS Indigenous land acknowledgement statement was read at closing ceremonies in June, the two students who authored the document were still poring over historical sources. Isabel COLEMAN ’17 and Abbie LAI ’17 began working on the statement in the fall of 2016 when they became the school’s first Community Voices Prefects, a role in which they were expected to tackle issues beyond the school’s walls.

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Thoughts on Moral Courage

Posted: October 17, 2017 at 11:12 am   /   Learning out Loud

Everyone has different opinions and passions, and there will be conflicts between ideas which do not coincide with each other. We just have to learn to embrace those conflicts.

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The Chroniclers

Posted: October 17, 2017 at 11:11 am   /   Building Community

The oblong watercolour painting is exquisite; showcasing detailed figures of BSS students in 1931, lacing on skates as they chat with each other before an outing on the school’s skating rink. “Their poses are so lifelike, their winter outfits reminiscent of a time gone by,” says Sue ALLEN Dutton ’79, Archivist of the BSS Museum & Archives. “Receiving this donation was a very lucky day for us.”

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Inspiring Leadership in the Junior School

Posted: October 17, 2017 at 11:09 am   /   Learning out Loud

Delightful things happen at BSS when girls take initiative. It’s a philosophy informing not just co-curricular activities like the making and sharing of food but also new collaborative teaching practices aimed at developing students into leaders who will make a difference in the world.

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Stop. Look. And Listen.

The Culture of Powerful Learning and Mindfulness at BSS

Posted: March 26, 2017 at 4:17 pm   /   Learning out Loud

Research supports the many benefits of mindfulness – the calm mental state achieved, with practice, by being in the moment, of not judging but merely observing and accepting. Mindfulness reportedly helps to lower stress, improve focus, increase self-awareness and compassion for others and, in one study from the University of California, Santa Barbara, students trained in mindfulness experienced improved memory and better grades.

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Historical photo of BSS girls and cell phone

The Future of History

Posted: September 26, 2016 at 3:22 pm   /   Learning out Loud

We use spatial metaphors to understand time. Typically, we think of the past as behind us, like a house we’re walking away from, and the future as ahead of us, like a target we’re moving toward. Teachers and administrators at BSS are asking what would happen if we used a different “location” metaphor for understanding […]

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BSS Girls at Work

Posted: March 29, 2016 at 2:58 pm   /   Learning out Loud

Imagine being able to work at an ad agency, hospital, veterinary clinic or Member of Parliament’s office even before finishing high school. That’s what students in the BSS Grade 11 Co-operative Education program experience – full-fledged exposure to a career at a time when they are actively working out their educational and professional aspirations. After […]

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From Learning to Legacy: Using Science to Change the World

Posted: March 29, 2016 at 12:59 pm   /   Learning out Loud

Last spring, midway through May, stickers the size of salad plates began appearing on bathroom mirrors around BSS. Against solid coloured backdrops, the typewriter lettering offered various motivational messages, including “Change the way you see, not the way you look” and “Make health more important than weight.” An informational leaflet on the door of the […]

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Sustainable City Planning Meets Limitless Imagination

Posted: March 29, 2016 at 12:58 pm   /   Learning out Loud

The late spring day was cold, windy and damp as the Grade 8 girls stood surveying Villiers Island’s bleak landscape of factories, barren land where trucks rumbled through, and the choppy water of Lake Ontario. Yet in discussing ideas amongst themselves and their teachers, the students excitedly began to envision this yet to be re-developed […]

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It’s up to youth

Posted: March 29, 2016 at 12:58 pm   /   Building Community

When BSS student Claire Vaughan heard about the chance to get involved in an event aimed at tackling the tough issues facing girls in Toronto, she knew she had to be part of it. When she learned that students would be planning and running the event, it was the icing on the cake. “The best […]

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Carving Their Own Way

Posted: March 29, 2016 at 12:57 pm   /   Editor's Choice

How does a school tell its story of community in a way that inspires and enlightens generations to come? Reverend Cathy Gibbs had an idea. To celebrate the school’s 150th anniversary in 2017, she decided to act on her longstanding vision for a wood carving on the front of the Chapel’s altar. And she had […]

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Piper McGavin

Beyond the Books

Posted: September 23, 2015 at 5:42 pm   /   Editor's Choice

Discovering and overcoming a fear of heights to rappel down a rock wall, transcending a language barrier to aid new immigrants and leading worn out campers through a nine-portage canoe trip: these are just a few of the things that don’t appear on Piper McGavin’s academic transcript. A top Grade 12 student with ambitions to […]

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Boarding at BSS

A New Age

Posted: September 23, 2015 at 5:31 pm   /   Editor's Choice

It’s Sunday afternoon, and Ellen De Beer has just completed a massive science project. Ellen is a Grade 8 Boarding student from China, and it’s her first year at BSS. The project has been an important awakening. “In the beginning I figured I had a lot of time so I’d just do it later,” she […]

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Start with Why? End with Who?

The Evolution of the “Whole Girl” Approach

Posted: September 17, 2015 at 11:05 am   /   Learning out Loud

In the initial stages of creating the Signature of a BSS Girl, several members of the BSS Senior Leadership Team returned from a professional learning session and could hardly contain their enthusiasm. The core idea of the presentation gave language to what they were trying to accomplish and the overlap was electrifying. The speaker was Simon […]

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Katrina Marsden

Rethinking Girl Talk

Posted: September 17, 2015 at 11:00 am   /   Learning out Loud

Chantelle Lee was a self-described shy girl who never rocked the boat until she helped found the Moral Courage Task Force at BSS. That was over two years ago and since then she’s probed racial and socioeconomic diversity at the school, confronted the perils of perfectionism among teenage girls – including herself – and tackled […]

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Boarders at BSS

Students Without Borders

Posted: March 10, 2014 at 10:57 pm   /   Editor's Choice

Ask Grade 10 student Mariana Brizuela to share her experience arriving as a boarder to BSS in September and her face lights up, even when discussing the challenges. Until just four days before classes started, she and her younger sister Veronica (a Grade 8 boarder) had never before visited Canada, never mind Toronto, never mind […]

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