From the Headmaster

A Blog Featuring Writings from Hugh Burke

When you think about wholesome, home-cooked meals, you don't typically think of them being served up by a 16-year-old. For teenagers, the common belief is this: if it's not instant, canned, frozen, or ready in under three-steps, then it's beyond the realm of their culinary competence. You can imagine people's surprise, then, when they happened upon the personal project of Grade 10 Student Ved V., who was not only cooking up delicious and fresh foods from scratch, but empowering his peers to do the same.


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When children have a great playground, it changes their whole day, and their whole health. They get outside and into fresh air; they get to move and stretch; they get to interact and to play together: It forms the basis of their life at school.

The playgrounds at Meadowridge are very large; they are zoned; they are biodiverse; they have places to sit, jump, hang, run, tumble, sing, climb, hide, gambol, play, build, create and just hang out. They link to gardens and to forest. They are our commitment to our children, not just to educate, but to care for them in the most thoughtful of ways.

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Our kids at Meadowridge – well, the older ones anyway – have been writing tests recently. Children love to learn, but do not usually love tests. Tests are only one way to assess learning. We use all kinds of measures, including the kids' own reflections, to ensure that our teaching and their learning are both the best they can be.

Some of our kids are writing the Foundation Skills Assessments, which have been a hot issue in the press for a few years, generating more heat than light. Some of our parents have asked me about these assessments.

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It's early morning—still dark, in fact—and the weather is less than ideal; the snowfall has just begun, and it's hammering down. Braving the elements, our four robotics competitors arrive one-by-one. For them, the day is just getting started. The team piles into club leader Ms. Carrie Mohoruk's car, along with co-leader Mr. Darrell Lester, and head for the ferries. Their final destination? The FIRST LEGO league competition in Victoria.

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When Mrs. Heather Nicholson discovered the ACT Theatre would be performing Roald Dahl's James and the Giant Peach, she knew not to let the opportunity pass by. Sure, she could have booked tickets and organized classes to go, but why stop there? Instead, Mrs. Nicholson decided to build an entire program leading up to the performance, one which includes reading and writing, science and technology, music and art. The goal? To bring the story to life.

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Our Headmaster's Gryphon symbolizes the history of our school and is used as a formal symbol to represent our Headmaster's Office.


Biography

Hugh Burke, Headmaster

Hugh Burke grew up in the Vancouver area, graduating from Vancouver College, and then attending Simon Fraser University, where he earned his B.A., P.D.P., and M.A. Mr. Burke has taught at the primary, intermediate, and secondary levels, as well as teaching undergraduate and graduate courses at the university level. He has also been a curriculum coordinator in the public school system, where he focused on Writing and Gifted Education. He later became a Faculty Associate and a Program Coordinator in the Faculty of Education at Simon Fraser University.

Having served in the public education system as a teacher, a coordinator, and a union representative, and subsequently as an independent school teacher and administrator, he offers a unique perspective on educational choice. Mr. Burke has consulted with numerous school districts in the areas of instruction, gifted education, writing, administration, and systemic change, and has published works in the area of teacher education. He has also operated his own company, providing advice to the private sector in the area of strategic planning and staff development.

As an administrator, Mr. Burke has worked in the Faculty of Education at Simon Fraser University, and the Vancouver Talmud Torah (where he was the first non-Jewish principal of the school). He is a Past President of the Independent Schools’ Association of British Columbia (ISABC), is a past member of the Board of the Federation of Independent Schools’ Associations, and currently serves as Headmaster of Meadowridge School, which is an International Baccalaureate Continuum School with multiple accreditation.