Culture

In some other schools, the culture is all about who can rise to the top. But here, kids learn to value everybody for whatever they can contribute. All of the learners help each other in some ways, and so it’s like this whole big network where everyone is teaching, and everyone is learning.

—St. George’s parent

“Something in the Water”

Ask any member of the St. George’s community what makes our school special, and nine times out of ten, you’ll hear “It’s the culture.” From students to parents, teachers to alumni, and everyone in between, this one-of-a-kind environment is credited with creating the conditions for all the other amazing St. George’s learning experiences to flourish.

While this plan does forward several new initiatives and areas of increased emphasis related to “culture,” its primary objective is to sustain and strengthen the amazing environment we’ve already created.

One parent recently compared St. George’s culture to Play-Doh: here, the school community completely envelops each person who walks through our doors, adapting and molding itself to the individual rather than expecting the individual to fit into a certain box or mold.

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School-wide Themes

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The philosophy here is try and try again. Not try and fail. That’s a really strong philosophy and it creates a really strong culture.

—St. George’s parent

Culture is strategy

The majority of this plan’s culture-sustaining strategies are centred around themes that we intend to live out school-wide (which should come as no surprise to anyone familiar with our interconnected, interdependent “extended family!”).

 

Over the next five to ten years, St. George’s commits to developing a shared appreciation of and school-wide emphasis on the following priorities:

 

  • Wellness, well-being, and living a balanced life

  • Environmental and financial sustainability

  • Collaboration and appreciation for the synergistic effects of teamwork

  • Civic engagement and a focus on giving back

  • Engaging every member of the St. George’s community in meaningful, future-shaping ways

  • Deepening our culture of mutual trust and respect, openness, belonging, authenticity, appreciation of individual difference, and joy

  • Acknowledging, celebrating, and communicating successes

 

The above priorities will live out in some audience-specific new initiatives (such as strengthening elementary homeroom and high school advisory programming). But in practice, we intend these ideas and ideals to become so fully baked into our culture that they’ll feel more like “the way we do things around here” than distinct new programs.

Engaged and Proud Community

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We’re all so proud of this school, but none of us know how to describe it—even to each other!

—St. George’s parent

Community engagement, school spirit, student pride—all are already strong at St. George’s. But for a human-centred, whole-person-focused culture like ours, more community engagement, more spirit, and more pride is better! Not only because it makes all of our “school time” more enjoyable, livelier, and rewarding (although it does do that), but because it’s mission-critical. Building engagement and camaraderie fosters the deep sense of belonging and safety that are essential to deep, self-sustaining learning, and creates the conditions for all of us—especially students—to discover, develop, and contribute the very best of ourselves for the benefit of our larger community.

 

To encourage a vibrant, engaged school community, we commit to

  • creating more and better opportunities to come together as a community

  • developing new partnerships within the larger Montréal and independent school communities

  • communicating more often and more effectively with students, parents, faculty and staff, and alumni

  • doing a better job of documenting and celebrating the successes of our students, teachers, staff, and alumni

  • providing our students, families, employees, and alumni with opportunities to buy pride-reinforcing spirit wear and other branded items