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Archived Principal Message

Archived Principal Message: September 2014

Welcome Back for Another Wonderful Year at Glendale School!


Glendale SchoolIt is with a great sense of excitement that the new school year has begun at Glendale School!  Our administrative secretary, Mrs. Norris has been instrumental in making sure the school start-up was smooth.  All of the staff at Glendale School can’t thank her enough for all she does. 

Similarly, Mr. McKay, our building facility operator has done an exemplary job of making the school look its best. He has polished the floors, cleaned classrooms and moved around an incredible amount of furniture.  His efforts have played an integral role in creating the necessary environmental readiness as we embark into the new school year. 

In addition, I wish to thank all of the incredible staff at Glendale School for working so hard to get their classrooms ready and for taking important first steps in planning for the children of Glendale School this year.  Our assistant principal, Alison Browne and I are so fortunate to work amongst such talented educators.

Lastly, today’s “Muffin Mixer” was a wonderful reminder of how truly lucky we are to be amongst such supportive, caring and passionate parents.  It was indeed wonderful to reconnect with so many of you and to meet so many new families and students.  Each of you contributes so much to the Glendale School family and we thank you for all you do to support the work that we do together.  A special thank you to the parent council for starting our school year off with such a thoughtful community-building event.

Our Work This Year: Inquiry Based Learning and Intellectual Engagement

The staff at Glendale School have already been working collaboratively to develop a clear vision for teaching and learning this year.  In our first three days together last week,  we spent time working together to explore the question, “What is  Intellectual Engagement?” Educational researcher, Jodene Dunleavy (et al) defines Intellectual engagement as a “serious emotional and cognitive investment in learning, using higher-order thinking skills (such as analysis and evaluation) to increase understanding, solve complex problems, or construct new knowledge (2012).” Through this research, Dunleavy identifies three measures of intellectual engagement which include interest and motivation, effort, and quality of instruction.  Most importantly, research indicates that there is a direct correlation between these measures and academic success.

Elements of Intellectual Engagement:

  • Knowing students’ strengths learning styles and passions
  • Tasks that are designed to elicit higher order thinking
  • Reciprocal teaching- A willingness to adjust the task according to the relationship between students, teachers and the content-The role ofr the teacher is as a “flexible guide”
  • Assessment that includes documentation, student involvement and is “for and of learning”
  • Purposeful, authentic tasks which elicit student and teacher investment in learning
  • Parent involvement and understanding of the work
  • Personal relevance through real world connections
  • Students can speak to what they know, how they know it and when they are successful
  • Teacher/student peer purposeful collaboration
  • Challenging and academically rigorous problem solving activities with no pre-determined path to get there- often resulting in new ideas or theories
  • Creating a safe community for risk taking
  • Ongoing feedback

~by Glendale School Staff,  August 27, 2014

Designing Quality Instruction for Intellectual Engagement


Throughout the year, Glendale teachers will focus on instructional design practices in order to provide many entry and exit points and opportunities for students to shape their learning based on their own passions and interests. Through an inquiry approach, students will also be able to assimilate and anchor their prior experiences and knowledge with newly formed experiences. The process of inquiry starts when learners become curious or interested in something they’ve experienced. Also learners in the process, our teachers are equally as excited about the learning process and the possibilities that lie ahead. By planning with an inquiry approach, teachers are able to intellectually engage our students thereby resulting in continued academic success.

We believe that inquiry is most successful in a classroom environment that physically fosters creativity, encourages questioning and collaboration, stimulates curiosity and provides opportunities to celebrate our successes. In addition to quality instructional design we are beginning to carefully examine the role that the classroom environment has on learning and intellectual engagement. The concept of “Environment as Third Teacher” is something that we are beginning to explore together as a school community. Take a peek throughout the classrooms and learning spaces and let us know what you think of our first steps in this work together.


Welcome to the Journey!
The journey indeed begins today. We are all truly excited about the upcoming year at Glendale School and all that it will bring.  We sincerely look forward to working with all of you in what promises to be an inspiring and rewarding year!

Most sincerely,
Michelle Speight

Principal, Glendale School
mmspeight@cbe.ab.ca

Archived Principal Messages