Meet Percy Julian

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Before we made the long drive back home to Toronto, Janet invited us to come visit her school, Percy Julian Middle School in Oak Park. In the years that I've known Janet she has always talked very highly of her school and so I was keen to visit and have a look around for myself.

When we arrived she had one of her classes in the computer room and we were invited in to see what the kids were up to. Such a confident and creative group of kids! Janet's classroom is based on many of the same educational beliefs that I hold... that kids should be at the centre of the learning process, that learning tasks should be relevant and engaging, that learning should be "hard fun"... and it was wonderful to see a classroom where these things were actually taking place. We then got a tour of the schol by two wonderful students, Hannah and Darien, who expertly guided us around the building, showing us the features of the school and explaining a bit about what its like to go there. We were so impressed by the facilities and the staff we met as we went around! The way the school was structured and managed was quite unlike most other schools I've ever seen (and I've seen a few great schools over the years!) It was nice the see the way the building and the infrastructure within it was set up to support 21st century learning styles, with a team approach to core classes, open spaces for individual learning, and amazing facilities like the gym and performing arts centres. I'm so glad we got to see it all.

Oh, and a short note to the Percy Julian kids, if any of them read this... you guys are so lucky to be going to that school! You probably take it for granted since you just go there every day, but trust me when I tell you that the school you go to is very special and the education you're getting there is set up in ways that you will appreciate more as you get older. If you haven't done it lately, thank your teachers for what they do for you... they deserve it. Trust me.

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