Happy Hallowe’en & More

Happy Hallowe’en & More

High School Middle School The Study Academy Report

Can you feel it? The chill in the air… The falling leaves… The pumpkin spice… It can only mean one thing: Fall is here! And with Fall comes Hallowe’en, arguably the best non-holiday holiday of the year. This year, it lands squarely on a Monday, so I expect we’ll be seeing all sorts of appropriate (e.g., following dress code, no real or fake weapons) costumes at school. A few of us grown-up types may even don some festive wear, and we have a bunch of fun activities planned for the day, including games, movies, and a sprinkling of allergen-free goodies. This Monday, you can be anything you want to be, so come be awesome with us!

Beyond the immediate spookiness of Monday, we have a bunch of great stuff coming up that you’ll definitely want to read about. First up is our Annual Parent Social, happening tonight, from 7 – 10pm. Have you ever wished for an easier way to meet your fellow parents? Craved some time away from home? Wondered what it would be like to have fun on a Thursday night? Well now you can do all of these things and more! All current and prospective parents are invited to The Study Academy to mix, mingle, and meet other parents. We’ll provide the food and libations; just bring yourself! We’ll also be handing out Open House flyers to parents who are interested in enrolling their child(ren) at The Study, which brings me to my next point…

Tuesday, November 8th, marks our annual Open House. For those attending, come prepared to be inspired! This once-in-a-year opportunity will allow you to meet the faculty and tour our facility, watch our neurofeedback research program in action, and check out our clubs, programs, and more! With our 5:1 student-to-teacher ratio, personalized learning, highly qualified and engaging faculty, and innovative educational research, we equip our students with the academic proficiencies, learning skills, and passion to become lifelong independent learners.

Speaking of equipping our students with invaluable skills, we have had a bunch of excellent excursions since our last blog. In late September and mid-October, our senior high school students attended the Ontario College and University Information Fairs. During these trips, they got the opportunity to browse Ontario’s post-secondary offerings, with both university and college programs to accommodate the wide range of their interests. They picked up promotional materials and other branded goodies, engaged in interactive demonstrations, spoke with school reps, and came back with a better sense of their plans after high school. Later in October, all of our high schoolers visited the Aga Khan Museum, offering them exposure to the artistic, intellectual, and scientific heritage of Muslim civilizations across the centuries from the Iberian Peninsula to China. One of the goals of this trip, as well as the Museum’s mission, was to foster a greater understanding and appreciation of the contribution that Muslim civilizations have made to world heritage. Through education, research, and collaboration, the Museum fosters dialogue and promotes tolerance and mutual understanding among people.

While our high school students were off on their adventures, our middle schoolers also had a couple of exciting field trips at Bathurst Bowlerama and the Evergreen Brick Works. The former was a fun welcome/welcome back trip for all of our new and returning students, as well as a chance to get out of the classroom and get active. The Evergreen Brick Works, on the other hand, was a trip for the body and mind with the students’ participation in their Cycling in the City: Active Transportation program. There, they got to “explore the Brick Works through one of the world’s most energy-efficient machines – the bicycle. Students … [used] simple machines to craft and test obstacle courses and explore comparative force, while developing fundamental physical literacy skills. [One of the goals was to] get students excited about riding as transportation and recreation by designing bike routes to school, while discussing many aspects of cycling in the city and incorporating the social and environmental impact of active transportation.”

Looking forward, the middle schoolers will have a field trip to the Art Gallery of Ontario on November 11th. We’ll have many more details – and permission forms – to come soon! The week before that, on November 2nd, Grade 9 students will get a chance to shadow their parents at work through the Take Our Kids to Work Program. “The program supports career development by helping students connect school, the world of work, and their own futures.” On November 2nd, take your child to work, but make sure to tell us first!

That’s all for now! Stay tuned for more exciting news and events.

Welcome Back, CEC, & IMBES

Welcome Back, CEC, & IMBES

Educational Research High School Middle School The Study Academy Report

Greetings! Welcome back! I hope your summer was everything you’d ever hoped it would be and more.

First off, please let me introduce myself: My name is Ariana. I enjoy long walks on the beach, sunsets, and filing OSRs. In other words, I am the new School Administrator, and I am pleased to handle all of your administrative needs. I have also assumed the role of Blog Master, so here we go:

Once again, welcome back! We’re glad to see so many new and returning faces, and we’re excited about everything that this year has in store. Already, we’ve had our high school trip to the Canadian Ecology Centre, Parent Welcome Meeting, taken student card photos, had our first assembly and fire drill of the year (which everyone aced), and will soon begin our extracurricular clubs and activities. We’re powering through and loving every second of it. On to thing two!

Various balls on the groundDuring the first week back, we had our start-of-year high school trip to the Canadian Ecology Centre (CEC). For those of you who don’t know, the CEC is a non-profit environmental science education and research facility. They share the landscape with Samuel de Champlain Park, as well as the goal of “conserving and protecting our natural environment.” Their aim is to “[facilitate] informed choices [for all of their visitors] – presenting a better understanding of the conservation and development issues related to the environment and [associated] sectors. The CEC is also home to the Canadian Institute of Forestry”, and from September 6th to 9th, they housed our high school students. During that week, Grades 9 – 12 got to engage in some awesome activities, including: Team building and other group exercises, swimming, canoeing, drumming, astronomy, night vision and campfire construction, wilderness survival, stream and aquatic study, Creatures of the Night and Living Discovery Lab, orienteering and introduction to GPS, and intro to GIS. It was a packed week, but the group had a great time and learned some important information about our environment, and themselves, in the process. Trips like this are a great way to supplement classroom learning, facilitate teamwork, and present an opportunity for students to participate in outdoor education, but they also provide a practical understanding of nature and the environment, situating it in a context that then becomes more relatable and, thus, more actionable. We are dedicated, through these experiences, to the growth of our students both in the classroom and beyond; at present and into the indefinite future.

Lastly, we are very pleased to announce that our very own Jason Krell, Patrick Dolecki, and Anderson Todd have been accepted to present their research at the International Mind, Brain, & Education Society’s (IMBES) 2016 conference here in Toronto! IMBES’ mission is to “facilitate cross-cultural collaboration in biology, education, and the cognitive and developmental sciences.” They aim to “improve the state of knowledge in, and dialogue between, education, biology, and the developmental and cognitive sciences; create and develop resources for scientists, practitioners, public policy makers, and the public; and create and identify useful information, research directions, and promising educational practices. [They] invite researchers and practitioners at all levels of education to explore the questions and proposed solutions that emerge at the intersection of mind, brain, and education.” This year’s conference featured keynotes from Dr. Clancy Blair, on The Development of Self-Regulation in Early Childhood; Dr. Tania Lombrozo, on The Good, The Bad, and the Beautiful (evidence for broad/simple explanation preference in children and adults); Dr. Marla Sokolowski, on Gene-Environment Interplay in Individual Differences in Behaviour; Dr. Janet Werker, on Perceptual Foundations of Language Acquisition; and Dr. Pasi Sahlberg, on About the Facts and the Myths about Education in Finland: Mind, brain, and smart education policies.

Neurofeedback schematic diagramKrell, Dolecki, & Todd (2016)’s poster, Executive Functions Through Attention, covered their research on the effects of neurofeedback training (NT) on attention and executive functioning (e.g., self-regulation, cognitive flexibility, reasoning, problem-solving, planning) in Gr. 5 – 8 students. NT teaches individuals to self-regulate by providing direct feedback on temporal and spatial patterns in brain activity. Using EEG measurement, it rewards individuals for attending effectively, encouraging them to attend further. In their presentation, they noted the changing landscape of education, with increasingly personalized learning, expanded accessibility, and new desired learning outcomes centred on adaptive competencies. Despite this, as well as the promising evidence of its effectiveness for individuals with and without ADHD, educational research on NT is presently scarce. This motivated them to examine the relationship between the use of this specific technology and student attention/executive functioning. After acquiring the appropriate assent and consent, data was gathered from semi-weekly, 30-minute training sessions, and performance was assessed by parents and teachers. Results support that both teachers and parents observed decreases in the relative occurrence of inattentive behaviours over the course of the NT sessions. This supports the hypothesis that NT can be effectively used in a classroom setting to supplement student learning and existing growth, and improve attention, planning, and organizational skills. In short, we’ve not seen the end of NT at The Study Academy, and we’re excited to see what else we can do with it moving forward.

That’s all for now! Stay tuned for more exciting news and events.