There's really little to say about the trip to Peterborough yesterday. All went smoothly and I arrived at the Super 8 here around about 5. It is significantly better than the place I left in PA. I knew that the place was close to the School Board, but hadn't realised quite how close- less than 5 minutes on foot. The temperature has dropped to an unseasonable low, catching even the locals by surprise. My layered approach to travelling light is working ok when I wear my blazer, but I ended up dropping in to a Walmart on Monday to get a cheap jacket for less formal occasions.
Sunday evening- I dined at Tim Horton's which sells a much wider range of food these days than it did in the 80s. Spent a quiet evening doing some laundry and watching the election coverage. Yes, general election on Monday. Pundits predicting a swing away from the incumbent Conservatives towards the Liberals, who were seen as no chance early in the 11 week campaign.
Monday dawned crisp and clear, the overnight temp was -6 , when I got up it was -2. After breakfast I ambled up to the Schools Board and joined heir leadership team for the morning, including doing a short presentation. I used the same material as at the conference. This is a smallish system- Peterborough Victoria Northumberland Clarington Catholic District Schools Board to be precise. 36 schools, probably a bit like Bathurst. A very interesting conversation about their wellbeing strategy and some discussion of an industrial campaign - just like home really! Then I spender the afternoon visiting a couple of schools- St Peter's ,a secondary (9-12) school of about 1200 and St Catherine's - a primary of about 800. The primary has a French immersion strand, and has introduced Kinder which is not compulsory her- 150 kids! Moreover the principal's last job was in a secondary school. They make provision for a much more severe level of disability than we do in both the primary and secondary - using a lot of LSOs. Significantly less use of technology, particularly in the secondary school where they still have computer rooms. VET seems much less well articulated with the trade. The constraints of syllabuses seem fare looser.
One of the most interesting things I saw all day was a special room set aside for Autistic kids called a Snoezelen - a room using various tactile and lighting experiences which is claimed to settle down kids who are stressed. I attach a short video. A quick look at the net indicates that the approach has limited research benefits.
Another program we visited was called Section 23- for kids with mental health/ behavioural issues. It is collocates with the secondary school but is independent, using a large demountable. There seemed to be one teacher and a couple of youth workers. If I understood correctly the youth workers are funded on an interagency basis. There seemed to be a great deal of curriculum flexibility with a focus on using a garden as a curriculum focus. Moreover the produce of the garden is used as a fundraiser and the kids then decide the causes to support, and manage the funds- as well as the secondary school using the produce in. The hospitality classes. We saw a huge mass of kale being used when we were there.
My guide for the afternoon, Sherri, gave me a quick spin around town (pop 72000). While it is small, it does have a university nearby and this seems to give it a bit of an advantage. There was no sign of run down businesses in the town centre, as there was in the rural towns in PA. Then we went to the town's main attraction, a huge hydraulic lift lock on its canal. In this kind of lock the boat is lifted in a giant bucket full of water and then it sails off at the higher level - about 40 metres above by my reckoning.
Post excursion I bought my aforementioned jacket at Walmart and then a GPS at BestBuy and a coffee and donut at Timmy's - an indulgence for which I shall no doubt pay!
Dinner at a nearby Kelsey's included a massive drink called a double handed raspberry sangria. It was huge, and if Sangria, it was a Star Trek Sangria - not as we know it, captain! I'll post a picture but it won't do it justice.
Other than the blog, the evening has been spent watching the pundits looking to be right as East Coast votes come in, and the Blue Jays looking like they were going to get a game back (currently 9-2 in the fourth) on the Kansas City Royals to pull back to 2-1 on a best of 5 series. As I write the heavens have opened and there has been the odd thunder clap. Not supposed to last. Won't matter too much tomorrow as I'll be in buses and cabs. Alex has said he'll meet me in London on arrival. Over and out.