Being a school leader in a large organization like the YMCA of Greater Toronto has its perks. You get to learn about leadership and strategic direction from a group of caring leaders who are as concerned with their mission as they are with their margin.
One thing that I have learned is that, in order to achieve success, you must first have a very-clear and thorough vision of exactly what you are trying to do, and how you will go about doing it.
At the YMCA Academy, that’s a lesson we’ve learned very well indeed. As a career educator, I’ve seen many schools throughout North America, and I have found that successful schools are purpose-driven places. The idea that a school can be everything to everybody is no longer true. We have seen that this doesn’t work so well in practice.
Where have we seen this? Well, we’ve seen that many of our own students here at the Academy were lost in schools that were very general in purpose, and, I might say, nondescript in their ideas of what they were about. Each of our students has very specific learning needs – absolutely not a good fit in those generalized high schools many of us grew up attending.
The future of schools is more specialization. It’s about customizing an experience for the students that fits who they are and who they want to become. By doing so in a very focused way, we’ve achieved very impressive results for our students.
We do that here at The YMCA Academy, and we’re always looking for new school relationships so we can help others do the same. Watch for the Academy Summer Institute 2012 in this connection!
Don Adams – Head of School