BVG Players present ‘The Play That Goes Wrong (High School Edition)’

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We are excited to invite you to in-person performances of The Play That Goes Wrong (High School Edition) running in the J.T.M Guest Theatre for two nights only. Our Upper School students have had a lot of fun working on this production and are really looking forward to sharing it with you!

  • Thursday, February 23 at 6:00 p.m.
  • Friday, February 24 at 6:00 p.m.

Tuned in: Upper School Students Deliver Radio Broadcast 

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It was an eye-opening learning experience for Helen Gao. 

“I was very surprised about the intensity of being on air while having so many people listening,” says the Grade 12 Bayview Glen School (BVG) student. 

A recent visit to a radio station by the Grade 11 and 12 Communication Technology classes, gave Gao deeper insight into a field she is interested in.  

“I learned that improv and being comfortable with your conversation is the key for a successful podcast,” she says. 

Gao, along with more than two dozen students visited CHOP FM, a student-run radio station, for a tour and the experience of going ‘on air’. 

“Prior to the pandemic, we visited CHOP FM 102.7 in partnership with another CIS (Conference of Independent Schools of Ontario) school in Newmarket called Pickering College,” says Anthony Chuter, Communication Technology teacher at BVG. “During the pandemic, our students planned, wrote, produced and broadcast remotely as BVG:radioon the air” for the channel and for live broadcast.” 

This year, with COVID-19 restrictions lifted, the in-person experience — designed to complement the curriculum — resumed. 

“We are currently exploring Audio Production and focused particularly on the radio industry,” continues Mr. Chuter. “We have created a variety of audio projects from audio book recommendations to podcasts as a medium for academic discourse and research. We have also had some fun along the way too!” 

In recent years, Grade 12 students have used media platforms (weekly podcasts, videos, animation and documentaries) as part of their final Capstone projects, says Mr. Chuter. 

Seeing the process of hosting and broadcasting content as well as understanding the production elements involved in a LIVE radio show was a first for many students, including Helen, who left with several key takeaways. 

“On the more technical side, the timing of when to talk and when to stop is key for a podcast to have a smooth transition,” says Helen who was also, “very intrigued by the different equipment.” 

Podcast topics spanned the gamut from, “lighter topics like sports, music, books and popular culture to more academic topics and research questions,” says Mr. Chuter. 

“A number of students were also keen to work in the sound and mixing booth and spoke to the station manager about life and routines working in a station.”  

For Helen, the immersive experience provided important food for thought. 

“I am already very involved in media,” says Helen. “Given this opportunity to visit CHOP FM cemented my perception of media even more.” 

The visit also gave Mr. Chuter additional perspective on both the medium and the message. 

“I am so proud of our students and how much they express themselves, their creativity, and aspirations to bring good to the world through creativity, discourse and discussion,” he says. 

“From podcasts on environmental issues to support for mental health, there is an endless variety of topics to discuss and listen to. Next time, you see a teen with earbuds in you might think they are tuning OUT the world, but perhaps they are tuning IN and seeking to change the world.” 

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First Alumni Chapter Visit to New York Sets the Stage  

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Together, they took a bite out of the ‘big apple’ in what was a Bayview Glen School (BVG) first! 

A group of BVG alumni, admin and teachers met in New York recently for the inaugural Alumni Chapter visit in the city. 

“Living in New York, I’ve never been able to make it back to Toronto for a BVG reunion,” says Jordyn Taylor, Class of 2008. “It was such nice surprise to have the party come to NYC!” 

Jordyn was among a dozen alumni representing nine graduating classes — from 1993 to 2021 — to gather for the evening event. 

“I was most motivated to come to see which other alumni were in the city and also to see what teachers may have come down for the event as well,” says Dmitry Bury, Class of 2007. “Given that it was in New York was certainly a nice surprise, and not something you expect given we are from Toronto, but awesome to see!” 

Against the backdrop of a night sky and picturesque terrace at the Valbella at the Park, the graduates met with James Lee, Head of School, Carol Anne Ruscica, Senior Director of Advancement and Dina Astrella, Head of the Prep School for an evening of reminiscing and networking. 

“As soon as I saw Ms. Astrella, I screamed and gave her a huge hug,” says Jordyn, an award-winning author, writer and editor. “It was such a wonderful surprise to see her in New York, and so special to reconnect with her and reminisce about our time together at Bayview Glen,” she says.

Ms. Astrella was the Head of the Upper School during both Jordyn and Dmitry’s time at Bayview Glen. 

“It was also great to meet Mr. Lee and hear about his big vision for the future of the school,” adds Jordyn. 

The alumni group represented a vast array of industries, including business, financial services, fashion, technology, engineering, social justice, politics, entrepreneurship and law. 

Since graduating from Bayview Glen, Dmitry now works in investment banking at TD Securities. “Funny enough, [I] ended up meeting lots of folks who I had a lot in common with between university, work or people we knew in common,” he says. “[That] made the connections all that much more relevant.”

Bayview Glen School has previously organized several alumni “regional visits within Canada, the United States and internationally,” notes Daniella Brown ‘10, Director of Alumni Relations at BVG.  “The New York Alumni Chapter is the first of its kind,” she says. 

For Jordyn, the impact of BVG on her life and professional journey continues. 

“Taking Writer’s Craft with Mr. Reynolds in Grade 12 helped me develop the writing skills I use every day as a magazine editor and novelist,” says the current Executive Digital Editor of Men’s Health magazine. “Fifteen years later, Norm and I still email each other about our writing projects!”    

The connections run long and deep for Dmitry as well. 

“My best friends are from BVG. They were my groomsmen at my wedding and remain my closest friends. My BVG experience, including the memories I have of all my teachers, is one that’s very positive, and certainly had a big impact on my life given those are the formative years and help guide you as you progress forward in life.” 

The evening was also the first opportunity of its kind for BVG’s new Head of School — to meet alumni where they are — since taking the leadership reins at Bayview Glen in August 2022. 

“The evening was a great success,” says Lee. “It was clear, that our alumni are doing very well in New York City – successful, happy and excited to re-connect with the Bayview Glen Team. A big thank you to our [Senior] Director of Advancement, Ms. Carol Anne Ruscica for organizing this event.”

And there is a promise of more of the same — to come — according to Mr. Lee. 

“As we continue to identify, engage and grow our Alumni Chapters with a long-term vision and commitment, the benefits will be tremendous towards our School, our current students, and for those who choose to take advantage of the strategic opportunities to build professional networks with one common link and starting point – Bayview Glen.”  

Interested in leading a Bayview Glen Alumni Chapter visit in your city?  
Contact: Daniella Brown, Director of Alumni Relations, 

Girls in Science: BVG Student on a Mission to Inspire 

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Her interest was captured early.

“It all started with a one-week summer camp I attended when I was 10 years old,” says Samantha Sedran, Grade 12 student at Bayview Glen School (BVG). “From the very first design session, I knew I wanted to pursue competitive robotics.” 

And she has been on a mission ever since, building robots, competing, and sharing her love of the subject matter. And, along the way, also making some key observations. 

“My competition experiences highlighted the gender gap that exists in robotics,” says Sedran. a BVG student since Grade 9. “The male/female ratio was 80/20 and the environment was not always welcoming to girls, so I made it my personal mission to create gender parity in robotics. 
I have actively worked to motivate young girls in STEM (Science, Technology, Enginering and Math).” 

Those efforts have included, “fundraising to send girls to robotics camp, volunteering at robotics programs and engaging with industry leaders in the Robotics Education and Competition Foundation and the FIRST Canada Youth Council,” she says. 

And it does not stop there. 

Starting at the age of 11, Sedran began teaching robotics to elementary school students in her spare time. 

In the fall of 2022, her teaching pursuits spawned GirlsCrew Club, an all-female robotics club. 

It has been running at George Webster Elementary School in North York since September.  

“I researched schools designated as ‘Model Schools’ by the Toronto District School Board (TDSB),” Sedran continues. “These schools represent the neediest inner-city schools in which children often have very limited, if any, access to enrichment programs.” 

In order to have the Club approved to run in a school setting, Sedran, who is part of the BVG FRC Robotics Club, created a proposal including the vision, structure and learning objectives and sent it out to multiple schools.  

She was asked for additional feedback and responded by developing 30 weekly lesson plans — eventually gaining approval.

When the idea of GirlsCrew Club was introduced to female students between 10 and 12 years of age at George Webster, more applications were received than spaces available. A lottery then decided on the final dozen spots. 

During each 60-minute weekly session, participants are provided with instruction on building and programming, an experiential learning component, a key learnings review, and profiles of female STEM trailblazers. 

“It is giving 12 girls the opportunity to participate in an engaging and educational program that many of them would not have the chance to participate in otherwise due to a variety of barriers including associated fees and transportation to a program of this nature,” says Suzie Heintzman, Teacher at George Webster Elementary. “GirlsCrew Club has been an amazing addition to our school community!” 

Adds Sedran, “none of the girls had any robotics experience at the beginning of the year and they are always so surprised by what they can do.”  

Nicole Vitello, a teacher at George Webster Elementary, is among three school staff who support the Club. 

“All the feedback has been very positive especially as the girls are gaining more experience with building and testing out their robots,” says Vitello. 

And four months in, the Club is making a tangible impact. 

“I like that I am learning about how girls are getting knowledge in areas that were normally just for boys,” says Sabrina, a 10-year-old participant. 

“We get to build robots which is so much fun and the snacks are beyond yummy,” adds Marjuka, age 11. 

Providing snacks and necessary equipment were elements that Sedran also took great pains to realize. 

“I didn’t have enough money to buy kits for all of the teams so I contacted my former coach who teaches at Bot Camp and asked if I could borrow some of their equipment,” says Sedran. “They were more than happy to help, so each week I go to Bot Camp and borrow any supplies I need and return them the next day.” 

To ensure a strong start for the Club, Sedran used monies she earned from a Bayview Glen School scholarship to “buy equipment, develop Welcome Packages (t-shirts, notebooks, and branded pens) and have funds available for snacks.”  

So far, it appears, her mission is being accomplished. 

“At the last class I asked each of them what careers they would like to pursue, and I heard so many of them say, — engineer, scientist, mathematician, robot builders,” says Sedran. 

Her efforts at a young age, are laying the groundwork for future potential women in STEM, and much more, according to staff advisor, Vitello.  

“Samantha is a dedicated, responsible and very knowledgeable instructor who is teaching the students not just about Robotics, but what is possible when you work hard and find something you are passionate about.” 

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Legacy of Learning: Founder’s Day 2023  

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When L. Doreen Hopkins began teaching young children in her home in the early 1960’s, little could she have imagined that the seed she planted is still growing — more than six decades later. 

On February 4, 2023, Hopkins’ bold vision and enduring legacy will be remembered as part of Founder’s Day when Bayview Glen (BVG), the school she founded, marks its 61st anniversary. 

Persevering through her own learning challenge (dyslexia), Hopkins took what has been described as her “enormous compassion for students who had developmental issues,” and started up a school that “is open to all children.”

Bayview Glen School 1968 Graduation class.

The trail she blazed sprouted a nursery school and day camp in 1962, focused on teaching the whole child. 

BVG has operated from a private residence and later a farmhouse in the valley, to permanent locations on Duncan Mill Road and later Moatfield Drive — over more than half a century — growing and evolving each passing year.

From a handful of students in Mrs. Hopkins’ first in-home class, to more than 1,000 students currently on two campuses, BVG remains rooted in the pioneering vision of its founder. 

The school’s mission of Whole Child: Whole World: Whole Life is embedded in teaching, learning and school life across all grades. 

And as with Hopkins’ own education blueprint, fresh chapters are being written on a storied history. 

The tiny seed that could has cultivated a generation of learners, with more to come.

Full STEAM Ahead: Shaping 21st Century Learners at BVG

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The threads of Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) are woven through every grade at Bayview Glen School (BVG), inside and outside the classroom, starting in Junior Kindergarten. 

Focused five-year-olds, hunched over laptops in the Lower School Library is a common sight.  
It’s part of STEM Learning class, foundational to 21st century learning skills development. 
“The idea with STEM learning is to create engaged users of technology,” says Jason Meingarten ‘08, STEM and Health and Physical Education Teacher who has been a BVG faculty member since 2015. He teaches 16 classes in the Lower School.  

Jason Meingarten ‘08, STEM teacher at Bayview Glen teaches computer skills starting in Junior Kindergarten.

“We start by building a foundation of computer skills, coding and robotics skills — not so much specific coding languages — but the basic concepts required to be successful in programming,” he says. “From Grade 1 through 5, it’s just building on that year after year. The projects become more complex.”  

At the same time, students learn other critical skills like problem-solving, making predictions, taking risks, using technology responsibly – and how they, as individuals, think.  

“As part of the Visual Art course as early as Grade 1, students use creative thinking, flexibility and grit to create, revise, design and produce artwork and inventions,” says Robin Elliott ‘91, Visual Arts teacher, citing projects including building a water filtration system (Grade 2), an endangered animal project (Grade 4), and bridge design (Grade 7) as current examples of “intentional connections” teachers across grade levels strive to make to integrate STEAM learning. 

Faculty like Robin Elliott ’91 Visual Arts teacher at Bayview Glen, look for ways to integrate STEAM learning across disciplines.

An alumna, Elliott has taught at BVG for more than 25 years. She believes the school has a novel approach to STEAM education. “Students are provided the tools to facilitate innovation through parent volunteers, guest speakers, and professional collaborators,” she says, sharing another current example — Grade 7’s liaising with staff from the Canadian Space Agency.  

Inquiry-based thinking is further nurtured in SK when Problem-Based Learning (PBL), a teaching method where students are given real-world problems to solve, begins. 

Learning to code enters the curriculum in Grade 1 through to 3, setting the stage for 3D design exploration, creating websites, building and programming robots by the end of Grade 5. 

During the first year of Prep School (Grade 6), STEAM instruction dives deeper, in part, via Information and Communication Technology (ICT) class. 

Laura Gleeson, Technology Integration Specialist teacher with her class in the Robotics Lab.

“Before 2014, there was no designated technology class or program for Grades 6 to 8,” says Laura Gleeson, Technology Integration Specialist, ICT and Geography teacher. “I had the pleasure of both designing this by creating cross-curricular connections to other subjects and developing technology-based curriculum such as design thinking, 3D printing, coding and digital citizenship.” 
Photography, photoshop, engineering, graphic design and animation elements are taught in ICT in Grade 7, paving the way for even greater discovery. “Students create their own start-up companies and explore entrepreneurialism,” continues Gleeson, who has a Master’s in Education specializing in Educational Technology. “They create and build a product and pitch it to the class with a business model.”

Throughout the Preschool, Lower School and Prep School years, music and visual arts are curriculum mainstays. These, coupled with varied Clubs and Activities opportunities, reinforce and complement classroom learning. 

Robotics clubs are one such example.  

Mehernosh (Nosh) Pestonji is Robotics Co-ordinator in the Upper School. He, along with Noeen Kashif, a First Robotics Competition (FRC) Specialist, co-moderate senior robotics clubs, guiding students through practice and competitions. 

“Essentially, they have to build and design a robot from scratch, fabricate, go through all the engineering processes in about four to six weeks. Then there’s the competition,” he says.

Mehernosh (Nosh) Pestonji and Noeen Kashif, co-moderate the First Robotics Competition club at Bayview Glen School.

Pestonji was hired at BVG in 2017 to offer students in the Upper School specific instruction in FRC robotics. “They have to not only imagine a part, they have to design and manufacture it. And then that part has to fit on the robot, and there are hundreds of parts.”  
Prior to joining BVG, Pestonji taught in public and private schools for more than 30 years. 

“The robots are much larger, 125 pounds, made out of aluminum,” he continues, adding most kids who sign up for the club are new to the experience. “We started with a team of 60, now we’ve cut it down to about 40. There are no tryouts per se, they self- select. We teach them everything. They cross-pollinate and learn from each other, so self-mentoring.” 

He says robotics exemplifies the importance of interdisciplinary learning. 

“They are bringing all their theoretical knowledge and learnings to apply them in a practical way,” he says. “The key is it’s not just coding, because physics plays a big part, chemistry too. Then you have kids who are just really good with their hands. There are kids who don’t know the tools — how to use a hammer, a screwdriver, how to use pliers. There is a real learning curve there.” 

Collaboration and building skills, additional by-products of STEAM, are tested rigorously in the upper high school years.  

“Grade 12 Computer Science allows students to obtain real experience they can use on their resume if they wanted to obtain a job in the summer or for Co-op,” says Kevin Deslauriers, Computer Science and Physics teacher in the Upper School. “They learn how to become more independent in their learning as the course focuses on developing web applications along with HTML, CSS, JavaScript as well as other technologies in order to reach their final goal of building a web application that can be hosted in the cloud.”

Kevin Deslauriers, teaches Computer Science and Physics in the Upper School

Deslauriers draws on the example of Jacqueline Fung, a 2022 BVG graduate he previously taught, to illustrate impact. 

Fung secured a summer placement at RBC while still a BVG student. 

“There were 1300+ applicants for 21 spots, and I was lucky enough to be one of the chosen candidates,” Fung shared in a letter about her journey. “My programming experience is primarily all from Bayview Glen’s ICS [Introduction to Computer Science] courses. When applying, I had to submit my GitHub link, which is essentially an online profile with a programmer’s past projects. On my GitHub, I had my past projects from my ICS courses. [These] allowed me to build my portfolio and prepared me to have the skills to be a full-stack developer,” says Fung, who is currently a student in the University of Waterloo in Systems Design Engineering. “I still have much to learn, but it was very valuable to me especially as I am currently in a co-op program at university. These courses allowed me to kick-start my career.” 

Back in the Lower School, faculty across various disciplines like Jason Meingarten, are mindful of continually evolving STEAM instruction, in the younger years, to align with trends and to serve as a strong foundation.  

“With 21st century learners, which is how we classify this cohort of kids, they come in with a lot of technology skills,” says Meingarten. “A lot of them at younger ages really have exposure on tablets, so PC skills, which is something we need them to have heading into the Prep School, aren’t necessarily strong. I have noticed, specifically in the past three years, that the skills that they’re coming in with — having been in front of computers so much more than in the past — they are certainly at a higher level.” 

Full STEAM ahead indeed. 

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Happy 60th Birthday, Bayview Glen!

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Happy 60th Birthday Bayview Glen (and many more)!

As we reflect on the past 60 years, we are excited to celebrate what we’ve accomplished nd look forward to what the future holds!

We can’t wait to see everyone today (Sunday, September 25, 2022) at our 60th Celebration event! Our family walk this morning will be rescheduled due to increment weather. There will be other many exciting activities including a silent auction, musical performances, food trucks, an alumni sports game, and more! It’s the perfect opportunity to reconnect with the Bayview Glen community and celebrate the past 60 years!

Parking will be available on Moatfield Drive and at nearby parking lots including Kraft Heinz parking area.

See you all at 11:00am at our Moatfield Campus!