We’re thrilled to present the first edition of The Glen for the 2023/24 school year!
Don’t miss out on what’s been happening at Bayview Glen. Catch up on all the recent news and stay informed as we dive into a year of growth and fun!
Thank you to all the parents for joining the Parent Association Welcome and Networking Breakfast on Tuesday, September 12, 2023. The event recording is available for viewing via our post under Edsby news river.
To keep up-to-date with PA events, please visit the PA Events webpage, and check your email and Edsby news river for more details on each event.
We look forward to seeing everyone again at the PA Coffee Socials in October.
The final issue of The Writers Block School Year 2022-2023 is here!
Follow this link to read the June 2023 edition:
The May/June 2023 edition of The Glen school newsletter is now available!
Read it online and watch for a printed copy sent home with your child or in the mail.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
“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.
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.
“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.
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.
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.
Learn more about:
Halima Mubaligh, Program Manager of Better Beginnings Now with Leah Kanary, Lower School teacher and BVG lead coordinator of the annual community outreach campaign.
“The impact is great. There is no other word to explain it.”
Halima Mubaligh sums up Bayview Glen School’s annual effort to support children, parents and families in need in a word — but there is so much more.
“A huge difference bringing a smile to the faces of these families.” says the Program Manager of Better Beginnings Now. “We had families with tears, receiving these and opening them — that someone is here thinking of them — especially during this time.”
This past holiday season, Bayview Glen was the only school in Toronto to help the Better Beginnings Now Campaign of Kindness initiative — through a gift card collection and customized hampers filled to the brim.
“The saying, ‘From our family to yours’ truly becomes more than just words at this time,” says Dina Astrella, Head of the Prep School.
It marked BVG’s 20th consecutive year of participating in the program.
“We work with the poor, disadvantaged, high risk, new to the country, single parents, families with special needs,” says Mubaligh, who experienced first-hand the hardship of being a newcomer to Canada.
“The success of our program is because we are there to support them, to listen to their concerns, give them direction and connect them to the resources that help them.”
The need for services provided by Better Beginnings Now “tripled” in 2022 over the previous year, says Mubaligh.
“Families are really going through so much stress. The rent went so high, cost of living is really high, and that’s why definitely there’s an impact on their mental health.”
Better Beginnings Now is among several programs offered through Lumenus Community Services, an agency providing multiple services for free, including treatment programs, counselling and walk-in clinics. Funded by Toronto Public Health and the Public Health Agency of Canada, the organization serves more than 6,000 families across Toronto.
The process of organizing, filling and delivering hampers to Better Beginnings Now families takes months of detailed planning by several groups. It all kicks off when school starts in September.
“We coordinate from this end, in terms of preparing [family] profiles and looking into the needs of the clients that we provide services to,” says Mubaligh. “We have so many clients, over 1,000 — but we can only do 70 — the most high-needs, the ones that are regularly using food banks, clothing banks and have a lot of financial stressors.”
Subsequent meetings between BVG school leads and program staff help assign family profiles to specific classrooms in the Lower School, Prep School and Upper School, identify which items need to be purchased, quantities, sizes, etc., coordinate collection, pick-up, and delivery.
Along the way, multiple members of the whole school community become directly involved — from students and school staff — who are also assigned family profiles — to parent volunteers and the Parent Association.
Ping DiMenna has been involved in multiple Better Beginnings campaigns during her 17 years as a parent at Bayview Glen.
“I am a parent volunteer helping to sort and pack gift donations to the families,” says DiMenna, who has four children, including three who have graduated from BVG, and one currently in the Upper School. “Better Beginnings involves the whole student population, so it becomes a tradition of giving each year as they progress through the grades. The students can see the donated gift items which makes their contributions more meaningful and personal,” she says.
In past years and led by members of the Better Beginnings Prep School team, students and staff would deliver hampers directly to the home of the family it was collected for, enabling students to witness the impact.
The global pandemic halted that practice.
In December 2022, a group of Prep School students — including student Community Outreach leads — along with staff helped collect all 27 hampers, load them into vehicles, and deliver them to a Lumenus locations in North York.
“The thing that surprised me the most was the honest joy and tears the families had when we delivered the care packages,” says Amy Tsaur, Grade 8 student and Community Outreach Co-lead. “It was crazy how such small acts of kindness seem like they can change someone’s life.”
It was the first time in her three years at BVG that Tsaur was able to participate in delivering the hampers.
“I gained a greater understanding of the idea of philanthropy and how it can help others on a scale beyond measurement,” she says. “Going to deliver the packages and to the foodbank helped me develop a deeper connection and understanding with my community.”
Fellow Grade 8 student, Nikan Nikkhajoei was struck by the process.
“I was surprised about the manner in which we were able to collect every single item that we required for each family,” he says. “This is because it took an abundance of time, effort, and cooperation between the Heads and each Homeroom.”
The service initiative and experiential learning opportunity proved eye-opening for staff too.
“The act of giving without expecting something in return is one of the greatest lessons we can provide our young people,” adds Dina Astrella, who was among three staff to accompany students to drop off the collected items.
During their visit, BVG students and staff were given an overview of Lumenus, taken on a tour of the facility — which was previously a school — and even met some of the families who arrived at scheduled times to pick up their hampers.
“We get a lot of families that are called refugees that come to Canada,” Denise Palermo, who has been with the organization for 30 years, told BVG students.
“For some perspective, if you woke up tomorrow morning and your family said we’re leaving, it’s not safe for us here now, put everything in a bag about this big that you can carry and we’ll go to the airport where it’s very chaotic, hopefully get on a plane and go to a new country. When you get here, you won’t have a home, you won’t have any money, you won’t have any access to services and you won’t understand the language, the culture and you won’t understand the systems,” Palermo continued, painting a picture of the bitter reality many of their clientele endure.
“Often, they have to make very, very hard decisions — if I pay my rent, I will not have enough money to feed my children,” Palermo added. “All those things that you put together in those hampers are going to support those families in meeting their needs,” she says.
In all 27 bins filled, 70 families supported and more than $30,000 in gift cards collected from preschool to Grade 12.
Leah Kanary, Lower School teacher and lead BVG staff coordinator of the initiative shared this note with colleagues following the campaign, “At a time of year where making personal, meaningful connections is so important, please know you have made a lifelong connection with the family that you helped fill a basket of love and care.”
Community impact that will likely remain in the minds of all involved.
“Even after all these years,” says Dina Astrella, “the Better Beginnings Campaign continues to unite our community in ways that very few other occasions do.”
The sounds of music — holiday-style — filled the J.T.M Guest Theatre at Bayview Glen School (BVG) once again this month, for a trio of memorable shows.
Performances by musicians and singers in the Lower School, Prep School and Upper School made a triumphant return — after a three-year forced absence.
“For myself, concerts and performances are a place where we as a community can come together for a moment in time when everything stops as we share and celebrate with each other,” says Angela Mantie, Music Teacher at BVG and one of the music directors of the Lower School Winter Concert.
“It seems these moments are far and few between in our every busy lives. Music and the arts are a powerful vehicle for this to happen,” she says.
And there was plenty of evidence of just that on these special evenings.
Mantie, along with fellow Lower School music teacher Ea-Ling Seun directed three different choirs (Grade 2, Primary and Junior) guiding the singing performances of more than 240 young voices.
“We have the pure luxury of working with students pre-K through grade 5, supporting them as they develop and grow through music in a safe, caring environment,” says Mantie, who is in here fifth year at BVG and 26th as an educator.
“Our shows embrace and embody our mission of Whole Child. Whole Life. Whole World. Because of this, students find their place in music making, be it acting/dancing/singing, reflecting who they are, and who they might eventually become,” she says.
During the concert, Seun shared a teachable moment she encountered with her students — while preparing them for the performance. The goal was to help them understand the significance of their time and effort to deliver these live, in-person performances.
“We spend more time at school than our own homes,” Seun said she explained to her students. “And this — BVG — might as well be called our home. This became a lightbulb moment for many of the students and the significance of this night became clear,” she shared.
“Our last winter concert was in 2019,” Seun continued. “While we managed to have virtual performances during COVID to fill the time, they just weren’t the same.”
The Lower School Winter Concert featured 11 songs, including festive-themed pieces, interspersed with performances by the Prep Jazz Band, under the direction Chris Hunsburger, Music Teacher, Arts Curriculum lead in the Prep School and Upper School.
The finale, ‘Coming Home’ by Old Sheppard featured all three choirs on stage.
Interest to attend the Winter Concert from Lower School families was high. To accommodate ticket requests, the Prep School gym was used as an overflow space, where parents, grandparents and extended family members of the performers were able to enjoy the show via livestream.
BVG’s trio of Holiday Concerts kicked off in mid-December with the Upper School performance on December 8. That show featured firsts on a few fronts. Among them, it was the first time many of the students in Grades 9 to 12 had performed in a band on-stage, in front of an audience.
“Their enthusiasm and willingness to try something that they, for the most part, had never experienced,” was particularly striking for Michael Bellissimo, Music Teacher, who is in his 20th year at Bayview Glen.
“The way they jumped back in and performed so beautifully after two and a half years of no concerts,” was a proud moment for Bellissimo, who is currently teaching a full slate of five music classes.
The Upper School Holiday Concert featured more than 10 songs, including O’ Canada, conducted by a student-musician, a vocalist, soloists and ensemble performances.
“It is not only re-teaching students how to perform in a concert, but also bringing a culture of music and concerts back to the school that is important,” he continues. This is the success of the entire Upper school faculty and their support for our program.”
Preparation of the evening’s diverse musical offerings and classic holiday favourites required plenty of preparation and commitment from all involved says the seasoned educator, now in his 32nd year of teaching.
During the Prep School Holiday Concert, which took place on December 15th, the joy of being back on-stage was palpable.
“Ms. [Diane] Drysdale and I have had such a fantastic time in our Prep School, both in the classroom and on-stage [preparing],” Chris Hunsberger, Music teacher told the packed house.
Playing a blend of holiday-themed numbers and classics, most notably from the 1980’s the Prep School Holiday Concert featured music performed by the brass ensemble, Grade 7, Grade 8 and Concert bands.
Added Hunsberger, “Getting ready for a show like this is an incredible experience to get back to!”
See Photo Galleries:
Lower School Winter Concert
Watch Video Recordings:
Upper School Holiday Concert 2022
The joy and anticipation of the upcoming holiday season was on full display this evening during the Bayview Glen Upper School Holiday Concert!
If you were able to attend, we hope you enjoyed our talented musicians and singers, as well as the behind-the-scenes efforts of our students, faculty and staff.
This annual celebration is always a cherished highlight on our school calendar, showcasing the breadth of artistry and creativity at Bayview Glen.
Your continued support, in many different ways, is what helps our community grow and flourish!
Thank you to everyone who has made a gift to our Annual Fund.
Your contribution is vital in enhancing our students’ experience and school life at Bayview Glen.
The impact of your generosity is immeasurable in helping us deliver on our mission of
Whole Child: Whole Life: Whole World.
With gratitude and appreciation from all of our students and staff, THANK YOU!