Important Announcement

Michael Booth, Principal of Blyth Academy Yorkville

 

Dear Blyth Yorkville community,

I am writing to inform you about a major development for the campus for next year. As I have discussed with many of you, our current property on St. Nicholas Street has been slated for redevelopment, and we have been seeking an alternative property for the last several years. With the range of changes that have come about in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have agreed, in consultation with the academic teams of both campuses and executive leadership, to merge our Yorkville and Lawrence Park campuses into a single school operating out of the current Lawrence Park facility. This merger will bring together the best of both campuses, and result in an even more robust and fulfilling experience for our students. Our team will also continue to lead the Orbit, virtual campus, as we have been doing this year.

I am currently working closely with the Principal of the Lawrence Park campus, Luke Coles, on a transition plan which will involve me assuming leadership of the new, merged campus in term 4 of this year. Classes and programming will continue at the Yorkville campus for the remainder of this academic year. We are hopeful that those students planning on returning to the Yorkville campus in September of 2021 look forward joining me in their new home on Yonge Street and Blythwood Road (between Lawrence and Eglington). As mentioned, the Orbit virtual campus will also provide options next year. For some, our Etobicoke Campus near High Park will provide a more desirable option. I have worked very closely with our Etobicoke Principal, Laurie Foley, for many years, and I am supremely confident that our students and families will discover incredible schools at whichever location they choose to attend.

I know that many of you have already initiated discussions with our Guidance Counsellor, Mike Minicucci, about next year’s plans. Please take some time to discuss this amongst your family, and Mike will continue to conduct these conversations in the coming days. I will be available as well to discuss your options going forward.

 

To schedule a meeting with Mike Minicucci, please feel free to use the following link:

https://calendly.com/yorkville-guidance/2020-scheduling

To schedule a meeting with me, please feel free to use this link:

https://calendly.com/mbooth-2

 

You will no doubt have many questions about the coming year, and we will discuss these with you in great detail as we proceed, however I would like to provide some preliminary information for your consideration:

Campus Links: To learn more about the Lawrence and Etobicoke Campuses, links are provided below.

Lawrence Park – https://blytheducation.com/blyth-academy/lawrence-park/

Etobicoke – https://blytheducation.com/blyth-academy/etobicoke/

This Year: The campus merger will have no effect on students’ progress this year in any way.

Continuity: While we will discuss this in far greater detail in the coming days, it is important to note that both Lawrence Park and Etobicoke share Yorkville’s ongoing commitment to the levels of support, academic rigour, responsiveness and personalization that you have come to expect in your time at Blyth Academy. In my decade’s experience with Blyth, I can say with the highest confidence that the GTA campuses provide shining examples of our school’s signature approach to students’ educational experience at the highest standard. 

Advantages: Some advantages to the merged campuses will include a larger cohort of students, particularly in the junior grades, which will enable us to provide more options for extra-curricular and course options. Also of note are the recently built facilities at both Lawrence and Etobicoke, as well as their access to oft-visited natural areas of the city’s park network.

Contacts: The Blyth Yorkville team, and in particular myself and Mike, will continue to be your principal points of contact. Mike will serve as your Guidance Counsellor, and facilitate coordination with your future destination as discussions proceed. I will be available, as always, for more general discussions about any questions, concerns or thoughts about your experiences at the school.

Some concluding thoughts. In a year of unprecedented uncertainty and change, this news will obviously arrive with bittersweet response. As many have noted, this week marks the anniversary of the COVID lockdown that came so suddenly last year. As I have noted repeatedly since, I have been overwhelmed by the resiliency and strength with which our community has responded to the challenges of the past year. Of late, I have been remarking that I am more proud of the work we have done this year than any other. It is no doubt sad to say goodbye to the building that has housed us, however I am looking forward to forging new bonds with new opportunities in the coming years.

 

Looking forward to our discussions.

Best, Michael.

 

Though our physical doors remain temporarily closed, the minds of our students stay open. Summer classes are continuing to meet on their regular daily schedules, in virtual classrooms with face-to-face instruction and peer interaction.  The Blyth Academy model of small class sizes, flexible scheduling and individualized approach have enabled us to remain faithful to our standards. Our commitment to ongoing and meaningful communication between school, teachers, students and families has been critical to this effort.

Although our students have transitioned into summer mode and COVID-19 restrictions have begun to loosen, we are looking ahead to what September will hold for our campuses and families.
We want to be clear - our preference and our priority is to get students back to our campuses, but we must ensure this is done in a safe and effective way. While we await official guidance from Public Health and the Ministry of Education, a "return to school" task force has been hard at work putting concrete operational plans in place for all likely scenarios. This includes a full return to campus with safeguards, a blended model of virtual and in-campus learning and the continuation of fully virtual classrooms. All scenarios will provide robust learning and live, daily instruction and interaction with teachers and peers. 
With ten campuses across Ontario, we realize that each one of our schools is a unique space and community. We will be implementing across-the-board policies on hand washing, facility cleaning and social distancing measures. Each school is also prepared to pivot individually based on the guidance of local health authorities and to best serve students and families. 
Our recent survey showed that over 80 per cent of Blyth Academy families are eager to return to campuses, and we are hard at work to prepare for this day. As September's scenario becomes clearer and more information becomes available, we will continue to communicate. 

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