Blyth Academy Whitby recently donated a treasure trove of books to DMHS’ New Winds (Whitby) and New Leaf (Ajax) Day Programs. We spoke to Blyth Academy Principal Kim Hacker about how this charitable book drive came about.

“As a school, we recognize that it is everybody’s job to do their part within a community and we try to instill that attitude in our students,” says Principal Hacker. “We have a number of charitable drives throughout the year that operate under the umbrella ‘Blyth Gives Back.’ About every six weeks or so, we have a different initiative.

“For example, this year we have collected cell phones to help Toronto Zoo’s ‘Phone Apes’ cell phone collection program (mining for the minerals in cellphone parts threatens many natural habitats); we held a sock drive to promote SOCKS, an organization in North Durham that deals only in collecting and distributing socks to people in need; and we are big participants in the Terry Fox Run and the ‘Plaid for Dad’ prostate cancer campaign.”

“We try to think of different causes we could support, so we decided to organize a book drive. It’s so much easier to donate books than it is to give them away. Then we decided where the books should go – the books for children under 12 went to Perry House (a Whitby daycare) and the books for teens and adults went to DMHS.”

Asked how the student body responded, Principal Hacker comments, “They absolutely responded in droves – we ended up donating over 1300 books. Within the school, we have a ‘House’ system and to encourage buy-in to these activities, we have rewards for the Houses that contribute the most. The students really competed to outdo their fellow Houses.”

Blyth Academy is Canada’s leading private school by enrollment. With average class sizes of seven, individuated teaching and an experiential approach, Blyth offers excellent university preparation. More than 98 per cent of our graduates attend the universities and colleges of their first choice. This year, students have received admissions offers from some of the top universities in the world including Cambridge, Harvard, Yale, Stanford, and MIT.

Many thanks to Blyth Academy for their generosity and support!

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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