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"Connected Communities: Building a Circle of Care"

The Student Life Conference is an engaging and informative professional development opportunity for all faculty and staff in CIS Ontario schools who support student leadership, learning diversity, health and wellbeing. The day is recommended for administrators and staff involved in school life and student support, and all teachers, especially those working in guidance, boarding, student services and learning strategies. In addition to the keynote and workshop sessions, there will be an opportunity for individuals to connect and collaborate during a job-alike session.

Keynote Presentation: Understanding the Teenage Brain

The teenage brain lecture takes a journey through the development of a child's brain up to young adulthood, focusing on an understanding of how the brain works, its power and its vulnerabilities, healthy brain habits, how the brain learns best, the impact of technology, social media and the internet on the brain, depression, anxiety, substance use and the dangers of alcohol and marijuana on the teenage brain.

Keynote Speaker: Dr. Christine Lay

The Centre for Headache provides expert evaluation and individualized treatment plans for patients suffering from migraine and other headache disorders. It is the first of its kind at an Ontario teaching hospital. Dr. Christine Lay, an internationally acknowledged headache expert and one of a very few neurologists in Canada with United Council of Neurologic Subspecialties board certification in Headache Medicine, heads the centre. Dr. Lay is also an associate professor of neurology and the director of Headache at the University of Toronto. She did her neurology residency at Mayo Clinic where she was chief resident and completed her Headache fellowship at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York. She lectures internationally and has published on numerous Headache conditions, in addition to being a consultant for media articles and interviews. For a few years now Dr Lay has been lecturing to students, teachers and parents about the teenage brain and how to keep it healthy, including issues related to sleep, learning and the internet, as well as the impact of alcohol and marijuana on the developing brain. She and her husband are the parents of two teenagers.

Session Overviews:

Select 3 one hour sessions from a variety of topics related to the theme "Connected Communities: Building a Circle of Care". Click here to review the session options.

Schedule for the Day:

8:30 a.m. - 9:00 a.m. Registration & Refreshments

9:00 a.m. - 9:15 a.m. Welcome

9:15 a.m. - 10:00 a.m. Keynote Speaker: Dr. Christine Lay

Understanding the Teenage Brain

10:00 a.m. – 10:15 a.m. Job-Alike Introduction

10:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. Session #1

11:40 a.m. - 12:40 p.m. Session #2

12:40 p.m. - 1:40 p.m. LUNCH

1:40 p.m. - 2:40 p.m. Session #3

2:45 p.m. - 3:30 p.m. Job-Alike Sessions

*Lunch and light refreshments will be included-please include any dietary restrictions in registration.


The cost of the Conference is $85.00 per participant. Each registered participant's school will be billed for the cost.


Host School:

11300 Bayview Avenue, Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada L4S 1L4, 905-737-1114


To register and select your session choices, please click here.

CIS Ontario extends a huge thank you to our host school, Holy Trinity School, the Student Life Conference Organizing Committee and all the conference presenters.

If you have any questions, please contact Sarah Craig, CIS Ontario Executive Director.

This workshop is designed to educate and update all Governors of CIS Ontario member schools on best practice in governance issues. Heads of School and Governors who are new to CIS Ontario school organizations or those who have only served on a CIS Ontario School Board for a few years are strongly encouraged to attend. Rick Powers from the Rotman School of Management will once again facilitate the session. (Bio may be found here).

Date: Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Time: 8:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Location: The Bank of Montreal Institute of Learning, Toronto (map can be found here).

Cost: $115 per participant (*continental breakfast included).

Click here to register.

We are excited to let you know that registration for Cohort 21 (2017-18) is now open.

In its 6th year, Cohort 21 is a year-long, job-embedded professional development experience that combines the best of blended learning with design thinking to accelerate educators' thinking and projects.

Please share this new video with your faculty. It will give them a look inside Cohort 21 from a participant's point of view.

CLICK HERE if you have not taken a look at the great projects from last year it is a great place to get inspired.

If you visit the Cohort 21 site, there are also testimonials from our alumni and archives of their past action plan posts.

Click here for registration - currently we have over 20 participants registered from across the CIS Ontario community.

The ideal candidate for you to send would be someone who is highly motivated, inquisitive and passionate about teaching and learning. More importantly, it will be someone that you feel can bring things back to your school, and actually help you with your role. Participants must be willing to invest a year of their time to commit to the entirety of the experience.

This year's dates for our Face-to-Face sessions are:

Saturday, October 14th @ The York School (1320 Yonge)

Saturday, November 18th @ The York School (1639 Yonge)

Friday, January 19th @ MaRSDD

Friday, April 20th @ TBA

Click here to download the Cohort 21 Infographic (11x17). Please print and post to your staff room.

CIS Ontario's annual NEW Teacher Orientation Day is designed to provide an introduction to independent schools for teachers new to the profession in our member schools and/or new experienced teachers to CIS Ontario schools. The first part of the morning will include an overview of CIS Ontario and the value-added of membership, as well as a review of the independent school landscape in Ontario education presented by CIS Ontario Executive Director, Sarah Craig. The second part of the day will be led by Dr. Leanne Foster, Principal at Trafalgar Castle School, who will lead an interactive session titled "Supporting Success for all Learners".

Date: Wednesday October 3, 2017

Time: 8:30 am - 2:30 pm

Location: BMO Institute of Learning, Toronto. Map may be found here.

Cost: $170 per participant (*continental breakfast and lunch are included).

Click here to register.

Warrior Within is a project that centres around the creation of a short fictional short film (shot in July, 2016) that uses metaphor and imagery to help engage students in their understanding of stress, anxiety and how to individually develop their own resilience. This creative project also involved the student exploration of the film's themes through painting, photography, music composition, documentary film, creative writing, dance, blog writing, directing and cinematography - alongside the shoot and under the guidance of mentors in the field. This short film went on to inspire a student-driven curriculum (since the new year, a student group has been creating the lesson plans, student exercises, discussion points, etc.) aimed at filling the dearth of creative pedagogy regarding positive mental health for youth. This curriculum will be an open source resource (film, plus connected lesson plans) for all educators to use freely in their tool box.

Toronto Star: Teens draw on experience to create mental health program for high schools

uToronto Blog: Warrior Within - Innovating Mental Health Curriculum Warrior Within - Innovating Mental Health Curriculum

Global News: How youth can awaken the 'Warrior Within'

Independent school education

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For more CIS Ontario news, join us on Twitter. Visit specific school profiles via our School Search to access school web sites and social media channels.

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