It is a little hard to believe considering the weather outside, but the end of the school year is coming hard and fast! It’s a festive moment when we get to celebrate everything that’s been learned all year long. It’s also a bittersweet moment because we’ll be saying goodbye to some of our current students, and our new students – those who are waiting to join us – are probably feeling a little anxious right now at the idea of starting in a new school and finding their place among new classmates.

It is the annual flow of student departures and arrivals that explains in part why our team needs to revise the class lists each year. There are a number of other factors also at play: class dynamics that are invisible to the naked eye but which benefit or impede learning, the language balance which shifts with the arrival of new students, the children who made rapid progress over the year and those whose progress is a little slower, the shy kids and the boisterous ones, the ones who spend the day giggling and those who prefer to take things a little more seriously, the boys and the girls – we have to take a multitude of elements into account when we draw up the class lists with the aim of creating the best possible learning environment.

Our objective is clear in Nursery to 6th Grade (and it will be the same in 7th and 8th Grade two or three years from now) – we create two classes per grade that mirror each other so that everyone has access to equitable learning conditions. We know that other schools make different choices: some group all the brightest kids together, creating streams in the belief the children will progress faster, stigmatizing some and labeling others. One of our school’s greatest strengths – and I see it every day – is we give children the opportunity to work with “the best” at every moment of the day and that all our students (even “the best”) are constantly being challenged thanks in particular to the learning stations in our French and English classes, which will be reinforced by the arrival of our new classroom furniture in September.

All of that said, despite the clarity of our objectives and the strength of our expertise, we sometimes make mistakes, and I am by no means suggesting that revising the class lists every year is an easy task. In reality, the person who systematically makes the most mistakes in terms of the class lists is me, when in the height of August, families reach out to ask if I can change their children’s classes or if they can choose their child’s teachers in Maternelle (something that we obviously cannot guarantee and do not wish to encourage.) When I make one tiny little change to a class list, it has a repercussion on the other class, which then has another, and then another, up to a point where, if I am perfectly honest about what happened this school year, I start messing things up.

I am not writing to you today to ask for your forgiveness. Rather I am writing because I do not want to make the same mistakes this summer. There are no winners when we start shuffling things around at the last minute. During their time with us at The École, our students will get to know many different classmates from many different backgrounds, some will stay until the end of 8th Grade and others will leave before then, but they will all have traveled part of this journey together, they will share laughter, lunch, recess, After-Schools, teachers…a child’s life at school. And we’ll be here to celebrate it at the end of each school year!