Mentorship & Leadership
Education today no longer takes place solely in a classroom.
Rapid advances in technology, digital tools and smart devices have expanded the learning arena in new and novel ways.
St. Michael’s College School has several programs in place that develop key skillsets for student success in post-secondary pursuits and beyond within a rapidly evolving world.
Community and Learning Partnerships
The Community and Learning Partnerships program at St. Michael’s College School actively builds on this progress by further fuelling discovery, exploration, deeper student learning and achievement — by taking classroom learning into the outside world.
It does this by connecting curriculum programming directly to real-world knowledge.
Strategic and impactful partnerships with individuals and organizations bring both of these worlds together, providing students with practical educational experiences that can illuminate in-class course material in new, unexpected and positive ways.
At the core of each Community and Learning Partnership experience are three key elements:
- Knowledge acquisition through real-life experience, reflection and application.
- Student learning driven by motivation and curiosity.
- The relationship between individuals learning from each other.
In seeking out meaningful collaborations, a dedicated Community and Learning Partnerships staff member connects multiple dots and parties.
The process begins with classroom teachers and understanding the specific subject matter being taught. Research is then conducted to pinpoint an appropriate partner with expertise in that domain.
Finally, using the school’s extensive network of alumni and community members or by tapping companies in particular industries, an appropriate connection is made.
Working together with the learning partner and faculty member, the Community and Learning Partnerships brings their knowledge as an educator to assist with the format, resources required and execution of each learning partnership.
The objective is to ensure that the agreed-upon learning partnership enhances and strengthens a student’s knowledge, inquiry and interest in that subject matter.
Each experiential learning opportunity should also meet the criteria of Deep Learning.
Deep Learning / Inquiry-based Learning
An approach to teaching and learning that uses the six C’s of 21st century global competency: Critical Thinking, Creativity, Collaboration, Character, Community, and Citizenship.
Since being launched in 2017, the Community and Learning Partnerships portfolio has facilitated a wide variety of experiential learning opportunities across subjects, industries and professions, including: legal, healthcare, business, engineering, information technology, architecture and design thinking, among others.
Mentorship programming at St. Michael’s College School strives to impart a sense of pride, tradition, and community in every student during his high school journey, and forms a basis for belonging to the school community — for life.
Woven into the fabric of student life at SMCS, structured mentorship opportunities aim to enhance the experience and knowledge base of our students through specific initiatives, interactions, and opportunities that:
- Enable students to optimize their educational experience, social growth, and confidence.
- Leverage the vast talent and diverse resource pool within our community.
- Reinforce the sense of belonging to the school and our community.
- Provide practical opportunities to learn and refine networking and presentation skills.
- Explore, research, and pursue areas of personal interest.
- Bolster motivation for the future and new pursuits.
How it Works
Mentorship formation begins before a student enters St. Michael’s College School, continues in the classroom, and follows him long after graduation.
Rooted in the Basilian tradition of preparing young men for lives of faith, character, and service, mentorship at SMCS is comprised of five elements:
The first mentorship opportunity is for both prospective and new students. It is administered through the Admissions Department and includes mentorship opportunities via Shadow Days, Open Houses, Fairs, and Events.
Student to Student
Select current students are paired with new students to provide guidance and encouragement. This component is administered by the Student Affairs Department and includes mentorship opportunities via Outdoor Experiential Education, Student Government, and Prefects.
Alumnus to Student
Past graduates (alumni) and the school community share their knowledge, life experience and professional network with current students through structured on-campus or off-campus educational interactions.
The Student Affairs Department and Community and Learning Partnerships facilitate this opportunity.
Alumnus-Athlete to Student-Athlete
Former student athletes (alumni) share their experience, provide support and encouragement to current student-athletes on managing both present and future academic and athletic goals. This component is facilitated by the Athletics Department and Community and Learning Partnerships.
Alumnus to Alumnus
Past graduates support each other through a variety of networking events and opportunities. Alumni Affairs through the Advancement Department and the SMCS Alumni Association facilitate this initiative.
There are numerous opportunities for leadership skills to be formed, developed, and practiced, across every grade level, at St. Michael’s College School.
Whether through formal curriculum teaching, service and volunteer initiatives, clubs, activities and athletics participation or experiential learning, each student has a variety of leadership resources available to explore on their personal journey.
Even before a student begins attending SMCS, he is introduced to student leaders from the school during several events including: Shadow Days (a current student ambassador acts as a chaperone for a prospective student for the day), off-site events (prefects and student leaders act as guides sharing knowledge of their school at fairs, symposiums and other events with visiting families looking to learn more about independent school education).
Once at SMCS, the Outdoor Experiential Education orientation camp is the first touchpoint for every student, with programming and activities designed to set the framework for leadership development over the course of a student’s time at SMCS.
During the camp experience, students also interact with select senior students who have had formal leadership training earlier in their high school experience. These senior students continue to hone the skills learned as cabin leaders or in other assigned roles.
Leadership skills development is also encouraged and applied within a classroom setting through collaborative projects, group work, presentations, discussions and other activities.
Within the school building, structured roles and activities with a leadership theme are available to interested students. Student government positions, prefects, ambassadors, volunteers (for events and other happenings), athletics duties (guides, timekeepers, video filming, etc.), and House System leaders are among the opportunities available.
School clubs and activities provide another venue for students to learn about and practice their leadership skills on a regular and ongoing basis. This could include helping staff moderators facilitate a discussion or activity, acting as the student lead for that particular activity, or taking the reins on some other aspect of the club experience.
Every student is encouraged to discover and hone his personal leadership skills at his own pace and comfort level.
Every year, the nomination and election of Student Government leaders takes place as part of a structured process that is open to all students.
Facilitated by a staff lead, the Student Government at SMCS is voted in by students only.
A total of 10 to 12 positions are available, across all grades, including:
- Vice President
- Prefect-in-charge (appointed)
- Councillors (Grades 8 to 12)
- Senior Councillors-at-large
The Student Government Executive is chosen from within the members who are elected or appointed:
- Vice President
- Communications Director
- Events Director
- Athletic Co-ordinator
- Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Co-ordinator
Nominations begin in April and elections are held each year in May.
Student Government leaders spearhead student-led activities from planning and organization to execution. These include activities such as: Spirit Week, food drives, spirit assemblies, contests and charitable outreach.
Every school year, a formal process is undertaken to appoint 35 to 40 students who will serve as Prefects.Prefects are appointed student leaders from Grades 10, 11 or 12, who support and assist a variety of school activities.
These students are chosen from eligible applicants and nominated by faculty, staff and administration.
Each Prefect is judged by a standing committee of faculty and staff, who score the applicant based on academic references, school involvement and an interview, conducted by members of the selection committee.
The top-ranked applicants are appointed to Prefect roles when vacancies occur.
Introduced in 2020, the House System at St. Michael’s College School promotes belonging and facilitates additional opportunities for students to engage in student life.
House names honour a mix of themes that encompass St. Michael’s College School’s vision of faith, character, and service and motto of teaching goodness, discipline, and knowledge.
The themes include: