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Eastwood Eagles

The most important thing is to be kind.

Dear Parents, Students and Eastwood Community Members

It is with profound happiness that I address you this last time as your Principal in saying thank you from the bottom of my heart for 6 years of absolute joy working as your school’s lead learner.  As you may have heard I have been asked to move on to support the learning and work of another great community in Kingsville at Kingsville Public School.  I am happy to announce Principal Nick Arundine (Ah-run-din-ay) as Eastwood School’s newest Eagle.  Principal Arundine is ecstatic to join the team!

 I have always asked our teachers and students to embrace change and view each change as an opportunity to grow and learn.   I will model that philosophy by using the skills I have honed here and the strength taught to me by Eastwood students in making a successful and enthusiastic transition to my new school.  I will take with me the fond and everlasting memories of students at Eastwood School.

Eastwood has been my home for 6 academic years.  I have raised my own children through my time here.  We have added a family member from the very student population at Eastwood.  The parents and teachers in the Eastwood community have helped shape my parenting and my life.  The students of Eastwood have trusted me to help cultivate a positive vision of their futures.  I am eternally grateful for the trust given to me to work with every child and every adult in an effort to bring a vision of a great and successful future to our community and to each individual.

We made kindness the most important part of being an Eagle.  We walked together on the sweet grass road and reminded and helped each other when we fell or forgot.  We were always there for each other, apologizing, picking each other up, supporting and listening to our understandings.  I witnessed incredible acts of kindness and courage at Eastwood and was inspired daily by our children and our leaders.  Often our children were our leaders.  Their voices and thoughts brought honesty and integrity to our work.

In the time that I spent at Eastwood school I always did my best.  I stepped up to challenges and made decisions based on the needs of our students.  I relied on the experiences and observations of our great teachers and our parents.  It is in working collaboratively, reflecting and dialoguing with each of you that we were able to make great things happen for kids.  Our work together was not without failures, mistakes and missteps.  These were essential to our learning together.  One might say that if we weren’t making mistakes we just weren’t trying hard enough!

Eastwood is a safe and kind school.  It is this way because of you.  Every member of the Eastwood family contributed to its greatness and will continue to shape its future and define its culture.  I am a better man, principal, parent and human because of my time at Eastwood among the Eagles.

I wish all of you the best in life.  I am only a tweet away!  Follow my learning and let me know about yours.

Wake up each day be your best self and remember that it is a great day to be kind.

My Sincere Thanks,

Mr. Cowper



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In typical Twitter fashion the connections between education folks has Kevin Bacon’s six degrees beaten hands down. Lisa Parisi, Brian Aspinall and Doug Peterson lobbed the ball to me (among others) to complete this blog meme. Lee Kolbert‘s challenge connects many of us.
Be sure to read all the way to the end because you may have been tagged to do this on your own blog.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Acknowledge the nominating blogger.
  2. Share 11 random facts about yourself.
  3. Answer the 11 questions the nominating blogger has created for you.
  4. List 11 bloggers.
  5. Post 11 questions for the bloggers you nominate to answer, and let all the bloggers know they have been nominated. Don’t nominate a blogger who has nominated you.

11 Random Facts About Me

      1. I’m a Creative Writing and English Literature double major.
      2. I love French toast, cooking it, sharing it, eating it. (real maple syrup only.)
      3. Before becoming a vegetarian in 2004, I could put away 2 Big Macs, a 9 piece chicken nuggets, a large fry and a chocolate shake. Scary.
      4. I put myself through university as Marmalade, goofy side-kick and jester for Canadian children’s entertainer Beebo. I played instruments, sang and danced but mostly acted like a clown for cheap laughs and children’s smiles.
      5. I can moon walk and do the worm. I do the worm (on the front lawn) on the last day of school every year as the buses leave.
      6. The second album I ever purchased was Michael Jackson’s Thriller on cassette tape.
      7. A team of 4, including myself and my wife, created two of the first academic “hypertext” websites for the University of Windsor, English Department. Christina Rossetti, Romantics Writer was our subject. We had to code every line. Our prof. would only mark the work if it was printed and bound. That is hilarious!
      8. I married my high school sweetheart.
      9. I cannot do the Rubik’s cube. Not even one side.
      10. I share a birthday with my first Principal as a teacher. – Mrs Keillor.
      11. I’m qualified to drive a semi, fully rigged transport truck in case this principal thing doesn’t work out.

11 Answers to Lisa and Doug’s Questions (I mixed and mingled them)

1. My favourite quote is:

“For small creatures such as we the vastness is bearable only through love.” ~ Carl Sagan From his fictional work entitled Contact. A piece of writing that inspires me to do my best as an educator is given to us by George Bernard Shaw:

“This is the true joy in life, that being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; the being a force of nature instead of a feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy. I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the whole community, and as long as I live it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can. I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work the more I live. I rejoice in life for its own sake. Life is no “brief candle” for me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations.”

2. Have you been to a concert?

A tonne of them. I am an Indie rock fan so my favorite spot is Magic Stick in Detroit. You can see great bands early in their career. The venue is small, the amps are loud. The building also houses The D’s oldest bowling alley downstairs.

3. Favourite book as a child:

In grade 5 Mrs. White read Robert C. O’Brien’s “Z for Zachariah “. I was captivated every day she read it and to this day it remains the only book I have read more than twice. I subsequently forgot to return it to the Maplewood school library and it is still in my possession to this day.

5. What movie do you think everyone should see and why?

I don’t answer should questions.

A movie that changed my perspective and ultimately changed my lifestyle is “The Cove”. I love documentaries. This one made the four of us weep (my kids included) As a family we do not purchase tuna and visit zoos or marine parks any more.

6. What is your favorite park?

My favourite park is “Big Hill Park” in Essex where I grew up. The kids named it that. The park is 3kms from my house with a man-made hill in the middle. I remember going down the hill on my bike for the first time when I was 8 years old. I took my son down the hill on his bike just this summer. The look on his face reminded me of the feeling I had. Exhilaration. Funny part…my home is taller than the hill.

7. What is the craziest thing you have ever done?

Most of those need to stay out of the print medium so my son doesn’t try them as a teenager. A double black diamond in Sunshine Valley, Maine was crazy. It was a natural run with trees and powder, like something out of a Warren Miller film. It was the closest I’ve ever come to actually flying. My brother-in-law bailed on his snow board and we thought he’d caused an avalanche. I have the whole event on video tape in my mind. It was awesome! Then there was the hike into the Tofino, old growth rainforest to the natural hot spring on my honeymoon to Vancouver Island. We started in at dusk. We didn’t have flashlights. My wife hits me in the arm to this day when I bring it up.

8. What are you better at than anyone else you know?

Easy, my hand written signature. I’ve been working on it for years.

I’ve been told in educational settings that at critical moments in meetings and conversations, both formal and informal, I use silence very well and know just the right questions to ask to keep the conversation critically productive. Critically productive does not mean comfortable. That being said. I’m self-aware that my biggest strength is also my double weakness.

9. If you were to know any language other than English what would it be?

Anishinabek / Ojibwe – I have a deep respect for First Nations people and culture. I would love to be able to speak the language and teach it to ensure it lives on. It is an honest and clear language. So far I understand that things are described in very natural terms, there is seemingly no hyperbole to distract the communicators from the truth.

10. What is the best picture you have taken?

My partner Tricia is the family photographer and my sister is a professional. For me though I got this one completely by accident last March break. I credit @jaxbeachteach for convincing me to stop off at Neptune Beach outside of Jacksonville, Florida on the way home.


11. What is your dream vacation?

This year I started a 4 over 5 with the intent to travel to 3 different continents during the year away from work. We have a family goal to write a book while away. We are busy narrowing down our list of 100 to 10 things we must see or do on the planet.

I nominate these great people to have fun with this activity: (If you don’t have a blog let this be your “About Page.”)

Jodie Nardone: @IteachELL
Zoe Cowper: @Zozibella
Shannon Hazel: @Shannonhazel73
Terri Barrette: @teach_terri
Connie Ellis Leclair: @ConnieEllis
Kelly Moore: @kellmoor
Chris Knight: @knightchris
Jenny Ashby: @jjash
Shelly Pike: @shelpike
Aviva Dunsiger: @avivaloca
James Shelly: @JamesShelley (my first twitter conversation ever)

Here are your 11 Questions:

1. What has been one of your most significant learning experiences?

2. Talk about something that, for you, reason can still not explain.

3. Rural living or big city life, why?

4. How did you get your name?

5. Name something you couldn’t live without.

6. If you were a professional wrestler what would your name be?

7. What are you pretending not to know?

8. If I dumped out your junk drawer what would I find?

9. What is a powerful lesson you learned from a parental figure?

10. Where were you on 9 / 11 / 2001?

11. If you could give all your time and wealth to a charity…who/what?

I need to mention this to Doug, Brian and Lisa…this blog post took me longer to format than the previous 80.

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