Created for Upper Canada College

Part 03

Q&A: How UCC prepared to head back to school this fall

For nearly 200 years, Upper Canada College has educated the next generation of leaders and innovators—inspiring them to make a positive impact on their world. Grounded in its mission to deliver transformational learning experiences, the school fosters the development of head, heart and humanity, and it inspires each boy to be his best self. UCC is committed to ensuring 20 per cent of students receive financial assistance, with $5 million available annually to Canadian students.

What David McBride, VP of Enrolment Management, says…

How did Upper Canada College adapt when pandemic shutdowns hit Canada this spring?

On March 25, we launched our Continuous Learning Plan: Students attended online classes via Google Meet every morning, and were then assigned homework to do on their own in the afternoon. The transition was made easier because every student was already equipped with digital educational devices. Students in Grade 5 and above each have their own laptop, while our younger boys all have iPads.

How has Upper Canada College prepared for the new school year

We’ve invested approximately $500,000 to install cameras and microphones in classrooms so students can receive as much synchronous real-time learning as possible. For parents who feel safer with their families at home, they can opt for full-time remote learning.

What makes Upper Canada College unique as an educational institution?

We’re the only International Baccalaureate (IB) school in North America for boys from Senior Kindergarten to Grade 12 in North America. We believe IB is the gold standard of educational programs and it helps prepare our boys to excel in post-secondary and beyond.

How much our educators care about our students best exemplifies what makes our school so special. We have 88 boarding students from 26 countries, and for their safety, we decided to move from regular double rooms to single rooms for this school year. To help make this a reality, our principal Sam McKinney graciously provided his on-campus residence to serve as an auxiliary boarding house. That reflects just how important the safety of our students is to us.

For a behind-the-scenes look at life at UCC, check out this recent virtual conversation here:

What student Dean Kiyingi, 12, in Grade 8, says…

What new things did you enjoy doing during the pandemic?

UCC brought in a new video conference series with different speakers and topics each week. I really enjoyed the one about artificial intelligence and former Toronto Maple Leafs star Doug Gilmour also spoke to us.

What are you looking forward to in this new school year?

I’m excited to reconnect with friends and to keep studying science and graphic design, which are my favourite subjects. I also like hands-on interactive courses, so I’m going to be learning coding, too.

What student Henry Kellen, 17, in Grade 12, says…

What have you missed the most?

I was amazed at how quickly the school was able to implement a completely online program–we didn’t miss a single day of class. Most of my friends are student athletes and not playing basketball and baseball with them was a big loss.

What are you looking forward to in this new school year?

I’m optimistic about playing sports competitively against other schools before the end of year. And as Head Steward at UCC, I’m going to be working hard to improve student life on campus, especially since half of Upper School students can’t be at school any given time because of class size restrictions.

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