Over the past several years, the phrase "Je suis CFIS" has become a common sight – on the banners in the school parking lot, in our hallways, and on our social media. The translation is simple: “I am CFIS.” What it means, to the various members of the CFIS community, and indeed to others from beyond our community, is far more complex.
CFIS’s mission statement can be summed up in the school’s three “Je suis” statements:
Je suis un citoyen global
Je suis un leader actif
Je suis apprenant engagé
Exploring each of these phrases in greater depth allows for a much better sense of who we are as a collective.
Je suis un citoyen global – I am a global citizen
At CFIS, we believe that tomorrow's world will require today's young people to be innovative, creative global citizens. This is, in fact, part of our mission – our raison d’etre. Under the guidance of their teachers, CFIS students at all grade levels celebrate and recognize cultural diversity within and beyond their classrooms and school, form positive lifelong attitudes and habits, and are prepared for their futures. Through global connections, UNESCO, Round Square, the International Baccalaureate (IB), and travel studies, students are taught and encouraged to be open-minded, creative, tolerant, and confident.
Our ECE and Elementary Division teachers work to incorporate UNESCO’s four pillars of learning into their approach to instruction, every day. The four pillars – learning to know, learning to do, learning to live together, and learning to be – provide a structure for developing internationally-minded students who respect others and value diversity. UNESCO experiences deepen student learning, prepare them to carry that mindset into the Secondary Division, and even set the stage for future Round Square and IB opportunities.
The UNESCO values imparted to CFIS students in the earliest grades continue to be highlighted at the Secondary level, through a combination of our House program, the curriculum itself, and experiential learning options. Through CFIS’ association with Round Square, our Secondary students explore the world through an international lens, while also discovering Round Square's pillars of democracy, environment, adventure, leadership, and service. Similar to the Elementary Division's Associated Schools Project Network (ASPNet) association with UNESCO, Secondary Division teachers and students alike can interact and share resources with Round Square schools from around the world. Through experiences such as exchanges, conferences, Model UN, and collaborative projects our students learn from a diverse host of opportunities to further their global competencies and become active global citizens.
From the youngest to the oldest, our students can say with conviction, “Je suis un citoyen global.”
Je suis un apprenant engagé- I am an engaged learner
This seemingly simple phrase has a broad and deep meaning.
It speaks to the trilingual academic excellence of a CFIS education, in combination with our school’s emphasis on music, art, physical development, and global citizenship. Together, these components, delivered by dedicated classroom teachers, specialists, assistant teachers, and literacy and numeracy coaches, combine to provide each CFIS student a platform to engage in his or her learning, beginning at the very earliest levels.
Educators know the importance of providing students with the opportunity to directly engage in their learning. Progressively increasing involvement in engaged learning at each stage of a student’s development ensures that when students graduate from CFIS, they can launch into post-secondary studies with confidence, with a deep understanding of what their approaches to learning need to be, to continue to be engaged learners. Engaged learning is the opposite of passive learning; it is about empowering the learner. As the students become older, it helps them to understand their accountability in their education journey.
To ensure that students develop the tools to become engaged learners for life, CFIS teachers provide them with opportunities to reflect on what they have learned and understand their strategies and approaches to learning. CFIS’ scope, sequence and program continuity actively allow for this, and our teachers provide these opportunities, by setting the stage and developing lesson plans that ensure the students can see their strengths and areas of growth. This is communicated through the learner profile. At each stage, the learner profile offers a developmentally appropriate opportunity for a student to reflect on his or her degree of engaged learning, and also lets the student’s parents see how their child is progressing with regard to this important aspect of education. The learner profile at CFIS culminates in our highest level of academic programming, with the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IB DP), for our Grade 11 and 12 students. An example of an IB DP learner profile can be found here.
CFIS students become engaged learners by learning to think for themselves, being encouraged to ask questions to truly learn, absorb and understand – rather than memorize – the material, and then are inspired to find and pursue their passions. The desired aim is to spark each student’s intellectual curiosity.
CFIS graduates are well-rounded, accomplished, ethical critical thinkers and global citizens, because of the whole-student focus in their foundational education.
Je suis un leader actif– I am an active leader
At CFIS, being an active leader begins in the very youngest grades. Initially, it’s about fostering kindness in the classroom, so that it spills out into other areas of their lives. In the Elementary Division, students begin to be encouraged to consider and bring forward ideas for positive change – for example, a new recycling program. In Secondary, students spend time volunteering in our city. CFIS students lead in their classrooms, their school, and their communities, through mentorship, environmental, and service initiatives. Leadership skills and enriched opportunities are fostered from Preschool to Grade 12, beginning close to home and expanding all over the world.
CFIS students are taught, coached, encouraged, and stimulated to look at the world around them, identify an area of focus, and enact change for the better; in the classroom, the school, and the community. Building on their solid foundation, CFIS students will go on to university with the confidence to continue to lead either on a large or small scale.
Each component of “Je suis CFIS” has been purposefully written so that it can resonate with CFIS students of all ages – even with our youngest students, who are just beginning their French immersion journey.