St. Michael's College School

Our respect and culture journey

Following recent tragic events at St. Michael’s College School, we are committed to building a culture of respect and positivity. This site is our hub for news, updates on our action plan, and feedback from our community.

It is our hope that, together with our community, we can turn these painful events into an opportunity of learning, healing, and change.

We want to hear from you about how we can improve and strengthen a culture of respect and positivity at our school.

Respect and Culture Review Townhall Meeting

On Wednesday, May 29, 2019, the St. Michael’s College School (SMCS) Respect and Culture Review committee hosted a Town Hall meeting. Held at the school, the meeting was open to the entire SMCS community (past and current students, parents, teachers, coaches, administrators, and other staff).

The purpose of the meeting was for the SMCS Respect and Culture Review committee to update the community on the process followed, share key observations, and provide an open forum to share information and ask questions.

Below you will find links to the tonight’s presentation as well as a statement from the Chair.

The issue of bullying at SMCS and the status of the Junior Football team were two key points discussed.

The SMCS Respect and Culture Review committee has identified bullying as an issue at the school. Recognizing the recent steps to educate and bring awareness to this matter, the school will continue to educate students on bullying and bystander behaviour. At the same time, the school will await the committee’s final report to implement its recommendations, and work with the committee to further enhance bullying awareness and prevention.

Additionally, following a thorough review of the Junior Football team, the committee recommends that the team should be reinstated for September 2019. SMCS will work closely with the committee on the best strategies to prepare the team, including players and coaches, for this process.

The Board of Directors and school administration remain steadfast in the goal of implementing the SMCS Respect and Culture Review committee’s recommendations and associated measures to ensure compliance, once a final report is received this summer.

St. Michael’s College School appoints new Principal

James McKinnon

St. Michael’s College School and the Basilian Fathers are proud to announce the appointment of Mr. James McKinnon as the 30th principal in the school’s 166-year history. Mr. McKinnon will assume the leadership role effective August 2019.

“St. Michael’s College School and the Basilian Fathers are very pleased to welcome Jamie McKinnon to our community,” says Fr. Andrew Leung, CSB, Interim President. “Jamie brings an outstanding background in Catholic education at the high school level along with a passion for developing collaborative contributors in our increasingly connected and global world.”

Mr. McKinnon’s background in education includes a Bachelor of Physical and Health Education from Queen’s University, a Bachelor of Education from Western University, and a Master of Education from the University of Southern Queensland (Australia).

With 32 years of leadership in Catholic education, Mr. McKinnon has served in a variety of progressive high school leadership roles that have taken his career from Waterloo to Brantford to Bruce and Grey Counties, and now to Toronto.

“Over the course of my career, I have been blessed to work with many exemplary Catholic leaders in education,” says Mr. McKinnon. “I look forward to the opportunity to work with the St. Michael’s College School community in building on a tradition of excellence in teaching ‘Goodness, Discipline, and Knowledge’ and taking the value, honour, and faith of that tradition into the future.”

From 1987-2003, Mr. McKinnon served the Waterloo Catholic District School Board as a teacher and Athletic Director, and from 2003-2012 he served as Principal of Resurrection and St. Benedict Catholic Secondary Schools.

In 2012, Mr. McKinnon was named Superintendent of Education for the Brant Haldiman Norfolk Catholic District School Board. During this three-year appointment, he focused on human resources development, and the creation of innovative programmes in robotics and other inquiry and experiential-based learning.

Mr. McKinnon was appointed Director of Education for the Bruce-Grey Catholic District School Board in 2015. For the last four years, his time has been spent on developing, monitoring, and implementing multi-year strategic plans. His portfolio as Director also focused on student achievement, incorporating technology, design thinking, global competencies, and exceeding the Catholic Graduate Expectations.

Message from the President

Photo of Father Andrew Leung

Thank you for taking the time to learn about St. Michael’s College School’s Respect and Culture journey.

I take on the role of interim president with hope, faith and a determination to earn the trust of our community. I want to turn painful recent events into an opportunity for learning, healing, and change.

We want every St. Michael’s experience to be transformational and positive — as it has been for the overwhelming majority of our students and graduates.

That is why we have an action plan to change the way we do things. You can read about it on this site.

That is also why our board has engaged an independent committee of experts to do a through review of the school’s culture. The committee will report by the summer of 2019, and we are committed to implementing its recommendations.

We want to understand the truth – even if it’s hard — because only then can there be learning, healing and change.

I’m committed to transparency about our journey — while respecting the pain, privacy and sensitivity of the people who have been hurt.

I hope that St. Michael’s can take what we’ve learned to contribute to the larger conversation in our society about building cultures of respect and positivity.

We look forward to your feedback as we move forward on our Respect and Culture journey.

Yours sincerely,

Father Andrew Leung, CSB
Interim President
St. Michael’s College School

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Recent Ideas

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  • Response to May 30 meeting

    Thanks for yesterday’s meeting. It was informative and helpful in presenting the good work that you have done to date. I have two further queries/suggestions to be included in the final report: 1). the ambiguity of sport: sports can of…

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  • More communication

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  • A Note of Thanks

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  • Has St. Mike’s gone too far?

    I am writing to you with express concern about the distrustful and suspicious culture that I feel the school has created following the unfortunate incident at the end of first term. Because of the poor decisions of 6-8 boys (who…

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