You are here

Blog: Wednesday, May 31st, 2017

Celebrating Jenn Haak

Jenn Haak is the Learning Services Department Head at Abbotsford Traditional Middle School.  As one of only a few teachers on staff who have worked in Traditional schools for all or the bulk of their teaching career, Jenn has a deep understanding of the values that are at the core of the Traditional system.  She has seen the benefits of teaching behaviour and character with intent and has first-hand knowledge of the positive impact this has on students over the years. Jenn treasures this component of our school and is committed to passing this understanding down to new teachers to the building in the context of school culture, as she would say, “This is how we do things here.”  She purposefully engages students and builds positive relationships with them and their parents and contributes to a growing sense of belonging in every student she comes in contact with.

While Jenn knows the importance of a positive culture for students, this impact that positive culture has on adults is not lost on her either. This year the staff has come closer together with social activities such as taking on the challenges of the local Escape Rooms.  ATMS, as you may know shares a campus with Abbotsford Traditional Secondary School, and the staff of both schools have taken some steps to being increasingly social with each other as well, principally because of Jenn’s efforts to bring the two staffs together. This year we have had three joint breakfasts and two joint after school socials. In addition, a peer tutor luncheon for the ATSS tutors and the recent “Bring Your Sibling to ATSS Day” were enjoyed by both staff and students and add more connections between the two schools.

But the biggest and most impactful addition to this year is the Friday morning “Meeting at the Crest” in our hallway, where the ATMS staff – and occasionally ATSS staff – meet in a circle to acknowledge each other’s time, interesting projects around student learning, coaching commitments for the week, and giving a look to the week ahead. We end with a group huddle and our chant of “SABRES.” Jenn has been at the center of all of these cultural additions, and there is an emerging and building sense of pride and staff cohesion rising because of her efforts and insight. As a result of Jenn’s passion for her students, fellow staff, and overall school culture, ATMS is a better place because of her.  Jenn is ATMS’s “Difference Maker.” 

Submitted by Principal Reg Gabriel, Abbotsford Traditional Middle School