The Cathedral and John Connon School- Inspiring Young Leaders of Tomorrow

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One of the most important decisions parents have to make is choosing the right school for their child, where the happiness and success of the child are the major concerns upon which their future depends. Therefore, it is paramount that the school they go to, value their child and encourage them to do their best at every front. The Cathedral and John Connon is one such school where every child has the chance to grow in confidence by participating in a wide range of learning experiences.  Over a period of 160 years, the school has built a reputation that is synonymous with excellence, providing an environment that encourages growth, and  fosters creativity, exploration and discovery. It is a place where children can find magic in their  lives, broaden the intellect, enjoy the gift of robust laughter, and build a strong sense of integrity, compassion, and a spirit of giving. 

Located in Mumbai’s Fort area, The Cathedral and John Connon School completes more than a century and a half of excellence in education in the country. Known to mold traditional values into a contemporary, real-world context, the institution prepares students to embark on a journey of academic as well as personal excellence. The school, founded in 1860 by Bishop Harding and the Cathedral Chaplain, now has five sections- the Pre-Primary, Infant, Junior, Middle and Senior Schools – imparting the finest education to all its students. 

Providing students with the finest learning environment, the school has set its standards high, expecting students to reach their potential through sustained hard work, while celebrating every learner profile, stated Mrs. Meera Isaacs, the Dean.  The school practises an integrated approach till Grade 8, and thereafter offers the choice of the national curricula- ICSE and ISC, as well as the international curricula – IGCSE, IBDP and AP.

Reinventing Tomorrow 

Following its mission statement, CAJCS aims to provide holistic growth to all its students, empowering young minds to reflect on issues of local and global concern, in order to impact positive change through collaboration and cooperation. Making teaching and learning at the school a collaborative process and making students responsible for their own learning, creates an engaging and memorable experience, with equal emphasis on the mental well-being of the students. “We periodically organise talks for parents on mental health issues, and conduct regular professional development workshops for teachers, in collaboration with other organisations”, Mrs. Isaacs continued, helping us get a real view into the working ethos at CAJCS. The school  emphasizes the development of all-round personalities ensuring that the students emerge informed, articulate and confident and are able to hold their own in any forum. 

With the fast changing world and the challenges faced by youngsters, pastoral care has become more important than ever. Qualified counselors across all sections of the school meet the students regularly to get firsthand knowledge of students and their emotional needs. The needs of students with learning difficulties are catered to by the Learning Resource Centre. All senior students are guided on college admissions by the inhouse Career Counsellor. “We have our counseling office which is in touch with many  industry captains who are alumni of the School. In that way students are exposed to a lot of opportunities and hands-on experience through internships” stated Mrs. Isaacs,  shedding some light on how important it is to offer students various learning experiences outside school.

Providing individual attention has become important in these times of uncertainty, and the teachers at CAJCS act as mentors, with learner support classes facilitating one-on-one tutoring and mentoring to the students. Teachers across disciplines collaborate on lessons and skills so that the student can acknowledge, compare, contrast and appreciate different perspectives and ethical concerns. Focusing on the importance of practical knowledge over textbook knowledge, the school has shifted to skill based learning, and questions are not just answered, but are the cornerstone of all the classes. Project based learning, flipped classrooms, Socratic seminars, peer reviews, and encouragement of regular feedback and reflection are just some of the valuable methods and strategies employed for students to direct their learning. Adding to that, students are given the agency to choose their learning methods and even topics where possible.  Not just teaching, but assessments too are differentiated to recognise individual strengths and challenges, and a range of oral and written formative assessments are conducted to inform the teaching and learning process. 

 Promoting Overall Holistic Development

Apart from imparting exceptional schooling experiences, service has always been a huge part of a Cathedral education. The children of CAJCS are increasingly aware of their own privileges and mindful of others in need, emerging as compassionate and empowered citizens of the nation and the world, engaging in a variety of service projects. These range from food drives to fund raising, conducting webinars on issues such as fake news, presenting Tedtalks, and hosting an international Model United Nations. Along with academic knowledge the students critically engage with contemporary and pressing global issues from the HeForShe movement to climate change, and the Corona Quilt Project, all of which continue to hone their spirit of creativity and empathy. 

 Creativity clubs range from theatre and dance to culture, robotics, photography, art, music and entrepreneurship. Subjects such as music and art are celebrated through events such as Encore, an online music concert and Out of the Box, an art exhibition, both of which  collect funds for various NGOs. All this,  in addition to a vibrant house system with its wide range of cultural and sports activities led by the seniors of the school inculcates responsibility, leadership and team building.

 Keeping the situation of the COVID-pandemic in mind, CAJCS has already adjusted to the new normal, while adapting completely to the hybrid model of classes. With the absolute plethora of information available today, digital media literacy is key, and motivates teachers to embrace the challenges of fast changing technology. Progressing each day with a multimodal approach not only engages students better but also enables differentiation giving both teacher and student more options. Teachers across sections are becoming adept at using a range of online platforms, whether for teaching and learning, or online assessments, with a strong IT team supporting the whole procedure of E-teaching, in a smooth manner.

 Mrs. Meera Isaacs – Dean

The first Lady Principal of this 160th year old School, Mrs. Meera is the recipient of a number of awards, to name a few – Asia One Black Swan Women Empowerment Award 2017-18, the Women Achievers Award from the Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Mr. Devendra Fadnavis at IMPACT 2017, Women of Excellence Award 2014, along with being credited with a National Award for Teachers in 2004. Giving her 100% towards ramping up everything on a regular basis, and trying to give the children the best that the school can, under her able leadership, Cathedral and John Connon School strives regularly towards giving its students the ability to think and to work through things to become confident young people, ready to take their respective spots in this world outside.