Thanks to Nathalie (Jordan) Gifford

If anyone ever deserved to have a Port Hope school named for him, it was Howard Jordan, known as 'Pops'
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'In 1957, the Port Hope School Board purchased a five-acre site between Percival Street and the new housing development on Ralston Drive. Construction of the one-story, L-shaped building began in the spring of 1958. It was occupied in September 1958 and in February 1960, the Board accepted it, and named it after W. Howard Jordan, who had been Supervisory Principal for all of the elementary schools in town for the previous twenty-six years.'

49 years later a new building was erected on the same site, and a regional school board asked people to suggest a new name for the school. The general feeling was expressed in a letter to the local paper:

'I read with interest in the Friday, February 10 Evening Guide that a new name be proposed for the school being built at the site of Howard Jordan Public School. Why would a new name be necessary? Mr. Jordan was a well-known Port Hope citizen, a good teacher, and an excellent principal. Let's stay with what we have: we don't need a change here.'—Andrew McLauchlan

The Board announced that their policy favoured certain kinds of names:
"We encourage people to submit names that are based on people who have made positive contributions to society; the current or historical areas served by the school; the street on which the school will be located; and the diversity of the school communities served."
Did no one suggest a name that came up to the Board's standards?

One person who suggested that the school be named Howard Jordan Public School received this autocratic response from the Board:

'Dear Nathalie C. Jordan Gifford
Thank you for your submission suggesting that Howard Jordan Public School be considered for the name of the new elementary school in Port Hope. The Ad Hoc Committee met several times to review all submissions and after long deliberations made a recommendation to the Board that the new elementary school be called the Ganaraska Trail Public School.
At their Regular Board Meeting on Thursday, March 26, 2009, the Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board approved the name for the new elementary school in Port Hope as Ganaraska Trail Public School.
Again, thank you for your interest.
Steve Girardi
Superintendent of Education: Student Achievement
(Chair of the Ad Hoc Committee)'

The Board ignored its own criteria and gave the school a name, apropos nothing, that was likely predetermined.
The school was not affiliated with the Ganaraska Trail, and the Ganaraska Trail was nowhere near the school, yet the remote Board arbitrarily chose to expel Howard Jordan from the school named in his honour, and call it the Ganaraska Trail Public School.

The name of the trail has since been changed to Ganaraska Hiking Trail. If this means the school will have to be renamed again, the Board should do the right thing and call it Howard Jordan Public School.

from London Normal School Year Book June 1924
Mitchell, Ont.
'Though of independent mind
He's a man for a' that
This son of Euclid developed his powers in the Mitchell Schools. Howard showed his ability in acting Secretary-Treasurer of Literary. We are sure the teaching profession will not hold him long ere he displays his talent in Higher Mathematics.

from a Howard Jordan Public School programme 2009
When the new high school was built, Mr. Jordan was instrumental in having the former high school—now Dr. Hawkins—renovated to house grade 7 and 8 students. He also supervised janitors and maintenance staff and completed most of the secretarial work necessary to operate the schools. Both Mr. Jordan and his wife, the former Grace Crealock—who offered the first kindergarten class in town—spent a great deal of time on extra-curricular activities with students, most notably the annual Kiwanis Music Festival.

In his administration and teaching, he won the respect and gratitude of teachers, board members and the many students who attended the public system.

Retiring teachers June 5, 1969
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by Netta Brownlee 1974
Mr. Howard Jordan came from Millbrook to Port Hope as principal of the schools in 1934, earning the handsome salary of $1,400.00 per year.

Before Mr. Jordan's appointment the former principal Mr. David Sommerville did not approve of girls and boys being in one classroom; so some teachers taught an all girl classroom while others had all boys. This arrangement was changed in 1935 when Mr. Jordan decided that mixed classes would contribute more to the education of the children than a biased slant of the thinking powers of only girls or boys. In order that no teacher would get into a rut by teaching only one grade, he or she was given different grades to teach with occasional moves to different classrooms.

Mr. Jordan was a man of excellent ability and wide discernment. He worked unceasingly and untiringly for the benefit of the pupils. Any opportunity that afforded itself to increase his knowledge of better education or better materials for education, found him a willing listener.

Never an Easter vacation arrived, that did not find him in Toronto, attending the Ontario Education Association. Any ideas received, which he considered worth passing on to his teachers, reached them, as he conducted monthly teachers' meetings.

Although principal of the schools, he taught Grade 8 in Central School for several years. As his duties became more numerous he was given a supply teacher to help him, and later, when made Supervising Principal of the four elementary schools, his love of teaching was still his main object, and he continued to teach manual training to a class of boys.

His mathematical ability and mechanical background proved invaluable whenever a crisis arose, whether in heating systems, construction or in educational matters.

Mr. Jordan was president of the Port Hope Film Council for at least thirty-five years. This was a time consuming job pre-viewing and distributing films and assuming responsibility for projectors and screens. Many people benefited from these films; not only teachers, and pupils, but service clubs, church groups and any other interested parties.

Mr. Jordan advocated remedial reading, spelling and arithmetic for slow learners in our schools, with teachers qualified to teach these pupils. He was most eager for teachers to attend conferences, in order to update their knowledge. He also urged his teachers to make use of the scores of film strips in many different subjects, so that their teaching might be more enlightening to their pupils; for a child will remember more of what he takes in through his eyes, than through his ears.

Mr. Jordan was truly an educator whose thinking was far in advance of his time.

For twenty-five or twenty-six years, he was secretary-treasurer of our Teachers' Conventions. He did all the corresponding, finding interesting places for us to meet, and arranging for programs that would prove beneficial to the teacher.

Mr. Jordan's whole life work, and interest, lay in education. His manner was quiet, but sincere, and no teacher sought his advice without receiving the help he or she desired.

He had wonderful administrative ability, and in his capacity as teacher and friend, he won for himself the respect and gratitude of his teachers, pupils and board members.

In honour of his service to the people of Port Hope, one of the public schools bears his name—that of the Howard Jordan Public School—and stands as a fitting tribute to a man who has served his community with all he had to give in the field of education.

May the years of his retirement which lie ahead, bring him the satisfaction of a selfless life, and the knowledge that he was instrumental in helping lay the foundation for the future lives of many of the young people of Port Hope.

from Saturday Morning Post  July 7, 1990
If Howard Jordan's name rings a bell, that's because the Port Hope public school on Percival Street was named after him. He was the first principal of the school, and from 1934 to 1969, was supervising principal of the town's three existing elementary schools. He's modest about the honour, however, and claims a faulty memory when asked any questions on the subject. He's a man of few words, but likes to tell a good joke. Howard now lives at the Tower of Port Hope Retirement Residence. He taught school for a total of 45 years, retiring in 1969, and has few ideas on some of the changes the school system has seen. He is 86 years old and has four grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

There's a lot more stress on teachers these days because they're changing things all the time and they just don't know where they're going to land sometimes. It's been said that a teacher's job is harder these days because kids are coming to schools with greater problems than they used to.
I don't know because I'm not in the classroom now, but it would all depend on how you approach them, I would think.

How would you approach them?
Well it used to be that the principals of schools would say to me: you talk to them because they'll tell you things they won't tell me, then we'll know what's wrong.

What have you been doing since you retired?
I was in the stroke recovery group. I had a stroke 12 years ago, and I was later in charge of programs. They had two meetings a month and that kept me pretty busy trying to think of things for the programs. I'd try to get different speakers, such as lawyers and pharmacists, and organized a musical program.

William and Kate Jordan with seven of their eight children April 1947, son Arthur doesn't appear in the photo
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from a newspaper clipping, Mitchell, Ontario
Mitchell, Ontario  April 8, 1947—Mr. and Mrs. William Davis Jordan were guests of honour at a surprise party on Sunday when members of their family helped them celebrate their 45th wedding anniversary.
Howard Jordan of Port Hope proposed a toast to the bride and bridegroom of 45 years and Mrs. Don Morris, Port Arthur, presented them with a black leather traveling case, from the sons and daughters.
Robert Jordan of Mitchell presented Mrs. Jordan with a spring bouquet, a gift from the eight grandchildren.
The family, all present, consists of Mr. and Mrs. Howard Jordan, Nathalie and Bill, Port Hope; Mr. and Mrs. E. C. Davis (Isabel) and Bob, Elmira; Mr. and Mrs. Dalton Jordan and Peter, Toronto; Mr. and Mrs. Alvin Jordan and Robert, Mitchell; Mr. and Mrs. Jack Jordan, Windsor; Mr. and Mrs. R. Charters (Marion), Lois, Joan and Catherine, Seaforth; Mr. and Mrs. Arthur C. Jordan, Toronto; Mr. and Mrs. Don Morris (Doris), Port Arthur.

Mr. and Mrs. Jordan are highly esteemed residents of Mitchell, where they were married on April 2, 1902, by Rev. Roger Howard, of Trinity Anglian church, of which they are still active members. Mrs. Jordan is the former Catherine Moffatt and they have been residents of this community all their lives.

INTERVIEW continues...
Have you had time to pursue any hobbies?
Yes. Before I got into teaching my dad was a carpenter and I used to work with him fixing things up. But when I was teaching I was also in charge of the maintenance of all the schools, so that kept me busy. They had found out that I knew something about building so they kept me busy. After retiring I did things around the house with it.

What have you learned through your experiences as a teacher or other things that you would like to pass on to others? Any advice?
Be sure you get into something you like, that's the main thing. Get into work you enjoy doing. I've heard of so many people that ended up doing something they didn't like. So to get stuck with something you don't like is just no good.

Had you always wanted to teach?
No. It was a last minute decision. I didn't know what to do, so I went to Normal School, graduated and started working in Millbrook.

Did you get married?
Yes, I got married in 1928 and I was married for a little over 50 years.
I had a boy and a girl and two foster daughters.
We didn't buy a house for a long time. When we did, it was in the early '50s and the house was about $5,800. I waited because there's nothing worse then being stuck with a house and no job.

Howard Jordan's daughter Nathalie and son William 'Bill' Jordan
click here to see Nathalie's PHHS 1950 graduating class booklet
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So you felt you had to wait until then before you felt secure about investing in a house.
When I started out, I had applied to a school in Port Hope and I applied for a job that paid $1,400 a year for principal. Then they told me they had another man who would do it for $1,200, but they would rather have me if I'd do it for $1,200. So what are you going to do when jobs are scarce? I know they hired teachers after me for $600 a year.

How do you feel about the world your grandchildren are growing up in today?
They have a rough time, I think. I feel sorry for children growing up today because there are so many temptations in their way with drugs and everything else. And today, everything is organised for them. We had to organise things ourselves, so I think we got more out of them.

What kinds of changes have you seen in your lifetime?
In my time all you had was coal oil lamps, so then we got electricity, then telephones, then radio. I remember the first radio I ever listened to was just a little crystal set that only two people could listen to. Then came television, airplanes.

And now we have computers and microwaves and VCRs in the home. Do you think they complicate life of make it easier?
I don't know enough about them. I try to stay away from those things. I have enough complications without getting into that. I've never worked on a computer and I couldn't care less.

If you could go back and change any part of your life, what would you do?
Nothing. I've done everything I wanted to do and more. I've worked in more places than people would ever believe before I was a teacher. I was a cook in a restaurant, and a waiter. I worked in the bush a few winters. You name it, I've done it. I worked in a flax mill but no one today would know what that is.

What about raising your children? What is important about that part of a person's life?
It's important to have patience and understanding and to be able to listen. Too many people talk today but they don't listen. If you don't listen, you don't get to understand what's going on. I think that's what happens to couples today. One day they're married and then the next thing you know, they're splitting up because they don't listen to each other.

What philosophy have you adopted through your life that has helped you through the tougher times?
It all depends on yourself and your attitude. You need to have an optimistic attitude. If things aren't so good, well, they can get better. You also have to know how to take people. I never had many teachers that resigned. Most of them stayed with me and that's because you have to learn how to handle people.

The Howard Jordan School, proudly dubbed HoJo

from a newspaper clipping 1960
Port Hope (ENS)—The Howard Jordan Public School is the name that has been chosen for the new school on Percival St., it was revealed at a meeting of the public school board on Thursday night. The new school is located in the growing north-west section of the town. It has been in use for some time but not completed until recently. The cornerstone has yet to be laid and this will be done, most likely at an informal ceremony and open house, when the public will be invited to inspect the new building. A committee headed by J. M. Jardine was appointed to make arrangements.

In naming the new school for the supervising principal, chairman of the board W. S. Raynor said they are honouring the teaching staff. Names of two other schools honoured the school boards. He went on to say that Mr. Jordan had been supervisor of the schools since 1934, and he had introduced many progressive methods during his 26 years.

The total enrolment for three schools, Central, Dr. Powers, and West Primary was 425, and there were 14 teachers, when Mr. Jordan came to Port Hope. There are now 1386 pupils and 47 teachers on the staff, four of whom are principals.

Dr. Powers school was increased from a two-roomed school in 1947 to provide seven class rooms, a kindergarten and an auditorum.

The former high school, now Dr. Hawkins school was taken over in 1956 to provide accommodation for grades seven and eight.

Mr, Jordan is a native of Mitchell, Ontario, and a graduate of London Teachers' College, 1924. He was principal of Millbrook Continuation School for 10 years before coming to Port Hope. Since taking charge of the Port Hope Schools he has introduced the unit system and adotped remedial courses in reading, spelling and arithmetic, to help those children who have failed to grasp the subject clearly.

He developed music in the schools from a part-time teaching schedule to full time with a part-time assistant. Port Hope had no kindgergarten when Mr. Jordan came here. He has established three kindergartens. He started the annual field days, and established the open house idea for parents to visit the schools, and meet the teachers of their children.

It was to his regret that manual training and home economics had to be abandoned due to shortage of class room accommodation, but it is still his hope that they will one day be established again.

The Jordan family home is on Walton St. and Mrs. Jordan, also a teacher, is on the Cobourg public staff as a kindergarten teacher.

from a newspaper clipping
by Tim Grier
But students have warmed to the former school principal. Howard Jordan looked a little surprised yesterday when the kids at the school which bears his name started asking him for autographs. And he looked a little dissapointed when they were asked to stop.

Autographs for schoolkids is not something Port Hope's former elementary School Supervising Principal is used to—his students once saw him in a different light, he says.

Jordan, now retired and living in Port Hope, was the guest of honour yesterday at Howard Jordan Public School's music day. Barbara McReelis, school principal, said she wanted the students to see that Howard Jordan is not just a name emblazoned on a brick wall.

"I hope they were able to see him and identify with the person," she said. The children are involved in a program with senior citizens, she said, and meeting Jordan helps give them a better appreciation of seniors and their work.
Jordan, whom McReelis says gave her her first teaching job, was supervising principal from 1934 to 1969. He says he 'feels sorry' for today's students, facing a complex world. His advice to them is 'just to keep working away.'
Jordan spoke briefly to the students, who also spent the day experimenting with musical instruments and learning musical games.

from a newspaper clipping June 6, 1934
Millbrook Continuation School Likely to be Changed to Grade 'A' School
Millbrook, July 6—A gathering of peculiar interest took place in the assembly hall of the Continuation School on Wednesday evening, when the pupils invited as guests of honour the principal, W. H. Jordan, and Mrs. Jordan, and the assistant principal, Alan Smith, M.A., for a farewell party before their departure from the community.

When the school year opens in September it is expected this will be changed into a Grade 'A' school, with a new staff of three teachers. Mr. Jordan, who has been for some years a resident of the village, was first engaged as assistant principal of the Continuation School, and when Miss M. Muir left he took over her duties as principal. He goes this month to Port Hope where he has been appointed principal of the public schools of the lakeside town. Mr. Smith has just had the one year on the local teaching staff.

A number of the parents and friends were present for Wednesday evening's social gathering, George Gray taking the chair for the brief program which included a duet by Mary Burnham and Bryan Edmunds, a recitation by Bernice Smith, and selections by the Serenaders Orchestra which was organised and trained entirely through Mr. and Mrs. Jordan's interest and personal teaching.

When the guests of honour had been invited to the front of the hall, Mary Burnham read an appreciative address, and Dorothy Nattress, on behalf of the pupils of the school, presented Mr. Jordan with a handsome travelling kit fitted entirely in ebony; Mrs. Jordan was remembered with a lovely sheaf of roses offered by daintily-attired little Marie Finn. Mr. Smith's gift was a combined cigarete holder and lighter, Madeline McDowell reading the address, and Helen Mitchell making the presentation. The pleasant surprise was acknowledged by the recipients in their words of thanks, mention also being made of personal regret at leaving the Millbrook school, and community, and the many happy memories that would be carried to the new homes.

L. W. Smith spoke briefly on behalf of the school board, and Rev. William Simpson, B.A., rector of St. Thomas' church, on behalf of the local clergy. Pupils who spoke as representatives of the three forms of the Continuation School included Alvin Widdis and Will Patterson. The singing of 'They are jolly good fellows,' and the National Anthem completed this part of the evening, and a dance, with music by the Serenaders, was enjoyed before the gathering broke up.

from The Evening Guide  December 2, 1988
by Peggy Foster
Howard Jordan Public School celebrated its 30th anniversary this week with a day of special events and birthday
cake, but perhaps the most touching part of the day was when Howard Jordan himself arrived.

Riding in a wheelchair, Jordan was welcomed to the school by principal Barbara McReelis and Police Chief Ron Hoath who ushered the former principal into the school which bears his name.

Now in his 80s, Jordan seemed to enjoy seeing all the children who attend classes at the school now and he gladly cut one of five cakes provided by the Parents' Association for the party.

Other faces from the past were former Inspector Cliff Holmes and principal John Cumberland.

Students who graduated from Grade 6 in June returned to the school to put on an entertaining and humorous play called Almost the Bride of Dracula.

Teacher Peter Bolton and his former students seemed to enjoy performing the play almost as much as the audience enjoyed seeing it. The actors and stage managers were Marty Hrncir, Amanda Wakely, Amy Mclvor, Tanya Drew, Shannon-Melissa Haywood, Jaime Beal, David Vasey, Martin Haalstra and Tara Smith.
Another part of the well-planned day was a panoramic photo taken by Christopher Creighton of all the students and staff outside the school. It will surely be a memento staff and students will use to recall Howard Jordan Public School's 30th anniversary with pride.

from Northumberland Today
by Richard Young
Recognized as one of the top schools in Ontario
Howard Jordan Public School has been recognized as one of the best elementary schools in Ontario by the Fraser Institute.

The school took home the Academic Performance In Excess of Expectations award, one of three handed out during the 2005 Garfield Weston Awards for Excellence in Education program Thursday in Toronto.

Nine Ontario schools were nominated in three categories, a Fraser Institute release stated. Academic results of 2,887 Ontario schools were analysed.

Winning the award is an amazing feat for the school, principal Darla Sells said. It is something each of the school's 200 students should be proud of.

"Recognition of high student achievement is the number one area of emphasis within the Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board," she said. "I'm very proud of the staff, students and our community who work in partnership with us so that all students can reach their full potential."

A $3,000 cash reward, a plaque and a trophy were presented to Ms. Sells at the ceremony—which was held at the Royal York Hotel in Toronto, Ont. But the recognition is very rewarding by itself.

"We've been regarded as one of the top schools in Ontario," she said.

Former school administration and staff deserve congratulations also, Ms. Sells said. It was some of those people who helped steer the school in the direction it is headed.

Professional Learning teams, where teachers meet once a week to discuss successful practices, have helped the school immensely, she said. As has the emphasis on Kindergarten and Grade 1 skills building—to improve reading.

Anti-bullying practices such as weekly child and youth worker lessons, buddy systems and classroom monitors has created a positive climate around the school, she said.

The awards were established by the Fraser Institute in 2000 to recognise schools that have produced strong results, according to an institute'release. The independent public policy organization was established in 1974.

Howard and Grace Jordan worked as a team for the betterment of education in Port Hope schools
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from The Evening Guide April 2, 1991
by Peggy Foster
An educator in Port Hope for 35 years, Howard William Jordan, died Sunday in hospital following a massive stroke suffered a week earlier. Mr. Jordan was 87.

Born in Mitchell, Ont., the oldest of eight children, Mr. Jordan spent his early years working with his father, who was a carpenter by trade. He worked in logging camps in the bush and enjoyed playing hockey. One of his teammates was the legendary Howie Morenz, also born in Mitchell, who went on to star with the Montreal Canadiens in the 1930s.

Mr. Jordan attended teachers' college, or normal school as it was called, in London, Ont., before moving to Millbrook in 1925. There he taught mathematics and sciences up to Grade 12 at the continuation school.

He met and married his wife, the former Grace Crealock, while attending summer courses in Toronto. In 1934 the couple moved to Port Hope, where Mr. Jordan was a supervising principal for all the elementary schools in town: Central School, Dr. L.B. Powers School and East Primary School.

When the new high school was built, Mr. Jordan was instrumental in having the former high school on Pine Street renovated to house Grades 7 and 8 students from the public system.

He also supervised janitors and maintenance people, and completed most of the secretarial work necessary to operate the schools.

"My father worked hard for the educational system and for the children of Port Hope," his daughter, Nathalie Gifford, said last night.

Both Mr. Jordan and his wife, who taught primary grades and offered the first kindergarten class in the town, spent a great deal of time on extra-curricular activities with students. For many years choirs led by the couple were entered in the Kiwanis Music Festival in Peterborough. In April 1988, Mr. Jordan was given an honorary life membership in the Kiwanis Festival, recognizing his contributions to the competition over several decades.

A new school on Percival Street was dedicated by the board of education in 1960 and given the name Howard Jordan School, honouring Mr. Jordan's 26 years as a principal. He retired in 1969. In 1988 he attended 30th anniversary celebrations at Howard Jordan School. (Construction of the school began in 1958, but it was not taken over by the board of education until 1960.)

Mr. and Mrs. Jordan were also active members of St. Mark's Church, where Mr. Jordan served as rector's warden. The couple celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in August 1978. Mrs. Jordan died in February 1979.

Following his wife's death, Mr. Jordan worked as a volunteer with the local chapter of the Ontario Heart and Stroke Foundation, helping organise meetings and arranging guest speakers.

He is survived by his daughter Nathalie and her husband Robert Gifford of Kingston; his son William and his wife Nancy of Mississauga; his foster daughter Margaret and her husband Barry Millett of Summerstown, Ont.; and his foster daughter Barbara and her husband Douglas Hunt of Trenton. He is also survived by four grandchildren and four great-grandchildren, two sisters and three brothers.

Mr. Jordan was predeceased by one sister and two brothers.


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