As the summer vacations are drawing to a close, I am writing to warmly welcome you back to school. Teachers have been back at school for a while, doing collaborative planning and organizing classrooms to welcome students back. Various workshops and training are underway including an MYP training with an international trainer and one on the drama in primary education with a professional TIE group. Even our support staff have had professional development on safety and fire fighting.
School reopens for students on Wednesday 1st August at 8 am as usual. We are all looking forward to a happy year with plenty of new development and new opportunities for each child to grow.
Please find attached the school calendar for the upcoming year. I would particularly like to draw your attention to the dates for the end of the academic year and the start of the new year in 2019, which are a week earlier than has been the practice. In consideration of the considerable heat in May it has been decided to adjust the closing date to take account of this.
NEW BUILDING DEVELOPMENT
Dining and Kitchen area: Over the summer, hectic work has been on to upgrade infrastructure. The school kitchen has been re-designed to allow for a more open and transparent structure and better storage. The dining area has been expanded to allow for more comfortable eating spaces. The last stages of this exciting renovation work are on, and our project team has committed to finishing on time to have our kitchen up and running by the time the students return.
Early Years: In another big improvement for our youngest students the Early Years section (our Infant and Toddler groups) have moved into Cassia the primary block. They will now have much more play area, access the sandpit and the atrium with ease. This has necessitated small shifts in the location of the primary library and the health room.
Solar Power: I am especially delighted to share that we are in the process of installing a grid-connected solar power plant which will both feed into our consumption and provide the surplus to the grid. Our environmentally conscious students have for some time been reminding us of the importance of doing this and as a Green school, we have been working to make this happen.
Gate 3: Finally, the additional Gate - designated Gate 3 – is now functional providing direct access to Cassia. Parents of children in Early Years – Grade 1 are encouraged to use this gate which will also reduce the traffic congestion at Gate 2.
Russia and Singapore The summer has been a busy time of travel for many members of the school community. One group of 12 Primary school students from Grade 4 & 5 went to Singapore, learning more about animals, scientific developments and a different culture. Another group of 18 went to Russia, visiting Moscow and St Petersburg getting an amazing peek into history, language and culture.
World Scholars Cup Barcelona: This week nearly thirty students are in Barcelona competing in the World Scholars Cup alongside over 2000 students from multiple countries. I am delighted to share that they have done brilliantly well. As I write and before all results are declared, the junior team alone has won 51 Gold medals, 79 silver, 4 team trophies and have qualified for the Tournament of Champions in Yale. Senior results are awaited.
This is an important year for our school as we move towards further international benchmarking with the best institutions around the world. It is a Pathways hallmark to constantly seek to improve and grow in excellent practice which is in line with the best schools around the world.
As you will be aware we gained membership of the Council of International Schools (CIS) a year ago and are now working towards the next phase of accreditation. Simultaneously we are on track to be accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC), which strongly focuses on student-centered classroom practice. As if these are not enough, we will also be undergoing a review of our PYP practice by the IB – a regular re-accreditation system which ensures that we continue to improve.
Visiting teams from all these agencies will be visiting the school and reviewing our work in this academic year and all members of the school community have been working extremely hard in preparation.
In an indicator of the passion for development which runs through the school, many staff members have gained certification and developed new skills through courses they have completed over the summer. In addition, our senior Physics teacher Mukesh Tiwari was invited to Cern which was an unmatched exposure to some of the top scientists in the world. One of our English teachers Pallavi Dhody had a fellowship to the summer education programme at Columbia University. And over the summer I have had the opportunity to visit two of the top private schools and a few Early Years schools in the UK and learn from them.
In conclusion, I look forward to working with you in the year ahead to make our children excel as thoughtful, fulfilled human beings.
Dr. Shalini Advani