A year ago I had not thought that I would still be writing to you about beginning the year online – but the situation has given us no other choice. So let me begin by welcoming you all back to the school year – and a specially warm welcome to our new parents.
School will begin on Thursday 22nd at 8.30 am – online for the moment. We will await government notifications about the physical opening of the school and update you when we have information on this. For your information, our two sister schools in Haryana have opened physically as allowed by that state.
Having lived through a terrifying time in April and May – one which left almost no family untouched – whenever we open it will be with the same individual choice as earlier: school will be hybrid with an online and physical option. It will be up to individual families to decide on the balance between the very real developmental advantages of being in school allowing interacting with friends, and choosing to keep children protected at home.
While we are online, school will be from 8.30 am -3.15 pm in secondary school and 8.30 am - 2.35 pm in primary. One focus continues to be on limiting screen time particularly in primary school and at every level there are some asynchronous lessons and breaks between lessons to allow for this. The last lesson has a flexible schedule to enable teachers to meet small groups, assist individual students who are struggling or provide focused attention. We are aware of the potential learning gaps which some students may have with a year of online learning, and are working on addressing these. On Thursdays school ends at 2.25 pm as usual to enable staff workshops and meetings.
Meanwhile for all its challenges, the past year was marked by multiple successes for the school. I have already shared our excellent IB DP results and university placements. We have also had outstanding reports from both NEASC and CIS. For new parents, as international accrediting agencies for school excellence, NEASC focuses more on student learning and CIS more on school structures and systems. I am sharing below some of the highlights of each report.
The CIS report gives ratings: Does not meet/ Meets/ Exceeds. These are stated below as areas of commendation for the school:
Recommendations:Both CIS & NEASC recommendations focus on strengthening our documentation processes, rather than substantive changes. These include:
We have begun work on the suggested areas.
Finally, I would like to share with you two useful bits of parenting advice which I read and you may find it interesting to think about.
The first is by Dr. Bhooshan Shukla, GenWise Mentor Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist and is useful for parents with children of any age:
In other words, while it is good to encourage your child, do not jump to simply praise them. It is more valuable to listen, discuss and encourage them to think even of failure as a means to learn better.
The second piece of advice I would like to share is particularly for parents of adolescents. It is from the Stapoo blog and is entitled: “Why teenagers are drawn towards online friends”. It provides a balanced and empathetic perspective on teenagers use of the online space, based in an understanding of teens, their interests and vulnerabilities. Here is the link: https://stapoo.in/3986-2/
Let me end by wishing you a safe and healthy year ahead. As always I look forward to all your support in the school’s activities – virtual or physical.
With warm regards,
Dr. Shalini Advani