High School Parent Newsletter - February, 2016
I hope that your winter break was everything that you wanted it to be. We certainly know that winter is here, but fortunately, most days are clear and sunny. We have experienced a rash of teachers and students coming down with the flu, so keep using the hand sanitisers. Semester reports were posted and the process seemed to go well. We've also just had an impressive high school production and next week we will have our professional development sessions.
Last weekend saw the annual high school production. This year's show, The Haunting of Hill House, was quite a different show from past years. Starting as a novel in the late 1950s and then as a film in 1963 and again in 1999, it tells the story of people in an old house trying to investigate the possibilities of the supernatural. The small cast produced a flawless performance of suggestible horror aided by a superb set, designed by Shane Meiklejohn and built by a team of volunteers. The dedication of the actors and stage crew to devote such an amount of time to rehearsals when they also had the usual range of academic demands was significant. This was also Shane's last high school play and so it was a time to acknowledge his contributions over many years.
These will begin on Tuesday, February 16 for the grade 12s. The IBDP is a demanding program and our seniors are now getting to the "business end" of their year and their YIS journey. The exams run through to the 22nd and the students will be on study leave during this week. This means that they only come to school for their exams.
The annual International Schools Assessments (ISA) will be held on Tuesday, February 16 and Thursday, February 18 during the morning. They are held for students in grades 6 through 9 in both literacy and numeracy. They offer students, families and teachers, a snapshot of there the students are in their literacy and numeracy skills. It should be noted that the scores from the assessments do not affect the students' semester scores. Parents will receive a hard copy of the results through the mail, perhaps towards the end of March.
MYP PERSONAL PROJECT EXHIBITION
The Personal Project is the culminating project of the IBMYP. It requires the students to investigate and create a product that demonstrates not just their organisational and research skills, but also their ability to understand the "bigger picture" – the global significance of their product. The students work with a supervisor, starting their journey in grade 9, work on it over the summer break and finally submit it on February 15. In between they work independently, researching, building, recording in journals. The high point of the PP is then the exhibition which was held a couple of weeks ago. What was striking about the show was the ability of the students to thoughtfully and maturely discuss not just their product but also what they had learned through the process. The PP is also a very good practice for the DP Extended Essay which they will begin in semester two of grade 11. It's true to say they did themselves proud.
The annual Nourish conference is coming up on February 20. This conference, organised by our YIS counsellors from all sections features workshops led by YIS people on a range of topics around the theme of wellness. Small workshops on resilience, parenting, balance and finding your passion have all featured over the past few years. It is a terrific opportunity for members of our YIS community to come together to learn from each other. For more details and registration, please visit the Nourish news post on the YIS Homepage.
WJAA & AISA SPORTS, MATH AND LEADERSHIP
YIS students have also been busy on the sporting fields. We have both hosted tournaments in basketball, as well as gone to tournaments for basketball and tennis in Kobe, Osaka and Seoul and math and leadership in Busan, Korea. One of the really pleasing features of these tournaments is not just the quality of the play, but the awards and positive feedback our teams have receive for their sportsmanship. A big thank you, also, to our teachers who have given their time to chaperone the various teams.
In the past couple of weeks, YIS was graced with the presence of well-known American poet, Naomi Shihab Nye. Naomi worked with classes all through the school and this culminated with a poetry reading session after school in the library. While Naomi clearly enjoyed the positive buzz of our school, our students were the beneficiaries of not just her talent, but her ability to inspire creativity in the classrooms. Thank you to Rita Kar and Katy Vance in the library for arranging Naomi's visit.
CAMBODIA SERVICE TRIP
Teachers Alex Thomas and Angela Czubak have set off with 14 committed grade 11 students to Cambodia, to help build schools. This is a program done in association with Hope International and has been running for many years now. Students must raise a certain amount of money before they can go and this is used for building materials. Besides building, the group will camp in one of the villages to see at first hand how others live. They will also see for themselves the horrors of the Phol Pot regime and the Khmer Rouge at the Killing Fields and S21, the notorious prison and torture centre.
Our teachers have also been busy and will be again this coming week with two days of professional development. This year, we welcome Ms Bonnie Singer, an internationally recognised expert on language, literacy and learning. Bonnie is an expert in learning disorders, executive functions, working memory, attention, reading and writing. She will work with our teachers on not just understanding these issues, but helping to build their arsenal of strategies.
If I don't see you before the ski break, I hope you have a relaxing time.