Friday, 28 November 2014

15: Friday 28th November 2014

From the Director

It was nice to meet with many of you at the coffee morning last week and we appreciate the support and ideas that were shared to help us ensure the very best for our students. Since I started this post I have been delighted by the warmth and support which the parent body and the community shows for the school and for its well being. I think this is a real strength of our school community. 

I am sure you will agree with me that the safety and security of our students is paramount, whether they are in school or on a trip or when they are on line. We feel it is necessary to restrict access to most of our school blogs so that they are only viewable within our families and community and they are not accessible to the whole world. If you click on a class blog you will be informed how to access the blogs. You can share these with family so that grandparents and other interested family members have access.

We are still accepting details for car pooling and remember if you have three or more students in your car you can use the basketball court drop off in the morning. Can I also remind you to look at our ABC News and ROCS in Action blogs occasionally to keep up to date with school events. I want to end by congratulating the U18 boys basketball team for a fabulous victory during the week and I was disappointed not to have been there to witness it! Well done Bulldogs! You can see a report on the Team Sports blog.

Primary News

Dear Parents and Carers,

Was it only last Friday that we had our British Fete for Prepa and Grade 1? The Prepa teachers and their classes set up this amazing activity in our Lower Primary courtyard and the children all had a lovely time. Will this become a new tradition I wonder? The rest of the Primary school enjoyed their very British picnics and of course the culmination of the day was our Guy Fawkes event. I am sure you all had a great evening. Please check the blogs for photos and other items that have been shared.

Thank you to Raquel and the Kinder team for the fantastic phonic workshops last Wednesday and Thursday. I hope all the Kinder parents were able to attend.

This week the first of our grade camps took place. It is important for our students to experience some independence and have the responsibility of looking after themselves in a supported environment. I was a ‘Girl Guide’ and from the ages of 10 to 18 camped out for a week under canvas each year in the unpredictable English weather. I always had a wonderful time, but still had to ensure I helped prepare the food, did the washing up, stoked the fires that we used to heat the water, cleaned out tents etc. It is much more fun to take on these responsibilities in an outdoor and group environment than it is at home! I believe it is important for students to develop self-reliance too. Please encourage your children to participate fully in the successive camps and to show gratitude and respect to the support staff (our team in blue) who go along to help them out.

As we approach Christmas we have two projects in place to try and help others:

Upper Primary please remember to put together one or more shoe boxes for a child in need, decorate them beautifully and send them into school by the 10th of December. The letter was emailed out to Upper Primary parents last Monday. Don’t forget items need to be new for this activity!

Lower Primary are collecting new, and used toys in good condition, to be distributed to hospitals and orphanages. Please send items in as soon as possible.

We are all very privileged and should do our best to improve the lives of those less fortunate than ourselves. If they were our children, how would we like them to be treated? Please do your utmost to support these projects especially at this time of year.

Thank you for your continuing support and have a wonderful week.

Sharon Short

Dates for your diary

Lower Primary 
Friday 5th: Prepa Taylor assembly in the PAC 7:30am
Friday 12th: LP reports go home
Wednesday 17th: LP Christmas shows
Friday 19th: last day of school - no Sala Cuna

Upper Primary
Wednesday 3rd: UP choir in Palacio Tecleño Concert - 7:00 PM
From 3rd to 5th: 4th Grade camping. Entre Pinos
Wednesday 10th: UP choir Christmas Celebration at Orphanage Adalberto Guirola - 10:00 AM
Thursday 11th: UP choir Gran Via Christmas Concert - 6:00 PM
Friday 12th: UP reports go home
Wednesday 17th: Christmas Fair
Friday 19th: Last day of school

Secondary News

Arctic Days
We have had some cold windy weather recently and there are likely to be some days like this ahead. When the school announces that it is an ‘Arctic Day’ (an odd concept for an Englishman used to summer days that are colder than the current weather here in El Salvador!) students are permitted to wear plain dark black/blue jumpers to school. At all other times students must be in full ABC school uniform.

The ABC Book Week – w/c Monday 8th December
Research has shown that reading for pleasure at the age of 15 is the most important factor in determining the future success of the child (recent research includes that by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development). Those who read for pleasure demonstrate an intrinsic desire to engage with stories, texts and learning. Reading for pleasure is also linked to the capacity for lifelong learning that explains increased social mobility. Getting our Secondary school students to read for pleasure is therefore a priority and this is the objective of our upcoming Book Week.

The problem is that young people have plenty of leisure activities to choose from as well as reading. Many youngsters were once avid readers, but now they hardly ever open a book, whilst others never liked reading in the first place. As adults we know that reading is important, although many of us due to our busy lives do not find the time to read as much as we would like.

As adults we want to make sure that the teenagers in our lives grow into adulthood with all the skills they need to succeed. To this end, the group Reading is Fundamental (RIF) have provided some very helpful guidance on how parents can help their teenagers decide for themselves that reading is important to them. Below is an extract from their website:

Try to avoid...
Before we list ways to encourage teen reading that work, here are a few tactics that don't:
  • Pressuring, nagging, or bribing. Encourage teens to read, but don't hound them.
  • Criticizing what teens read. Explain what troubles you about certain types of reading materials after reading them yourself. Forbid as little as possible. And whenever you can, accept differences of opinion as just that.
  • Lavishing too much praise. If you catch your teenagers reading, show interest, but don't make a big deal out of it. Teens need to know that they're reading for their own pleasure - not for your approval.
Ways to encourage teens to read...
  • Set an example. Let teens see you reading for pleasure.
  • Furnish your home with a variety of reading materials. Leave books, magazines, and newspapers around. Check to see what disappears for a clue to what interests your teenager.
  • Give teens an opportunity to choose their own books. When you and your teen are out together, browse in a bookstore or library. Go your separate ways and make your own selections. A bookstore gift certificate is a nice way of saying, "You choose."
  • Build on your teen's interests. Look for books and articles that feature their favourite sports teams, rock stars, hobbies, or television shows. Give a gift subscription to a special interest magazine.
  • View pleasure reading as a value in itself. Almost anything your youngsters read - including the Sunday comics - helps build reading skills.
  • Read some books written for teens. Young adult novels can give you valuable insights into the concerns and pressures felt by teenagers. You may find that these books provide a neutral ground on which to talk about sensitive subjects.
  • Make reading aloud a natural part of family life. Share an article you clipped from the paper, a poem, a letter, or a random page from an encyclopedia - without turning it into a lesson.
  • Acknowledge your teen's mature interests. Look for ways to acknowledge the emerging adult in your teens by suggesting some adult reading you think they can handle.
  • Keep the big picture in mind. For all sorts of reasons, some teenagers go through periods without showing much interest in reading. Don't panic! Time, and a few tips from this article, may help rekindle their interest.
Helping teens find books that interest them...
What they say is true: the more you read, the better you read. In other words, stepping up the reading you do for yourself will make other reading tasks less of a chore. Here are some ideas parents can share with their teens to find the kinds of books that will most interest them:
  • Decide what you're in the mood for. High adventure? Romance? Perhaps you enjoyed a recent movie or TV miniseries; chances are it was based on a book you'd enjoy also.
  • Ask around. Ask friends, a favorite teacher, or your coach to suggest books they enjoyed.
  • Check out the library. It won't cost you anything, and the choices are virtually unlimited. Don't be shy about asking a librarian a question like, "Do you have any books on rock music?"
  • Browse in a bookstore. Find the section that interests you - fantasy, cars, computers, or whatever. Treat yourself to an inexpensive paperback, or just have a look around.
  • Consult a list of books other teenagers have enjoyed. Ask for a book list at your school or public library.
  • Don't judge a book by its cover. What you see on the cover is not necessarily what you get. Read the short reviews printed inside a dust jacket, or skim the first chapter to find out what a book is really about.
  • Try a few pages. If the books not for you, put it aside and try another, until you find a winner.
  • Read at your own pace. Reading isn't a contest. So what if you read slowly or skip words here and there? If you're interested, you'll read to the end, and that's what counts. And you'll probably find yourself picking up speed along the way.
  • Let one good thing lead to another. When you read something that really speaks to you, you may be sorry to have it end. But the end is never really the end for a person who reads. You can always open another book, and another, and another.
Parent involvement is the number one predictor of early literacy success and future academic achievement. Parental influence on a child’s learning diminishes somewhat as children enter their teenage years and are bombarded by other influences and pressures, but parents still remain learning models. Regardless of a child’s age, the attitudes of parents to education can always inspire a child’s attitude to their own education. Please do what you can to encourage your child to read more.

There will be more on the ABC Book Week in next week’s ABC Weekly.

Parent Partnership and Parent Teacher Meetings
On Thursday 27th of November we had the Grades 10 and 12 Parent Partnership & Parent Teacher meeting. A big thank you to all those parents that attended.

Coming up in the next two weeks we have:
  • Thursday 4th December - Parent Partnership for Grades 6, 7 & 8 (there will be an article in next week’s ABC Weekly on the focus of this meeting); and,
  • Tuesday 9th December - Parent Partnership for Grades 9 & 11.
Cal 1 reports will be issued at these meetings. 

Stephen Spicer
Head of Secondary

Secondary dates for your diary
Saturday 29th November: Habitat for Humanity (Grade 12).
w/c Monday 1st December - ‘HIV/AIDS Awareness Week’.
Wednesday 3rd December: CAT4 Assessment for Grade 6
Thursday 4th December: ABC Mathscounts Competition. 
Thursday 4th December: Grade 6, 7 & 8 Parent Partnership Meeting with reports issued (5.30pm to 8.30pm).
Sunday 7th December:Ataco School Campaign 
w/c Monday 8th December - ‘Book Week’.
Tuesday 9th December: Grade 6 trip to Joyas del Pacifico at Costa del Sol.
Tuesday 9th December: Grade 9 & 11 Parent Partnership Meeting with reports issued (5.30pm to 8.30pm).
Wednesday 10th December: CAT4 Assessment for Grade 9
Friday 12th December: IGCA Jeans Day.
Friday 12th December to Saturday 13th December: IGCSE Mock Art Exam.
Tuesday 16th December: Grade 7 History Trip to San Andres & Casa Blanca.
Friday 19th December: End of term, 11.30am finish for students.

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