Friday, 28 August 2015

2: Friday 28th August 2015

From the Director 

We seem to have had a busy but very successful start to term and thank you to everyone who has played a part in getting the term under way. It is always hard work starting term with new buildings but the Lower Primary team have worked superbly to get ready and the new classrooms for pre Kinder and some of Prepa look really good and have opened up a powerful learning space. We intend completing the development on the other Lower Primary wing next summer so all of our Lower Primary children will be working in these extended learning classrooms. As parents you will have an opportunity to see these new rooms at the ‘welcome back to school’ evenings which are coming up over the next month and I hope are firmly in your diaries!

As you probably know the ABC is a 100% IB Diploma school. This means that all our students in Grade 12 take the full IB Diploma and each year almost all of them are successful in achieving the full Diploma and the few who do not always achieve the IB Certificates in most of their subjects. This is 100% success and really is an amazing achievement bearing in mind the IB is a challenging programme, targeted at the most academic students around the world. All of our students really are achieving on the world stage and that is why they are so successful in earning places at the top universities around the world. This week the Class of 2017 have been starting their IB Diploma and all of them, who passed Grade 10 last year, achieved the required IGCSE grades to get onto the IB Diploma programme and this is very encouraging for the whole ABC Community. We are confident that the IB Diploma is achievable for all our students who successfully pass through each stage of our school and is an excellent way of ensuring the high academic standards we are all proud of. On the school newsblog you can see a celebration of the IGCSE results and congratulations to our new Millennium Scholars Ana Sofía Rodríguez and Paul Davis.

I would like to end by reminding everyone that we are a community and that we work together. This is true in terms of academic work, pastoral care and in promoting our shared values. It is also the case that we have a responsibility to each other and our neighbouring communities around our campus in the morning and especially in the afternoon pick up. The morning is working well but in the afternoon I would really like to urge that parents or drivers do not arrive before their pick up time. We do not want to be responsible for blocking roads or creating obstructions near school which increase the risk of accidents. At 1.50 pm we are asking that parents of Grade 1-5 enter the campus and leave with their children if they are not doing an after school activity. We want these children to be away from the car park areas before the secondary parents enter the car park at 2.10 pm. Parents who have children in Primary and Secondary should collect their children at 2.10 pm with their Secondary siblings. Our car parks are well supervised and Primary children can also wait around the campus but these Primary children with Secondary siblings must be at the car park area for 2.10 pm or we all get delayed. Please talk to and ensure your children know when they are being collected each day!

We have a new management information system at school and are busy checking our contact details are up to date. In the secondary school students have been asked to complete an on line form with their home details. Can you please check your son or daughter has replied with this information.

Many thanks for all of your help with the smooth start to school and I know we are in for another fantastic year. On a personal note I look forward to seeing many of you next week at our back to school nights. Have a great weekend!

Primary News

Dear Parents and Carers,

With the start of extracurricular and team sports clubs the car parking situation after school this week has eased but we want to make it as easy as possible. We are trying to ensure upper primary children are actually at the car parks by 1.50pm so that they do not clash with the secondary students. Please also try to be on time to collect them. Once the secondary students arrive at 2.10 it all gets much busier again.

I would like to remind you of some of our school expectations:
  1. All long hair must be tied back during the school day.
  2. Snacks and packed lunches should be healthy with a very low sugar and fat content and certainly no sweets! Fruit and vegetables are very welcome, along with whole grains and protein.
  3. Please read with your children every day, discuss the books and ask each other questions. A mixture of English and Spanish is fine.
  4. Please note that children who are not collected from the car park at the correct time will be taken either to Sala Cuna or Pass Club depending on their age.
  5. Please keep looking at your child’s class blogs for information about what has been happening in school and check the school calendar for upcoming events. 
First grade had their Entry Point today ‘We are what we eat!’. We have some delicious children in school according to what I saw today! Each class had prepared something balanced and healthy to share, food kebabs, sausages, pasta and drinks. They then all ate together. A fantastic start to our new module.

As you will have seen from the letters that have gone out recently, we are working hard to encourage a high standard for our school choirs, musical groups and dance squad. Please encourage your children to sign up so that we can start preparing them for our public performances and school events. Following the successful choir trip to Mexico we would like to apply to participate again with an even larger choir and a stronger primary focus. 

It occurred to me recently that you may not be aware that Primary staff have a meeting every week to discuss issues in education, especially our school, and to train each other in up to date methods. If we send somebody on a course to the UK, or anywhere else in the world for that matter, we then get them to cascade the information to the rest of the staff to ensure everyone is updated. I am sure you do know that we regularly have experts from the world of international education visiting the school and sharing information about latest education trends. Our teaching staff get the best professional development opportunities in the country and that is one of the reasons why the education we offer your children is so good.

Have a great week.

Sharon Short
Head of Primary

Dates for your diary

Lower Primary
Tuesday 1st September: Pre-Kinder and Kinder Back to School Night 6.00 pm
Thursday 3rd September: Prepa and 1st Grade Back to School Night 6.00 pm
Friday 11th September: School closed for a teacher training day
Monday 14th September: school closed - public holiday
Tuesday 15th September: school closed - public holiday
Wednesday 16th September: the Colour Run

Upper Primary
Monday 7th September grades 2 and 3 Back to school Night
Wednesday 9th September Grades 4 and 5 Back to school Night
Friday 11th September School closed for a teacher training day
Monday 14th September school closed - public holiday
Tuesday 15th September school closed - public holiday
Wednesday 16th September the Colour Run

Secondary News

New Staff Welcomes
Last week I announced the names of the new teachers that joined the ABC Secondary School in August 2015:
  • Mr Cañas - Maths
  • Mr Cleary - English & ToK Coordinator
  • Miss Gillespie - IB Coordinator, Science & Chemistry
  • Miss Hooper - English
  • Mr Kilford - Head of Geography
  • Miss O’Regan - Second in Maths
  • Miss Ravenscroft - Second in Science, Science & Biology
  • Mrs Vides - University Guidance Counsellor
  • Ms Walters - ITGS & Film Studies
This week we have brief introductions from: Mr Cleary, Miss Hooper, Miss O’Regan, Miss Ravenscroft and Ms Walters:

Mr Cleary: I am pleased to join the ABC family as a teacher of English and TOK coordinator. I am Jamaican and have been teaching for 17 years. I previously worked internationally in the Middle East first in Saudi Arabia and more recently at the American British Academy in Muscat, Oman. I look forward to an engaging and intellectually stimulating experience here in El Salvador.

Ms Hooper: Being new to ABC is very exciting and exhilarating for me. I will be teaching English classes in sixth, seventh, and ninth grades and my tutor group is 10D. I've been an English teacher for more years than I care to comment on and thoroughly enjoy everything about teaching in this subject area. I have taught in various countries in South America and in Mexico. My previous experience here in El Salvador has been with Escuela Americana and Colegio Maya. 

Hello, my name is Ms Ravenscroft and I am the new Deputy Head of Science (and I teach primarily Biology). I previously worked in South London where I was Deputy Head of Sixth Form and dealt mainly with University admissions and also Head of Biology.

Hi, my name is Ms O’Regan. Originally I am from West Yorkshire in England but have lived in many places both in England and overseas. I have been teaching Mathematics for over 15 years to all Secondary School ages and abilities. In the past I have held posts of responsibility for both pastoral and academic and at ABC I will be the Deputy Head of Mathematics. I am really looking forward to forthcoming school year and learning more about the country and culture.

Ms Walters: I have been teaching since 2008 and this coming year I will be teaching IB Film Studies and ITGS. Previously I was teaching in Hong Kong and I am originally from the London, UK. I have been very welcomed by the staff and support team at ABC and I am looking forward to my time at the school and the beautiful country of El Salvador.

Homework is an important aspect of learning. When it is set prior to a lesson it helps understanding later in class. Homework also provides opportunities for reinforcement of work learned during school time and for children to develop their research skills. Children will need to seek information and by doing so, are helped along the path to becoming independent learners. 

Having the responsibility of needing to meet deadlines promotes self-discipline, an attribute which will impact on school work and beyond.

At the ABC we have a homework timetable, which has been shared with parents and students, and we also have student planners for Grades 6 to 10 so you can see what homework is being given. In Grades 11 and 12 we expect our students to be able to record assignments and organise their time without the need for a student planner.

As students advance through the grades homework and the amount of time engaged in homework, increases in importance. In Grades 6, 7 and 8 students are expected to spend approximately 30 minutes on each homework they are set (homework for creative subjects and ICT classes may not be set every week). Grade 8 students will complete three Science homeworks per fortnight - 45 minutes for each subject (Biology, Chemistry, Physics). Please note most subjects will be setting two homeworks each week.

In Grades 9 and 10 students are expected to spend approximately 45 minutes on each homework they are set. For Science students will have one homework of duration 1 hour 30 minutes for each science they are studying each week and Art students will have one homework of 1 hour 30 minutes each week. Please note most subjects will be setting two homeworks each week.

In Grades 11 and 12 Standard Level (SL) subjects will set approximately 2 hours of homework per week and Higher Level (HL) subjects will set approximately 3 hours of homework per week.

Homework is a bridge that joins schools and parents. From the school’s perspective there is the opportunity to monitor students' independent progress. For parents there is the potential to gain a greater appreciation of your child’s education and to express positive attitudes towards your child’s achievement.

Parental support and understanding is an important aspect of successful homework and we will talk more about this at the Know Your School events.

If you have any questions or concerns about your child’s homework please contact their Head of Year.

We have come across a worrying number of Secondary School students that come to school without having had a proper breakfast. Breakfast not only provides important daily nutrients, but research has clearly shown that it helps improve school performance. Children are less likely to feel tired and experience difficulty concentrating during the day if they are routinely having a proper breakfast before coming to school. With the new Secondary School timings we now have a later break and lunch time. Some students are finding it difficult to adjust to the late lunch and, if they were not used to having a snack in the first break, they are now going many hours since they last ate when eating for the first time that day at lunch time.

Kind regards,

Stephen Spicer
Head of Secondary

Secondary dates for your diary
Friday 11th September: INSET DAY for teachers - school closed
Monday 14th September: HOLIDAY school closed
Tuesday 15th September: Independence Day HOLIDAY - school closed
Tuesday 22nd September: Grade 10 & 12 Know Your School meetings
Thursday 1st October: Grade 6 Know Your School meetings
Monday 5th October: Grade 9 & 11 Know Your School meetings
Thursday 15th October: Grade 7 & 8 Know Your School meetings
Monday 2nd - Friday 6th November: HALF TERM HOLIDAYS

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