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
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.

Breakfast
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

Friday, 21 August 2015

1: Friday 21st August 2015

From the Director 


On behalf of the whole school community it is my pleasure to welcome students and parents back to school for the coming academic year. It was great to see so many smiling faces as students arrived at school in the morning and their clear optimism for the coming year and their future. It was a big day for the Class of 2016 with their last, first day of school and also for the Class of 2030 who had their first, first day of school. It is exciting to think about these two ends of our school and the amazing journey our students and parents go through in between.






















The Pre Kinder Class of 2030 were our first students to enjoy the new Lower Primary building which was finished over the summer holidays. It is a beautiful building with seven new classrooms designed to promote learning opportunities for our youngest students. We will be completing this development in the rest of the Lower Primary area next summer. You can see images of the new building on the ABC News Blog

As you are aware we are starting Team Sports and after school activities early this year to help with issues relating to pick up and car park queues at the end of school. They will begin on Monday 24th August. Can I please remind parents of the pick up times which are on our website and that parents need a pass to enter the car park before 2.10 pm when all parents including Secondary parents have access to the car park. Passes have been handed out to all Primary parents from the relevant grades and further passes are available from the office at a minimal cost I would also like to appeal for parents not to arrive early and create long lines outside school which cause traffic delays for our neighbours and block access which is especially crucial in the event of an emergency. In particular Secondary parents should not arrive for pick up before 2.10 pm to allow Primary parents to clear the car park and avoid obstruction.

New leaving times:
  • Pre-Kinder 12:15pm
  • Kinder 12:45pm
  • Prepa 1:15pm
  • 1st - 5th grade 1:50pm
  • 6th - 12th grade 2:10pm
Given the prevailing uncertain security situation in the country I am sure you will understand that we are not planning off campus school trips at present. 

Our international examination results were very encouraging for the Classes of 2015 and 2017. We had record breaking IB results from the Class of 2015 and in the Class of 2017 our IGCSE students were very successful in finding a place on our IB programme.

I look forward to seeing many of you at the upcoming events to welcome new classes over the next month or so.

Primary News

Dear Parents, Carers and Students,

WELCOME BACK - and to those of you new to the school we send a very big welcome. We are delighted to see you all after this long summer break. 

I am very pleased to report that the first two days of term have gone very smoothly. The whole school has an eager buzz about it. Such a wonderful feeling.

We are especially delighted with the remodelled classrooms in Lower Primary. The children have settled into them really well and the teachers love the new learning environment. In fact we can’t wait to get the rest of Lower Primary updated next year! 

We have a new teacher from the UK in Grade 1. Her name is Katy Sullivan and she is very experienced, enthusiastic and delighted to be here with us. I am sure you will all make her very welcome too. Several members of staff who were on temporary contracts have now been made permanent. They are María Lourdes de Escalón, Vanessa Escobar, Jonathan Márquez and Marcela Paredes. We warmly welcome them onto the team. 

Drop offs and collections ran very efficiently this week. Please help by making sure you pull as far forward as you can in the administration block car park to allow a lot of cars to come in behind you. We should be able to unload 6 or 7 cars at a time instead of just 3 or 4, which is what happens when people park right outside the main door. Your children need the exercise of a short walk to the door - honestly, and it will help to keep the queues down.

Today was ‘Friendship Friday’ when the children reminded themselves how our school values help to make and maintain good friendships. They looked at what it means to be a friend and how friends treat each other. They learned new games to play especially team games, made friendship bracelets, had friendship picnics, shared stories, made posters, drawings and decorations, scavenger hunts and shared their ideas with each other. It is very important to re-establish the school codes of behaviour for the social context. This can make the rest of the year better for everyone.

During lessons next week we will be auditioning for the school choirs. Following the very successful trip to the Mexico Choir festival last term we are looking to create an even more talented and enthusiastic choir to perform at school events as well as the Mexico Choir festival, which we are applying to go to again. There has also been some talk of a Salvadoran choir festival, so we will keep an eye open for that too. Please help your children to be prepared for the auditions.

Please check our dates below for upcoming meetings and events. Please also make every effort to attend. It is very important that you are informed and understand about your child’s education.

We have another exciting year ahead in this beautiful school and country. I am looking forward to working with you all again.

Have a lovely weekend.

Sharon Short. 
Head of Primary

Dates for your diary

Lower Primary
Monday 24th August: Primary Extra Curricular activities start
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

Upper Primary
Monday 24th August: Primary Extra Curricular activities start
Thursday 27th: New Parent Coffee morning 7.00am - 8:30am. Jubilee Library.
Monday 7th September: Grades 2 and 3 Back to school Night
Wednesday 9th September: Grades 4 and 5 Back to school Night

Secondary News

Welcome
To all our ABC parents I wish you warm welcome. All the Secondary School staff are looking forward to a very promising year. We had some excellent results this summer at IGCSE (well done to the Grade 11 students) and in the IB Diploma (congratulations to the Class of 2015 and we all hope you have a great start at university). 

I am looking forward to meeting all our new parents at the New Secondary Parents Meeting on Tuesday 25th August 6.00pm onwards in the PAC. At this meeting you will meet Mr Keslake, the Secondary School Leadership Team and your child’s Head of Year, as well the ‘Madre Enlace’ in charge of your child’s year group. We will, among other things, explain our mission, traits & values, and go through the key dates for this academic year. 

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First day back for the Class of 2016

At the end of the term we said our goodbyes to some of the Secondary School teachers and now we welcome a number of new colleagues to the school:
  • 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
Over the next two ABC Weeklies I will be including a brief introduction from each of our new members of staff. This week we hear from Mr Kilford, Miss Gillespie, Mr Cañas and Ms Walters:

Hello, my name is Mr Kilford and I am the new Head of Geography. I am originally from Surrey and have just moved from a school in South London. During my time in London I have been developing the curriculum and teaching within a Geography department whilst completing a Masters in Geography Education at the Institute of Education, University College London.

As a Geography teacher I am excited to be teaching within a country with so much to learn about right on it's doorstep, from volcanoes to geopolitics El Salvador has it all.

I wish everyone all the best in this new academic year, feel free to stop and say hello when passing in the Humanities corridor.

My name is Miss Gillespie and I am from Ireland. I teach Science and Chemistry. I previously worked in Vietnam, the United Arab Emirates and the UK. In Vietnam, I was Head of Chemistry. Here at ABC, I will be IB Coordinator. 

I very much look forward to life in El Salvador and working here at ABC.

My name is Mr Cañas. I’m married with two beautiful children, Carolina and Mario Ernesto Jr. I love playing BKB, Soccer and I’ve been practicing swimming recently for the last three months.

I’m a qualified Mathematics Teacher with 17 years of experience. During the last seven years, I was teaching at the Panamerican School of El Salvador, both in the areas of Primary and Secondary. I have organised several groups of students for Math Counts for four years. 

I’m very hopeful and motivated to teach at ABC and I expect to give my best in and out of the class.

Ms Walters - I have been teaching since 2008 and this coming year I will be teaching IB Film Studies and ITGS. Previously I was in Hong Kong for the last two years and 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.

Uniform, jewellery, hair and grooming
As we start a school new year please be reminded of our policy on uniform, jewellery, hair and grooming:

Students must wear either their full school uniform or their P.E. kit during the school day until they go home and a mixture of the two is not acceptable. Students are also expected to wear their full school uniform to Parent Teacher Meetings and to other formal school evenings. 

Girls: School skirt (light or dark blue) just above the knee, white short-sleeved blouse with school badge (only top button undone), tie (red or blue), white ankle socks and formal black leather flat shoes. Shirts are to be tucked in properly. Skirts should be just above the knee. No make-up or nail varnish may be worn. Girls’ hair should be safely tied back in practical classes.

Boys: Navy blue trousers, white short-sleeved shirt with school badge, tie (red or blue), black or navy socks, formal black shoes and black belts. Top buttons are to be done up and ties properly tied with shirts tucked in. Boys may not wear studs in their ears. Boys’ hair should not extend below the top of the collar, hang down over the face or be closely shaven. Hair must be neatly tapered. Shaved or extreme styles are not permitted. Faces must be clean shaven and sideburns are not to extend below mid-ear.

Hair for all students must be clean, neat and well groomed at all times. Students are expected to wear their hair styled in a reasonably conventional way. Cuts or styles which, in the opinion of the School, are extreme and attract undue attention, are not acceptable. If in doubt please consult the School before making radical changes to hair.

Hair may be coloured or dyed but only on the following two conditions –
1. The colour must be natural.
2. The hair must be only one colour. Hair of more than one colour or excessively streaked hair will not be permitted.

Students may also wear: 
  • the school navy blue sweater with red trim or the PE sports jacket (but not other sweaters), 
  • one plain bracelet and signet ring,
  • one wristwatch.
Visible necklaces are NOT allowed.

If an issue can not be corrected, students will be placed in isolation in the Secondary School Office and parents will be contacted to request correct items of clothing be brought to school. Furthermore, parents will be asked to bring in a full school uniform to school if their child wears a P.E. kit to school on a day that is not a P.E. day. 

All the best,

Stephen Spicer
Head of Secondary

Secondary dates for your diary
Tuesday 25th August: Welcome meeting to new Parents, 6pm PAC
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