Friday, 18 March 2016

26: Friday 18th March 2016

From the Director

I have to begin this week with my congratulations to everyone involved with the STEAMFEST event last week. We had input from friends and ex students from MIT as well as local sponsors and participants from other schools. Our aim is to provide an opportunity for children to investigate their ideas and explore their passion. You can see some of the memories on the newsblog which can now be accessed from the Calendar & Events tab on the school website or via this link.

It has been brought to our attention that we have a parent member of our school community who has been unwell with a kidney disease for some time now and is in desperate need of a transplant. This is possible and a donor is available but the family have lost their medical insurance following his long illness and need to fund the operation. We have agreed in school to help with a campaign to raise awareness about donating organs and to show that we as a community can help a fellow member of our community. We will be organising some events and asking for donations when we return to school in April. Our main aim is to help this family but we also want to raise everyone’s awareness of the possibility of offering an organ for someone in need of a transplant. We will provide more details in due course.

Thank you to many of you who attended the Convocatoria on Tuesday where we announced plans for next year. I would also like to thank many of you who have completed our annual survey but if you have not please do so. We do need your feedback. The link to the survey is here.

We are removing canned drinks and other sweetened drinks from the school cafeteria for next term. The cafeteria will only be selling water and natural fruit juice. We are doing this because we are concerned at the level of sugar consumption in our children and would prefer that you as parents make decisions about consumption of sugary drinks when children are in your care. The school also provides free filtered water from our fountains.

I also need to inform you that we are increasingly concerned at the unprotected internet access many of our students have through their mobile phones. We believe that children should not have unsupervised access to the internet and all its dangers through these phones. As a result we are considering extending our ban on Smartphones into secondary school and only allowing phones with basic communication function while children are in school. I am informing you of this so you can join the discussion and you are aware of our thinking and concerns. We really do see this as a safeguarding issue.

It remains for me to wish you a pleasant and safe holiday. I know many of our senior students from Grade 9 through to 12 will be spending some of their holiday studying as they all have important examinations including our international IGCSE and IB examinations soon after the break. It is important you encourage them to build some time for studying into their holiday schedule while also enjoying family time together.

See you all on Monday 4th April.

Primary News

Dear Parents and Carers, 

The STEAMFEST and Primary Science Fair was one of the most outstanding events of the week and I felt very proud of the Primary students who were able to explain and share information about their Science projects extremely well. We had some winners on the day but we were really pleased with every student who participated and we have emphasised this to the students. Our visitors were also amazed at the things we had going on. Please see the ABC news blog for photos and more info.

The grade 1 camp last Friday night was extremely well organised by our staff and our young students had a very positive experience staying away from home, some for the first time. The children really enjoyed the activities especially the coral reef in the pool. Thank you to the Grade 1 team who gave up their own time again for the benefit of the students. I am sure all parents expressed their appreciation at the time. Please see the class blogs for photos.

On Monday Prepa had their evening activity and enjoyed the chance to visit the school campus under different circumstances and use their torches to notice all sorts of things in the dark. They made some amazing T-shirts and finished the event with a firework display. Once again thank you to the Prepa team for their time and dedication. Please also take a look at the class blogs.

We continue to have high levels of concern about students exposure to the internet, their access to material and their use of social networking sites which is dangerous and illegal. Parents please educate yourselves about internet safety and take your children offline. We are planning some very important meetings for primary parents soon to help you understand some of the pressures and dangers that are a reality of internet use today.

The Swimming Galas have been taking place all week. It is impressive to see the high standard of swimming in all age groups. Well done to all the students who took part. Swimming is a vital part of education here in El Salvador, with so much exposure to pools and the sea it is a vital skill for our students. Please make sure your children attend all the lessons throughout the year. The school will soon be supplying swimming jerseys to wear over the costumes to protect the children from sun damage. Keep an eye open for their arrival.

I wanted to let you know that Lego are catching up with the ABC ! We are not endorsing Lego but found their latest research interesting as it supports everything we try to do in Lower Primary. Please have a look at the link.

Lego identifies five types of play – physical, symbolic, with rules, with objects, and pretence – and points to the variety of skills developed through each. Even tech-driven play – that source of guilt and respite for so many parents – can fit in: not mindless screen-gawping but activities in which children can “engage with the technology”, or what Lego calls “hands-on, minds-on”. Its second definition of play is a playful state of mind in which, Rasmussen says, “you are open and try different things and are in a positive flow”.

We now have the Easter holidays. I hope you all have a lovely family time together and have the chance to relax and play. Our students are tired too and do need a break from their studies but 15 mins reading and a little bit of English each day will keep things ticking over until we get back to school.

Very best wishes for a lovely holiday.

Sharon Short
Head of Primary

Dates for your diary

Lower Primary
Monday 21st March - Friday 1st April - Easter holidays - school closed
Monday 4th April: first day back to school.
Whole Primary Assembly for the Olympic Unit
Friday 8th: Pre-Kinder Caceres assembly
Monday 11th: Art week
Friday 15th: Pre- Kinder Siri assembly

Upper Primary
Monday 21st March - Friday 1st April - Easter holidays - 
Monday 4th: First day of third term.
Whole Primary Assembly for the Olympic Unit
Friday 8th: 4th Garcia-Prieto Assembly from 9:20 thru 10:05 a.m. and from 12:15 p.m. thru 1:00 p.m.
Monday 11th: Art Week
Wednesday 13th: 2nd Grade Spanish Assembly from 9:20 thru 10:05 a.m. and from 12:15 p.m. thru 1:00 p.m.
Thursday 14th: 5th Grade Parent Partnership - Looking Ahead 5:30 p.m. thru 7:00 p.m.
Saturday 16th: UP Sports Morning & Family Day
Monday 18th: 3rd Quijano Assembly from 9:20 thru 10:05 a.m. and from 12:15 p.m. thru 1:00 p.m.
Wednesday 20th: 2nd Elisa Hernández Assembly from 9:20 thru 10:05 a.m. and from 12:15 p.m. thru 1:00 p.m.
Friday 29th: Primary extra-curricular classes - 4th session finish

Secondary News

Dear Parents / Guardians,

Well done to all the Grade 10 IGCSE Music students that performed in the Senior Musical Recital on Friday 11th March. The audience was treated to a variety of performances, all of the highest quality.

Last weekend (Saturday 12th March) the ESEN national debate finals took place and our team took 5th place after many rounds of competition. Thirty six teams representing schools from all over El Salvador debated over issues regarding the transparency in government institutions and their officials. Well done to the students on this great achievement. 

I also have further results to relay from the Mathcounts students (after their trip to Monterrey, Mexico, last week to compete in the regional competition). Further to the results reported last week, Team A came 2nd place and Team B came 3rd place. We also had superb individual results with our students achieving 4th, 11th, 19th and 20th places in the Countdown Round. 

It has been a very busy week in the Secondary School. The week started with the Grade 6 Empowerment Afternoon (Monday 14th March). Great fun was had by all as students collaborated on tasks, and had discussions, on the themes of Friendship and Teamwork. 
On Wednesday Music Week finished (thank you to everyone that entertained us over the 5 days) and we also had the hugely successful STEAM Fest (see last week’s ABC Weekly for details). Furthermore, all this week we have been celebrating British Science Week, and students have been engaged in various exciting activities as a result.
On Wednesday (16th March) there was the Open Parent Partnership on Netiquette (see the 24 ABC Weekly for details). The feedback I have received on the event has been incredibly positive. On a related theme, I recommend you read an article I came across recently by Interactive Schools entitled Why Don’t Parents Take Time to Understand Social Media. The article encourages parents to fully understand social media and to keep themselves informed of developments in social media. 

The Grade 12 Parent Teacher Meetings on Thursday 17th March provided the opportunity for parents and students to receive feedback on progress to date and on how best to prepare for the upcoming IB examinations in May / June. It was a shame that more parents and students did not take up this opportunity to meet with the teachers (this being such a crucial stage in the education of the Grade 12s).

Finally, we ended the week with the Paraiso Down T-shirt / Jeans Day. Thank you to the students that organised this and to everybody that supported this worthy cause. 

The Geography and Business departments at the school are currently in the process of planning a field trip to Japan in February 2017 for students studying these subjects in Grade 10, 11 and 12 next year. For more information about this please carefully read this information document and register an interest using the form at this link ( if your son/daughter would like to attend. 

Please speak to Mr Kilford ( or Mr Murgatroyd ( if you have any questions about this. 
Mr Kilford
Head of Geography

This week was also Brain Awareness week as part of our STEAMFest celebrations, you can see the photos if you click on this link.

We hope you have a relaxing and enjoyable Easter holiday. The Easter break is a time for rest, but for the Grade 10 and Grade 12 students it should also be a time to prepare for the upcoming examinations and to identify the topics that they are less secure with - giving them time then to seek help from their subject teachers between the start of Term 3 and the beginning of Study Leave (from Thursday 28th April).

Kind regards,

Stephen Spicer
Head of Secondary

Secondary dates for your diary
Friday 18th March: Last day of Second Term
Monday 21st March - Friday 1st April: Easter holidays (school closed)
Monday 4th April: Back to school - First day of Third Term and IGCSE Art exam Paper 1 i
Tuesday 5th April: IGCSE Art exam Paper 1 ii
w/c Monday 11th April: Art Week
Friday 15th April: World Art Day
w/c Monday 18th April: Earth Week
Tuesday 19th - Friday 29th April: Grade 11 exams
Thursday 21st April: Secondary School closes at 11:30am - Grade 7 'Assertiveness and independence' empowerment afternoon (11:30am-5pm).
Tuesday 26th April: IGCSE exams start for Grade 10 students
Thursday 28th April: Last day for Grades 10 & 12 classes
Monday 2nd May: IB exams start for Grade 12 students

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