Friday, 2 September 2016

2: Friday 2nd September 2016

From the Director 

We have had a very pleasing start to the school year and as always at this time of year our community is enhanced with new students and new staff coming into the school. We are introducing the new staff to you gradually through the ABC Weekly but you will also meet many of them at the Back to School meetings taking place in Primary and Secondary school this week and next week. You can also see all members of our staff, including new staff on the ABC website, through Community Access/Parent Portal/Whole School/Staff Directory

There are clear safeguarding reasons why we need you to know and recognise the members of the ABC team who are working with your children.

New Upper Primary Staff (left to right): Simon Rumsey (Grade 4), Irene Angulo (Grade 5 Learning Assistant), Piers Hunday (ESL), Debbie Lawrence (Grade 2), Cristina Figueroa (Grade 2 Learning Assistant).

New Secondary Maths Staff: Nicholas Gale and Sallie Chedburn

I know as parents you are busy people but I do ask that you come to the meetings arranged next week for the following meetings. We have very important news and information to share with you about the year ahead and it is in your children’s best interests for you to attend. Further details are in the individual sections:

Monday: Grade 6 to 8

Tuesday Grade 4 and 5
Wednesday: Grade 9 to 12
Thursday: Prepa and Grade 1

We have set a couple of dates for whole school events. Please note we will be closed on Thursday 15 and Friday 16 September to celebrate the 195 years of the country’s independence. We are combining the build up to this celebration with a focus on being independent as one of our ABC Values. Independent does not mean that we leave our students to fend for themselves, but that we give them the confidence to take responsibility for their actions and ask for their views and opinions. It implies a resilience and a willingness to keep on trying to master something for yourself. We do hope you will share with us in encouraging this trait in our children especially at this time.

I would also like to invite you to a coffee morning with the Chair of the Board, Lic. Ana Maria Portillo and myself on Tuesday 27th September at 7 am. 

Primary News

Dear Parents and Carers,

This year is going to be a very important year for the Primary School. We have decided that we would like to become an International Primary Curriculum accredited school. This will involve a year long process of gathering evidence and meeting with visitors to show that we really understand the IPC and implement it in the best possible way for the benefit of all our students. We have no doubt that we will be successful but it will be a lot of hard work for all of our teachers and our community. From time to time I will share a little bit about the IPC with you so that you too are as fully informed as possible.

This week I would like to talk about Knowledge, Skills and Understanding. In the children’s classes from Prepa to 5th Grade the students have been talking about whether they are learning a skill, whether they are learning new knowledge or whether they are learning to understand something. These are the IPC comments about them.

Knowledge refers to factual information. Knowledge is relatively straightforward to teach and assess (through quizzes, tests, multiple choice, etc.), even if it is not always that easy to recall. Knowledge is continually changing and expanding – this is a challenge for schools that have to choose what knowledge children should know and learn in a restricted period of time.

Skills refer to things children are able to do. Skills have to be learned practically and need time to be practiced. Skills are also transferable and tend to be more stable than knowledge – this is true for almost all school subjects. The IPC's Assessment for Learning Programme is based around the assessment of children's skills.

Understanding refers to the development or 'grasping' of conceptual ideas, the 'lightbulb' moment that we all strive for. Understanding is always developing. None of us ever 'gets there', so you can't teach or control understanding, but what the IPC units do allow us to do is provide a whole range of different experiences through which children's understandings can develop.

We believe knowledge, skills and understanding act as a 'wholearchy', rather than a hierarchy, with each different type of learning including and transcending the other. However, each does have its own distinct characteristics and it can be very powerful 'to signpost' to children what kind of learning they are experiencing and what the implications of this are in the classroom.

Please see if your child has got the idea when you are talking together at home and if they know which symbol represents each aspect in their class.

We have already had many entry points in school to start off the new units that the children are studying. Please see the class blogs for photographs.

Thank you to those parents who attended our evening ‘welcome or welcome back to school’ events. We hope you found them helpful. The Pre-Kinder and Kinder evening is on our school news blog. Please take a look. We have more parent evenings coming up and they are listed on the school calendar or in the dates for your diary below.

Please make sure your children are on time for the start of lessons. Pre-Kinder and Kinder in the classroom by 7.30 am Prepa to 5th Grade in the classroom by 7.15. 

Best wishes for the weekend and the week ahead.

Sharon Short
Head of Primary

Dates for your diary

Lower Primary
Thursday 8th: Prepa and 1st grade Welcome Back to School
Thursday 15th September School Closed
Friday 16th September School Closed
Monday 19th September School closed - Staff Inset day.
Wednesday 21st September Peace One Day
Friday 30th: 1st Pineda assembly - 7:30am - PAC
Friday 30th September McLay Fun Run

Upper Primary
Tuesday 6th: Back to School Night 4th & 5th Grade 6:00 pm PAC
Wednesday 7th: 5th Cáceres Assembly 9:20 am - 10:05 am & 12:15 pm - 1:15 pm PAC
Wednesday 14th: 4th Linares Assembly 9:20 am - 10:05 am & 12:15 pm - 1:15 pm PAC
Thursday 15th - Friday 16th: School Closed. El Salvador Independence Day 
Monday 19th: School Closed. Teacher’s Inset day
Wednesday 21st: Peace One Day
Wednesday 21st: 3rd Mena Assembly 9:20 am - 10:05 am & 12:15 pm - 1:15 pm PAC
Wednesday 28th: 2nd Lourdes Hernández Assembly 9:20 am - 10:05 am & 12:15 pm - 1:15 pm PAC
Friday 30th: McLay Fun Run

Secondary News

Dear Parents and Carers,

I have been delighted with the way the majority of students in the secondary section have started the new academic year. They look very smart in their uniforms and are fully engaged in their learning. I have received a warm welcome from students, parents and the wider community and know I am going to enjoy my time at the ABC and in El Salvador.

We are lucky to have a very talented and dedicated team of teachers in the school and I would like to share with you the work done by our head of art during the summer holidays. Ms Lucila Gonzalez took part in a significant event in Argentina, the Tercer Congreso y Encuentro Simultáneo de Arte Público de los Pueblos Libres, in which muralists from all over Latin America came together to produce murals around Argentina and also participated in panels regarding the history of muralism. The event garnered siginificant support from Argentinian government authorities and included only a select number of participants from each country.
Please see our blog for further information and pictures.

I would also like to congratulate Gladys Alejandra Rivera and Rodrigo Salome who both won first place in the U12 competition for LV Juegos Estudiantiles Cycling. 

I would like to request the cooperation of all our secondary families in respecting our guidelines regarding private celebrations for students in school. We do not allow students to hold individual parties at break times or receive deliveries of food into school. One reason for this is that we are concerned to protect the health and safety of our students by ensuring that no adults enter the school compound during the school day unless they have been invited or made an appointment in advance. Another important reason is that we wish to protect students and parents from the peer pressure that can arise through students competing to provide treats for large groups of students.

Finally, a reminder of the meetings we are holding next week for parents. This will be an important opportunity to meet with the senior team of the school and discuss how we can all work together to support your child’s successful journey through secondary school. I look forward to meeting you and hearing your comments.

Virginia Catlin
Head of Secondary

Secondary dates for your diary
Monday 5th, 6.00 -7.00 pm
Grades 6 - 8: Information Evening Making the most of your child’s opportunities in preparation for IGCSE. This is a meeting for all parents in Grade 6 to 8 to explain how we will work together with you in the best interests of your son or daughter this year. We want to help you and your son or daughter understand how to make the most of these years in preparation for the international examination courses which follow. We would like all Grade 6-8 parents to attend this meeting

Wednesday 7th, 6.00 -7.00 pm
Grades 9-12 Information Evening: Making a Success of the School Year opening Pathways to College. This is a meeting for all parents in Grade 9 to 12 to explain how we will work together with you in the best interests of your son or daughter this year. We will explain what you can expect from school this year and what school expects from you. We want to help you and your son or daughter understand how you can improve your child's all round progress thereby contributing to their university prospects. We would like all Grade 9-12 parents to attend this meeting

Thursday 15th - Friday 16th: 
School Closed. El Salvador Independence Day 

Monday 19th: 
School Closed. Teacher’s Inset day

Tuesday 20th:
Grades 10 & 12 Know your school parent & teacher meeting

Thursday 29th:
Grade 6 Know your school parent & teacher meeting

Thursday 6th:
Grades 9 & 11 Know your school parent & teacher meeting

Tuesday 11th:
Grades 7 & 8 Know your school parent & teacher meeting

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