Friday, 29 January 2016

19: Friday 29th January 2016

From the Director


In my role as Director I am in a fortunate position to be able to see our school curriculum in action. Whether it is seeing our Pre Kinder students concentrating intently on their artwork or our Senior Students discussing their forthcoming examination there are so many aspects of an ABC education which shine through. Here at the ABC the common aspects of our education involve putting our values into action. We recognise the importance of developing creative, enthusiastic and resilient learners who have the confidence to define and solve problems. We see these traits as investments in their futures as our young people grow into a world where they will want to continue learning and responding to a rapidly changing world. I am always struck by the positive way in which our ex students take on challenges, after they have left school, and I can see evidence of the skills and confidence when they come back and visit school. 

I would like to remind you that we have a couple of INSET training events coming up. School is closed on Friday 12th February and we are also closing early for Primary and Secondary students (except Grade 9 who have an empowerment afternoon) on Thursday 18th February for staff training time. These are important events for us to ensure our teaching team is working and planning activities together.

On a final note I want to apologise for a calendar clash which is coming up next month. On Saturday 20 February we have our Primary Spring Fair which all Primary students are required to attend and then the following Saturday, 27 February we have the Parent Association Summer Carnival. Originally they were further apart but the Parent Association had to move the Summer Carnival because of a clash with another event where we needed to share car parking space. We looked at many dates and tried to split these events but with curriculum preparation needed for the Spring Fair and the parking space needed for the Summer Carnival there were no other choices. I do apologise as I know they are both busy, potentially expensive events which children enjoy. We are going to plan to separate them into different terms next year to avoid this situation.

Have a pleasant weekend with your children.

Primary News

Dear Parents and Carers,

Tuesday was our Prospective Parents Night when the parents of children who are applying to the school visit and get a flavour of life in school. Attendance was high and there is a lot of interest in coming into Pre-Kinder. We have restricted our entry numbers as we believe that we would like to have slightly smaller classes and our entrance evaluations begin on Saturday. If you have not signed up for your child please do so immediately as we do not want you to be disappointed. Thank you to the school staff who stayed late again and made the evening such a pleasant success.

The Spring Fair is approaching. This year it will be held on the 20th February and as always it will be a lovely event for our Primary families. It will also be run and manned by the Upper Primary students and because this is an educational event all of Upper Primary are expected to attend and have the commercial experience.

Please note that it is at this event that all the lost and found items that have accumulated over the last few months are sold off or donated to charity. Please go and check both the primary and secondary cages for anything that might belong to your child, lunch boxes, bags, coats, shoes etc. If you need a key to access something, they are available from the school secretaries.

Following the very successful recent trip to Mammoth for Skiing and snowboarding residential trip, I would like to give you advance notice of some further trip information that will be coming out over the next few days (If it hasn’t already!). We will be writing to you about your last chance to sign up for the Costa Rica adventure trip which is open to Grades 4, 5 and 6. We will be writing to you to see who is interested in going on the UK trip in 2017, Grade 4 only,( next year’s Grade 5s) and we will also be letting you know about next year’s ski and snowboarding trip to Mammoth again, Grades 3, 4 and 5. Please keep an eye out for these letters and respond quickly. It makes trips very difficult to organise if families do not respond until the last minute.

The clown Fransortes, who has been a regular guest at our school for many years and delighted our students with his antics, has been admitted to hospital as he is most unwell. We would like to organise a collection for him to support him at this time of difficulty. We are proposing a ‘Paint your Face Day’ to this effect. On February 11th children are allowed to come into school with their face painted for $1. If you are not able to decorate their face at home we will be offering a face painting service in school for $1.50. All proceeds will go to help Fransortes. We look forward to seeing you all with your colourful faces.

Our secondary CAS students have organised another event for our students to enjoy. Take a good look at the poster and map below and tell your friends. We hope you have an enjoyable family outing.



Best wishes for a lovely weekend.

Sharon Short
Head of Primary.

Dates for your diary

Lower Primary
February
Friday 5th: Kinder Quintanilla assembly - 7:45 am - PAC
Saturday 6th: Mini Fair
Thursday 11th: Paint your face day
Friday 12th School closed to students
Monday 15th School closed
Friday 19th: Kinder Carbajal assembly - 7:45 am - PAC
Saturday 20th: Spring Fair 9:00 am - 12 pm
Friday 26th: Kinder González assembly - 7:45 am - PAC

Upper Primary
February
Wednesday 3rd: 3rd Brenes Assembly at the PAC. 9.20 and 12.15
Saturday 6th: Mini Fair
Wednesday 10th: 2nd Aviles Assembly at the PAC. 9.20 and 12.15
Thursday 11th February - Paint your face day
Friday 12th School closed to students
Monday 15th School closed
Wednesday 17th: 3rd grade Spanish Assembly at the PAC. 9.20 and 12.15
Wednesday 24th: 5th Caceres Assembly at the PAC. 9.20 and 12.15
Friday 26th: Extracurricular Activities Session 3 Finishes 
March
Wednesday 2nd March to Friday 4th March: 5th grade Camping, at the Portezuelo park

Secondary News

Dear Parents / Guardians,

Every year the ABC participates in The Central American Mathrelay and Mathcounts Competitions. This year the two day event is today and tomorrow (Friday 29th and Saturday 30th January). Good luck to the students from Grades 6, 7 & 8 that are competing and a big thank you to Mrs Bartimote, Mr Cañas and Mr Hodder Smith for organising the event and supporting the students.

Chinese (Mandarin) Classes
Starting next week (Thursday 4th of February), courtesy of the Taiwanese Embassy, the ABC will be offering Chinese (Mandarin) classes.

There will be two classes on offer:

  • 2:10pm to 3:00pm: For ethnic Chinese students. The class will focus on reading and writing, starting from the basic 120 Chinese characters. Students will develop their reading and comprehension skills.
  • 3:10pm to 4:00pm: For non-ethnic Chinese students. The class will focus on speaking and listening, starting from pronunciation, greetings and daily conversation.
Interested students should see Marielos Soto or Roxana Hall in the Secondary School Office ASAP to register.

The Grade 10 (IGCSE) & 12 (IB) mock examinations have been going on all this week and will continue until the end of next week. Please be reminded that during this time Grade 10 and Grade 12 students are permitted to wear non-school sweatshirts/hoodies. 

Next week the uniform arrangements for girls remain in place due to the continued concern about mosquito spread infections. Please make sure that your child/ren use mosquito repellant before they come to school and that this is replenished during the day.

Next week (on Tuesday 2nd of February) we have the Grade 6 and Grade 7 parent teacher meetings and these will run from 3.15pm to 6.00pm in the Auditorium. The Grade 6 and Grade 7 students have been provided with booking slips and they need to make appointments with their teachers before Tuesday.

Next week is also (on Thursday 4th of February) the Grade 8 IGCSE Options Presentation & Parent/Teacher Meetings. This is an important evening for parents and students as we will be explaining the iGCSEs and the option process. The evening starts at 5.30pm in the PAC with the IGCSE options presentation. Students and parents will then go to the Auditorium to meet with teachers to discuss their progress. As explained above, students will be required to make appointments with their teachers.

The ABC Teleton campaign started on Monday (25th of January).


T-shirts will be on sale from next week and we will have a t-shirt/jeans day on Friday 19th of February.

All money collected by the Teleton team will help pay for medical equipment and the therapies of children at Funter.

We would appreciate it greatly if you would fill out the Parent Perception Survey when you receive it from the school. Your feedback is very important to us.

Santa Tecla Football Club - Life Skills Lesson, Monday 25th January
On Monday the Santa Tecla Football Club came to school as guests for our Life Skills session. This visit was promoted with the help of the parents of Manuel Alfaro, who is part of the Sta Tecla FC board, and Gerardo Funes.

The idea behind this Life Skills session was to motivate our young students to practice sports and to hear a bit about the experience of the some the Santa Tecla football players.

They spoke about the fact that the students need to be team players, that school should always come first and then any other interests that they may have, that they need to commit and be responsible in order to succeed as they will have to make sacrifices in life, with the good luck that our students already have the opportunity to study in a good school that will eventually open doors for them as they grow up to become successful outstanding citizens.

The team captain did mention the importance of eating healthy as when you are training this energy is the one that will help you resist when your body is under a lot of effort, to stay away from drugs and alcohol and to have a balance in their lives with respect to technology as he did say that he knew how much they love playing with their mobile phones, and the playstation, but that there is more to life than this electronical devices and that is practising a sport and becoming part of a team that can change their lives and fulfill their dreams.

A bit about the club:
The Santa Tecla football club is a Salvadoran professional football club based in Santa Tecla which competes in First Division.

In 2015, the club had its most successful period in its history under the guidance of Argentinian Osvaldo Escudero, were they won their first championship.
Ms Chávez
Grade 6 Head of Year

STEAM Fest
On Wednesday 16th of March the ABC will host its first ever annual STEAM Fest. This whole school event will be partnered with both Primary and Secondary Science Fairs, as well as Brain Awareness Week. It will provide a venue, not only for our school community, but for other schools and organisations around the country, at which to promote educational development and student innovation through STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, The Arts and Mathematics) projects.

STEAM as an educational approach, focuses on the whole child, through inquiry, problem solving, creativity, critical thinking and collaboration using Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths. STEAM focuses on the learning process and provides students with learning opportunities to investigate, plan, and develop meaningful open ended projects. 

STEAM Fest will provide opportunities throughout the day for students to participate in creative activity centres, view expositions and interact with presenters. If you, or anyone you know, would be interested in submitting a project for exposition or running a creative centre, please contact Jennifer Garcia at jennifergarcia@abc-net.edu.sv.

Please visit our STEAM Fest Site to learn more.
Jennifer Garcia
KS3 ICT Teacher & Learning Resources Centre Coordinator

Kind regards,

Stephen Spicer
Head of Secondary

Secondary dates for your diary
Friday 29th - Saturday 30th January: Mathcounts competition 
Monday 1st - Friday 5th February: Black History Week
Tuesday 2nd February: Grades 6 & 7 Parent Teacher Meetings, 3.15pm Auditorium
Thursday 4th February: Grade 8 IGCSE Options evening, 5.30pm PAC then Auditorium
Monday 8th - Friday 12th February: Internet Safety Week
Thursday 11th February: Grade 8 exams
Thursday 11th - Monday 15th February: Business New York Trip
Friday 12th February: INSET Day for teachers (school closed)
Monday 15th February: Half Term Day (school closed)
Tuesday 16th - Friday 19th February: Grade 7 & 8 exams
Tuesday 16th February: Open Parent Partnership (Dr Guttfreund and Dr Barrios "Addictions in teens"), 6pm PAC
Thursday 18th February: Secondary school closes at 11:30am. Grade 9 'Stereotypes and labels' empowerment afternoon.
Friday 19th February: Teleton non-uniform/t-shirt day
Saturday 27th February: Summer Carnival 2016 (organised by the Asociación de Padres de Familia)
Monday 29th February: Grade 10 IB Options Meetings, 5:30pm PAC
Tuesday 1st March: Grade 12 Parent Partnership, 6pm PAC
Thursday 3rd - Friday 7th March: Book Week
Monday 10th - Friday 14th March: Music Week / Brain Week and British Science Week
Wednesday 16th March: Grade 6, 7 & 8 Parent Partnership, 6pm PAC 
Thursday 17th March: Grade 9 & 11 Parent Teacher Meetings, 3.15pm Auditorium
Friday 18th March: Last day of Second Term
Friday 21st March - Friday 1st April: Easter holidays (school closed)
Monday 4th April: Back to school - First day of Third Term 

Inceptia: A reflection on the ABC’s Circus 
Last Thursday and Friday, the ABC was witness to one of its oldest and most anticipated events. The “circus”, as it has come to be affectionately called by the ABC community, is a show where Grade 11 unites to produce an amazing display of talent, skill and showmanship. This year’s “Inceptia” was no exception, as the class of 2017 transported us to a story based on a chemistry lesson gone slightly askew! 

However, behind the flashing lights and costumes, the circus teaches our students more than just how to put on an excellent show. Inceptia was also proof of how we strive to put our ABC values into everything we do and not just inside the classroom. 

From the moment planning for this event began, Grade 11 demonstrated what it was like to work as leaders and team players, embracing everyone’s opinion while being open-minded and making sure no one was left out of the decision making process. 

In addition, the Class of 2017 also showed us the importance of being reflective and understood that traditions need to be revised and changed every so often, which is why this year, “Inceptia” added a “Pre-Show” the week before. This event was designed especially for younger children to attend and included Disney princesses, superheroes, face painting and many other activities that proved how their creativity resulted in a show that was both good fun and family friendly. 

Finally, on the day of the show, the students’ put forth their best effort and their resilience throughout their rehearsals shone through the entire performance. 

The ABC community would like to congratulate the Class of 2017 on an amazing show, we can’t wait to see what next year brings! 

Grade 11 Student Reflections 
“The best part of Inceptia weren't the lights or the costumes - it is that lingering sensation of belonging to something bigger than yourself, simply because you gave your best, enjoying success with the people that you love.” José Alfredo Medina 

“Making history through team work, creativity and enthusiasm.” Paola Romero 

" Success is enjoyed more when it is achieved as a team." Diego Daura 

“An experience that unifies the whole prom.” Ernesto Alfaro 

“A life changing experience.” Fernanda Sosa 

“The love of the Class of 2017 family happens thanks to teamwork “ Ana Margarita Samour

Friday, 22 January 2016

18: Friday 22nd January 2016

From the Director



I would like to start by congratulating the team that put together Inceptia last night. A Circus is a team effort and the parents, students, teachers, school maintenance staff and the choreographers and technicians all played their part. Thank you to everyone involved!

We have an interesting week next week. On Tuesday evening we have a meeting for prospective parents for Pre Kinder for admission in August 2016. We are keeping these pre kinder classes smaller again next year and we have already had a lot of interest. However if you are interested or have friends who may be interested they are welcome to attend the presentation on Tuesday and there will be an opportunity to visit our new classrooms. It is not too late for them to apply if they are quick as our assessment of their suitability for starting school will follow soon. On Wednesday next week, 27th January, there is an EXABRIT meeting to elect a new Board and we are hoping many EXABRITS will come along at 7 pm in the PAC to add your voice and support to the EXABRIT movement.

As you will have seen in the newspapers there is still much concern about mosquito spread infections and although we did not expect such a prolonged situation we will be continuing with non uniform for girls and children up to Grade 2 at least for the start of next week. We will be spraying our site over the weekend and seeing what the situation is like next week. Please see reminders regarding uniform in each of the sections.

As many of you may already know some of our School Management Team are leaving at the end of this year. Stephen Spicer and Sarah Harrison will both be moving to new schools in other parts of the world. We have really enjoyed their time with us and they have both played important parts in our growth for which we are very grateful. I wanted to inform you that we have appointed Virginia Catlin who is currently Head Teacher in Braeburn School, Nairobi as our new Head of Secondary and Adrian Hall from the Dubai English Speaking College as our new Deputy Head Curriculum in the Secondary School. There will be a few lines of introduction in next week’s weekly.

I hope you all have a great week working together with your children next week. Parental partnership with school is so important and we want to emphasise how important it is we communicate openly in the best interests of our children. This week I would like to make the point that at home your home should be a safe place for your children. I am sure it is physically and emotionally safe but I also mean that children are safe from exposure to inappropriate or shocking images or ideas on the internet. Please be vigilant especially with teenagers! We have had some worrying reports where parents have assumed their children are doing work in their bedrooms alone when in fact they may be surfing inappropriate sites.

Primary News

Dear Parents and Carers,

We are continuing to take precautions regarding mosquito bites and so children should continue to wear long trousers in school. Please note trousers should be plain and dark. We do not feel that leggings offer the appropriate protection and so students should not be wearing leggings. Jeans are acceptable. Tops should be light and plain without unnecessary frills and sparkles or slogans. No fluorescent colours. If it is a PE day the usual PE uniform should be worn with long trousers over the top. Please enforce these rules with your children as we have noticed many students wearing inappropriate items. I will be visiting each class on Monday morning to check that all students are dressed appropriately. If parents prefer the students can still come to school in the normal uniform. Grade 3 to 5 boys should continue to wear their normal school uniform.

Please encourage your children to support the Spring Fair by helping them to sell raffle tickets. The raffle is one of the big fund raiser elements of the fair and it is important that every student tries their best. There will be a small prize for the class that sells the most. If you would like more tickets please contact the primary office.

Our secondary CAS students have organised another event for our students to enjoy. Take a good look at the poster and map below and tell your friends. We hope you have an enjoyable family outing.

On Tuesday we are hosting our prospective parents night for those parents who are hoping to enroll their children in the school for next year. We will be evaluating the students for their readiness for school starting Saturday 30th January. We have a high number of applicants this year and so please make sure you have registered your child for a place in Pre-Kinder. Our Pre-Kinder experience is considered a vital part of children’s brain development and therefore we do not look favourably on applicants who wish to enter the school at the Kinder age and miss this out. 

Have a great weekend.

Sharon Short
Head of Primary

Dates for your diary

Lower Primary
January
Tuesday 26th: Prospective Parents Night - 6:00 pm - PAC
Friday 29th: Kinder Suárez assembly - 7:45 am - PAC
February
Friday 5th: Kinder Quintanilla assembly - 7:45 am - PAC
Friday 19th: Kinder Carbajal assembly - 7:45 am - PAC
Saturday 20th: Spring Fair 9:00 am - 12 pm
Friday 26th: Kinder González assembly - 7:45 am - PAC

Upper Primary
January
Wednesday 27th: 4th Navas Spanish Assembly at 9.20 and 12.15
February
Wednesday 3rd: 3rd Brenes Assembly at the PAC. 9.20 and 12.15
Wednesday 2nd March to Friday 4th March: 5th grade Camping, at the Portezuelo park
Wednesday 10th: 2nd Aviles Assembly at the PAC. 9.20 and 12.15
Wednesday 17th: 3rd grade Spanish Assembly at the PAC. 9.20 and 12.15
Wednesday 24th: 5th Caceres Assembly at the PAC. 9.20 and 12.15
Friday 26th: Extracurricular Activities Session 3 Finishes 

Secondary News

Dear Parents / Guardians,



Well done to the Class of 2017 on their stunning Circus performance last night. The feedback has been tremendous and a real testament to the time and effort that the Class of 2017 has put into preparing for the Circus. 

Thank you to everyone that has supported Inceptia. I must, however, single out my colleagues and give them all a special thanks for their great performance:


Next week the uniform arrangements remain due to the continued concern about mosquito spread infections. 

Boys remain unaffected as the current uniform provides sufficient protection from mosquito bites. They are, however, allowed to wear tracksuit trousers when they have PE. Boys are not allowed to wear any non-uniform tops around school.

Mosquitoes frequently target the lower leg and foot region so girls are allowed to wear trousers instead of skirts. Given the break from school uniform (i.e. trousers not skirts) we have, as you will most likely be aware, therefore not insisted that girls wear the remainder of their usual school uniform at this time. Girls should not be wearing anything other than full length trousers (not leggings as the fabric is not thick enough to provide protection) and they should be wearing enclosed shoes (i.e. no open footwear) and socks to prevent mosquito bites to the foot/leg region. We also require girls to wear tops that provide the necessary coverage to prevent bites to their upper arms and chest/neck. The clothes worn by girls must be clean, tidy and respectable.

At this time please make sure that your child/ren are sprayed with mosquito repellant (and that this is replenished during the day).

Grade 10 & 12 boys and girls have mock examinations in the Auditorium for the next two weeks (see last week’s ABC Weekly for full details). During this time they are permitted to wear non-school sweatshirts/hoodies to keep warm. 

If not done so already, please encourage your child/ren to sign up for extracurricular activities for Term 2. A wide range of activities are on offer to our students.

The Primary Spring Fair is on February 20th and part of this event traditionally involves selling unclaimed items (lunch boxes, clothes, bags, shoes etc.) to raise money for worthy causes. 

Unless claimed by February 6th all items inside the Secondary School’s lost and found cage will be donated to the event. Therefore, if your child has lost any items please instruct them to check in the Secondary School’s lost and found cage for missing belongings before February 6th.

Cross School's Student Council Executive Team Meeting - Thursday 14th of January


Our Student Council Executive Team continues working closely with the student council teams of other bilingual schools in the area in order to raise awareness of issues of importance for youth today, while enjoying getting to know new friends and joining forces in fund raising events. The teams are working on a common logo for CEB (Consejos Estudiantiles Bilingues) and will be launching a Valentine grams activity across all the schools. We would like to extend our thanks to the Liceo Francés for hosting this second meeting and we look forward to many more! 
Natalia Cáceres, Deputy Head Pastoral

Leadership Week - w/c 18th of January
Managers do things right. Leaders do the right thing.” Warren Bennis

This week we celebrated Leadership Week with a special emphasis on Enthusiasm as an essential factor to propel someone into action and the pursuit of personal or team goals. One of our school’s core values is Leadership and Teamwork, thus, we revisited and discussed the interrelationship between these two factors in both of our student assemblies, as well as, displayed slides pertaining to this value on the LED screens placed around our campus. Leadership Week is an example of leadership and teamwork in itself, as all activities are planned, organized, and led by the new Head Students from Grade 11, with the support of the former Head Students and Prefects, and a bit of staff guidance. 

The week kicked off on Monday 18th with the 9th – 12th grade assembly, and a very special guest speaker from the Class of 2005 named Aida Turcios, who shared about her professional achievements, and her outstanding sports career, including her latest feat, which was to have finished an Ironman triathlon competition successfully in December of last year, and the amount of personal dedication to training and teamwork it took to prepare for it. Other speeches and presentations by students included the importance of enthusiasm in sports, the performing arts, and in academic work. Mr. Keslake’s participation on Martin Luther King Jr’s legacy on this very day when the USA celebrated his birthday was a great example of our leadership values; the students from Grade 6 – 8 had a similar assembly on Thursday, and also worked on fun teamwork activities during lunch times. 

Throughout the week on Vista, our daily newsletter that is shared with students every morning, had different activities regarding leadership and teamwork for students to reflect on, research on, and discuss with fellow students. Quotes from famous leaders, and inspirational videos served as resources to spark up discussions on the importance of personal leadership in our daily lives through the decisions we make and the actions that result from them. Leadership week brings special attention to the importance of this value on a personal student level, yet we expect students to build on this week’s experience, and continue with enthusiasm improving themselves over time. 

To end the week on a positive note, our Head Students selected a playlist of songs with powerful positive messages, which was played during lunch time at the cafeteria for all students to enjoy. If music inspires good feelings, good vibes, and good thoughts through its positivity, it can move individuals, and crowds to behave, make decisions and take action in that light. 
Eric Quijano,
National School Director,
University Guidance & Careers

Grades 9 & 11 Parent Teacher Meetings - Thursday 28th January 
Next week we have the Grade 9 and Grade 11 parent teacher meetings and these will run from 3.15pm to 6.00pm. Appointments will be made in advance with teachers by the students (the students have been provided with booking slips and should have started making appointments). 

The 5 minute appointment slots will need to be strictly kept to as otherwise this will cause frustration for parents waiting for their slot, and meetings with subsequent teachers will not start on time. Each teacher will have a timer on their table so that appointments are kept within 5 minutes. 

The purpose of these meeting is to discuss student performance and, as always, we ask that parents request a separate meeting with a teacher (or the Head of Year if this is more appropriate) if there is a matter that can not be resolved within the time available. 

We expect the Grade 9 and Grade 11 students to accompany their parents to the meetings. At this age students should be actively involved in such meetings, and their education, as they are mature enough to hear directly a summary of their current performance, along with targets for improvement.

Please be reminded that the Grade 6 & 7 Parent Teacher Meetings are in the following week (on Tuesday 2nd of February).

I hope you have a great weekend.

Kind regards,

Stephen Spicer
Head of Secondary

Secondary dates for your diary
Friday 22nd January: Class 2017 CIRCUS
Friday 22nd January - Friday 5th February: Grade 10 IGCSE Mocks exams 
Monday 25th January - Friday 5th February: Grade 12 IB Mocks exams 
Thursday 28th January: Grades 9 & 11 Parent Teacher Meetings, 3.15pm Auditorium
Saturday 30th January: Mathcounts competition (CA)
Monday 1st - Friday 5th February: Black History Week
Tuesday 2nd February: Grades 6 & 7 Parent Teacher Meetings, 3.15pm Auditorium
Thursday 4th February: Grade 9 IGCSE Options evening, 5.30pm PAC then Auditorium
Monday 8th - Friday 12th February: Internet Safety Week
Friday 12th February: INSET Day for teachers (school closed)
Monday 15th February: Half Term Day (school closed)
Tuesday 16th - Friday 19th February: Grade 7 & 8 exams
Tuesday 16th February: Open Parent Partnership (Dr Guttfreund and Dr Barrios "Addictions in teens"), 6pm PAC
Thursday 18th February: Secondary school closes at 11:30am 
Saturday 27th February: Summer Carnival 2016 (organised by the Asociación de Padres de Familia)
Monday 29th February: Grade 10 IB Options Meetings and Cal 2 Reports, 5:30pm PAC
Tuesday 1st March: Grade 12 Parent Partnership and Cal 2 Reports, 6pm PAC
Thursday 3rd - Friday 7th March: Book Week
Monday 10th - Friday 14th March: Music Week / Brain Week and British Science Week
Wednesday 16th March: Grade 6, 7 & 8 Parent Partnership and Cal 2 Reports, 6pm PAC 
Thursday 17th March: Grade 9 & 11 Parent Teacher Meetings and Cal 2 Reports, 3.15pm Auditorium
Friday 18th March: Last day of Second Term
Friday 21st March - Friday 1st April: Easter holidays (school closed)
Monday 4th April: Back to school - First day of Third Term 

Friday, 15 January 2016

17: Friday 15th January 2016

From the Director

The start of a New Year is always a time of hope and great expectation. I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a Happy New Year on behalf of all of us here at the ABC. We are right to be optimistic and to look forward especially when we work and live alongside young people. I think one of the best things about being a teacher as well as a parent is the opportunity to work and be with young people who generally have a positive attitude, want the best for each other and their world and expect the future to be even better than today. I hope we can all embrace that positive spirit both in school and at home and look forward to a great 2016.

This afternoon the Class of 2017 have been entertaining young children from school and from a local orphanage as part of the Circus. Next week they have two shows and we are looking forward to being entertained by their interpretation of Inceptia. They have worked hard as a team with the support of their parents and the school and I am sure the show will be a great success. Do come along and support them if you can.

As you were notified during the week we have responded to the national concerns about mosquito transmitted diseases by allowing girls and PE kit wearers to wear long trousers. We will continue this policy while the yellow alert continues. We have fumigated the site recently and we are monitoring our pond to ensure it is not a source of mosquitoes.

Can I please remind parents that it is unacceptable for students to be transported from the school in an unsafe manner. Cars must not be overloaded with students and students should not be sitting unsecured in the back of a pick up. While this may not lead to an accident in 99% of occasions if it did the consequences would be horrific. It is essential we give good examples to our children and our community.

I would like to remind parents in Upper Primary that some of them still owe voluntary contributions to the Madres Enlace which are used to fund some of their community activities. If you are one of these parents please can you arrange to pay as soon as possible. Many thanks!

Our Team Sports programme is in full flow after the Christmas break. We want to encourage attendance at sporting events as well as keep the ABC community informed about its Team Sports in general. Therefore, I would like to ask that the Team Sports programme has a Facebook page which you can like where you can read news about matches, results and any other relevant announcements (https://www.facebook.com/ABCTeamSports). In addition, the school's website also has a Team Sports blog (http://abcteamsports.blogspot.com) if you do not have a Facebook account.


Primary News

Dear Parents and Carers,

Christmas is already far behind us but I wanted to let you know that your generous gifts were gratefully received by children in local communities and in hospital on Christmas Eve. Please see some of our pictures here.

The communities had been asking in advance if the shoe boxes were coming again this year which I think shows how important they are to them.






















Our Team Sports activities will be continuing this term as usual but we are a little concerned that you do not always know about fixtures and how our teams are getting on. Please look at the team sports blog? (http://abcteamsports.blogspot.com) It lets you know about everything that has happened recently. Another vital source of information is the Team Sports Facebook page. (https://www.facebook.com/ABCTeamSports) Have you spent a little time there and have you ‘liked’ it? Show your support for our school Team Sports organisation by visiting the page and liking it now!

It is the start of a new calendar year, a time when we all make New Year’s resolutions (and break them!) but I would really like the whole primary school to make an extra effort with punctuality and attendance. Just to make sure you are all clear - Prepa to Grade 5 children should be in their classroom by 7:15 am. You need to allow walking and queuing in traffic time to get there so I advise all parents of students in these grades to aim for 7.00 am. Pre-Kinder and Kinder students have the luxury of arriving up until 7:30. No other grades have this privilege. I have asked my deputies and class teachers to inform me when students are consistently late, so if you are one of the culprits do not be surprised to hear from me.

Please note that students should not be absent from school in term time. Students should only be absent from school when unwell or when there are extraordinary circumstances (in which case the school should be notified in advance whenever possible). We have noticed a worrying number of parents who are taking their children out of school in term time for holidays/family events. This is not acceptable and has a detrimental effect on their school life, both academic and social. 

There are often significant educational events in school such as exit or entry points, knowledge harvests, formal assessments or assessment projects and tasks as well as informal assessments. If a student misses the introduction to a particular subject such as a mathematical concept it can mess up their whole understanding for months. We try to be accommodating with regards to catching up after absence due to illness, but we cannot repeat the curriculum for a child who has missed something, at the expense of the rest of the class’s progress. This also leaves teachers with missing information regarding a student’s progress and understanding (and the student themselves is left uncertain of their progress). Equally important is that students are missing learning experiences when absent from school. 

Please understand wholeheartedly, that absence from school is to be avoided if at all possible and that students with poor attendance can be reported to MINED as a cause for concern. Please also note that student attendance matters and is recorded as part of the academic performance. The school calendar is published well in advance to accommodate parents making holiday arrangements and there is no excuse for absence due to holidays.

Please also note that all students with long hair in the primary school must have it tied back away from their face for education and health and safety reasons. Starting on Monday I will be cracking down on this! A slightly tough stance to the start of term but our children will benefit if we keep to these guidelines.

Today Grade 1 had their entry point to two units combined ‘Hooray, we are going on Holiday’ and ‘Earth our Home”. As always with the IPC the students were totally engaged and really enthusiastic to get on with the work They travelled to different countries, some children had great adventures visiting the Serengeti or going on a river boat through the Bayou. The children learned about what is needed to travel and about different habitats and cultures around the world. They will learn about Nepal, France and Africa. They are more than ready for a brand new learning adventure! 

2nd grade camp will be taking place this evening on the school grounds. I know there are lots of exciting events planned. Students please look after our poor teachers! Mr Keslake and I will be popping in to check on things from time to time. A big thank you to those staff and parents who will be supporting the activity and the grade 2 team for organising it.

Also on Friday afternoon there is a late addition to the school calendar where our Grade 11 students will present a show for our Lower Primary students. This has grown from the Grade 11 ‘Circus’ event and has a Disney theme. Thank you to the students and staff for giving up their time to present this.

Best wishes for the weekend.

Mrs Short
Head of Primary

Dates for your diary

Lower Primary
January
Tuesday 26th: Prospective Parents Night - 6:00 pm - PAC
Friday 29th: Kinder Suárez assembly - 7:45 am - PAC
February
Friday 5th: Kinder Quintanilla assembly - 7:45 am - PAC
Friday 19th: Kinder Carbajal assembly - 7:45 am - PAC
Saturday 20th: Spring Fair 9:00 am - 12 pm
Friday 26th: Kinder González assembly - 7:45 am - PAC
Saturday 27th: Summer Carnival 2016

Upper Primary
January
Friday 15th - Saturday 16th: 2nd grade Camping night at the ABC campus
Wednesday 27th: 4th Navas Spanish Assembly at 9.20 and 12.15
February
Wednesday 3rd: 3rd Brenes Assembly at the PAC. 9.20 and 12.15
Tuesday 9th to Thursday 11th: 5th grade Camping, at the Portezuelo park
Wednesday 10th: 2nd Aviles Assembly at the PAC. 9.20 and 12.15
Wednesday 17th: 4th grade Spanish Assembly at the PAC. 9.20 and 12.15
Wednesday 24th: 5th Caceres Assembly at the PAC. 9.20 and 12.15
Friday 26th: Extracurricular Activities Session 3 Finishes 

Secondary News

Dear Parents / Guardians,

I hope you have had a great holiday. Hopefully our students have had the opportunity to relax and recharge and are now keen to start the new year with the energy and determination to do their very best in the months ahead. 

There are a lot of events in the coming months (please see the ‘Secondary dates for your diary’ below), but one event rapidly approaching is the Class of 2017’s Circus which this year is entitled ‘Enceptia’. Please come along (Thursday 21st or Friday 22nd of January) and enjoy what looks set to be a superbly entertaining Circus. I am certainly looking forward to it.

Mock Examinations 


Between Friday 22nd January to Friday 5th February Grade 12 (IB) and Grade 10 (IGCSE) have their mock examinations. Mock examinations are happening in schools worldwide and they have considerable value. Here are five ways that mock examinations can help students make sure they are on the path to exam success:

1, Motivating students to start revision early
Many students, and indeed adults, are procrastinators. This can be problematic, particularly in relation to preparing for final examinations. For many teenagers the final examinations in May/June feel like a lifetime away, so some will only really start working hard for them after Easter. By having mock exams halfway through the academic year here at the ABC, students have the opportunity to focus their attention and effort earlier.

2, Practising effective revision strategies
Some of the most commonly used revision techniques are actually the least effective, this includes highlighting or re-reading key passages. The main reason for their ineffectiveness is that they do not force students to think deeply and critically about the topic. Mock examinations let students practise revision strategies that are proven to be more helpful and discover what works best for them. 

Research has found the following revision strategies very beneficial: spacing out revision sessions (so that there is enough time to forget and then re-learn); teaching the material to someone else (this forces students to think about the material in a clear and structured way); and, switching between topics every now and then (which helps students build on previous revision sessions).

3, Improving knowledge
Testing yourself is an effective way to improve your knowledge and ability to recall information. Research has shown that students who do a practice test(s) after a period of revision do better in final examinations than students who do not have mock examinations and instead spend the entire time revising. We encourage students to see their mock examinations as a useful way of improving their knowledge and memory (rather than a unpleasant experience!).

Furthermore, it is obviously much better to have a disappointing mock examination (and result), than a disappointing final grade. Underperformance in mock examinations (although of course we would ideally like students to achieve grades in line with their actual ability) can act as a ‘wake up call’ that perhaps they need in order to do more work, change revision strategies and/or to develop the skills needed to perform under pressure.

4, Practising under exam conditions
Examination pressure (including for mock examinations - if, as we expect, they are treated seriously by students) can lead to nerves, anxiety, frustration and sloppy mistakes, culminating in a poor performance. For others, pressure allows them to concentrate more, work harder and perform better. It takes time and practice to perform well under pressure. If the final examinations are the first time students experience these conditions, it is gamble as to how they react. Mock examinations are a good opportunity for students to figure out and practise what works best for them. 

5, Identifying topics that need attention
Doing mock examinations at this point in the academic year gives students time before the real examinations to target areas/topics that need improvement. The results of mock examination can help students identify how they can best spend their time in the months leading up to the final examinations.

Once these areas are identified, it is then a case of putting in the hours. Of course it is not enough to think about what you need to do better, it is the action and the doing that really makes a difference.

In summary mock exams, if properly organised and approached with seriousness, can be incredibly beneficial for students. 

I hope you have a great weekend.

All the best,

Stephen Spicer 
Head of Secondary

Secondary dates for your diary
Friday 15th January: CIRCUS Pre show for younger children
Monday 18th - Friday 22nd January: Leadership Week
Thursday 21st January: Class 2017 CIRCUS
Friday 22nd January: Class 2017 CIRCUS
Friday 22nd January - Friday 5th February: Grade 10 IGCSE Mocks exams 
Monday 25th January - Friday 5th February: Grade 12 IB Mocks exams 
Thursday 28th January: Grades 9 & 11 Parent Teacher Meetings, 5:30pm PAC
Saturday 30th January: Mathcounts competition (CA)
Monday 1st - Friday 5th February: Black History Week
Tuesday 2nd February: Grades 6 & 7 Parent Teacher Meetings
Thursday 4th February: Grade 9 IGCSE Options evening
Monday 8th - Friday 12th February: Internet Safety Week
Friday 12th February: INSET Day for teachers (school closed)
Monday 15th February: Half Term Day (school closed)
Tuesday 16th - Friday 19th February: Grade 7 & 8 exams
Tuesday 16th February: Open Parent Partnership (Dr Guttfreund and Dr Barrios "Addictions in teens"), 6pm PAC
Thursday 18th February: Secondary school closes at 11:30am 
Saturday 27th February: Summer Carnival 2016 (organised by the Asociación de Padres de Familia)
Monday 29th February: Grade 10 IB Options Meetings and Cal 2 Reports, 5:30pm PAC
Monday 1st March: Grade 12 Parent Partnership and Cal 2 Reports, 6pm PAC
Thursday 3rd - Friday 7th March: Book Week
Monday 10th - Friday 14th March: Music Week / Brain Week and British Science Week
Wednesday 16th March: Grade 6, 7 & 8 Parent Partnership and Cal 2 Reports, 6pm PAC 
Thursday 17th March: Grade 9 & 11 Parent Teacher Meetings and Cal 2 Reports, 5:30pm PAC.
Friday 18th March: Last day of Second Term
Friday 21st March - Friday 1st April: Easter holidays (school closed)
Monday 4th April: Back to school - First day of Third Term