I hope that you and your families are enjoying your holidays!
Please read this Opening Newsletter carefully, along with the attached Student Parent Handbook. Both documents will help provide new and returning families with useful information for when we return in the new academic year.
How did we do last year?
Across the entire primary division, we have been building on the success of recent reports from our accrediting bodies (Council of International Schools, Western Association of Schools and Colleges and the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme). Last year, our teachers continued to refine our instructional and assessment strategies, and we enjoyed a highly productive partnership with our parents.
During the last week of school, the youngest child from every primary family was given a complimentary anniversary edition of our Community Engagement Handbook. Please feel free to collect one from the primary office if you are new to the school or if you did not receive a copy last year. This handbook should provide you with a sense of the remarkable progress we have made in our commitment to engage meaningfully within and beyond our school walls. I am particularly pleased with the leadership skills being demonstrated by our students and the variety and quality of learning experiences that are being made available to them.
I am also delighted to report that our students’ scores on the International Schools’ Assessment (ISA) are surpassing the average scores of all comparative categories across every subject tested (i.e. mathematics, reading, narrative and expository writing). The comparative group for Mathematical Literacy, Reading, and Writing is the ISA Reference Norm of over 64,000 participating students from 312 international schools in 78 countries.
More significantly from my perspective, there has been significant value added to learning in these key disciplines for the student cohort whose achievements we have been able to track during the past 2 years. The cumulative gains resulting from our programme during the past two years in language and mathematics for this group of students is striking. For example,
- In 2015, 19.4% of this cohort’s total results sat in the bottom quarter of all students taking the ISA at this grade level. By 2017, only 2.7% of this cohort’s total results remained in the bottom quarter of all students taking the ISA at this grade level. This reflects an improvement of around 17% in two years!
- In 2015, 27.7% of this cohort’s total results sat in the top quarter of all students taking the ISA at this grade level. By 2017, 52.7% of this cohort’s total results sat in the top quarter of all students taking the ISA at this grade level. This reflects an improvement of around 25% in two years!
What will be new this year?
As always, there is a great deal going on. Here are some of the more significant changes for the upcoming academic year.
Faculty and Staff: Most of our teachers and Indonesian teaching partners will remain with us this year, however we say goodbye to Ms. Preeti Singh (Grade 4), Ms. Jess Bates (Learning Support) and Ms. Yeni Purnama (Music). Ms. Eta Okatviani, who assisted the student support team, will also be leaving us.
We warmly welcome Ms. Melanie Knudson in Grade 2 and her husband Mr. Shawn Knudson in Learning Support. They will be joined by Ms. Isti Tohara in Music and Mr. Noah Jon Marshall as the Head Librarian.
Ms. Yunita Made will start the first two weeks in Preschool while Ms. Siska Paramita completes her maternity leave. She will then resume her responsibilities as our Mathematics Enrichment Teacher.
Please note that Ms. Denny Purbandari, the primary office secretary, is scheduled to return from her maternity leave in November. She will be temporarily replaced by Ms. Indra, who will be juggling responsibilities between the counseling office and the primary office. We respectfully apologize ahead of time for the occasional error we are likely to make.
For your information, here is this year’s list of homeroom teachers
Preschool – Ms. Deb Plant & Ms. Siska Paramita
Kindergarten – Ms. Andria Hughes
Grade 1 – Ms. Denise Mulhaire
Grade 2 – Ms. Melanie Knudson
Grade 3 – Ms. Heather McNaughton
Grade 4 – Mr. Sam Watson
Grade 5A – Ms. Nadia Demolder
Grade 5B – Ms. Kristin Turner
Facilities/Resources: Over the next couple of months, the most significant work project will involve transforming our library into a newly refurbished two story learning space. As you know, the library is not likely to reopen before September 1st at the very earliest. We will keep you informed of progress as details become clearer.
In addition to this, we hope to find the newly constructed administrative buildings completed by the school field alongside our PTFA funded Community Courtyard.
Over the break, many of the large trees overlooking primary school buildings will be severely pruned to remove the risk of damage from large branches falling. This will look a little unattractive initially, but they should recover within a few months, and our students will benefit from a safer environment.
Programme: We will continue to build on the success of key priorities that were developed last year, while pushing ahead with new initiatives. These include,
- Committing to active community engagement within and outside our school walls
- Ensuring that assessment is integral to all teaching and learning
- Encouraging instruction that accommodates different learner needs, develops approaches to learning and nurtures international mindedness.
- Consolidating the school wide initiative to improve student learning in science and mathematics
A note about campus security
As we begin our new academic year, I would like to remind everyone about one of our security measures that relies heavily on adult cooperation. We ask all parents and staff to bring their ID Badges when they come to school. Please understand that you will not be allowed to enter the school campus without your ID badge. Please treat the school guards respectfully as they try to enforce this rule. This is one way for us to help maintain a safe school environment for our students.
Is there an orientation day for new students?
Yes, there is a general orientation for all new students and parents on Thursday, August 3rd between 09:00 and 12:00. Everyone meets in the Multi-Purpose Hall for a general introduction. Primary students and parents are then introduced to teachers and shown around the school. This is a good time to ask questions about lunch arrangements and school uniforms. The purpose of our orientation morning is to put new students and their parents at ease and to eliminate the anxiety that usually accompanies new situations.
On what day does school begin?
School begins on Monday, August 7th for most students. Some preschool students begin on Tuesday and Wednesday. This staggered start is a helpful way of maintaining a gentle transition for our youngest learners.
How does the start of the school day work?
All teachers arrive before 7:30. Playground supervision starts at 7:30, so parents are asked not to leave their children on the campus unattended before this time. Students and parents may go into the classroom from 7:30 onwards. The school day officially begins at 7:45. It is important that students are punctual for the start of the school day so that attendance can be taken and important routines established. We ask that all parents leave the classrooms before 7:45 so that teachers and students can focus on learning.
What if my child cries?
We ask parents to leave the classrooms at the start of the school day. Any parent who thinks their child may experience separation difficulties is invited to wait in the community courtyard for as long as you think necessary. Let the teacher know you are doing this. Some little ones become particularly distressed at being separated from their parents. We will come to you if this should happen and either bring you to the classroom or take your child to you. The teachers are skilled in this area and very often a child stops crying minutes after the parent leaves. If you are waiting, we will come by periodically to give you an update.
What about dismissal?
Students are dismissed from school at 14:45. Please note that all primary students, Preschool through to Grade 5, must be picked up by their parent, guardian, pembantu, driver or secondary school sibling. No primary student will be allowed to leave the main campus if not accompanied by one of these individuals. The classroom teacher must be aware of who is picking up your child. Students may only remain on campus if they are involved in the after school programme (which does not begin until week two) or if they are supervised by a school employee.
Primary students (accompanied by parents) may play in the primary playground area next to the primary office. School employees supervise the playground until 15:15 on days when it is not being used for after school activities. No student should be in the playground when school employees do not supervise it. Parents are asked to ensure this happens, as it is another way for us to help maintain a safe school environment for our students.
If children have not been collected from the classroom by 15:00 because of some unforeseen delay, classroom assistants escort them to the collection point outside Grade 1, so that they can be picked up by adults to go home.
If students have after school activities at 15:00, they are escorted by classroom assistants and left with activity supervisors. When activities end, parents or guardians must collect primary students. This parental responsibility is fundamental to participation in the after school activity programme. If children are not collected by 16:00, they are escorted to the collection point in front of Grade 1. They are then reported to the Primary Office, where this delay is recorded and parents are contacted.
What if we need to pick up our child during the school day?
If a student needs to leave the campus during the school day, the parent must inform the homeroom teacher and school secretary in advance. The Principal will then sign a form to allow the accompanied student to leave campus. This form should be given to Security at the gate upon leaving.
What happens if there is a last minute change of plan?
Last minute messages can be phoned through to the Primary Office. Our replacement secretary, Ms. Indra, can also be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org with less urgent messages. Last minute messages should be for exceptional circumstances only.
When do we get time to speak with the teachers?
There are many opportunities for informal chats with teachers when collecting students after school. Every Preschool to Grade 5 parent has access to any teacher in the primary school most days between 14:45 and 15:00. No appointments are necessary for these interactions and drop-in visits. If you need to see a teacher for a longer time, please make an appointment by email. Appointments are recommended for more formal meetings to ensure sufficient time is available to discuss the matter in hand. Later in the year, the school schedules formal conferences.
What can I do to help my child prepare for a new school year?
You can help your child by discussing all that is written in this Opening Newsletter and the Student Parent Handbook and by making him or her aware of the school’s expectations. This is particularly helpful for those children who do not speak English. Working together to achieve the same objectives is a powerful learning experience for our youngsters.
During the first week of school, students will be invited to sign up for after school activities. We try to encourage children, particularly those new to the school, to participate in this programme. It is a good way to socialize with peers and to develop interests in physical, creative and service activities. We recommend that you assist your child in mulling over some of these options.
We also suggest that you take the time to discuss healthy eating habits. Sweets are not allowed at school (unless they are part of a celebration). The school continues to work with the food providers to improve what is on offer, but it is important for families to reiterate the importance of maintaining a varied diet. Please note that all sweetened drinks will no longer be served by our food providers. Water is the only drink available. Students will be able to refill their water bottles as necessary.
Maintain a healthy, balanced lifestyle. Make sure your child gets plenty of rest and is in bed early. They will come home tired until they get into a new routine. Ensure that they are eating well at home and have opportunity for play and physical exercise.
Help them prepare everything they will need for school the evening before. Over time, it is important that they develop a good habit of taking responsibility for their own belongings.
Will there be an information evening?
Yes, Open House will be held on Thursday, August 24th. The afternoon provides an opportunity for parents to meet the teachers and familiarize themselves with classroom programmes. Typically, we gather in the Multi-Purpose Room for some general information and important announcements before dispersing to our various grade level teams. Grade level presentations are repeated for the benefit of parents with more than one child.
Are there important dates I should keep free?
Yes, our calendar is packed with events, some of which I have already referred to. Please keep yourselves informed of all that is going on. You will receive more information in due course.
In the meantime, here are a few important dates to keep in mind for Term 1.
- Thursday, August 3rd – Orientation for New Students
- Monday, August 7th – First Day of School
- Tuesday, August 8th – Morning Parent Presentation on Campus Security
- Thursday, August 17th – School Closed for Independence Day
- Friday, August 18th – Evening ‘Meet the Teachers’ Cocktails
- Thursday, August 24th – Primary Open House
- Monday, August 28th – Morning Parent Presentation on the PYP
- Friday, September 1st – School Closed for Eid ul Adha
- Monday, September 4th – International Day
- Friday, September 8th – BIS Literacy Day
- Friday, September 15th – Lower Primary Share (Preschool to Grade 2)
- Thursday, September 21st – School Closed for Islamic New Year
- Friday, September 22nd – Upper Primary Share (Grade 3 to Grade 5)
- Thursday, October 5th – Conferences
- Friday, October 6th – Last Day of School for Term 1
Can I become involved in assisting the school?
There are many ways to help enhance what the school is able to offer all students. Apart from the occasions when teachers ask for assistance with learning experiences, there is a menu of meaningful possibilities that directly benefit primary students. These include,
- Becoming a homeroom parent
- Celebrating diversity by welcoming new families
- Assisting with school organized curricular events
- Serving on the school board to help provide strategic direction
- Attending PTFA meetings to promote a sense of fun and engage with parent organized initiatives
- Participating in ongoing, school endorsed community engagement projects
- Assisting with after school activities to improve what is being offered.
These opportunities make a genuine difference to the learning experiences of our students. They also say something powerful to our children about how much parents value our school.
You will learn more about what is going on around the primary school from parent presentations/workshops, eNews, classroom blogs, emails and of course face-to-face conversations. We hope that with your support we will continue to nurture a positive home/school partnership.
I look forward to seeing you all in August.
Mr. Alan Lorenzini
PS: Here are some parting memories that were shared by our 5th graders during our final assembly. Some of these students had been with us since preschool
Grade 5 – Adele, Cynthia, Amelie, Jose, Finn, and Frances
One of the highlights of grade 5 was our overnight camp in East Bali. We climbed Mount Batur early in the morning and had breakfast on the mountain while watching the sunrise. The biggest challenge was our Exhibition. We learned a lot and got to take action connected to our learning. Finally, a funny memory was learning how to play water polo with underpants on our heads. Thanks Mr. Lennan
Grade 4 Lucas, Alex R. Leah, Choi, Josiah and Sara
Our proudest moment in grade 4 was organizing the grade 4 mart. We raised 11 million rupiah for WWF and Greenpeace. Another great memory was our camp. We went to treetops in Bedugul and camped over night at school.
Grade 3 Andy and Tony
In grade 3, one of our best memories was Joke Fridays. Once a week we got to tell jokes to each other and our teacher. We got to do some really great art, like making self-portraits and making stop motion films. Strangely, we also liked the homework in grade 3. It was not too hard and not too easy.
Grade 1 Uma, James and Ralvian
In grade 1, we remember having lots of different teachers and sharing the room with grade 2. We remember that art was a lot of fun and we got to do self-portraits. We also remember learning all about shapes.
Preschool – Alex S, Isabella, Nadia and William
Our strongest memory from preschool was when we had naptime and we got to sleep on comfy cushions. We used to trade bands with each other. Another big memory was the pregnant Barbie doll. We remember being afraid to close the door when we went to the toilet. We remember always burping when we were having snacks, and we used to do funny things like dress up as bumble bees and pirates.