Weekly Update #1, 28 August 2020
Wonderful Week One!
Dear Foundation and Primary Parents,
Our first week back has whizzed by and I can’t believe it is the weekend already.
The beginning of every school year is a special time for us all. We are always so full of excitement for the coming academic year. This year has been no exception. Indeed, due to the disruptions endured by us all last year; the start of this academic year has felt extra special. It has been wonderful to have the children back in school, and seeing them enjoying the company of their friends. I have been so pleased by the way our HeadStart pupils have settled into their school routines; new and existing pupils alike.
A warm welcome back to school. We are all looking forward to the year ahead. A year that will be full of exciting learning, hard work and lots of enjoyment. Wishing you all a fun and safe weekend.
Sam Khan, The Foundation Teaching Team, The Primary Teaching Team
After School Activities
Due to a number of factors this year’s after school activities will commence a little bit later than usual giving time for students and staff to settle into the routines of teaching and learning after a five month break. Boosters and EAL (English as an Additional Language) classes will commence on Monday the 14th of September while ASPs (After School Activities) and Academies will commence on the 28th of September. Extensive information on what classes are available and how to sign up for them will be shared with parents on the 4th of September, in next week’s update.
Self Declaration Forms
Just a reminder that if your child has or is returning to school you are required to fill out the ‘Self Declaration Form’ due this coming Friday, 4 September. This is a requirement by the Ministry of Education. We appreciate your cooperation in this matter.
Student Timetables & Appropriate Clothing
Student timetables are available on the Parent and Secondary Student Portal. We strongly advise printing out your child’s timetable and taking note of the days that your child has swimming or sports so that you can prepare the appropriate clothing and equipment. If you have forgotten to pack needed items, you are welcome to drop off a bag at the front office and if your child is in Foundation or Primary, our team will try their best to make sure the bag gets to your child. If you are dropping off a bag for a Secondary student, the student will need to make their way down to the office to pick it up by themselves.
Please also be reminded that students are to wear House shirts every Friday.
Back up Masks Requested
After a week of trial and error, we would like to ask parents to please send your child to school with an back up mask in case the one he/she is wearing gets lost or broken.
The Thai government has recently announced that 4th and 7th of September will be holidays in lieu of the April holidays (Songkran) which were missed. International schools have been instructed by authorities that they may continue operating as normal during that time which is good news for HeadStart as there have been numerous interruptions over the last few months.
Drop Off and Pick Up
At the start of every school year there is a lot of excitement surrounding drop off and pick up as most parents walk their children in and out of school, curious to see how their child is getting on and excited to meet the teachers. With over 750 students enroled at HeadStart, this does cause a lot of traffic. Once students (and parents!) are settled in and the After School Activities commence, the traffic is greatly improved as departure is staggered. Something to look forward to! There are a few rules that, if followed, greatly help all members of the community to be able to drop off and pick up children easier. Please do your part to show consideration for the community and follow these simple guidelines:
✅ Do not use your hand brake when parking in front of other cars. Failure to park in neutral may result in your wheels being locked.
✅ The ‘pick up and drop off zones’ are designed to be drive-throughs. Make sure your child is prepared with his/her school bag, shoes, etc., so that it’s a brief stop. ‘Kiss and go!’
✅ We would like to encourage Foundation parents to drop off your child between 8.15-8.30am and pick them up at 2.20pm. This will stagger arrivals and departures making more space for Primary and Secondary.
✅ Secondary parents should use the external Secondary car park. This facility has been designed as a drive through and should be quite straight forward. This will give preference to families with younger children who need to walk their little ones into school.
Departure After School
Secondary students are allowed to leave school premises once the school day is finished while all Foundation and Primary children must be picked up by a parent or guardian and accompanied by an adult when leaving the turnstiles. In order to avoid congestion at the end of the school day, we have opened the turnstiles at 3.20pm until we have a slower stream of students and parents exiting the building (most likely once ASPs start). 3 members of the senior members of management team will be at the exit to oversee students as they leave school making sure that all children in Foundation and Primary are accompanied by an adult.
Thai Parents Meeting
On Tuesday, 25th August, Kru Nee and Kru Dia presented information to the Year 1 Thai parents about the Thai curriculum at HeadStart, language options, policies and expectations as well as information about textbooks so that parents can work together with the school to help the students succeed in Thai class. -Kru Nee, School Director
Thai Parents Meeting Invitation on Tuesday, 2nd of September
I would like to invite all our new Thai parents who just joined us this academic year to a meeting with our Thai management team on Tuesday 2nd September 2020 at 8.30 - 9.30 in the Secondary Hall on the 4th floor. There will be a presentation to introduce the school, curriculum, school expectation and other important information parents need to know when sending their child to an international school. I look forward to seeing you all there. -Kru Nee, School Director
Year 7 Settling into Secondary
I am so proud of the Year 7 students for an amazing first week in Secondary school. They did a fantastic job transitioning from Primary to Secondary, despite not being able to have a “normal transition week” in Year 6 due to COVID. They are such a curious, sweet and resilient bunch of students and I can not wait to get to know them better throughout the academic year. Ms Letitia Bekker, Maths/Year 7 Homeroom teacher
Like mini versions of Miranda in The Tempest, Year 7s have set foot into their ‘brave new world’ of Secondary. In this new environment, self- discipline and independence become even more important traits, both in school and at home. I want to know that every student in my Year 7 White Homeroom is moving towards this; so for this week’s challenge, I charged them with taking a picture in a domestic setting indicating that they were becoming more independent and resilient. I am delighted in how they have risen to the challenge! -Mr Pollicutt, Head of English….and Year 7 White Homeroom teacher Click to expand pictures.
In order to better support our Year 12 and 13 students in English Literature this year, we have taken steps to improve the rigour of our assessment process by introducing ‘VIMAs’ (VI Form Milestone Assessments). These will be timed assessments, done in class at regular intervals, and designed to replicate the timed conditions of examinations. Students will not only benefit from this ongoing practice in a controlled environment but they will then also receive two pieces of rigorous feedback- a bespoke front sheet explaining what level they have achieved in each of the assessment objectives (AOs) and, more importantly, how to move to the next one.
Secondly, the whole class will receive a ‘content’ feedback sheet where the teacher will provide a written response indicative of how they themselves would have responded to the question. This is designed to ‘feed- forward’ into the students’ next essay practice and model the level of intellectual inquiry to which the students should aspire. I am delighted that we have such accomplished teachers offering A Level in the English Faculty this year. It will be a challenge to meet the 100% A- A* results achieved in 2019-20, but one we will all do our best to repeat.