Any of you ever seen the episode of ‘Glee’ that touches on Arts education? Sue campaigns for political power based on her idea that Arts Education is flakey and a waste of money. She should have been in my shoes the last few days seeing our Music Evening and our Graduating class Vernissage. The skills, knowledge, passion, depth of thought and energy that went into producing these events was remarkable.

The music evening was full of fun, diversity and talent. We had small and larger groups playing and singing music including newly composed work to Korean Pop. The students shined with pleasure according to their age. The six year olds grinned their toothless smiles and the secondary students nodded their head in time with the music looking very cool.

The graduating Art class displayed their works for friends, staff and family. The culmination of two years thought, trial and error, experimentation in painting and sculpture on display for all to see……….pretty daunting..(not to mention being examined on this work) The nine students can be very proud of their efforts. They publicly display their inner selves in art for someone to try and understand as they stand and look at the work of art.  How can this personal expression be conveyed in a short moment to a viewer seeing the work for the first time? Yet somehow we do. We can see the emotion behind a painting or artists intent. We can hear the passion and fun in a singers voice or instrumentalists sounds. I don’t know about you, but I would not support Sue from ‘Glee’ in her campaign, rather encourage my children (and myself) to get involved in the Arts.


The IB DP @ KCL in the UK – (I love acronyms)

Just wanted to pass on the following tidbit of news from the IB regarding recognition of the IB Diploma Programme in the UK. It comes from the Regional Director of the IB, Mr.Adrian Kearney.

‘I am writing to you to ensure that you are aware of the news from King’s College London concerning their offers to IB students. King’s College has formally reviewed its position on the IB Diploma Programme in order to ensure that IB students are made an appropriate and fair offer.

It is a great compliment to the quality of an IB education that Professor Sir Rick Trainor, Principal of King’s said: “King’s welcomes the great sense of energy, determination and diversity that IB students bring to the College, and how well they adapt to an academically rigorous study environment and university life”.

This College is ranked 18th in the UK in 2013. SIS has 2 DP graduates from the last two years attending Cambridge. (Cambridge is ranked No. 1). London School of Economics (ranked No. 2 in 2013) came to visit SIS last year encouraging Diploma students to apply to their school. These are all GREAT signs that the IB Diploma Programme is getting the recognition it deserves. 

People underestimate a good folk song

Folk music is an acquired taste. Maybe not as glamorous as Lady Gaga or Swedish House Mafia, but very important in changing peoples opinions, raising awareness of an issue or provoking thought. Think of Dylan, SImon and Garfunkel, Woodie Guthrie and even the Swedish singer songwriter, Ulf Lundell. I am meeting again with my Personal Project student regarding his project. (Personal Project is part of the MYP5 requirements) He has researched and written a song and will perform it playing guitar in the style of the great folk singer songwriters. What a brilliant choice of project for this music, socially aware student.

The creativity and opportunity for self expression is the great part of the Personal Project. Maybe the song, written by the student I am supervising, will become a number 1 best seller? or maybe make people aware of the issues taken up in the song?

I can’t wait for the Personal Project evening to see all the Grade 10 students projects. The array of topics and products will surely be as diverse as the creativity within the Grade 10 student group. Maybe more folk songs? Maybe a folk song revival in 2013?? 

‘SIS is alive….. with the sound of music’

SItting in my office now after most students have gone home, I’m listening to the students participating in the After School Music Programme. Having worked as a music teacher for over ten years, I love listening to students beginning their journey playing an instrument. Small passages of recognisable melodies inter-twinned with squeaks, honks and scratches on a wide variety of instruments, makes me smile. There are almost 70 students learning an instrument in this school. This is between 10-15% of the student population (and growing) which is great!

Why work in schools or work as a Principal???

For those of us lucky enough to work in schools, we know what dynamic places they are. Never a dull minute, with ever changing activities and challenges.

I chose to become a  School leader due to the ‘good’ that I could achieve in this role. I could use the influence of this position to leave the world a better place than when I entered it. Sounds kind of ‘cheesy’ but something I am sure all teachers believe in too! Becoming a Principal allows you to make sustainable, significant changes in the lives of young people at school. I strive to make things better for the students at the school by using myself as the main resource; my skills, my experience, my passion, my interest in learning and my values as an educator.
It is fantastic to be part of an institution that does so much good work (on so many levels); that prepares students for the future; that develops young minds; that is a positive role model for students to choose to follow; that inspires young people to strive to reach their dreams, to give them opportunities, to inspire them to work towards their goals.
I want to achieve these things through cooperative teams, supportive parents, through inspired teachers, good strategies and structures that lead development. Using heart and brain; passion and logic. A school where there is a balance between academic competence and social empathy is important. Teachers who inspire, who coach and support every students dream for the future. Everyday  at SIS I see examples of these things. I’m sure you are jealous!