Good bye from me

My time at SIS will come to an end at the end of this term on Dec 18th. I have spent the last 6.5 years working here with the best teachers and colleagues a person can ask for. I have loved SIS and the dynamic environment. I can look back at the past years and remember some of the achievements during that time. Regaining the MYP accreditation, re-writing the entire MYP curriculum, implementing ManageBac as our information platform and curriculum documentation storage site, maintaining our high academic standards in the Diploma programme despite doubling the number of students in the programme and the huge push of integrating technology into the school: These have been things that I have worked together with many fantastic staff members to implement at SIS. I see the improvements and know that the students of today would not recognise the school of 6.5 years ago. This is the hard work and devotion of many essential staff members.

The SIS secondary teachers are a fantastic group. I am not sure if all parents realise their strength and professionalism. They are devoted to making SIS a fantastic school and care about learning and your children. Disagreements with students and parents and differences of opinion are all part of a learning environment. I want to thank the staff who I have worked closely with over the past years; Our Coordinators, the Heads of Department, Dean of Students, the IT Department, Head of Admissions, Caretakers, Receptionists etc. These people keep the school working and they are the heart and soul of the organisation.

I will miss the many wonderful students I have met during my time at school. The fun times, the sad times, the tough discussions and the problem solving. It is so important to keep the ‘learning’ at the centre of everything we do at SIS. When making decisions I have alway tried to ask myself ‘What is best for the learning’. This has the most positive effect on the students. SIS has had so many stories of student success; the students going on to Cambridge University as well as  the student passing the DP when everyone doubted this would happen and becoming the first person in their family to attend University. Every student at the school has their own interesting story and I am confident that they will be strengthened by their time at SIS. I have seen ca 150 students Graduate from the IB Diploma Programme. It has been nice to walk with you for a short period of your lives.

A word of thanks to the many parents I have interacted with over the years. You are a tough crowd 😉 It is inspiring to work with such supportive, strong willed, intelligent, passionate and successful parents. You demand excellence for your children (and rightly so). Many of you work in fantastic companies, have super successful careers, are in charge of making the home situation work and or represent your country in Sweden. For me, the best part was seeing you as ‘the parent of your child’ – ‘Here is Michael’s Dad’,‘Sara’s mum’ or ‘Atusa’s parents’ Being supportive to your child’s schooling (however we define this) is more important than any career. Thanks for all the warmth, discussions, disagreements, emails and support over the past years.

I wish the current students all the best in their studies confident in the fact that they are in the hands of some of the best teachers around! I know they will succeed with whatever endeavours they undertake. I look forward to hearing the IB DP results for our current Grade 12’s as they were the class that began in the Secondary school the year I started.

Best wishes for a fantastic Christmas (whether you celebrate it or not) and a restful, safe holidays.

Kind Regards,

Kevin

Spirit Week

Pyjama Day at school today as part of our ‘Spirit Week’ activities. Felt strange getting dressed as normal, then changing into my pyjamas at school. Many students joined in the spirit and the amount of comments and talk has been great. Some quotes so far today:

  • ‘This should be our school uniform’
  • ‘It’s kinda like working from home, but at school’
  • ‘Very sexy’ (from a PTA parent! I’m worried about her eyesight)
  • ‘This is sooooo comfortable’
  • ‘You are very brave wearing that!’

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I hope there is no emergency today or a fire drill or even an important student issue.

CIS MSA Visit

Time to kick off our 18 month preparation time for the continued accreditation with the CIS MSA organisations. The school hosted two peer visitors from Council of International Schools and the Middle States Association of Schools and Colleges. Our visitors met with many people and gave us lots of feedback for areas of school improvement.

Middle States Association & Council of International Schools

These are two excellent organisations and we are very proud to be fully accredited member schools. There are two schools in Sweden that have this status (The other school is in Gothenburg) We look forward to continued cooperation with these organisations. We have 3 staff members, including myself, who are approved and used by CIS as peer visitors.

Should I be worried?

Walking down the corridor at 6pm on a Friday night, I was confronted by this sign. 

  
Grade 9 social evening with a pre Halloween theme was just getting started. Lots of fun, some music, food and ‘chilling’ with each other. The teachers generously giving of their time on a Friday night. 

Information, Information and more information

Two important and enjoyable meetings this week.

Grade 11 parents ‘kick off’ meeting. Many parents came, enjoyed some food and refreshments, talked with fellow parents and heard information about the Diploma Programme. Great to share experiences and meet all of the teachers. The two year Diploma journey has begun!

Grade 10 Personal Project evening. Parents and students listened to an overview of the Personal Project (culminating activity of the MYP). Students who completed the Personal project last year came and gave their wisdom about their Personal Project ‘journey’. Thanks to these students.

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A pleasure meeting with parents ready and willing to support their children through the challenging work required at SIS. School and home working together is certainly the secret to success.

“None of us is as smart as all of us.” –Ken Blanchard

UCL and Kings

Continuing in the tradition of University visits, both University College, London and King’s College, London visited our school to present their Universities. We have several graduates attending these Universities and I know these two establishments want to continue having contact with our school. It was interesting to hear what these Universities look for. Good IB scores are essential; however, most students applying to these two prestigious Universities have that. They are looking very seriously at the Personal statements submitted by the students in UCAS. The students need to answer the questions; Why does the student want to study that subject? What connection do they have to the subject matter? What makes them special? etc…

This was very early for our Grade 11’s, who have just settled into the routines of DP1; however, we hope it started a process of thinking about their future lives.

School photos and things

Had a lovely chat to the photographer who came to take the school photos. She told me what a pleasure it was working with the teachers and students at our school. I walked away with a big smile on my face. 

The week has been busy settling back down into the routine after school camps and DP activity week. There has been some really nice signs that new students are making friends and becoming part of the SIS family. We are still receiving applications and our numbers are increasing. Fascinating with new families each with their individual story. 

I sat with some boys during lunch today and joked about the lack of vegetables or salad on their plates. Then I remembered what I was like at that age.  Some things never change!

Nice to see our new teachers opening up and showing the potential that we saw during the entire interview and hiring process. The teachers are the strength of our school. Warmth, competence, intelligence, purpose and strength of character are some of the many characteristics of our staff. Very proud to work with them. 

Past pupils passing on their wisdom

It was with great pride and satisfaction that I listened to 3 SIS IB Graduates talk to the Grade 12 class this week. They spoke about their experiences during the final year of the IB and passed on their tips and ideas.

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The girls spoke well, were open and honest about their experiences and shared freely of their thoughts. The tips were practical and applicable for all students. Planning your time, working hard to keep  dates, using a calendar app, starting University investigations now, revision courses and getting your paperwork in order for University applications were all good tips. Studying collaboratively was strongly recommended and something that reinforced the work done in class.

We wish the girls all the best in their Universities in the UK and USA, and would welcome them back on any occasion.