It feels strange to be saying “welcome” after almost three weeks of school behind us, but that’s exactly what I said in assembly on Tuesday morning this week. Because of the building work that has had to continue into the new school year, this was our first opportunity for the whole secondary school community to be together for the first time this year. We welcomed new students and new teachers to BISB, and of course we welcomed back the students and teachers who have returned to BISB again. (Full details of our staff can be found on the school website here.
A new year and a new beginning for us all, and one where I asked the students and the teachers to think about where they think we will be at the end of the year (or even further in the future, when we each will leave the school). Those of you familiar with the ideas of Stephen Covey will recognise this as his second habit; “Begin with the end in mind.”
Covey describes seven habits in all, but for me this one is the key; where a successful person looks to the future and plots a path that will eventually lead to where they want to be. A Year 13 student who will graduate this year, may have a specific university and course of study that they would like to enter in 12 months’ time. To get there they will need to achieve certain grades on their final IB Diploma examinations. Knowing this allows them to plan a revision programme that starts now! A Year 10 student just embarking on their IGCSE courses, may have a specific combination of subjects that they would like to study in the IB Diploma, and so needs to ask what it is they need to do in the IGCSE to be able to study those subjects. A Year 7 student just starting in the secondary school may not of course have a goal so clearly defined at this point in their education. I would hope however that they are curious about how past BISB IB Diploma graduates have earned their success, and that they will begin to take steps to emulate that success for themselves. They too can be ambitious for their own success.
Ambition, however, needs to be backed up by something else. To be successful, we need to be proactive in our efforts to reach our goal (this is Stephen Covey’s first habit). For students it is relatively simple to be proactive. It really is just a case of doing things right. Attend school regularly, because if you are not here, we cannot teach you. Turn up to class on time, because being punctual is a habit that says that you are reliable. Complete assignments by the deadline, and if you have difficulties, talk to the teacher a day or two before you are due to hand it in. Turning up to class and simply saying that “you could not do it” is not being very proactive. Asking for help with a smile, in advance of a due date, will produce a more positive response from your teacher.
BISB has a great community spirit, and I feel privileged to be here to help lead it through its next stages of growth and development. My door is open to students, parents and teachers alike. I welcome comments and suggestions for further improvement of the quality learning experience we provide our students with every day of the week.
Mathematics in Year 7 & 8
The changes to the delivery of the Mathematics programme in Year 7 and 8 are progressing well, with mixed groups being taught on a rotation basis for the first set of three units. One teacher teaches a specific unit, chosen because of the teachers’ specialist strengths, to each of three separate classes in turn. After one complete rotation, students will have been taught the same three units, by three separate specialists. At the end of the first rotation, the Mathematics department and I will meet to discuss the creation of three sets in the normal way. Parents will of course be informed of this decision as soon as possible after the completion of the first rotation. It is our intention to continue with the rotation of units taught by specialist teachers for the rest of the year, with three sets of classes per year group, rather than mixed classes that we began the year with.
At the beginning of term, a letter was sent home that stated that the mixed groups used at the start of the year would continue for the whole year. This was incorrect, and should have referred to our normal setting arrangement.
BMIS is committed to the continuous improvement of the curriculum offered to families living in Bratislava and surrounding areas. My aim will be to ensure the continued high standing of the school within the community and beyond, and to continually explore ways that we can achieve this.
One such initiative is the rotation system now being used in the Mathematics department, described above. Another initiative, will be the development and introduction of a new assessment and reporting system in Key Stage 3 (Years 7-9), details of which will be outlined to parents later this term.
Parent drop-in meetings
Finally, I would like to remind you that the first parent drop-in session with teachers is scheduled for Thursday next week 29th September 2016 (next week). I look forward to welcoming students and their parents to these meetings with subject teachers.
Head of Secondary