Welcome to the monthly update from the Northbridge International School Cambodia Parent Council, which follows their regular meeting and discussion. Here are the topics that were addressed at this month's meeting.
Due to the ongoing health issues, the Parent Council raised the following hygiene concerns in school:
1. Toilets: Parents gave feedback that some toilets in school can be dirty, or seem like they're not regularly cleaned. Also, it can take a while for the flush to work. Mr Richard explained that the school has a daily cleaning schedule, which is noted at the door of each toilet. However, the school is currently hiring new cleaners, and providing training to help improve standards. He asks parents to take photos of any dirty areas so that he can show to the Facilities Manager directly, and he'll also discuss the flushing issue.
2. Temperature Checks: The PC suggested the school carry out temperature checks on students twice a day, but Mr Richard advised it’s not necessary as teachers and TAs both constantly observe students in the classroom, and will send any unwell children directly to Nurse Cherry for check-up. If they have any high temperture, they'll be sent home.
3. 14 Day Quarantine: The PC asked whether the school would consider quarantining people who travel outside of Cambodia from coming to school for at least 14 days. Mr Richard responded that the school might consider this for those who travel to high risk countries, but would make a decision accordingly to advisory information.
4. Clean Campus: The PC commented that not all of our students are taking care of the campus, with trash sometimes left on the field after activities. We request that the school educate students that keeping the campus clean is everyone’s responsibility. Therefore, the PC suggests the school allocate one day per month for a schoolwide Clean Up Day, both inside and outside the classroom.
Different Teachers, Different Approaches
A few points about teachers were discussed:
1. The PC commented that different teachers have very different teaching approaches. For example, some children have enough homework, some never have homework; some receive a lot of teaching information or pictures from Seesaw and Classdojo, while some only get the weekly newsletter.
2. Some students do not get feedback from teachers after their homework is submitted. The PC feels it is necessary for the teacher to mark students’ homework or give comments.
3. A few parents gave feedback that in the middle of the term, if they check with teachers whether their child is doing okay, the teacher always answers that everything is fine. However, when they get the term reports, results show their kids are not actually doing well. Therefore, parents hope teachers can be more direct and work together with parents to help students.
4. Based on the above experiences, the PC commented that the school should have a standard teaching approach to minimize the differences between different teachers. And in terms of homework, the PC suggests that besides the standard mandatory homework issued, teachers could give some optional homework for children that like to do more.
6. The PC also suggests class teachers give out one reward certificate weekly for those kids that perform well or have the best progress in a certain area, which the PC thinks will be very encouraging, especially for the younger children.
Mr Richard appreciates all the honest feedback, and said he would discuss with his team on how to improve on the above.
The PC wonders whether it is normal to assign teachers from other areas as substitutes if the class teacher is absent, for example a PE teacher substituting in a Primary classroom.
Mr Richard explains that this is very normal in international schools. Usually, schools use internal or external substitute teachers, and he prefers to use internal ones because they are more familiar with our curriculum and students. He also said that if the absence of the class teacher is scheduled, the teaching plans are prepared by the class teacher in advance and then passed to the substitute to deliver to the students.
The PC wanted to know if the main tools for communication between teachers and parents in Primary is Seesaw or ClassDojo, because some parents are using both, while some only know Seesaw. Parents suggested to Mr Richard that it’s better to just use one tool to avoid any confusion, and he said he would consider the suggestion and discuss with his team.
The PC commented that there are two weeks holiday during Khmer New Year this school year and, added to the one week holiday in February, whether school has too many holidays.
Mr Richard explained that the holidays are actually allocated evenly during the term to maximize the performance of both studentx and teachers. We have two weeks holiday during Khmer New Year, while the summer holiday starts one week later than usual. Our school still meets the standard number of school days of international schools, which is 180 days. Therefore, the number of holidays is actually not changed.
The PC noted that taekwondo and karate LEAP lessons are now held in the Secondary Cafeteria, while parent Zumba lessons had to be cancelled because there was no available room. Accordingly, the PC wonders whether the school has plans to add more buildings. Mr Richard revealed that the school does indeed have plans to expand in the future.
A Grade 2 mum gave feedback that the school curriculum has improved this year, for example the use of the Singapore maths system and online math practice. Her child has regular spelling and writing homework, and the teacher also gives feedback on her homework. The PC hopes that the school can ensure all kids have this kind of educational standard.
The PC requested that spot checks on the quality food and drink standards and overall cleanliness of Cafe Blends be carried out to ensure that it is meeting the high standards expected of it, and Mr Richard agreed this was a good idea.
The PC thanked the school for providing the opportunity for sibling and family photos by the professional photograper who recently visited. They only hope that more families will be able to join next year, and Mr Richard agreed that the school can look at reviewing the photography schedule for next year.
The Parent Council meets at 8am every first Tuesday of each month in the Hub Boardroom. The dates are marked in the school calendar. If you have any topic or concern that would like to discuss among the parents, feel free to join the meetings or send an e-mail with details to email@example.com.