We take the students on these Grade Level excursions to help them challenge themselves outside the school environment, whilst still remaining within the NISC community that so many of them have grown up with. In addition, of course, it is a chance to form that important bond between the Advisors, the DP Coordinator, the Grade Level Leader and the student body, and also for the students to really appreciate the strengths and concerns which their peers also bring along.
It is difficult to imagine finding the time within the normal working week for such social and emotional interactions to occur. The fact they the Grade 12 students were sleeping together in dorms of up to ten people would have been such an alien experience to them, and yet they learnt very quickly how to manage that proximity in a socially adept manner.
When the power cut off at 11:00 p.m. on the final night when they had already settled to their individual rooms, of course everyone had to come out of the dorms and investigate what had happened, but I can happily say that everyone took it in their stride, understood the issues, and waited until the problem was solved, and then just settled again within their own appropriate community.
As the person in charge of their care at that time, I really appreciated their mature and sensible approach to a potentially difficult situation. These learning experiences can only come when the students are removed from the carefully guarded environment they live in at NISC itself, but still happen under the watchful and protective eye of the professional and informed members of staff who have their duty of care at the heart of everything which we do.
Choosing to do the Grade 12 ALC this early in the year was a challenge, but I know Ms Sarah, Mr Jeganathan and I think that the benefits will be long-term. It is already clear that the interactions within the year group are very positively supportive in both academic and social environments, and we are hopeful that that will, in the end, be reflected in the outcomes they achieve as a year group at the end of the academic year.
All-in-all it was a really memorable three days for them, and definitely grew the bonds between them, and I hope the staff too, which will help them throughout this very difficult year.