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Being Prepared for the Unexpected

28 januari 2016

It has been an unusual and very cold week for us all in Shanghai with temperatures dropping to well below seasonal norms and making the headlines for the coldest weather for 30 years. While the dusting of snow was a nice experience for the children, the freezing temperatures have not been so much fun for the roads or the water pipes. 

  • BISS Puxi

Early in the week the transportation system survived the cold freeze but unfortunately the water pipes have not. A major pipeline supplying the Minhang area has burst and, as you are aware, we consequently were required to close the school on Wednesday.

It is never an easy task to close a school at very short notice but despite only being informed that we had to close at 7am on Wednesday, we were able to quite effectively communicate with parents through a variety of means and caught almost all families before they had left for school. Of course we are always looking at ways to improve communication and so are currently reviewing a faster way to group email parents and also how we can use WeChat more effectively, as our corporate WeChat account restricts us to only one posting in a 24 hour period.  We do, however, want to thank our parent body, particularly our room parent network, for their support and effectiveness in sharing the message about our school closure. Your support helped us to inform parents quickly and minimise disruption for families.

Situations like this remind us that the unexpected does happen and highlights the need for good organisational systems to be in place to enable us to respond effectively. But they are also a reminder that staff, parents and students need to continually develop the personal qualities of resilience and adaptability to be able to respond quickly and cope positively with the demands of change and unpredictable situations. These are key qualities that we help develop in our students; through their formal curriculum, the learning experiences they are challenged with, the teaching approaches used, and the wide range of opportunities they have for learning beyond school. These are the qualities that help them to deal with their present better but also qualities that will prove invaluable to them in their future lives. So, as with all situations, we will use this as a means for students to reflect on their learning.

While our water supply has not fully returned, we are pleased to be back to normal today and for the students to be back in classes learning alongside their peers and teachers. Their special “home learning” day yesterday was a change of pace (and I am sure very welcomed by the children) but it is important that we promptly get back on track and keep the focus and momentum for learning for the remainder of the term. We enter another busy week as we head into Chinese New Year with some exciting experiences planned for all the students to celebrate this important festival and our cultural context here in Shanghai. We look forward to seeing the various performances and ending the half term next Friday with a Red Day (traditional Chinese costume or red clothing), dragon dancing and firecrackers.

Thanks for your continued support and partnership with school.

Niki Meehan, Vice Principal