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190819 head 3 (3)

Head’s Lines: Getting ready for another amazing year

Welcoming the whole school community back to St Andrews International School Bangkok...Get a rundown of the improvements both structurally and in terms of staffing over the holidays...We ask our community to make use of the special parking areas available to reduce traffic and congestion...We renew our recycling efforts this academic year.

 

Welcome back to school for the start of a new academic year 2019-2020. 

I hope everyone had occasion to experience a wonderful holiday and now feels fully energised and ready to spring back into school. It is always great to see old friends reuniting and chatting excitedly about what classes and teachers they will have this year, as well as the vast array of opportunities that lie in wait for everyone.

The atmosphere on both campuses was brimming with anticipation and enthusiasm on Monday morning as our school community brought life to our school buildings and learning spaces once again. Our teaching staff got a headstart on preparations last week, and walking around both Primary and High School over the weekend it was clear that their hard work reinvigorated classrooms and made them ready to welcome both new and returning students. A school only feels really right when there are children and teachers all working in unison at whatever challenges are planned for that day. From Monday onwards, school work commenced in earnest and everyone seemed happy to be involved.

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Our new staff, teachers, and teaching & learning support assistants have all settled well into their teams. There was a real buzz during our induction programme for new staff which became an even more positive when the main staff arrived back in school. I know our school community will give all our new staff their hearty support as they settle into life in Bangkok and Thailand.

Over the last few years I have worked very closely with our school administrative teams to review and improve our school processes, procedures and parent services. For this coming year Mr. Roy, whom I think everyone knows, has been promoted to the role of Director of Operations, where he will work closely with me and the administrative teams to further create positive developments and improvements for our school community. 

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Mr. Roy has always worked tirelessly for parents over the years through his role as the Director of Admissions and Marketing. He will continue to have management responsibility for this area and will still be very much involved in admissions, where parents have really appreciated his input and guidance. I know everyone will support Mr Roy in his new position as he has already been incredibly active alongside our administrative staff throughout the long vacation getting things ready for the start of school.

This year is going to be very exciting with our Juilliard programme. Last year we extended our Primary Dance programme into High School and took on the new Juilliard Dance curriculum.Last year the visit of the specialist Juilliard Dance teacher built on the enthusiasm that was already in our Dance and Music. There were some fantastic dance shows and opportunities students and parents to get involved . Our excellent Juilliard Music programme has been embedded well into all year groups being very performance based. This long vacation our Head of Creative and Performing Arts in the High School, Ms Shelley went to the Juilliard School in New York for an intense week of training for the implementation of the Juilliard Drama curriculum across our school this academic year. Miss Shelley said the training was really inspirational and will really build on the excellent drama and performance culture we have across our school. A Drama coordinator will be appointed in our Primary School who will work closely with the Year Teams ensuring that the excellent Juilliard Drama curriculum is implemented throughout the Primary School.

Vacation Work

During the long vacation, lots happened around both Primary and High School with lots of work undertaken to enhance the learning environment. 

There is a fantastic new walkway into the Primary School from Sukhumvit 71 following the entrance road into school on Soi 20/1. This means that families can safely walk into the Primary School if they park at Suk 71 area or get dropped on Sukhumvit 71.

There is also a new floor in the Sports Hall, and the Drama Studio and the Library have been renovated with new floors and air conditioning. The Library now has a great STEAM facility which will be a hands-on, practical problem solving resource once all the resources are installed early this term. The roof on the fourth floor of the S Block has also been made higher so that the Primary Gymnastics Centre is even better than before.

Our only disappointment at the Primary School is that we had intended and planned to have new walkways running from the Early Years-Key Stage 1 area through to the School Office, with a large covered area outside of the R block. These are the architectural impressions of the space we intended to create during the holiday.

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Unfortunately this work was delayed and now will not be able to be fully completed until the Christmas vacation. There are temporary covered walkways installed so that there is a covered walkway from the early years/key stage 1 area to the school office. I apologise for any inconvenience this causes we are working to finish these areas as soon as possible.

In High School there has been lots of small projects improving areas all around campus. There is now a Darkroom for photography in the Art department. Two more STEAM workshops have been created to allow this area of the curriculum to further expand. A lot of work has been undertaken at the High School to clear drains and install pumps so that the site can be rapidly emptied of water when we have the monsoon downpours that have occasionally flooded the sports field and running track in the past. 

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In the Blue Building, there have been changing rooms created on Floor 5 for our Dance programme, with the six Music rooms and three small instrument band rooms fully equipped and ready to fully support the broad range of musical and dance activities before, during and after school. On Floor 6 we have created another Drama Studio so there is an even wider range of Drama facilities available as we further develop the Drama curriculum and extracurricular opportunities with the implementation of the Juilliard Drama curriculum.

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Car parking and traffic

The first week has been incredibly busy at both campuses. Most of our parking issues have been at the Primary School as the limited parking at the front of school quickly becomes full, especially in the afternoon. We are now asking parents to make use of the additional parking at MaxValue and Suk 71 to alleviate some of this pressure and reduce traffic. The new walkway into the Primary School very much supports parents parking at Suk 71, giving them a safe pathway into campus.

The free shuttle bus services continue their regular routes from the Gateway, the High School and MaxValue Shopping mall to the Primary School. We will continue to monitor this helpful service to our school community and add more buses as demand grows.

High School parents and students are already aware there is only really a drop off area at High School which allows students to quickly and safely leave their transport to school before it leaves our site. Should parents want to wish to park and come into school they can park at the Gateway Shopping Mall for free for up to three hours with a parking voucher that can be obtained from the Security Desk and the Reception Desk in the School Office. The closeness of our High School to the BTS Skytrain really gives our older students a convenient and safe way to commute to and from school everyday.

Over the long vacation, our school has had discussions with our local police to control parking by members of our community in the no parking zone on Soi 20 and its sub-sois. Parking here is a strong contributor to traffic congestion and causes problems for the residents of the local community around our Primary School. The police will strictly enforce and prohibit parking in Soi 20. If the flow of traffic in this area is not markedly improved, we may be asked to close this access point, a result that would inconvenience a great many parents and students in our community. I humbly ask all parents to please refrain from parking in Soi 20 at any time, and instead, rely on the other areas that the school has made available to use.

Recycling

This year our school will continue to be a very active recycling centre. Building on the work that was done last year inside and outside of the curriculum, while also working in collaboration with parents and our PTG, we continue to recycle as much of the school’s waste as possible. We shall also be having special days where our school community will be able to bring in recyclable waste from home to further promote and ingrain recycling habits to make our school community more sustainable.

I hope everyone has had a very enjoyable start to the new school year and I look forward to seeing you in the next few weeks at the ‘Meet the Teacher’ afternoons.

School Calendar 2019/2020

The updated school calendar for the 2019-2020 is available here.

For parents with enquiries about Primary School, please contact officeps@standrews.ac.th">officeps@standrews.ac.th or Tel: +66 2 381-2387-8

For parents with enquiries about High School, please contact officehs@standrews.ac.th">officehs@standrews.ac.th or Tel: +66 2 056-9555.