Dear DCIS Parents and Guardians,
We wish all our families a happy New Year and hope you had a great holiday if you managed to get away. The office was working over most of the break and we all agree that it is wonderful to welcome back our parents and students. A school building is a little too peaceful without them! We had a very successful staff training day on Thursday and Orientation for our 120 new students today (Friday). As usual I am indebted to the DCA for the support they give us in welcoming and helping to settle our new families. The DCA Christmas Fayre was a brilliant success and we look forward to the Movie Night next month.
We are pleased to conduct a Parent Workshop Survey to gain some invaluable feedback about our current workshop format and content. We hope you can take just a few moments to fill out this survey and provide us with some additional input on the scope and framework of these well-attended sessions. Click here to participate in the survey.
We had an outstanding end to Term 1. DCIS students were individually ambitious and submitted fabulous entries to the Global Campus Creative Writing Competition; our entries are available to view here. We are also very excited about our new collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Boston and have had a number of entries from children in Years 5 – 8 to visit MIT in May. The next phase will be judging their invention ideas so we can pick the final four to represent us in the USA.
If you received a new smart phone or tablet for Christmas (or if you already have one!) then you will be able to download our new Dover Court App. It is available on the Apple and Android App Store by searching for 'Dover Court International School'. It provides links to all crucial information about school life including the calendar, contact details and e-learning links. The app also has a messaging system, so you can receive messages through the app as well as through our normal channels. We are very excited to launch this to our parent body as the app has all the key links and information in one location that is easy to access wherever you are. I was in remote West Papua for the holiday and I took great delight in checking the school term dates on the beach through the app! We have been working hard over the last half term with our app publisher and we always welcome feedback if you have any comments on the app (or any other aspect of school life).
We completed the two shading projects over the holiday so the double court and swimming pool now have protection from the sun. There was a lot of other minor work including painting and new signs so the school is looking fresh and ready for the new term. Having had it in my line of sight out of my office window since August, I am personally pleased that we have now removed the broken barrier which (in my opinion) had become an eyesore. As you know we are undertaking a review of our security throughout this year and so we will replace this with an operational alternative. Our library upgrade continues and news of this will be shared later in the term. The Sensory Room will also open this term giving a valuable resource for our children. A full review of the extensive developments over the last three years at DCIS is available here in our DCIS Development Update.
Accreditation and Recruitment Updates
I have said this before but no term at a successful school is quiet and Term 2 will be especially busy. In late January we host two colleagues from IB schools to verify our application to run the IB Diploma Programme in August. We have already launched our Year 12 mainstream programme with the opportunity for partial scholarships for some students, with further details on our website. In February we host visitors from FOBISIA and CIS to finalise our memberships with those organisations. I have been privileged to show DCIS to a number of colleagues from around the region and world over the last five months and these visits will be no exception. I head back to the UK in two weeks for our annual recruitment programme. There is always movement in international schools but I am very pleased that this year we are mainly looking for the new teachers we need for the expansion of the Secondary School. We have had over 300 applicants for the nine jobs we advertised which is also very satisfying.
Term 2 Celebrations
Our revamped UN Day on the 17th February will celebrate our new link with UNICEF and the UN Development Goals. We are also looking forward to celebrate our 45 year anniversary and are extremely proud to have been part of the Singapore education community for such a long time. Our longevity in Singapore ensures we can continue the Dover Court legacy and not only be a school that truly serves the community it operates within but also provides the advantages we have from being part of the Nord Anglia Education family. We are very honoured to be part of the Dover Court heritage developed over the last 45 years.
Campus Traffic Management
As you will be aware we recently performed a major upgrade of the school road and parking system. I know this has been very well received and has greatly improved traffic flow at peak times. We now have a clear sign asking people to turn left at the start and end of the day, parking areas have been clearly delineated between buses and cars and ‘No Parking' areas are now clearly marked. The number of issues with cars in the wrong place has greatly decreased but we still have some concerns which I will highlight below. We do have staff on duty but their role is the safety of children not policing traffic so we really do ask for your cooperation in following our signage and the requests of our staff:
- Please drop off at the top of the roundabout. We do have staff to help younger children where needed.
- We do currently have a small amount of parking in the morning and afternoon. If a space is not available, do not stop in the bus area or on the double yellow lines – please drive to the drop off point as above or the park at the Polytechnic. We have just starting issuing ‘parking tickets’, the aim being to remind people if they are parked in the wrong place.
I recently met with the LTA to discuss the road management on Dover Road. They support our aim to get cars and buses to turn left at busy times. They are happy to consider blocking the median in the road but that will mean traffic will always have to turn left and will not be able to turn right (if coming from Clementi Road). We think this might cause other issues so we do not want to go down that route unless we need to.
We also discussed the road crossing for pedestrians. They are concerned about the cars waiting to pick up at the end of the day but are seeking clarification from the Police as to whether we are able to put out cones to keep the area around the entrance free and improve visibility for children crossing the road. The LTA do careful studies of traffic flow and they do not feel the vehicular or pedestrian traffic is heavy enough to justify an additional managed crossing. I also recently met with the Principal of Singapore Polytechnic but their students do not have a large need to cross Dover Road as their transport is mainly centred around the other side of their campus. We will continue to monitor this and we remain concerned as, despite the rumble strips recently put in as a result of earlier requests to the LTA, the traffic moves quite quickly around the corner. I know the issues with timing arrival on Dover Road coincide with our buses leaving and allowing vehicular access, but to assist with keeping to road crossing as safe as possible we would be grateful if you could not wait (or ask your taxi/uber to wait) around the entrance to the school on either side.
Recent events such as the Trunk or Treat and DCA Quiz are great examples of us having a fantastic supportive community at DCIS. Essentially, safe traffic flow comes down to all members of the community following our guidance to ensure we have an efficient (and safe as possible) start and end of the school day.
Our extensive programme of Parent Workshops continues this term. We look forward to seeing you at these or at any other time you visit the school. Please refer to our App or the Parent Handbook if you have any questions about school life. Both the App and Handbook also have links to contact details should you need to ask any questions.
I wish you all the best for a great Term 2.