Dear DCIS Parents and Guardians,
I am so thrilled to be writing an end-of-year letter to you after what has been such a busy and successful year. As I have said before I was made to feel very welcome from the very beginning and it has been a pleasure to get to know students, parents and staff over the last 12 months. We have a truly remarkable school and I hope you enjoyed your copy of our DCIS Yearbook to remind you of all the marvellous activities through the year. There are still copies of the UN Day Recipe Book available in School Reception, if you would like to stop by and collect one.
I would particularly like to thank the DCA for their invaluable work for the DCIS community. The academic staff were delighted to be surprised on Monday afternoon by the DCA Appreciation Tea. The rapturous welcome by the children, the wonderful messages — and, of course, the lovely tea and cakes — put a smile on everyone's face.
The events through the year and general support from the Committee and volunteers have been tremendous. I am especially grateful to our outgoing DCA Chair Zoe Hancock, for her sterling work over the last 2 years in building the DCA into the organisation we have today.
As I mentioned in my introduction to the DCIS Yearbook, I am very proud that we finish our 45th year with three external validations of the great work our students and teachers do every day. FOBISIA, CIS and the IB also give an opportunity for expanded opportunities across the region and further afield. Our students will be involved next year in competitions against schools across the region and our staff have already benefitted from training opportunities here in Singapore and elsewhere. We look forward to launching our first IB Diploma Programme cohort in August. Another organisation with which cemented our relationship with this year is the Singapore National Youth Achievement Award. This is the Singapore equivalent of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award scheme run in the UK and the DoE International Award run in many other countries. We ran our first Bronze Awards, including a very successful visit to Pulau Ubin for the "adventurous journey". This involved a long hike of 2 days and camping. We also launched and ran expeditions from Year 3 – 11 from locations as diverse as Dover Court International School (Year 3 sleepover!) and various countries around the region, including Cambodia and Myanmar. These expeditions increase in their challenge and complexity, culminating in the NYAA Gold Award.
Our involvement in Nord Anglia Global Campus activities has also gone from strength to strength. We have had a number of visitors from Julliard through the year to help augment our music programme with masterclasses to supplement to work children do in their regular lessons around iconic works. We have run three performing arts festivals this year and this will be expanded with the use of external professional venues
One of our students, Harry in Year 3, won the global prize for our Art competition and his work will be featured on the front cover of our annual anthology of art and writing distributed across all 45 schools. We have also run successful expeditions to Switzerland and Tanzania, students came back with amazing stories and memories. Two special trips this year include 4 pioneering students going to MIT in Boston to complete a week of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics) challenges at one of the top ranked universities in the world. Two of our teachers followed up with a trip back to MIT two weeks ago where they trained for the STEAM challenges we will run in school as part of our ongoing collaboration with MIT. Two of our students join forces with students from seven of the other NAE schools in Southeast Asia to fly to New York to join a global group of Nord Anglia Education students as they attend the UN High Level meeting on the UN Global Goals. All these opportunities, especially the latter, afford students a fantastic opportunity to challenge themselves intellectually beyond what they do in the classroom as well as to develop key skills such as leadership. To be given the opportunity at the age of 15 to address a meeting at a UN conference is truly an exceptional experience.
We are proud of the campus developments that have taken place this year and we look forward to unveiling our future development plans during the next academic year. Full details of our recent developments can be found here. Over this summer we will make further enhancements:
- Decking to enlarge and enhance our Early Years shared areas;
- Further outdoor play space for Early Years;
- New rooftop garden area for Lower Primary;
- Barriers at the main entrance, and a gate on the side road to improve security;
- Shading on the seating area of the sports field;
- New Science laboratory;
- New equipment for Science and DT
- New sound equipment and curtain mechanism for Cooper Hall to enhance Performing Arts;
- General maintenance around the school
- Other classroom changes to create a Counselling suite
- Further classroom provision
We are looking to build a new block (to open at Christmas) which will include further shared facilities for students and extra specialist areas as well as some new classrooms. We will have some temporary arrangements in place for two classrooms for Term 1 but they will not affect our ability to deliver the curriculum.
You may have noticed from the different uniforms that we have changed our facility suppliers: Sodexo started with us this week. We are also changing our catering contractor over the summer and will give more details about this before term starts. Chartwells, our outgoing catering contractor, has put a process in place to refund any accounts that have a credit left in them. Please email Jack.Chee@compass-group.sg and they will process the refund and issue you with a cheque.
We have also made some changes in our staffing to improve our provision at school. Alison Ford has been appointed School Counsellor and she will work closely with staff on further developing our support for students, especially as we start to prepare students for university entrance. Andrew Marshall will continue as Deputy Head after Kiara Gray returns. He will take over responsibility for the DSE and EAL (English as an Additional Language), as well as further developing opportunities, such as the ones highlighted above, to ensure we challenge students both in and out of the classroom.
2017-2018 Orientation information will be launched on the Parent Essentials website and sent out over the next few weeks. Preparation for the next academic year is well underway and our administrative offices remain open over the holiday period, although the working hours are slightly reduced to 9am – 4pm.
I hope you and your children have a restful break and, if you manage to get away, a great holiday.