Dear Parents and Carers,
Term 1 has been an extremely busy and successful term. I have attempted to summarise it below but, as you can imagine, it is a difficult job to pick out the highlights from 16 weeks of amazing learning and teaching.
Mr. Craig Bull and his family joined us in August as our new Head of Secondary. He immediately got to work getting to know students, staff and parents and ran a number of presentations on his goals for the development of the secondary section. This coincided with the announcement of the building of our new secondary block – as I write this we are eagerly awaiting the contractors to move on site to start their work.
Our small Year 13 cohort have been an excellent vanguard in our introduction of the IB Diploma Programme. I was fortunate to listen to presentations on their Extended Essays that were superb and on a wide range of intellectually challenging topics. The students are also beginning to receive some really exciting university offers from around the world. This builds on the tremendous success we had in the iGCSE examinations this summer, where just under 50% of all our grades in our mainstream classes were A or A*. Joseph in Year 13, is to be highly commended as he received 3 awards for highest marks in the 2017 iGCSEs including highest score in the world in Global Citizenship. We were very excited to be involved in the World Scholars’ Cup Grand final in the USA. Ms Eaton and 3 students flew to Yale in Connecticut to compete against schools from all around the world. This is a celebration of Global Learning involving amongst other things the 21st century skills of Collaborative Writing and Team Debates.
The Primary school continues to thrive and I have really enjoyed being involved in a number of the IPC exit point this term. I have seen futuristic inventions, dinosaurs, models of building from around the world (including a Pink Floyd inspired Battersea Power station!) and chocolate making and selling. Key Stage 1 children have been learning to ‘Fred Talk’ their phonemes and Key Stage 2 teachers have relished team teaching with their learning support colleagues to help deliver a Maths programme that is tailored to the needs of all the children at DCIS. We have also altered our EAL model in Key Stage 1 for this year and this is proving to have a great impact on the children’s language acquisition, the model will be adopted in Key Stage 2 next year. Another memorable cameo for myself and the other SLT members was when the whole of the Primary School were introduced to the school’s vision statement through our superhero characters. If your child came home talking about 7 staff members in masks and capes, that was us – hopefully they can tell you all about the 7 key characteristics we were portraying (they are also on our website as a double check!).
Our Global Campus and STEAM projects across the school have captured the imagination of staff and students and we are really proud that a DCIS student is on the front cover of the NAE Creative Writing and Visual Arts Anthology for the second year in a row. Congratulations to Reyna for this accolade. A group of Secondary students led by Mr. Northridge participated in the first ever NAE Southeast Asia STEAM Festival at Northbridge International School in Cambodia. We were also honoured to host Dr. John Durant, the Director of the MIT Museum, earlier this term and he had the opportunity to meet with staff and students involved in our STEAM projects. Our House Days have really been embraced this term, Mr. Liperis and his band of staff organisers have run a variety of house events that included not only the traditional House Sports, but also challenges in other areas such as music and STEAM, have been introduced.
I was sad to miss UN Day - one of our biggest events of the year. As part of a CIS accreditation team, I was travelling to Adelaide, but I thoroughly enjoyed seeing all the fantastic photos and hearing the children tell me all about what an amazing day it was. I am extremely proud of our diverse community and how we celebrate it.
As we continue to develop our education outside the classroom initiatives, Year 5 and the Secondary school ran their trips this term. They visited 4 different countries which gave each year group the opportunity to challenge themselves. These trips extend skills and competencies starting with the Year 3 sleepover at the zoo and will lead to the Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Award expeditions in Year 12.
Our Performing Arts programme continues to go from strength to strength with Ms Dodson leading the introduction of the Juilliard Dance programme. We had our first visit from a Juilliard dance specialist, Donna Costello. She is back in March and we look forward to arranging time for her to showcase Juilliard Dance to parents. We were also delighted to welcome hornist Michal Emanovsky who ran a number of workshops and performed together with our school orchestra. The Juilliard visits are very inspiring for the entire school. The choir and orchestra have had a busy term culminating in the Christmas Concert as part of the DCA Christmas Fayre. The weather was less than kind but spirits were not dampened and they made everyone feel very festive. The choir once again performed at the Remembrance Service at Kranji. They did a fantastic job representing the school at such a moving and poignant service. I am grateful to Ms Whittington for leading both these music activities. We were also pleased to be involved in the IN Art exhibition at the Australian High Commission. This is a joint exhibition across all international schools in Singapore and so the standard was understandably high. Ms Kertrestel was very heavily involved in the exhibition, which runs through the Christmas holiday and I thoroughly recommend a visit. We look forward to our drama production later in the year – we saw an amazing number of students to the auditions and are looking forward to following the work of the cast next term.
We have seen a number of student-initiated charity events during the term, with a bake sale for Sulawesi, a canned food drive, our own Green Team getting us to ban plastic straws and last, but definitely not least, Grace, in Year 12 having her hair shaved off, live on stage, during a Secondary assembly. This was to raise money for the community work she will do in Tanzania later this academic year. It is heart-warming to see the enthusiasm and willingness to help others amongst our students. They truly are caring, global citizens.
The voices of our students were also heard during World Children’s Day, where I had the opportunity to meet with the various committees of our student councils and listen to their suggestions for an even better Dover Court.
Our sports programme continues to be very busy and successful. We have completed ACSIS season 1 and we are now half way through ACSIS season 2, having gone up a division from last year, in a number of sports.
Our first victories were with our cross country teams. We had about 75 students from Under 8-Under 19 represent us in the ACSIS Cross Country Championships. Particular highlights included Isa from Year 4 winning the Under 9 girls race as well as many top 10 places in the primary categories. Our outstanding Under 12 boys claimed a gold team medal for the first time in DCIS history – Zac and Zach coming first and second respectively. A superb effort by all competing against 22 ACSIS schools. The netball games have been underway with many fixtures played from Under 9 – Under 14. We have entered 7 teams with the highlight so far being a 3rd place finish with our Under 12 girls. Touch rugby was represented with our first ever Under 12 DCIS touch girls team. A number of great performances have seen improvements in each game. On the rugby field our Under 12 and Under 14 teams battled to some superb victories. The highlight being a silver medal in Division 2 for our Under 14 team. Basketball started in November and currently all of our Under 12 and Under 16 boys and girls teams are contenders for medals. In the pool, the ACSIS High school championships saw many Personal Bests broken. In this vein we have attended many galas and the standard of our swimmers keeps on getting higher and higher. The biggest sport at DCIS in terms of participation is football. We have fielded an incredible 17 football teams for both boys and girls from Under 9 - Under 16. There have been many exciting matches and even more goals scored. Each team has competed well in their respective leagues with some superb victories were recorded.
It is also great to see children bringing in their medals from sporting events they compete in outside of school. A number have made it onto our social media pages – an excellent way to celebrate success in and out of school. In summary it has been an extremely busy Term 1 for our PE team. We have competed in around 125 fixtures so far. We are very grateful to all of our supporters and teachers who help coach teams for us.
We were very excited earlier in the term when Monica Dolan and Charlotte Prince, Year Group Leader of Years 2 and 6 respectively, were nominated as Future Leaders at the BritCham Annual Business Awards. Ten of the staff community were delighted to attend the awards dinner and so proud to hear Monica announced as the winner. This is testament to the work we do on Staff Development, an undertaking coordinated by Mr. Rinaldi.
Finally, there is always a movement of children at the end of each term, that is the nature of international life in Singapore. We wish all our departing families the very best as they move onto another adventure and we look forward to welcoming new families in January.
We must make special mention of Annie and James in 11RL. They graduate from the school after 7 years and 12 years respectively at DCIS and are going on to college in Singapore. We wish them all the best in their adventures and look forward to welcoming them back to school so they can tell us how they are getting on with the next step of their learning journey.
As this lengthy term comes to a conclusion I am very grateful to the entire staff body who make all of the events detailed (and many more) possible. Their dedication to Dover Court and your children is unwavering, everyone without exception goes above and beyond every day. I am also grateful to the parent community – I know we have one of the most supportive parent bodies in Singapore ably led by our DCA. I am very proud this relationship and pass on my thanks to the DCA executive, volunteers and especially Karyn and Efe as co-chairs for all they do to ensure that our triangulated approach of child-school-parent remains at the heart of everything we do as a successful school.
Have a great holiday, a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year when it comes.