If you are reading this letter then well done on navigating your way to our ‘OGC Primary Leadership Blog’. Do keep popping back from time to time as my team and I will be using this platform on which to communicate our thinking with you, our parent community.
Last week saw the beginning of our second cycle, and today we have been back at school for 19 days. It is opportune then to take this opportunity to thank you for enabling and supporting your children to have a very smooth transition back into this new academic year.
The faculty tell me that despite the ‘Learning from Home’ programme, the children are very positive, they are, for the most part, arriving on time for their lessons and that the teething issues experienced at the start have now mostly been sorted.
We have enjoyed hearing from you about your beginning online experiences and have taken up some of your suggestions to further support the smooth running of our programme.
When looking to make changes to our learning from home programme we ensure that changes are inline with our OIS guiding statements, the requirements of us as an International Baccalaureate World School, and our child safeguarding policy in particular the procedures around keeping our children safe online. Along with our awareness of these documents we also keep true to our experience and understandings around best educational practices.
We have heard your suggestions to lengthen the time for the online sessions and reduce the number of times our EY children need to log on and log off and these changes have been communicated to you through Ms Vani the Grade Level Coordinator for Early Years. Coordinators in other grade levels will keep you informed of the ‘tweaks’ to the ‘plan of the day’ as these happen.
One area that many of you have requested of us is to provide opportunities for one on one curriculum support for children. All of our teachers will be available from 1400 - 1500 daily to chat with the children they teach to support them in better understanding the concepts and skills taught, to clarify tasks, or to better understand feedback they are getting from their tasks. It is also an opportunity for parents to talk with teachers and also a chance for teachers to touch base with you and your child around their progress towards achieving their goals. I would hasten to say that this is in no way compulsory for children, and that should they avail themselves of these sessions that an adult must be in the vicinity of the child as per our OIS online safeguarding procedures.
At the beginning of every year we hold a session for our parents who are new to OIS and new to the Primary Years Programme (PYP). This year our PYP Coordinators from both the JVLR campus and the OGC campus have prepared a virtual session for parents new to the PYP (this will be on September 04) and you will receive more information from them about this.
In closing I would like to thank you for your patience while we have settled into the routines of the new academic year and for your continued support of us.
Have a great week ahead.
Head of Primary
I trust that this letter from me finds you safe and well wherever in the world you might be. My wife and I are still in New Zealand, and have been since the March Spring Break and I can tell you that we are both ready to be back in Mumbai. I had forgotten what a New Zealand winter was like and look forward to being back in the warm. These times are certainly interesting and have required, and will require, us to pull out all of our life skills and resilience in order to navigate a positive way forward. Wherever you may have found yourself over the summer break I hope that you have managed to find some time to relax, have spent time with your families and that you are ready for the children’s return to school next week on Tuesday (August 04, 2020).
Over the holiday break we have confirmed the staffing for the year. Over the last few days the full faculty and staff have joined for an orientation and professional learning programme, this has been an opportunity to say hello again to those returning and to meet new hires to our division. We especially welcome our new Deputy Head of Primary, Mr Aaron DeLane who, whilst still in Germany, has already settled well into our pedagogical leadership team and into the primary division. Our twenty new staff comes to us with a wealth of skills and experiences, and from a variety of backgrounds.
You will soon receive your child’s class for this coming year. You will note that unlike previous years, this year we have kept the class unit from last year the same for this year, with new students added to classes across grades. Your feedback before the summer gave us a clear message that keeping as much as possible the same, providing stability and a sense of the known would be important for our children as they start back with their ‘learning from home’ programme.
Our new Head of School has communicated that there will be a series of grade appropriate meetings on Monday where the structure of the start for the year will be a focus. I look forward to joining both new and returning parents at this time.
The first couple of weeks back to school are a settling in time, and this year throws up new settling in issues. Please know that we understand some children are anxious at the beginning of the year, that some children don’t like change, that some will have forgotten what they have to do and that some will find it hard to concentrate after having spent the last weeks on holiday and out of their school routine! Pastoral care is a shared parent and school commitment; in the first instance, please do not hesitate to speak to your child’s home room teacher should you have any concerns or queries during the course of the year. In support, parents are most welcome to make an appointment to meet with me and my leadership team through the School Secretaries; Ms Perpetual and Ms Violet.
“You can achieve anything when you walk in the company of those who believe in you.”
I am looking forward to meeting the children on their return to school albeit on a virtual platform and to meeting with you virtually at some of the many school functions planned across the year.
I would like to extend a very warm welcome to the 137 children and their parents who join our Primary School family this year and to our children and families returning for this 2020/2021 academic year. This year we start with 818 children, the highest beginning roll number in the primary division during my five years as Head of Primary at OIS. The staff joins me in wishing you all a very happy and successful 2020/2021 school year.
Head of Primary