LIBRARY NEWSLETTER

The April edition of our library newsletter is now out.

To read it please click HERE.

Covered in this issue;

  • HKYWA
  • Library Bay design winning design announced
  • Visitors to the Library
  • Art in the Library
  • Book displays
  • Fantastic resource for finding books
  • Did you know?
  • and…. A quick reminder!

 

PEAK SCHOOL TAKING ACTION – SICHUAN EARTHQUAKE

You will have no doubt heard about the earthquake in the Sichuan Province which claimed the lives of over 200 people and injured over 11,000 others.  This is the same province that was hit by the earthquake in 2008 that killed over 70,000.  The school is saddened by these events and wants to help.

As a school we felt it was important that we do what we can to support the people from Sichuan.  We have decided to hold a special assembly on Friday to hold a minute silence so we can be grateful for what we have and to send our wishes to the families affected.

We would also like to donate money to a charity that is currently there assisting on the ground.  We are asking all children and staff to bring a small donation on Friday so that this can then be passed to the appropriate charity.  Some of the charity organisations are currently under the media spotlight for using the funds inappropriately and we are aware of this and will support one of the charity organisations that has a proven record.

At the assembly on Friday we will also be encouraging the children to take their own action and to think about how they can help those affected by the earthquake.

Thank you for your support and as a school community I am hoping we can raise a significant amount for such a worthy cause.

TOURNAMENT OF MINDS UPDATE

The best way to describe the efforts of our three TOM teams on Saturday is “three ‘peat” and a “clean sweep”.

It was a “three ‘peat” as our Social Science team won their section for the third year in a row.  It was also a “clean sweep” as the other two teams (Language and Maths) also won their sections meaning that Peak School won all three sections on offer.

There were 14 teams in total from a range of ESF schools across Hong Kong and we were delighted when it was announced that we had won all three sections.  This is an incredible achievement and we were only one of two schools to enter 3 teams which says a lot considering we were the smallest school entered.  It is a real credit to the work that we are doing as a school and reinforces our program which is designed to ensure all children are catered for which is obviously working very well!

The Teams:

Language Literature: Natasha Mather, Charlotte Evans, Macey Higgins, Archie Collis, Jessica Wynn, Kate Cosgrove, Tia Carrett (Ms Maclennan)

Social Sciences: Daanyal Ebrahim, Aurora Corrado, Reema Patel, Emily Boyle, Clare Payne, Petronella Rowe, Cordelia Halcrow (Mrs Fay)

Maths Engineering: Edward Hudson, Christopher Chan, Daniel Leong, Arjun Mukherjea, Jack Rong, Leo Webb and Ambrose Lee. (Mr Garnett)

Here are some photos from the actual prize giving at RCHK on Saturday –

STUDENT LED CONFERENCES (6-15 MAY)

As previously published the student led conferences run this year from May 6th to May 15th.  Below is a table of the timetable of when each year group will be having their conferences.  We have split each year group into 2 sessions made up of an AM session and a PM session as we appreciate that not everyone wants to come during the day or indeed after work.  Parents will be able to access Gateway to make the bookings as in the past and the bookings will be open from Friday, April 26th (2pm) and up until 36 hours before the conference is due to take place.

Here is the timetable for the conferences;

DATE

7.50am – 11.55am

1.10pm – 5.55pm

Monday 6th May

Y4

Y3

Tuesday 7th May

Y2

Y1

Wednesday 8th May

Y3

Y2

Thursday 9th May

Y1

Y5

Friday 10th May

Specialists

 –

Monday 13th May

Y5

Y6

Tuesday 14th May

 Y4

Wednesday 15th May

Y6

Specialists

 

As per our new assessment policy, shared last week, here is an explanation of how the Student Led Conferences work;

Student- Led Conferences  (Term 3)

The purpose of Student Led Conferences is to share all elements of the student’s learning and progress both academic and social.  The student is encouraged to lead the meeting and have ownership over sharing and discussing their learning with their parents and teacher.  The main aim is the discussion between the student and his/her parent.

The student will prepare for the meeting with the teacher to review and set appropriate next steps and targets which are to be shared with their parents when the teacher is present.

The Students are then responsible to share their work and portfolios as evidence of their learning and own self-reflection of their learning process.  The student should be pro-active in explaining what they have learned, how and why it is important and what they need to do next.

All teachers should be involved in supporting, guiding and preparing the students to share their portfolios and other relevant work ready for the conference.

In the early years the Student Led Conference may be organized more like a 3 way conference due to the students needing more scaffolding by the teacher.

However, the aim is that as the students progress through the years they will become more independent and eventually be able to lead the conference.

As with the 3 way conference, time will be made available for the parents to discuss their child’s progress with both the class teacher and specialist teachers with or without the child present depending on the nature of the discussion; e.g. 10 minutes with the student present and 5 minutes discussion with parents and teacher.

BLASTING OFF INTO THE WORLD OF SCIENCE

Dr. Bunhead, aka Tom Pringle, is an experienced secondary science teacher also trained in chemistry who has changed his career and is now a world famous performer.

He makes science fun for kids by creating explosive experiments, firing stunt hamsters from a bazooka to demonstrate the laws of gravity, and turning a banana into a hammer using liquid nitrogen.

Year 5 were very enthusiastic about the performance they attended and came away with different opinions of which part was the best.  The children we spoke to described it as, “Fun, explosive action”, “An exhilarating adventure through the evolution of science.”

Despite setting his head on fire and creating mini bombs, the safety precautions throughout the show were extremely high.  Dr Bunhead used ear muffs, goggles and gloves and ensured that children understood the dangers of some of his acts.

Dr Bunhead has performed over 1000 shows in countries as far away as New Zealand, Ethiopia and the UK.  He has been seen on Disney Channel, BBC, ITV, Discovery Channel and Discovery Kids.

The children thoroughly enjoyed the performance and clearly learnt a lot because Dr Bunhead made it fun and easy to understand.
-“I thought science was really boring until I saw Dr Bunhead”.  Eliza 10.
-“One of the best shows I’ve ever seen”.  Emile, Sam 10

By Eliza, Sam, Divina, Janice and Emile 5B

ASSESSMENT POLICY

Recently the school has reviewed its assessment practices in line with a recent reporting to parents essential agreement established across ESF primary schools.

Ruth Maclennan had led the review and presented the updated policy at the recent School Council Meeting.  A copy of the assessment policy and appropriate appendices are located below.

We are sharing the policy with the school community in the hope that it will help you better understand our approach to assessment which includes assessing, recording and reporting.  The policy reflects our current approach and will be reviewed and updated annually.

Assessment Policy 2013

Appendix A – Assessment Timeline 2012-13

Appendix B – You Tell Us Parent Survey

Appendix C – ESF Assessment Essential Agreement

 

A PEAK AT OUR LEARNING – OUT AND ABOUT

Mrs Ainsworth has created a new blog for staff to add images and text of what is happening around the school on a daily and weekly basis.  It gives an insight into what the children are doing in and out of the classroom.  We also use it at assembly to show the children what their peers have been doing.  We have started to scroll through the photos from the new blog and we then stop and ask the children to explain what they were doing.  This is proving a great way for the children to reflect on their learning and also a great way for all children to appreciate what is happening in other classes.

To view the new blog which has a large number of activities showing please click HERE.

COLLEGE READY OR INNOVATION READY?

I came across the following article during the holidays and it highlighted to me the growing focus on children being able to think, be creative and to ask the right questions. Which I would suggest is a real strength of the PYP program.  Whilst some will argue that knowledge is power, it is only powerful if you know how to use it (think and ask the right questions) and know how to add value to it (innovate).

Below is a snippet from the article and the complete article can be read by clicking HERE.

NEED A JOB?  INVENT IT.

WHEN Tony Wagner, the Harvard education specialist, describes his job today, he says he’s “a translator between two hostile tribes” — the education world and the business world, the people who teach our kids and the people who give them jobs. Wagner’s argument in his book “Creating Innovators: The Making of Young People Who Will Change the World” is that our K-12 and college tracks are not consistently “adding the value and teaching the skills that matter most in the marketplace.”

This is dangerous at a time when there is increasingly no such thing as a high-wage, middle-skilled job — the thing that sustained the middle class in the last generation. Now there is only a high-wage, high-skilled job. Every middle-class job today is being pulled up, out or down faster than ever. That is, it either requires more skill or can be done by more people around the world or is being buried — made obsolete — faster than ever. Which is why the goal of education today, argues Wagner, should not be to make every child “college ready” but “innovation ready” — ready to add value to whatever they do.

That is a tall task. I tracked Wagner down and asked him to elaborate. “Today,” he said via e-mail, “because knowledge is available on every Internet-connected device, what you know matters far less than what you can do with what you know. The capacity to innovate — the ability to solve problems creatively or bring new possibilities to life — and skills like critical thinking, communication and collaboration are far more important than academic knowledge. As one executive told me, ‘We can teach new hires the content, and we will have to because it continues to change, but we can’t teach them how to think — to ask the right questions — and to take initiative.’ ”- Thomas Friedman, New York Times – Sunday Review, 30 March 2013

Disclaimer – I take no responsibility for the quality of the comments that others have left on the NY Times web link above, nor do I endorse, condone or agree with the comments that have been made.  They simply reflect the feelings of individuals that have made them and do not reflect my views in anyway.

NEW STRAP LINE

As you know we recently reviewed our mission statement and as part of this completed review we made the decision to invite the children to come up with a strap line.

We had over 100 creative ideas from our children and a lot of them revolved around the idea of Peak School being up high and that the members of the community go that “extra mile” for our children.  Some of the suggestions were around “rising up to the Peak”, or “learning without limits”.

I am pleased to announce that our new strap line encompasses a lot of the children’s ideas and the new strap line is ………(drum role please)……….

………… PEAK SCHOOL – ABOVE AND BEYOND

We shared it with the children at assembly on Monday and they appeared to like it and agreed that it does sum up our school nicely.

Mission Statement

The feedback we got from parents, staff and children regarding the mission statement was that it was still very relevant and PLEASE do not change it.  So, we haven’t.

It remains;

At Peak School we aim to become effective communicators, confident critical thinkers and enthusiastic life-long learners. In partnership with our community, we strive to have integrity and be socially responsible global citizens.

IB/CIS UPDATE

As you know we have the IB/CIS review visit in November of this year.  This visit is to ensure that we meet the many standards and indicators set by both the IB/CIS as part of their comprehensive and strict accreditation process.   In December, 2012 we started what is called the “self study” which requires us to deeply reflect on what we are doing in all aspects of school life.  We have almost completed the CIS component of the review which focuses on guiding statements (mission and vision), leadership and governance, staff, access to learning, school culture and partnerships for learning and operational systems (resources).

At our CPD day this coming Friday (remember no school for our children) we are starting the IB component of the review which focuses heavily on the curriculum.  All of the documentation needs to be submitted to both parties before the end of September so we are confident of finishing the review and preparing the reports within this deadline.

We have met regularly as a staff to review our practices, have sought student voice and referred to the most recent results from the ESF Stakeholders Survey to ensure we include all stakeholders.  However there may be a need to survey a random sample of parents in the coming months but if this is the case we will give clear guidance in terms of what is required and we promise to keep the survey short!