FRENCH MOTHER TONGUE LESSONS

We are pleased to inform you that, in collaboration with the ESF Centre, we are currently exploring the possibility to offer French mother tongue classes for native students of Years 1-6.

Further to the below details regarding the course, we would be grateful if you could confirm your interest by replying to Mr. Benoit Bardin: benoit.bardin@esfcentre.edu.hk by Wednesday 2nd October.

Mr. Bill Garnett – Principal – Peak School

Mr. Benoit Bardin – First Language Programmes Coordinator – ESF Centre

 

Course details:

  • Classes will be held after school (3:00 pm) on Wednesday afternoons on Peak School campus and last 60-90 minutes (exact duration will be determined at a later stage). Classes will combine native students from different year groups.
  • Class start: After Mid-term break (exact date to be confirmed).
  • Teacher: Ms. Geraldine Wdonwicki.
  • Fees: Payment will be made through the ESF Centre on a term basis, following Peak School academic calendar (2019-2020).

4-5 students (minimum): 150 HK$/student/hour + Administration fees: 200HK$/student/term

6-10 students: 100 HK$/student/hour + Administration fees: 200HK$/student/term

 

POTENTIAL DISRUPTION – WEDNESDAY 2 OCTOBER

We are very appreciative of how our school community have been so understanding and supportive regarding the way in which we have handled disruptions owing to the protests in Hong Kong.

A number of parents have asked about Wednesday morning as it follows the National Day on Tuesday.  Obviously we cannot predict what, if anything, will happen on Tuesday.  As with other weekends, where protests have taken place, we will simply get as much information as possible on Tuesday night and, if appropriate, communicate this to our community so everyone knows the plan for Wednesday morning.

Please make sure your email address and cell phone number are current on Gateway as this is how we will communicate with you (either by email or if urgent via SMS).

 

 

COUNSELLOR SERVICE

We have had an ongoing relationship with St Johns for a number of years now where they provide us with a counsellor on a needs basis.  They have supported a number of Peak School children through the years and I am highlighting this service again as a number of new parents may not be aware.  Peak School will cover the cost of the first two sessions at which time the family can then decide to continue at their cost or that the two sessions have been enough.

The great thing about this arrangement is that the family can choose to have the support at Peak School e.g. the child attends during the school day, or the family can visit the St Johns offices.

From time to time we will offer the service to parents who approach us for support or there has been an ongoing issue where counselling could help.

If for any reason, you would like to access this service, do please let me know.

 

PARENTING TIPS

Courtesy of RCHK (ESF through School) and The National Child Traumatic Stress Network, USA, we would like to share a few parenting tips for parents during the current situation in Hong Kong.  You may or may not find it useful but sharing in case you do.

You can download the PDF version by clicking HERE.

PRIORITIES FOR THE YEAR AHEAD

Please click through the slideshow to learn what our key strategies/priorities are for the year ahead.

 

FAQs – NEW PARENTS

At the beginning of each year we often have our new parents wonder why we operate the way that we do in certain areas.  Perhaps we are not doing something that was done at their old school or perhaps something just doesn’t make sense to them and they are simply trying to understand why we do what we do.

Here are some of the questions we have been asked:

We want the teachers to apply mosquito repellant and sunscreen to our child before snack and lunchtime.  Why is the school not prepared to do this?

There are several reasons but the main reason is that we are not legally allowed to.  We cannot apply any substance to a child in case they have an allergic reaction.  Unfortunately, in the past, schools have had legal action taken against them regarding this issue and as a result insurance companies make it very clear what we can and cannot do.

Solution – children can bring their own ROLL ON mosquito repellant or sunscreen and apply it themselves.  Countries where sun burn is a major concern e.g. Australia and New Zealand, have developed a culture where the children can apply it themselves from a very early age.

Obviously both mosquito repellant (including patches and wraps) and sunscreen can be applied at home before the children come to school.

 

Why are workshops mainly during the day and not at night, so all our parents can attend?

We have done surveys and we have also learned first hand, that early morning workshops are more popular with our parents than ones at night.  In the 2017/18 academic year, for example, we had to cancel 2 workshops, planned for the evening, owing to poor numbers and two other evening workshops had 6-7 participants despite the fact that 25 parents indicated they would attend.   This is very frustrating for the teachers and staff involved.

The other main reason is that some of our workshops involve you visiting the classrooms and seeing your children learning first hand or the workshop involves children sharing their experiences.  The 3 reading workshops in October have all the parents visiting their child’s class.

Also, don’t forget we offer You Tell Us sessions in the evening as well as offering evening sessions for the 3 way conferences (child, parent and teacher) and the parent teacher conferences.  You might think this is standard practice but most schools now only offer these during the day.  I should know, as I am having to release my teachers during the day so that they can attend such conferences at their child’s school.  This does not include the other evening events throughout the year that we offer for our children and families.

Finally, we do actually offer a small number of workshops in the evening but these are predominately in the 2nd term.

Why are dogs no longer allowed on the school grounds?

Ultimately its for the safety of our children but also for insurance purposes.  This year is the first year that the ESF Insurance company has stipulated that we are not covered if a dog is allowed onto the premises and an incident occurs (dog bites a student).  Trained dogs, that have certificates etc, e.g guide dog are allowed to visit but we have to get clearance from the Insurance company before the actual visit.

The insurance rule does not just apply to dogs.  It actually applies to all animals.  Despite telling the wild boars this, they still occasionally visit the school grounds.

Do I have to pay the PTA fees?

Yes, these are compulsory and form part of the ESF ordinance.  All parents have to be affiliated with the PTA by paying the PTA fee.  We have had a terrific response to the fees with almost all parents now members.

Do I have to pay the Bus Fees?

If you child catches the bus then the answer is yes.  Yes, you do.  If your child does not take the bus then no, you do not.

STANDARDISED ASSESSMENTS

At Peak School, like any high performing school, we use a range of assessments to ensure we clearly understand where our children are at and where they need to go.

We “triangulate” this information from teacher observations, pre/post assessments as well as standardised assessments.

 

What are standardised assessments?

In a standardised assessment, the content is set, the directions are prescribed and the scoring procedure is completely specified. There are norms against which you can compare the scores of the students being assessed. Standardised assessment tools enable the result for any student to be compared with the results for a normal sample of students.

 

What standardised assessments do we use?

We use PIPs with Year 1 and 2

We use InCAS with Year 3, 4, 5 and 6

We use ISA with Year 4, 5 and 6

 

What is PIPS and when does it get administered?

PIPS stands for Performance Indicators in Primary Schools.

The PIPs assessment is administered by the Centre for Evaluation and Monitoring (CEM) at Durham University and was taken by all ESF students at the start of Year 1 and Year 2. Over 2,000 schools (most of whom are in the U.K.) use CEM’s primary assessments. The assessment compares each student’s performance in Mathematics and Reading with that of the average child in the whole PIPs cohort worldwide.

We administer the assessment at the start of Year 1 and again at the start of Year 2.

 

What is InCAS and when does it get administered?

InCAS stands for Interactive Computerised Assessment System.

The InCAS assessment is also administered by the Centre for Evaluation and Monitoring at Durham University and was taken by students at the start of Year 3 and at the end of Year 6. The assessment compares each student’s performance in Mathematics and Reading with that of an average child of the same age.

Our Year 3, 4 and 5 children will be completing this assessment in September.  Year 6 will complete it in May/June.  This is the first year we have administered it in Year 4 and 5.  Usually we only administer it in Year 3 and Year 6 but this year we have made the decision to do it across the 4 year groups.

 

What is ISA and when is it administered?

The International Schools’ Assessment (ISA) is administered by the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) and is designed for students in international schools. The assessment measures student performance in Mathematical Literacy, Reading and Writing (both narrative and expository writing).  The assessment is criteria referenced with students moving up the ISA scale as they progress.

ISA has to be administered within a 2 week period usually in September/October.  These dates are set by ACER and we have to complete the assessments within this 2 week block.  This year the dates are from September 23 to October 4.

 

Do we get to see the results?

Yes and no!

We share the InCAS and ISA results via Gateway but we do not share the Year 1 and 2 PIPS data.  The main reason is that INCAS and ISA are set up to share with parents but PIPS is not.  We have our own benchmark assessments that we use with Year 1 and 2 that we find much more relevant and useful in terms of planning learning engagements.

 

LOCKDOWN DRILL

On Monday, September 16, we will have a Lockdown Drill.

Whilst our children are used to the lockdown drills as we have 2-3 each year, it will be a new experience for children who started this year.

During the lockdown the children know to get low and to stay quiet.  I normally go around and “rattle” the door handles of each of the classrooms just to make sure they are locked but for the first one, I will simply walk around the school ensuring everyone is out of sight and quiet.

For a vast majority of the children, they love the lockdown experience and I am very confident I will be asked on Monday by a number of children, following the lockdown, “when is the next lockdown Mr Garnett?”

However for some children it can increase their levels of anxiety and this is why I let parents know when we are doing our first lockdown of the year so that you can talk to your child before the event should you think this would help or after the event should they come home and want to talk about it.

For parents who are visitors and are at school during a fire or lockdown emergency here is a summary of what to do – 

Fire Alarm (one long continuous ring of the bell)

– Leave the building by the nearest exit

– Walk quickly but calmly to the upper playground to the far netball court

– Wait there for the all clear to be given

 

Lockdown Alarm (ten short rings of the bell)

– Go to the nearest classroom or room that has a door that can be locked

– Enter the room and lock the door once everyone near is in

– Get down low and away from any windows so that you cannot be seen from outside or through any glass window in the door (it may be necessary to pull down the blinds) .

– Remain low and quiet until the all clear is given (5 short rings of the bell)

HOMEWORK/HOME LEARNING EXPECTATIONS

We explain to all parents upon entry to Peak School that if they want hours of homework for their child, Peak School is not the right choice.

Research is actually very clear re the impact of homework on Primary aged children – there is no impact.  According to John Hattie, who analysed every piece of research completed on the impact of homework in Primary Schools, homework adds no value in terms of a child’s performance or ability to perform at school.  Hence, why some countries and indeed many primary schools no longer have homework as an option for their primary aged children.

Peak School takes a slightly different approach and feels that it is important that the children develop the self management and reflection skills necessary.  Our home learning agreement is very clear that it should be little and often but it should not be busy work or simply worksheets.

Here is our guideline re timings for the different year groups from our Home Learning essential agreement:

According to the Essential Agreement what does home learning incorporate?


Please note that Year 3 do not typically start the learning grids until Term 2 or Term 3.

Finally, if you choose to take your children out of school for a trip, holiday or family experience please appreciate that we will not be providing “worksheets” or any other type of learning for your child – as per our essential agreement: