I would like to thank the many parents who attended High School Open House or Back to School Night, last Tuesday evening. We had a good turn out from parents and from comments I have received it appears that it was a highly successful evening. I was busy myself with my Grade 12 homeroom, and then teaching my Grade 11 Information Literacy Class, followed by dropping into a few of my own son’s grade 9 teacher presentations.
For those who were not able to attend HS Open House I would like to include here part of the body of my welcome address.
“Here is ISM’s Mission Statement. You will have seen it before no doubt, posted around the school and also in the front of all of our school publications. I have highlighted just two areas that I want to briefly comment on.
International School Manila is an independent, international school whose structure, traditions and style emanate from the United States and whose curriculum and methodology reflect the best in worldwide educational research and practice. Our school is diverse and dynamic, and our students have the highest aspirations for their education and future lives. Our mission is to build a community of reflective learners who are passionate, caring and responsible contributors to the world in which we live.
CORE BELIEFS that bind our community of faculty, staff, parents and students.
We strive to
Advance the value of learning, growth and self-awareness as life-long endeavors.
- Nurture creativity and originality as precursors for critical and reflective thought and action.
- Succeed collectively as well as individually, achieving our personal best in all aspects of school life.
- Maintain a healthy balance in the time devoted to work, rest and recreation.
- Involve our community in sustaining and safeguarding our environment.
- Interact through honest, respectful and open communication.
- Acknowledge and celebrate our differences and encourage empathy, compassion, understanding and respect for human dignity.
- Live our lives positively, joyfully and ethically.
Let me deal with the second highlight first, I commented in the opening student assembly that we are very excited that this year ISM has chosen to adopt a school wide goal which engages our community to focus on sustainability issues. The fact that this initiative evolved from our hosting of the Global Issues Network conference and is student organized is a powerful example of our mission statement in action.
The first highlight concerning the latest educational research and practice was an opportunity I could not pass up. It is not very often that I can brag about my alma mater, but Professor John Hattie, formerly of the University of Auckland, has done some brilliant work which I would like to briefly comment on.
In a meta-analyses synthesizing over 800 educational studies relating to achievement, Hattie calculated an “effect size” for a range of influences and noted the source of that influence. Here are the top 15 influences.
Clearly the single greatest factor on learning that schools can control is the teacher.
||Source of Influence
|Students’ prior cognitive ability
|Students’ disposition to learn
|Challenge of Goals
Hattie, John A. (2008). Visible Learning: A Synthesis of Over 800 Meta-Analyses Relating to Achievement
So to paraphrase Jim Collins in his book “Good to Great”, we need the right teachers on the bus or in ISM’s case the jeepney, and then sitting in the right seats, to move ISM from being a good school to an even better one. Teacher feedback to student and the instructional quality are two key influences on learning.
I have spoken before about the significant progress we have made as a school with the design of our curriculum that places at the center teaching and learning for understanding. Within that framework we have also made serious progress on assessing student performance with authentic tasks, where students are engaged in real world applications.
As we walk around ISM we frequently comment on the fantastic and ever improving ISM facility. You will see a number of those significant improvements tonight. In addition we acknowledge that we are very fortunate to have many brilliant students, which of course relates to Hattie’s second most important effect, but we also know that schools are more than bricks and mortar and I hope that tonight when you are in your daughter or son’s class you will get a sense of the great work that our ISM teachers do on a daily basis. My own litmus test when I sit in classes is would I have been engaged and encouraged to learn in this class? Would I want my own children taught by this teacher? I am pleased to report that at ISM the answer is a resounding YES! I think we have assembled a truly world class faculty and I would love to hear your feedback if after tonight you don’t entirely agree with me.”
We have listed many opportunities and activities in this Bulletin. Please avail of these, beginning with next Tuesday’s PTA Bearcat Welcome and followed by the September HS Parent Coffee.
William R. S. Brown
High School Principal