Message from the Principal September 14

Dear Parents,

 It was another incredibly busy week in the ISM High School. Thank you to the many parents who have been on campus. I know at times it seems that you are here, at school, just about as much as your son or daughter! In no particular order; we had a fabulous college visit this week from Columbia, Duke, Northwestern and Princeton. Resident for the week and assisting us with our Wellness Education Program was returning FCD counselor, Glenn Hall.  Last night we had an excellent turn out for the Grade 9 and 10 IB Information Evening. Today, we said farewell to a number of our sports and cultural teams to Pre-IASAS and Dance events at our sister schools, SAS and TAS. Over this coming weekend the campus will be busy with a full range of Soccer and Volleyball games.  Next week, visiting consultant John Joseph will work exclusively with Grade 10 students as he talks about learning with the brain in mind. On Thursday we will host Battle of the Bearcats 2012, where the whole High School will go off schedule for the day to participate in friendly inter-grade activities, with the desire to foster class and school spirit. If you are around that day, you will for sure hear the mighty roar of the Bearcat.  

 On a very sad note, I would like to take this opportunity to express ISM’s deepest condolences to the families and friends of Cebu International School. We received news on Thursday morning of the tragic loss of two of their Grade 8 students, who passed away as a result of a swimming accident in the Subic area. I am sure the entire ISM Community will feel for the CIS community as they come to terms with this tragedy. 

 I would like to remind all parents that next Friday, September 21st is a Professional Development day for teachers and students are not required at school. In the morning the High School Faculty will gain valuable insights from the experience and research of John Joseph and in the afternoon we will have a focused session on writing effective college recommendations. As we are already receiving requests for Oxbridge recs, it is a timely opportunity!

 Kind Regards

 William R. S. Brown

High School Principal

 

Message from the Principal September 7

Dear Parents,

 Next week we will be having our annual visit from the Freedom from Chemical Dependency (FCD) Counselors.  We have invited the FCD Counselors to work specifically with our Grade 9 students during their Physical Education class. They will also present to the whole school and separately have a one-off presentation with Seniors. There will be an FCD Parent Meeting, September 13, Thursday at 9:00am-10:00am in the Little Theater.  This is open to all HS Parents and as an ISM parent I can vouch that this discussion is one that you simply must not miss! I am sure you are aware that through our Wellness program, the FCD visit and other initiatives, we take our responsibility in the area of wellness and drug/ alcohol education very seriously.

 
Kind Regards

 William R. S. Brown

High School Principal

Message from the Principal August 31

Dear Parents,

 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.

 MISSION

 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.

 

Influence Effect Size Source of Influence
Feedback 1.13 Teacher
Students’ prior cognitive ability 1.04 Student
Instructional quality 1.00 Teacher
Direct instruction .82 Teacher
Remediation/feedback .65 Teacher
Students’ disposition to learn .61 Student
Class environment .56 Teacher
Challenge of Goals .52 Teacher
Peer tutoring .50 Teacher
Mastery learning .50 Teacher
Parent involvement .46 Home
Homework .43 Teacher
Teacher Style .42 Teacher
Questioning .41 Teacher
Peer effects .38 Peers

 

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.

 

Kind Regards

William R. S. Brown

High School Principal