PRINCIPAL'S NEWSLETTER - 10th May 2011 by zhouwenjuan

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									PRINCIPAL'S NEWSLETTER - 10th May 2011

Dear Parents,

The term is proceeding apace with much going on and uplifting events to
celebrate in our lives as an international school with a Christian foundation.

INTERNATIONAL DAY
This year's event benefited from the advent of the House system which saw
the Houses developing a number of displays to portray a specific region and the
countries within it; they also demonstrated music and dance from their area.
It really was super to see how the students had worked hard to put on
something worthy of the accolades they received from their peers and staff.
These activities were complemented by professional dance troupes portraying
the music and culture of areas as diverse as the Indian subcontinent and Latin
America. It was clear that there was a palpable collective spirit and a genuine
celebration of the wide variety of cultures we embrace at ACS (International)
which will have helped us to further our wish to embrace as fully as possible the
ideal of international mindedness. Learning - and inspiring us to learn - about
other peoples and the grounding of their backgrounds is surely one significant
way in which we can begin to understand and respect our differences. I hope,
too, that our Christian basis allows us to respect each other as examples of
God's creation.

RELIGIOUS EMPHASIS WEEK...
...or Discover Jesus Week allowed us all, whatever our faith, to explore the
meaning of Christianity through a discovery of Jesus. This was made highly
relevant by the entertaining and thought-provoking skits and supporting talks
by the Youth for Christ team. I understand that something of the order of 90
students then went on to discuss with the CMS staff how to take their interest
further. I hope, too, that the message of Easter - which followed immediately
thereafter - helped to reinforce the significance of the week and the
symbolism of the cross. Jesus' example of servant leadership then provided
the ideal context for the induction of our new batch of young leaders.




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STUDENT LEADERS' INDUCTION
I really enjoy this event and this year's version seemed even better. I do
believe that one of the great strengths of this School is the willingness of our
young people to take on responsibility in a whole variety of ways. We have
encouraged this through a wide range of training opportunities which have
mirrored those being experienced by staff. It was therefore a real pleasure to
say a few words to our new leaders - Prefects in School and House, Counsellors
and Ambassadors - on the topic of servant leadership.

Thanks were given to the outgoing teams, before badges of office were
awarded to the new incumbents. Awards were also made to Sarah Chan (former
Head Girl) and Maxine Tan for the OBA Gold Medal and Alfred Teh who
received the Han Pok Fong Award for his outstanding results in last year's
IGCSEs. The full list of office bearers appears on the website but I should, I
think, single-out for special mention the new Head Girl Maxine Tan, and Head
Boy Rafael Muliawan who head the new teams. We have 220 leadership positions
in school consisting of Ambassadors, House Prefects, Student Council and
School Prefects and I am sure that we will wish all our new leaders success and
fulfilment in their year of office.

The 'old guard' now stand-down with our gratitude to buoy them as they
anticipate the challenges ahead. To ease the burden for all examination
candidates in Years 4 and 6 CCAs will cease to be compulsory from the start of
Term 3, although I would recommend very strongly that all students continue
with some form of interest not related to their studies as a source of leavening
and relief from the rigours of study. There is nothing like a bit of physical or
other diversionary activity to help the mind absorb material just learned, as
well as providing succour to the soul. Please do all that you can to encourage
such activity, good sleep patterns and regular, nourishing meals.

THE CANTEEN
Mention of food prompts me to comment on the canteen and the arrangements
we have put in place in our new contract with the caterers 'Pines'. Mr Dougal
Strahan has been chairing the Canteen Committee with great skill, genuine
interest and care to ensure that we try our best to take account of the needs
and wishes of all who use the Canteen. His team is very representative
comprising staff, students and parents, and has already been focusing on
providing a healthier variety of food and looking at value-for-money. We aim to
employ a consultant nutritionist from time-to-time to assess how we are
managing in our desire to provide our community with a diet that fits with the
heightened awareness of the importance of good diet to health. If you do have
any comments about the food please do not hesitate to drop Mr Strahan a note
or e-mail.


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SPORT & OTHER CCAs
I do not know if the food has inspired our sportsmen and women but it was
good to be able to congratulate a number of students following recent
successes.

Our boys' basketball team is playing in the 'A' Division and they managed to
achieve a most convincing win, 55-22, over Serangoon Junior College. Their
score was mirrored by the rugby team's first long-anticipated win against
Pierce Secondary School, 50-22. I am pleased that the training and
commitment of both teams has borne fruit.

Our football has also seen improvement: over the weekend our Under-14
team played in the end of season ACSIS tournament and the boys put up a
good display. They outplayed Dover Court PS (Division 2 Champions) only to
lose to a last-minute goal; they also beat Global Indian School, drew with
UWC and lost to eventual winners, Tanglin.

In a rather different setting Megan Loke was joint third in the first leg of
the Singapore League and we wish her success when she continues the
competition in June.

In the aquatic environment Alicia Chiang and Leonis John Lau both
participated recently in the B Division of the National Swimming
Championships and did themselves proud. Alicia gained Silver in both the
50m and 100m Backstroke, and Leonis was awarded a Gold in the 400m and
Silver in the 1500m Freestyle. It was also encouraging that Michael Chan
swam a personal best in the 100m backstroke.

I should also point out that Year 6 students will be undergoing NAPFA
training in Terms 3 and 4: we are well aware how important such training is
for our young men about to embark upon their National Service.

Our Years 1 to 3 learned much about teamwork, service and endurance on
their recent OBS camps, with Year 5s due to embark on their sailing
expedition in July. The OBS programme is one we are developing to provide
a progressive and integrated series of experiences which will complement
the broader aspects of our education and extend opportunities for students
to develop new skills, interests and character.

The base at Pulau Ubin provides a wonderful environment for a wide range of
activities which most students would not otherwise experience: high ropes,
zip wires, climbing, basic camping and survival, raft-building, canoeing, sailing


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and hiking to name but a few. Year 1s enjoyed the 'Tunnel Maze' activity
with its focus on teamwork and co-operation in the dark, whilst Years 2 & 3
enjoyed the novelty of kayaking. The overwhelming response of students in
all year groups was very positive but, unfortunately, the Year 2 cohort gave
a rather lacklustre impression and worked less well in teams, showing a
negative attitude: we will need to work on these aspects during the next few
months.

The cerebral has not been forgotten either with the inter-House Chess
Competition being completed recently. This was well organised by Messrs.
Raghu and Adrian with some fiercely competitive games contributing to
enjoyment and satisfaction. In the end Shaw Vee Meng won with LSG
second and CKS third.

The Chinese Singing Competition (which sadly I missed because of a
recruiting trip to China and Hong Kong) went off very well indeed with the
following receiving accolades:

First prize:                   Hsiao Yi Chieh (4OLD)
Second prize:                  Chen Li Yuan Nicole (5OLD)
Third prize:                   He Jinjing (3THO)
Most popular:                 Tang Yingzi (4THO) (Based purely on students’ voting)

Looking ahead six of our new student leaders have managed to gain places on
a prestigious IB International Leadership Conference for students to be
held in Hong Kong in early July.

The History Department is also organising a rail trip for Years 1 to 3 from
the soon-to-be-closed Tanjong Pagar Railway Station to Kulai in Malaysia.
The trip will also include visits to a variety of farms in the region - bees,
sheep and fruit. Although students have been given information please do
not hesitate to contact the Head of Humanities, Mrs Tan Siew Hoon for
further details.

Looking further ahead I am pleased to provide details of a trip to Korea
planned for the September holidays. Having travelled to Korea on several
occasions I can vouch that this trip will be a fascinating opportunity for our
students to experience a quite different culture.

              Cultural and Educational Trip to South Korea
                        (5 – 12 September 2011)
ACS (International) is organising a Cultural and Educational trip to South
Korea from 5th September to 12th September 2011. The main objectives of


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this trip are to expose students to the homogeneous culture of Korea that
encompasses her food, traditions, landscape, language and culture. At the
same time, the students will also have the opportunity to interact with
students from the Seongnam Foreign Language High School in Seoul with
whom we will be developing an exchange and educational interaction
programme.
       Some highlights of the trip will include
       •     Mount Sorak National Park
       •     Demilitarised Zone
       •     Astro Space Centre
       •     Sangam Digital Pavilion
       •     Korean Traditional Cutltural Centre
       •     “Jump” Performance
       •     Gosu Cave Exploration

This 8-day, 7-night tour package costs approximately S$2500 per student,
and the submission deadline is 25 May 2011.
For any queries, please contact
      • Mr Chin Chee Kin at cheekin.chin@acsinternational.com.sg
      • Ms Jennifer Wang at jennifer.wang@acsinternational.com.sg
      • Ms Cheryl Seah at cheryl.seah@acsinternational.com.sg

ACADEMIC MATTERS
These enrichment trips are heartening examples of what we are trying to
achieve over the next year or so, namely broadening the concept of what
education is to allow what we do to fit more closely with the IB philosophy as
exemplified in the IB Learner Profile; it is also in alignment with what the
team from the Council of International Schools has asked us to develop as
part of our accreditation. The IB Co-ordinator, Mr Daniel Toyne, is working
on how we might embrace more fully the Learner Profile and the Vice
Principal (Academic), Miss Kathleen Manley, has been conducting 'audits' of
all departments. These audits have involved much lesson observation, review
of student files and discussion with students. Discussions with colleagues
have then followed with recommendations following, which I expect to be
implemented as soon as is practical. In essence, we have to adopt as a whole
school a much more innovative approach to teaching and learning. If you wish
to be reminded of my philosophy on this I would direct you to an article I
wrote on the subject for the May edition of Methodist Message, available
through the General Office. This will involve changes in ideas and training of
staff but we will not succeed in our vision, nor be able to compete
effectively with other schools, unless we do; more importantly we will be
doing our young people a disservice if we do not evolve in our approach.




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I am sure that the successes we have enjoyed academically will be enhanced
by such an approach.

Such success was shown in clear view in the award of over 70 Very Highly
Commended Awards based on application and attainment from Term 1. We
had to raise the standard for such an award but, even so, a very encouraging
proportion of our students received the award. To gain this students have
to achieve effort grades of 6 or 7 in seven or more subjects AND six or
more achievement grades at 6 or 7 (and an absence of grades 3 or less).
As you may be aware we are now into the season of exams for a few specific
exams, mainly languages, so we think of those students going through this
particular aspect of their education.

THINKING
A logical follow-on from the discussion of academic matters is a comment
about the two lectures given by my great friend and visiting Professor of
Psychology at the Academy of Social Sciences in Chengdu, Dr Julian Taplin.
He spoke to Year 6 students about developing a ‘toolkit’ to manage their
thinking, giving very practical tips but showing how they were rooted firmly
in sound science.

A little later he talked to parents on the subject of pressure on young
people, with all who attended finding his erudite but pragmatic words very
useful; it was a such a pity that torrential rain cut the anticipated audience.
A retiring collection in aid of the Hope School movement (which builds,
equips and staffs schools in deprived areas of rural China) and which Dr.
Taplin has sponsored heavily near Chengdu, will allow staff to attend training
to develop their teaching skills to match the best of current practice.

STANDARDS
Much as I like to be positive about all that goes on in the School we do have
to recognise that from time-to-time one or two of our students will not
match our expectations. We are a special place and students need to
recognise that not all that goes on outside our gates is appropriate within
the School.

Mobile phones are wonderful pieces of kit but improper use is against our
rules and is disruptive. We will confiscate such phones (and other electronic
devices) when used inappropriately in class or other activities aiming to
inform you if we do so.




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In addition we have clear rules about dress. Whilst none of us wish to be
draconian there can be no place here for extreme hairstyles, make-up or
jewellery: in particular boys are not allowed to wear earrings.

As you will know I am amazed at the incredibly casual approach towards
punctuality and attendance shown by a significant minority of students: if a
student does not attend School or is frequently late we simply cannot honour
our part of the contractual arrangement we have with parents.
I would make a plea for us to work together on these important issues to
allow all our young people to benefit to the full from what we provide here.
Your understanding and assistance is much appreciated.

...AND FINALLY
A shining example of this co-operation is seen in the work of the PSP who
inspired and delighted our students on International Day with some
wonderful food from around the world. They will also be helping put tables
together for the Gala Dinner in October, more of which nearer the time. In
the meantime do contact them if you would like to attend but cannot put a
table together - they are hoping to have at least three tables. PSP can be
contacted at psp.feedback@acsinternational.com.sg
The Bursar will be sending out fee notices for next semester via students
within the next week or so - please do contact her if you do not receive one!

Job shadowing has developed usefully here and details appear in the
appendix.

The final few weeks of term are likely to be busy ones with several trips
getting ready to go out in June but I hope not too busy to allow us the chance
of meeting at one or other of the events planned for the next few weeks.

In the meantime my very best wishes

Yours sincerely,




P Kerr Fulton-Peebles
Principal




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APPENDIX
JOB SHADOWING
All Year 6 students are invited to apply to participate in this programme. Only
short-listed candidates will be called for interviews which may later result in being
selected for the attachment.          Please hurry as there are limited places
available. Interested students should see Ms. Rita Kaur. The closing date for
application is May 13 2011.


What is Job Shadowing?

It is an opportunity for students to make informed career choices and increase
awareness by learning about a job. This is done by ‘shadowing’ with a business
professional who has specific knowledge about a particular job.


What do the Students benefit from Job Shadowing?

The benefit of a Job Shadowing experience includes:
• Presents up-to-date facts about an occupation
• Provide the opportunity to experience the ‘actual’ work involved in getting a
   particular task completed
• Provide information about the skills required for certain jobs
• Allow students to be aware of trends in a particular field and see workforce
   technologies in action in the real setting
• Assist students in developing communication skills and self confidence in talking
   with professional people in a more relaxed work environment


When should students participate in Job Shadowing/How long does it last?

The period of attachment is any date from June 1 – June 30 2011. The attachment
is only for a few days (3 days to one week)


Participating organisations:

•   Hospitals
•   Law Firms
•   Independent companies




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