Coming to a Close

This week, as we head into the final week of the school year, I’m repeating a section from last week to make sure that you review this information in preparation for next year.  Please take a moment to look at it in depth.  Looking forward to seeing as many of you as possible next week at our closing ceremony.  If you are unable to attend, you’ll be able to watch via livestream at the following link:

From last week’s newsletter:

Schedule and Tweaks for Next Year

After significant work on the part of the leadership team, we are moving forward to now implement and inform the community of our work on scheduling for next year.  This primarily applies to Upper School at both the middle and high level, but also have positive implications for Elementary scheduling.  One core component of these changes is better alignment with the IB philosophy that we are currently implementing, and particularly the alignment between the Middle Years Programme (MYP) and the Diploma Programme (DP).

But, this has been a broad based effort and we also intend to capitalize on this opportunity to improve other overall aspects of our daily schedule that in many ways have been carried forward year-on-year with little consideration for the inconveniences nor the opportunities that might exist.  With much research and with increasing competition for time and space, we have undertaken some key decisions that we are implementing next year:

  1. We are making slight changes to our start and end of school times.  Starting next year, the school hours will be aligned and affirmed with school beginning at 8:30 a.m. and the end of school at 3:30 p.m.  Based on a number of scheduling requirements, this is a modest change that solves many problems.
  2. The more significant change, introduced at a recent PTO meeting, is the change to the Wednesday schedule for next year.  The need for teacher work time continues and the small carve out that we have secured for a number of years is critical for ongoing curricular, planning, and accreditation work.  But, the administrative team and teachers have been considering all year the implications of the current structure, particularly in regards to after school programs and the availability of teachers to support and muster the important and growing array of activities and athletics.  After research involving review of other international schools, both in the region and around the world, we have decided to move to a late start rather than early dismissal on Wednesdays.  This means that the Wednesday school day for 2017-2018 will change to a 9:30 a.m. start and a 3:30 p.m. dismissal.
  3. There will be a slight difference to the above schedule for our DP students in grades 11 and 12 that will have them starting at slightly adjusted times from the above.  This difference is small and should be easily managed, providing them with necessary alignment and offering them the additional minutes needed to their upper level studies.  More on this in August.

We will be working during the summer to prepare for a smooth transition to this model, including necessary morning supervision in our cafeteria and additional options for student support in the morning before school, while teachers are engaged in their work with colleagues.  We’ll be correcting our website and literature to align with this as well and will send reminders in August as families prepare for their return to a new school year.

Thanks in advance for your insight and partnership in adjusting to these changes.

One thought on “Coming to a Close”

  1. While I will be departing at the end of this school year and these changes will not affect me, this change from an early departure to a late arrival once a week has significant negative impact on households with two working parents. Up until now, we have had to employ a nanny in the afternoons to meet the children at the bus stop and bring them home in the afternoon, which was a simple matter on early release days of the nanny arriving an hour earlier. With a late arrival, it is significantly more complicated. The school is now asking us to arrive to work well into the normal work day or to find a nanny that is willing to come in the morning once per week for only an hour and return again in the afternoon. This is not cost effective for the nanny who must travel to and from our house, which makes it difficult to find someone who will do this. While I understand the needs of the staff to use this time for planning, I see a growing culture of disenfranchisement for homes with two working parents, and it concerns me.

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