Was the first day of school really only last week? Feels like ages ago already. Also feels like a very good start for St John’s. I attended a presentation of the new staff in the theater: a new high school principal, 16 new teachers and supporting staff, representing 7 different nationalities. The quality and energy they bring to the school is impressive.
Green and White day last Saturday kicked off the sports season with players, parents and coaches. Again, the enthusiasm was palpable on the soccer field, along the cross country run and in the arena. The volleyball team is in the capable coaching hands of Belgium’s beach volleyball star and may even have a shot at the ISST title (I am of course biased with a child playing in the team).
For me, a school is made by its teachers and staff, the quality of their teaching, and the values they bring and instill. The fellow students and parent community play a crucial role as well. It is of course great that we have the privilege of excellent facilities like the PAC. But in a storm, a perfect ship with a bad crew is doomed, while a wreck with a crack-crew has a chance. So with a good crew, a vibrant student and parent community, as well as good facilities, it feels good.
But we are not there yet. Here are some of the challenges I see for the Board and the Director and his team for the coming months:
– The bar for the quality of St John’s education should be extremely high, and further improvement is needed in some areas.
– The school finances are healthier than a few years ago, but wages keep rising while St John’s cannot continue to increase tuition.
– Parents as well as teachers and staff would like to see greater transparency of school governance and the advisory board.
Enough to do. To make a start with greater transparency, the advisory board is hosting an evening for parents Thursday, September 8th at 19:00 on high school C-level. We will explain the school governance, the role of the advisory board and share the school’s finances. There will also be a presentation by the Sisters of the FCJ (Faithful Companions of Jesus) the religious order that founded the school 46 years ago and gave St John’s its unique focus on values. As a non-catholic, I have found the way they ‘live the values’ inspiring and in line with what I want for my children.
Finally, we are looking for two new advisory board members, one with legal expertise, and one with expertise in educational matters. In the spirit of transparency, we are asking any interested parent to send me a mail with background (firstname.lastname@example.org).