Happy 2012!

It’s great to be back after a winter holiday break. Before the holiday, we had to say goodbye to the departing students whose parents’ assignments took them to new posts. But on Monday, January 9th, we welcomed numerous new students and new families to the school to start the new year: 10 new students in Elementary School and two new students in Middle School.  Some grades are now completely full, but we still have some seats available in specific grade levels.

We held an orientation meeting and two coffee mornings this week for the new families and those who joined us in the past few months, to ensure a smooth transition. We will continue to have new students join us throughout the coming months.

Transition in international schools is a constant – for students, families and staff alike. We have had to bid farewell (unfortunately) to several staff members this year who have taken new posts, fallen ill, or been transferred with spouses. At St. John’s, we know how important great teachers are for your children, so in these trying cases of mid-year illnesses or departures, we work diligently to find excellent replacements. Our efforts this year have been fruitful, and we have successfully attracted experienced international school teachers from around the world to replace those departing. We have hired an experienced 1st grade teacher who is here locally, a high school guidance consultant from the UK, a new French language teacher who resides in Belgium, and will soon welcome a high school chemistry teacher from Australia (on sabbatical leave from Jakarta International School) to complete the year for a teacher going on maternity leave. These appointments are incredibly important to us, and we are happy to welcome our new staff members.

The Strategic Planning Process remains a great driver for our efforts, and we have made some great progress this year. We have completed the IB Diploma review, submitted the PYP re-authorization report, and are nearing completion of the CIS/MSA accreditation self-study report. Our efforts with the Diploma Program resulted in an unqualified approval for continuation, so congratulations are in order for the high school. A visiting team for the PYP re-authorization will be on-site soon, and we will wait to hear about the visiting team for CIS/MSA once we send off the report in early February.

Beyond the accreditation, the school has continued its commitment to improving the safety and security of the school with a recent contract awarded for upgrades to fire/alarm system and access control. This work will take place in summer 2012. Likewise, campus master planning has progressed with the appointment of an architectural firm to work with St. John’s in developing a visionary plan for facilities to support the teaching and learning of the entire school. The consultant will work with the St. John’s Community from the first visit the end of January. More information will be published in Headlions next week.

Dr. Tom Hawkins, Director