Mr. Kestner becomes 7th grader for a day

On Wednesday I became a 7th grader for the day. My job as principal surrounds me with 11-14 year olds on a daily basis and I go in and out of classes frequently, interacting with this age group. But I asked myself the question “Can I remember what it was like to spend a whole day as a 12 year old?” My classes were double Social Studies, French, Maths, English and double Art. The students were wonderful and really took part in the experience by helping me feel welcome in their world. At lunch I went to sit on my … Continue reading Mr. Kestner becomes 7th grader for a day

Grade 5 Halloween Trail @ Le Musee d’Art Ancien in Brussels

This month, our Grade 5 students discovered the fabulous Musée’s collection through a fun “Halloween Trail”. Pupils followed the trail in groups of 4, answered questions and found many skulls, skeletons and spooky monsters along the way. They also practiced their observational skills by drawing some of the artworks. After lunch, they walked to the Grand-Place to practice their French (each group had to ask 3 questions in French to someone in the street or in shops), to draw the gorgeous guild houses and of course … dig in a waffle!! Continue reading Grade 5 Halloween Trail @ Le Musee d’Art Ancien in Brussels

Mindfulness in the Middle School Classroom

Every day, first period, middle school students sit in silence, clear their minds of what has been and what will be and pause. The teacher takes them through a process called mindfulness. Mindfulness can be defined as:                                                                       “paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally.” We know that practicing mindfulness has shown to offer benefits such as increased self-awareness, better … Continue reading Mindfulness in the Middle School Classroom

High School art trip to London – a reflection

Though I live one hour away from any large city in Belgium, I consider myself psychologically a city person; I absolutely adore the thrill that a city brings me. London was no exception. There were a multitude of memorable moments experienced during our four-day stay in the city-center, but a few truly highlight the great time I had. One was the trip to both the Tate Britain and Tate Modern galleries. We started off at the Tate Britain and made our way to the Tate Modern across the river Thames by boat. The Tate Modern impressed me with its stupendous … Continue reading High School art trip to London – a reflection

PC tablets in Timbertops

In Timbertops we were delighted to receive PC Tablets for the children, two per class. The children like to sit around the table in small groups and are learning to take turns; this is very important as the Tablets are very sensitive. They love to use them to play their favorite games on Poisson Rouge, especially Ten Green Bottles! It’s also great fun to use the Tablets to draw using the 2simple software. We are still in the discovering stage, but we are looking forward to seeing what else we can use them for! Continue reading PC tablets in Timbertops

French book club for 2012-13 has been launched

Our 2012-2013 French book club called LEGERE (to read in Latin) has been launched. We have 33 members that will rotate all year long. After deliberation, our members have chosen 7 fields of interest: Coups de coeur (1):   1. Toni MORRISON (USA): Home/Bourgois 2. Patrick DEVILLE (France): Peste et choléra/Seuil  3. Patrick MODIANO (France): L’herbe des nuits/Gallimard  4. Amin  MAALOUF (Liban) : Les désorientés/Grasset  5. Jean ECHENOZ (France) : 14/Minuit   Coups de cœur (2):  1. Joël DICKER (Suisse): La vérité sur l’affaire Harry Queber/de Fallois 2. Roger GRENIER (France) :Brefs récits pour une longue histoire /Gallimard  3. Ben JELLOUN (Maroc):Le bonheur conjugal/Gallimard 4. Emmanuel CARRERE (France) : Limonov/POL   … Continue reading French book club for 2012-13 has been launched

High Schoolers raise 686 Euro for Annai Erica home

Congratulations to all the students who participated in raising money for the Annai Erika Home during the parent teacher conferences last week. Cebile, Alicia, Lisa, Marie, Joséphine and Magalie were able to raise a total of 686 € and 14 new sponsors. Says Marie des Neiges de Lantsheere, one of the students involved in the fundraising ”This was the very first time, this year, that our new team came into action to help the Annai Erika school in India. Although the idea was simple; selling cakes as well as bracelets at the entry of the parent teacher conference, it was … Continue reading High Schoolers raise 686 Euro for Annai Erica home

Learning French through Art

In October, one French class has discovered  a French artist called Niki de Saint Phalle. She was born in France and grew up in New York. She became famous in 1964 when she started to make colorful figures, first made of wool, yarn, paper-maché and later of polyester. Niki’s biggest project was the “Tarot Garden” which she began to work on in Tuscany in 1979. Niki de Saint Phalle died in California of emphysema on May 22, 2002 as a consequence of years of inhaling toxic polyester fumes while working on her art projects. Thanks to this artist, the students reviewed shapes, colours … Continue reading Learning French through Art

Time Riders author Alex Scarrow visits St. John’s

On Monday, October 15, the Middle School and the MHS Library welcomed visiting author Alex Scarrow to St. John’s for an all-day visit.  Mr. Scarrow addressed Middle School students in an assembly where he talked about his background as a rock musician and video game concept developer, and explained what his series the Time Riders was all about.  The page-turning, action-adventure stories that centers on three kids who have been recruited to help save the world from people going back in time and changing the present, were made vivid by his re-enactment of scenes and his enthusiastic portrayal of the … Continue reading Time Riders author Alex Scarrow visits St. John’s

High School speaker lectures

Being new at St. John’s, I was delighted to have been invited last week to a talk by Dr. Alexis Tengan, the first in a series of colloquia organized by Dr. Castillo-Coronado. We were greeted by a number of exquisite artifacts lying solemnly on an African-themed green and white cloth on the table. What marvel to see those “out of this world” artifacts most of which were from Dr. Tengan’s native Ghana: human-shaped wood carvings, animal figurines, a large round spiked jar, and the like. Dr. Tengan gave us an idea of their original context by talking about a worldview … Continue reading High School speaker lectures

The Tower of Babel – a grade 5 art project

Grade 5 looked at Bruegel’s Tower of Babel and has started building a gigantic Tower  of Babel with cardboard. Each pupil has been given a cardboard box to make a house with it. They have been busy learning how to decorate it with Alix and Philippe, 2 artists from the art group Boite a Clous (cardboard/recycling art). They have already started to place their houses on a 2 meter diameter cardboard structure to create a huge city. The finished piece will be exhibited in the PAC foyer after the break. We will post updates as we progress with the project! … Continue reading The Tower of Babel – a grade 5 art project

Why ‘Well-Being and Happiness’ will enhance our St. John’s Community

On Thursday 11th October, Mr. Daniel Johnston and I attended a ‘Positive Psychology’ Conference at Wellington College in Berkshire UK. We were there to learn about a school, which is very similar to St John’s and how they developed an approach to community wellness, which is both radical and completely obvious for a school with a 150 year tradition based upon Christian Values. You can find out more about Wellington College, its IB programme and it’s proud tradition by visiting the website. At St John’s, in June this year, The High School hosted a meeting of interested parents and teachers … Continue reading Why ‘Well-Being and Happiness’ will enhance our St. John’s Community

Fantastic Forrestia – 3rd graders enjoy companionship

Recently, the 3rd grade students and teachers enjoyed going to Forestia, a wonderful adventure park where we did lots of activities which encourage working together, team-building and healthy risk-taking! All of that fitted extremely well with the central idea of our “Budding Buddies” Unit of Inquiry: We need to communicate and collaborate to achieve a common goal. Some memorable student quotes (taken from student reflections): “My favourite part was petting the ponies. They were soft and cute. I wanted to stay there forever.” Martina “I really enjoyed the Forestia Field Trip because we were all playing together and caring for each … Continue reading Fantastic Forrestia – 3rd graders enjoy companionship

International Festival: celebrating our diversity

International Festival is one of the most popular events on the St. John’s calendar. It is a day to show nationalism while celebrating diversity. Most students and many parents participate in the parade, while 28 countries have decorated a booth to teach students about their country during and giving people a taste of the national food or drink in the evening. The daytime parade video is already available, the evening parade will be live streamed at 19:00, both at Continue reading International Festival: celebrating our diversity

The Road Less Traveled: Podcasts, Photo Puzzles and Flipbooks!

Experiences: Middle school media courses are off to an exciting start this year.  8th graders are creating podcasts, while 6th graders have had a great experience making photo puzzles. 7th graders have worked hard on storytelling through drafting narrative short stories, creating storyboards and topping that off with animation, sound effects and film. Reflections: After a wide range of experiences in each course- viewing and analyzing model work, producing their own work, getting feedback and revising their work… we’ve also taken some time to reflect on our experiences thus far. Quotes from 7 th grade Students’ Reflections on the Media … Continue reading The Road Less Traveled: Podcasts, Photo Puzzles and Flipbooks!

Flying paper airplanes for bricks

Today at lunchtime, students came out in force to buy and fly paper airplanes as far as they could on “the bridge”, the connector between Middle School and the Performing Arts Center. The 10th grade students were hosting the event in support of their charity in Sri Lanka. The proceeds will go to building houses there and, as Mr. Macdonald says, “Each plane is another brick in the wall”. Continue reading Flying paper airplanes for bricks

Thinkers in action

Our professional journey: departure point –  St John’s fifth grade classroom; destination –  unknown. So how did it all begin? We had been using a range of thinking strategies in the classroom for several years and had been encouraged by the students’ responses. We decided to find out more about the theory attached to thinking routines, questioning strategies, brain development etc so we immersed ourselves in a range of up to date educational literature which was to have a dramatic impact in our classrooms. Excited and encouraged by the insights into our students’ thinking and their learning we really wanted … Continue reading Thinkers in action

Fall sports season and ISSTs

Fall is here. The days are shorter, the air is colder, the grass is muddier. This sports season is nearing its end, and ISST Championships are approaching. Our teams have worked hard up to this point, and results show it. The St. John’s varsity girls and boys soccer and volleyball teams have played a combined 41 games – and have only lost 8. Our cross country team has placed several runners in top ten finishes. Hard works pays off, and talent is a crucial ingredient to success. Our highly qualified and committed coaching staff takes care of the rest. We … Continue reading Fall sports season and ISSTs

Parents celebrate teachers on World Teachers Day

The St. John’s staff were in for a treat this afternoon as parents baked cakes and served teachers a glass of wine to celebrate World Teachers Day. The Parent Teacher Program (PTP) took the opportunity to thank the teachers for all they do for the students. The PTP has been very active in their appreciation of teachers and staff: they put a thank you card in each teacher’s mailbox at the start of the school year and put “cup-a-soup” boxes in the staff rooms in September to give the teachers a healthy, hearty snack as fall approached. The staff showed … Continue reading Parents celebrate teachers on World Teachers Day

The High School staff goes conkers

An average Friday lunch period turned into a fun one for High School faculty when one of the teachers suggested a game of conkers. Conkers is a traditional game in Britain and Ireland played using chestnuts. The game is played by two players, each with a conker threaded onto a piece of string: they take turns striking each other’s conker until one breaks. Some teachers thought they could gain an advantage by manipulating the chestnut, but ended up injuring themselves in the process.   Continue reading The High School staff goes conkers

Kindergarten students use bottles to build a maze

True to the Reggio Emilia pedagogy and the Primary Years Programme (PYP), our Kindergarten is collecting recyclable material for many projects that we will work on throughout this coming school year. The project we are now working towards is a maze for the Timbertops garden made of wine bottles. Two weeks ago, in our Friday letter, we asked parents to send in their empty and label-free wine bottles and we have been thrilled with the response. The children have already started reflecting on what a maze is and how they would like their maze to look. This is the start … Continue reading Kindergarten students use bottles to build a maze

Elementary students are writing and publishing a book in French

We are pleased to announce that this year, our French-speaking students from Grade 2 onwards will be writing a book in French. The students will be guided by an expert who has already conducted many workshops in Belgian schools. “Les Aventurêves” is a very well-known workshops organizer throughout Belgium, Switzerland, Canada and France. Many stories and books have been published already. We are very excited by this new venture, which will take place throughout the school year and will conclude with an evening reception, during which our budding writers will be able to present and sign their books, the plot … Continue reading Elementary students are writing and publishing a book in French

First grade movie stars

Today, the first graders in Mrs. Gardner’s class had quite an exciting experience: they were filmed by a professional crew. The crew had built a small studio in our dance studio, with lighting and cameras and microphones. The kids were asked the following question: “What do you want your computer to do in the future?” Since first graders often have quite an imagination, the responses were quite diverse. One of the students “wants my computer to make my dreams come true”. Another student envisions computers to “go to the store and buy hot dogs.” The students were quite mature in this daunting … Continue reading First grade movie stars

St. John’s varsity soccer teams host American International School of Bucharest

The varsity soccer teams hosted the American International School of Bucharest, Romania this weekend for the first time in our history. The trip to Belgium came as a result of the basketball varsity teams visit to Bucharest this past winter. The boys and girls teams played 3 matches each, one under the lights on Friday night, and two at St. John’s on Saturday. As you can tell from the photos, the teams had a great time together. The school will be looking for opportunities to continue this relationship and sports team exchange! Continue reading St. John’s varsity soccer teams host American International School of Bucharest

Chickens on the run… to Prague!

Two years ago the chickens arrived  in Pre-K!  We welcomed 2 hens, Pipiyak and Gaëtane and a rooster called Kiko. The breed is ‘Silkie’ in English, or ‘Nègre de Soie’ in French. They are our beautiful feathered friends. Mrs. O’Neill, Mrs. Gahan and Mrs. Limbourg fenced off a part of the Pre-K playground. The chicken project started with children that are now in 1st Grade, it has been very exciting to put this project into place and see the children’s interest and involvement during the first two years!! During an exchange of teaching practices and experiences with teachers from Prague … Continue reading Chickens on the run… to Prague!

Students raise 3,800 Euro for Refugee Center

The 11th grade advisory program has sponsored a CAS activity over the last few years that involves students raising money and visiting the Red Cross Refugee Center in Alsemberg. A large group from last year’s 11th grade took part in this activity led by Kick Leibbrandt and Aurelia Sauerbrei,  who are now 12th grade High School students. They raised money through various activities during the year and planned a special visit to the Refugee Center and organizing a football match and various cooking and art activities with the residents culminating in a musical concert. This friendship and expression of solidarity … Continue reading Students raise 3,800 Euro for Refugee Center

Thank you to the Middle and High School library volunteers!

On September 26, the MHS Library hosted a meeting for new and returning MHS Library Volunteers, to review the accomplishments of the Volunteer Program from last year, and to look forward to large projects and long-term goal-setting for this year.  The MHS Library Volunteer Program is a vital part of the Library’s operation and planning process, and the volunteers provide foundational support for the Library.  This includes working to make sure day-to-day operations are functioning smoothly, helping to set a welcoming tone in the Library for everyone at St. John’s, as well as being involved in planning for the future … Continue reading Thank you to the Middle and High School library volunteers!

St. John’s introduces Mandarin Chinese course in High School

St. John’s is proud to announce the introduction of a course in Mandarin Chinese in the High School, starting as an extra-curricular option this fall. So far, 18 students have signed up for the introductory course of six weeks. A 12 weeks course is planned to start in January while a course within the High School curriculum for next fall is being considered. As High School principal Mrs. Debbie Brook puts it “China is the world’s fastest growing and one of its most vibrant economies. Language learning in school was historically influenced by a country’s economic partnerships.  Many international schools, … Continue reading St. John’s introduces Mandarin Chinese course in High School

St. John’s granted CIS re-accreditation

St. John’s recently received the news from the Council of International Schools (CIS) that it decided to grant the school its 10 year re-accreditation, based on the self study and team visit conducted in the spring. Many parents, students, faculty and staff were involved in the accreditation process and we would like to thank them for their commitment and time which resulted in the re-accreditation. Continue reading St. John’s granted CIS re-accreditation

Fourth grader raises 2,700 Euro for Autism Europe by organizing talent show

My mom always said, “Big things come in small packages!”   This was never truer than last week, when petite Ari Gibson, grade four student, raised almost 2,700 Euros for Autism Europe! During the summer, Ari and her family discussed her soon to be birthday party. Ari realized that she has been a fortunate little girl, receiving so many wonderful things in her life but that it was time to give back.  Thus the idea to give back to someone else was germinated.   And it grew and grew, with a little help from family, friends and Saint John’s community. Ari’s idea … Continue reading Fourth grader raises 2,700 Euro for Autism Europe by organizing talent show

Founders Day celebration

Today, we celebrated Founders Day, the day the Faithful Companions of Jesus (FCJ) foundress Marie-Madeleine D’Houet was born in 1781. Marie-Madeleine d’Houët was born in 1781 and grew up in central France in the aftermath of the French Revolution. In 1804 she married Joseph de Bonnault d’Houët and together they would visit the sick. But Joseph died less than a year later and three months after his death Marie-Madeleine gave birth to their son, Eugene. The young widowed mother still found time to continue her visits to the sick. She was aware of a growing desire to dedicate her whole life to God and … Continue reading Founders Day celebration

10th graders help develop sign language course in High School

St. John’s recently started a sign language course in 10th grade within the new Language and Culture section of the High School curriculum. According to High School principal Debbie Brook, “This year, for the first time in High School, we developed a ‘Language and Cultures’ course. This program of study offers students the opportunity to examine language and culture through a range of activities aimed at preparing them for IB Diploma Language and Literature work and for Advanced Placement language courses.” Mrs. Brook continues: “Students will gain an understanding of the communication process in language and how culture is shaped by … Continue reading 10th graders help develop sign language course in High School

St. John’s recording artists!

This past Tuesday after-school, 10 St. John’s students performed a song called “Forever Young” for a French Film called “Les Gamins” which will be coming out later this year. The students performed so well and behaved so well in the studio that they were asked to come and record more songs for the soundtrack. Since these students could not miss school to record, the record company sent a few of their music specialists to the ICP studios in Brussels to record our students. These students will be giving up weekends to record the next few songs and I know they … Continue reading St. John’s recording artists!

The St. John’s art gallery

The St. John’s International School Art Gallery, has an important role to play in raising awareness of the visual arts and encouraging cultural diplomacy between the international and local Belgian communities both in its extensive programme of exhibitions and workshops by visiting artists and its many students shows in elementary, middle and high school. The art department at St Johns International School is excited to be part of this year’s ‘Parcours d’ Artistes’ organised by the Commune of Waterloo. Over 140 artists based in Waterloo will open their studios over the weekend of the 29th and 30th September 2012 … Continue reading The St. John’s art gallery

Welcome to the new St. John’s staff members!

We are delighted to welcome several new staff members for the 2012-13 school year. Please find below some information on each of them: Adam Robinson joins us as a Middle School English Teacher. Born in New York City, he attended University of Texas in Austin. He holds two master’s degrees, one from British Columbia, Canada and the other from Rome, Italy. He has lived in Brussels since July 2011 and substituted in the Middle School last year.   Debbie Corcoran joins us as a third grade teacher in the Elementary School. She comes to us from Centennial School District in … Continue reading Welcome to the new St. John’s staff members!

Art literally comes to life in St. John’s elementary art classes

In St. John’s elementary art classes, exciting chances to learn and grow are never far away. Art teacher, Marianne Behaeghel, works hard to ensure each student is learning, gaining self-confidence and having lots fun in the process. One assignment Behaeghel particularly enjoyed working on this year was the Breugel project she completed with the fifth grade.  In this assignment the famous Breugel painting, “The Census at Bethlehem” was recreated by the students. Students were split into three groups and given the choice of working as costume designers, architects or painters. Costume designers were responsible for mimicking the clothing in the … Continue reading Art literally comes to life in St. John’s elementary art classes

Sixth grade celebrates the end of the year medieval style

St. John’s sixth-grade students traveled back to the Middle Ages, on Friday for the  celebration of Medieval Day. Kings, queens, jesters, blacksmiths and peasants attended the day’s festivities which included a lot of fun and a big feast. The medieval celebrations began with a bit of genuine medieval entertainment. A show of jousting, music, acting, singing and dancing was performed for the amusement of the king and queen. Every sixth grader was dressed in medieval garb, each representing a character which the student completed a project about. Even the teachers participated by sporting medieval dress. After being thoroughly entertained, the … Continue reading Sixth grade celebrates the end of the year medieval style

Congratulations to St. John’s Graduating Class of 2012!

St. John’s held its annual commencement exercises on Saturday, when 72 students representing over 30 nationalities walked the stage, receiving diplomas in honor of their completion of high school. The commencement address, given by Ambassador Andebrhan Welde Giorgis, offered a source of inspiration and encouragement to the graduates. As they begin a new chapter of their lives, Giorgis reminded the graduates, with hard work comes great reward and prompted the students not to give up when times get tough.  A student address was given by the St. John’s Head Boy, Joseph Bambridge. He urged his fellow graduates to “make the … Continue reading Congratulations to St. John’s Graduating Class of 2012!

St. John’s second graders tour Waterloo battlefields

This week, the second grade wrapped up a unit on The Battle of Waterloo with a trip to town’s most well-known site, the Butte du Lion. Despite initial uncertainties with the rain, the students climbed the 226 steps to the top of the monument. After a very long trek, they got a bird’s-eye view of the infamous battle grounds of Waterloo. “Climbing the steps was easy. It only felt like eight steps,” students from Mr. Pitts’ second-grade class insisted. The students have learned a lot about the events leading up to and following the battle which took place on June … Continue reading St. John’s second graders tour Waterloo battlefields

Second place for students in ECB High School Challenge!

St. John’s International School came in second place at the first ever Generation Euro Students Award held by and at the European Central Bank in Frankfurt yesterday! More than 1,800 students across the 17 eurozone countries participated in this competition that has been held in three rounds since September. Our students, Christian McMillan, Lisa Schut, Caroline Ginty, Beatrice Martin and Alex Wilton, were among the students from six schools invited to Frankfurt to attend the final round of the competition on June 6th.  They were tasked with predicting and justifying the interest rate decision of the ECB.  In front of … Continue reading Second place for students in ECB High School Challenge!

Thank you to all those involved in the Relay for Life 2012!

St. John’s was the proud host of the 2nd edition of the Relay for Life for the International Community in Belgium this past weekend. The 24 hours spent at St. John’s from Saturday to Sunday proved to be every bit of what we had hoped for. The planning, the atmosphere, the team spirit, the camaraderie, the food and drink, the entertainment and the overall support of every individual contributed to making it the huge success that it was. The final total (€71 000) was testimony to these contributing factors. We all came to CELEBRATE survivors, REMEMBER loved ones lost or … Continue reading Thank you to all those involved in the Relay for Life 2012!

Spring ISST Success

The spring athletic teams competed at the International School Sports Tournaments (ISST) and did the school proud! Tennis – St. John’s won the gold medal in boys singles (Oskar Olin) and boys doubles (Arnaud Steiner and Joshua Tewes-McCoy), sweeping both boys competitions. We also won the silver medal in mixed doubles (Rebecka Olin and Ignacy Szweczenko). Our boys finished second overall (silver medal), the girls fifth, and the team combined fourth. These are wonderful results. Baseball – The boys narrowly missed out on third place and a bronze medal, losing to Cairo 9-6. They won their games against Cairo and … Continue reading Spring ISST Success

The Flame Challenge

St. John’s is participating in the Flame Challenge’s World Wide Assembly on May 9, hosted by Alan Alda. The Flame Challenge is an international science cotest sparked by an editorial Alan Alda wrote in the journal Science.  Scientists from all over the world have submitted answers to the question Alan asked as an 11-year-old, “What is a flame?”  Hundreds of their answers have been judged by panels of 10- to 12-year olds from 131 schools, from California to Western Australia, including your local school.   The judging process will culminate on May 9 in a Worldwide Assembly, a video conference of 10 schools, … Continue reading The Flame Challenge

The Rachel’s Challenge Organisation visits Middle School

Rachel Joy Scott was the first person killed in the Columbine High School tragedy in 1999. Immediately after the tragedy, her father Darrell began to speak around the U.S. and used writings and drawings from Rachel’s many diaries to illustrate the need for a kinder, more compassionate world. On Thursday Rachel’s sister, Dana, visited Middle School as part of the Advisory Program, her aim in speaking to our children was to equip and empower every person to create a permanent positive culture change in our school, home and community by starting a chain reaction of kindness and compassion. Dana quoted … Continue reading The Rachel’s Challenge Organisation visits Middle School

Message in a Bottle has been placed into the Sea of Success!

IB Visual Art Show and Auction on Friday the 27th of April wowed the visitors and showed them the skills and uniqueness of each artist. Three words, ‘outstanding,’ ‘interesting,’ ‘unique,’ those three words would be the best ones to describe the work of the IB Visual Art year two students. However, the first question would be, why was it called a message in a bottle? While I was interviewing the teacher, mentor, and person who organized this show, Mr. Alan Mitchell, he told me that “a message in a bottle is a way to communicate to people from different distances, … Continue reading Message in a Bottle has been placed into the Sea of Success!

Message in a bottle

Come and see the IB Visual Art student’s final exhibition featuring a selection of their work as it has progressed over the two years of their course and take part in the exciting auction of selected works. The special opening for viewing will be Friday the 27th April from 6.00pm-8.00pm and the auction starts 7.00pm. Live music, food and refreshments provided by students. All the proceeds will go towards ‘The Rahula Trust’ to help some of the world’s poorest children receive an education. The Rahula Trust -a fully-registered charity in the UK – raises funds to sponsor the education … Continue reading Message in a bottle

Senior Economics Team reaches final of European Central Bank competition!

We would like to congratulate our senior economics team for making it to the third and final round of the monetary policy competition organized by the European Central Bank in Frankfurt in which more than 50 international and European schools in the 17 countries that make up the Eurozone participated. The team will now go to Frankfurt (as guests of the ECB) for the final round in which they will compete against 5 other schools. Well done! Continue reading Senior Economics Team reaches final of European Central Bank competition!

High School Art Newsletter March 2012

Congratulations to Stephanie Wintjes and Borislav Varadinov, who have organized the International Community Art Show, and all the art teachers and teachers, parents and associates who are collaborating artists on the theme of ‘Nature and Culture’. Thank you also to Mrs. Swanson’s students Sabrina Huston and Katherine O’Shea who performed music on the evening of the opening vernissage ‘Let me use a parable’. The parable of the tree. The artist has busied himself with this world of many forms and, let us assume, he has in some measure got his bearings in it; quietly, all by himself. He is so clearly oriented … Continue reading High School Art Newsletter March 2012

Are the Arts the Universal Language?

Communication, according to many experts, is the creation and sharing of meaning. Is there a form of communication that transcends linguistic boundaries and cultural divides?Can art, dance, drama and music speak to all people everywhere? If the Arts are a Universal Language, are they capable of uniting all of us? The arts can be used to develop intercultural relationships, inspire creativity and influence how people “see things” and open them up to new possibilities. Just as the painter gazes at the blank canvas, and the actor steps onto the darkened stage, and the musician is surrounded by the silence that … Continue reading Are the Arts the Universal Language?

Lions End Winter Season On A High Note

St. John’s hosted the 2012 ISST Girls Division 1 Basketball Championship this past week, March 8-10. The tournament lived up to its slogan, “Peace, Love, Basketball”. The three days of competition were filled with great spirit, sportsmanship and wonderful basketball. The tournament was made up of 12 teams from 9 different countries and a total of 120 athletes. ACS Athens was the dominant team of the tournament, winning its five games by an average margin of 41 points, and beating the American School of Paris in convincing fashion in the championship game, 69-26. The St. John’s girls finished in a … Continue reading Lions End Winter Season On A High Note

St. John’s hosts AMIS, PYP, and ISST’s with great success!

Dear parents, Last week, more than 200 highly capable high school musicians from around the globe graced St. John’s with their energy and enthusiasm for music.  The Association for Music in International Schools (AMIS) has been coordinating fantastic music opportunities for more than 20 years, and this was the 4th time St. John’s has hosted and event, this time the AMIS Mixed Choir and Senior Orchestra festival.  Guest conductors David Lawrence and Jonathan Mann worked amazingly well with the students to prepare them for the concert on Saturday night last week.  It was indeed a pleasure to host this wonderful … Continue reading St. John’s hosts AMIS, PYP, and ISST’s with great success!

AMIS Concert videos and photos now available

Dear parents, For those who were unable to attend the wonderful AMIS International Honor Orchestra and Mixed Choir Festival concert on Saturday night, please enjoy some of the videos posted on our Youtube channel at and the photos in our gallery at Thank you to Cathy Swanson and all involved in making this festival happen at St. John’s! Continue reading AMIS Concert videos and photos now available

Little Peacemakers

Most everyone talks about having peace in the world. From philosophers to politicians to rock stars and religious folks, a longing for peace is expressed in a variety of ways and through a variety of mediums. It is a daunting subject for adults resulting into discussions and even arguments over the role of politics, the cause and results of warfare, the rights and wrongs of countries and more.  But for young children, the topic is limited in scope.  It involves every day conflicts with their peers in the school yard, the classroom, and the cafeteria – all part of the … Continue reading Little Peacemakers

Learning life lessons through sports

by Robert Fronk, grade 9 and 10 counselor As I reflect back many years ago regarding my participation in sports, I can’t help but think about the support and encouragement I received. From my parents to my coaches and others as well. Additionally, I think about the thousands of hours I put into sports. This ranged from summer camps attended at a young age, to summer leagues and camps during the high school years. The days and nights of shooting baskets in the rain all by myself, all in the hopes of obtaining my dream. I appreciate the phrases, “the … Continue reading Learning life lessons through sports


We received the sad news that Mary McGowan, long-time purchasing officer here at St. John’s, passed away on January 19, 2012. Mary was born in 1945, in Dublin, Ireland. She came to St. John’s in 1989 and stayed with us till her retirement in the summer of 2010. We all knew Mary as a person who lived intensely, had a tremendous sense of humour, and a big heart. Not only was she dedicated to her work but she was a person many turned to for advice, for help, or for a laugh. Mary volunteered at numerous school events, helped in … Continue reading R.I.P.

Big Ideas Week on water

We are getting towards the end of the second Big Ideas Week to be held here at St. John’s. Big Ideas Week is our innovative program for group-based experiential learning that allows students the space and time to recognize and stretch their innate capabilities and reach their own conclusions about their own performance.  It brings together the 7 competences which underpin our curriculum in middle school; Thinker, Creator, Explorer, Communicator, Collaborator, Contributor and Self assessor.   The week kicked off with a collaboration between the St. John’s and the organizations Green Light for Girls and Levi Strauss as well as … Continue reading Big Ideas Week on water

Don’t miss the PTP’s Casino Royale!

Dear parents, A reminder to all that tickets for Casino Royale on Saturday February 4th, are now on sale in the Lion’s lair and at Reception.  Payment by Cash, Bank Contact or Credit Card accepted. The PTP would like to encourage your participation in our ‘More Bonds the Better’ dress code for the evening, and look forward to your stylish outfits that will add to the magic of the evening. You will be greeted with a Champagne cocktail upon arrival, and a full Buffet service will be in place. For your pleasure there is a live Big Band for dancing as well as a disco for those that want to dance the night … Continue reading Don’t miss the PTP’s Casino Royale!

Big Ideas week 2 in Middle School next week

“Water is life’s mater and matrix, mother and medium. There is no life without water.” So said the Hungarian biochemist Albert Szent-Gyorgyi, who won the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1937. Our students will have opportunities to explore water from angles not examined before. Why do we sell water in bottles?  Is access to water a human right?  Why bother to save water when it rains all the time? Why do holiday destinations often include access to water? Why worry about pollution in water? Why worry about droughts and floods when it never happens where we are? How do we … Continue reading Big Ideas week 2 in Middle School next week

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 … Continue reading Happy 2012!

Welcome Commitee coffee morning on December 5

St John’s Welcome Committee is calling new and existing volunteers for a Coffee Morning on Monday, 5 December at 8:45 (after drop-off) in the Sports Foyer. Help us welcome new families to St. John’s this January! Learn more about our upcoming events: -New Parent Coffee Morning, Monday 9 January -WC Coffee Mornings, Tuesday & Thursday 10 & 12 January -Winter Welcome Wine & Cheese, Friday 20 January We need all nationalities & languages represented! Incredible opportunity to help a family adjust more easily! If you are unable to join and are interested, please contact: Gretchen Morrison ( or Colleen Gilbert … Continue reading Welcome Commitee coffee morning on December 5

It’s a life – art exhibition

From October 21 until November 8 this year, I had the pleasure of exhibiting my paintings at the Art Gallery of St. John’s International. The gallery is a beautiful space for exhibitions because of large windows, open spaces, good lighting and white walls. It was great to see my work in this surrounding. The gallery of St. John’s is used throughout the year for all kinds of exhibitions, which are related to the school. It varies from work from Elementary School students, Middle School students, IB students, Community Art Vernissage (work from staff and parents of the school) and work … Continue reading It’s a life – art exhibition

Appointment of three new Advisory Board members

The St. John’s International School Advisory Board is delighted to announce the appointment of three new Board members: Mr. Geoffrey Furlonger, Dr. Gary Wilton, and Sr. Brenda Wallace. With the retirement from the Advisory Board of Mr. Christian Varin and Mr. Andrew Renshaw after many years of service, the Advisory Board was looking to fill the vacation positions with people that have specific expertise and background relevant to our school. The aim was to bring in one new Board member with extensive educational expertise and another with legal experience and background. In addition, the Faithful Companions of Jesus (FCJ) have … Continue reading Appointment of three new Advisory Board members

Why the arts?

We believe that art and design, dance, drama and music are essential components of human life, a doorway to a whole new world of expression. In an international school like St. John’s, with a diverse student body from different cultural backgrounds, the Arts become the language of all students. Most academic classes exercise the left side of the brain and the Arts enable us to have a balance as much of what we do is, in essence, is “right brain” activity. Howard Gardner has been making sound arguments for a broad and balanced curriculum based on the theory of multiple … Continue reading Why the arts?

From the New York Times

How About Better Parents? By THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN Published: November 19, 2011 In recent years, we’ve been treated to reams of op-ed articles about how we need better teachers in our public schools and, if only the teachers’ unions would go away, our kids would score like Singapore’s on the big international tests. There’s no question that a great teacher can make a huge difference in a student’s achievement, and we need to recruit, train and reward more such teachers. But here’s what some new studies are also showing: We need better parents. Parents more focused on their children’s education can … Continue reading From the New York Times

Athletics at St. John’s

It has been an eventful and positive start of the year for the Athletic Department. One highlight of the past three months was the visit of Genazzano FCJ College from Melbourne, Australia. They stopped by the St. John’s campus for a day as part of a three-week tour of Europe. Genazzano is an all-girls school and our teams played games of soccer and volleyball with our fellow FCJ students from Australia. It was wonderful to welcome the girls to St. John’s and to strengthen our FCJ legacy. Another great moment was hosting the Alistair Thorpe Memorial Cross Country Meet and … Continue reading Athletics at St. John’s

The HS parent coffee morning presentations

Dear parents, Once again thank you for supporting our High School Coffee on the issue of ‘Parenting Teenagers through a rigorous academic programme”. Here are the hand outs which were produced by Mr. Fronk and Mr. Johnston. This event is merely the first of a series we wish to host concerning several aspects of parenting and the partnership between home and school. Please contact us if you would like more information and please send us any ideas for topics for future coffee mornings. Best regards, Deborah Brook – HS principal Continue reading The HS parent coffee morning presentations

Book club for French native St. John’s parents

C’est avec grand plaisir que nous vous proposons, au sein de l’école, une toute nouvelle tournante de livres placée sous le signe de la passion et du dynamisme. Pas d’exclusive : romans, biographies, livres historiques, essais peuvent tous figurer dans la liste que vous nous aiderez à établir en suggérant un ouvrage lors de votre inscription. Ouvrage que nous nous chargerons d’acquérir. Notre comité est composé, à ce jour, de cinq membres – Mesdames de Halleux, Standaert,  Athas, Vinçotte et  De Cock. Nous nous adapterons, cela va de soi, à la demande tant au niveau du nombre d’adhérents que des … Continue reading Book club for French native St. John’s parents

Life-long learning

Confucius is credited with once saying: Learning without reflection is a waste, reflection without learning is dangerous. This very succinctly sums up why schools, earnest in seeking to improve, choose to participate in self-studies and accrediting projects. It is only in taking the time to look within that we can move forward to becoming better. Self-studies offer schools and educators an opportunity to face the truth or ‘brutal facts’ of the current situation and find a way to make positive changes. During the school year, 2011 – 2012, Saint John’s Elementary School is participating in not one, but two self-studies … Continue reading Life-long learning

Evolution of the Hub

About a month ago, we launched our password-protected parent portal, The Hub. Based on the recent parent survey comments, we developed a visual that shows the evolution of The Hub. In phase 1, you will see all current online communications tools. In each of the following phases, you will see how these tools get rolled into the Hub. All tools will continue to exist, but will now be accessible from one central place, The Hub, in order to increase convenience and accessibility of all information for current parents. Continue reading Evolution of the Hub

How can Parents Support Children in their Adolescent Years?

Our next High School Coffee Morning will take place on Thursday November 10th at 9.00 in the Cafeteria. We will cover the topic of, ‘How can Parents Support Children in their Adolescent Years?’  The session is for any parent who would like some handy tips on how to support and nurture their children through the very demanding years of High School. Grade 9/10 Counsellor Robert Fronk and Dean of Students Daniel Johnston will cover topics such as, ‘School Work/Leisure Time Balance’ and ‘Setting Firm but Fair Expectations’ We sincerely hope that you can join us. A theme for the year … Continue reading How can Parents Support Children in their Adolescent Years?

The Language of the Internet

Google celebrated its 13th birthday this year. That means that all of our children at St. John’s below 7th grade were born in the Google age and our 12th graders were only four or five when Google was ‘born’ and cannot remember life without Google. The World Wide Web has been with us for a miniscule amount of time in relation to the development of the human race. The industrial revolution lasted for approximately one hundred years and had an amazing impact on the socioeconomic and cultural conditions of the time. Today the internet revolution or knowledge revolution has lasted … Continue reading The Language of the Internet

Student Leadership

Over the past few weeks since the beginning of school we, in High School, have been building structures for student representation and providing opportunities for student leadership. Dr. Wendell Hausdorff and Dr. Jesus Castillo-Coronado have been hard at work preparing a range of projects ranging from School Council to Global Conservation Alliance work. In many schools, however, lip service is paid to this very important aspect of school life. The history of student leadership is a very interesting one. John Dewey wrote about it in 1916 in ‘Democracy in Education’ and yet student representation, leadership and contribution to decision making … Continue reading Student Leadership

Childhood road safety statistics

Following up last week’s blog post, please find below some statistics on childhood road safety from the World Health Organization (WHO): • For children 0 to 14 years, pedestrian and bicycling deaths and injuries contribute as a major factor risk factor, whereas youth 15 to 19 years have greater use of motorized vehicles and therefore greater risks to deaths and injuries from these causes. • Children are particularly vulnerable until the age of 9–10 years, owing to their weak capacity to concentrate attention on traffic. They are considered to be especially vulnerable when motorized traffic is heavy or fast, visibility … Continue reading Childhood road safety statistics

Safety and security at St. John’s

The past week’s sunshine has made it feel like summer here in Belgium! And the sunshine and great weather has brought people out to school walking, pushing prams, and riding bikes. This is great, except that the challenges of walking or pushing a pram or biking around St. John’s can be a real challenge. We need your help to remedy this situation. CARS – Please remember that parking, or sitting your car to wait for a student, outside the school on the sidewalk and bike path of Dreve Richelle is not permitted. I have been out at the front of … Continue reading Safety and security at St. John’s

The governance of the school

As the new chairperson of the Governance committee of the Advisory Board and a Board member of the ASBL Board, it is important to me to make it as clear as possible to the St. John’s community what the governance structure of the school is and the responsibilities of the ASBL Board, the Advisory Board, the Director and the Administration of St. John’s International School. In addition, all of the St. John’s community should understand the pertinent policies and the way the budget is created-the factors and the influences that all work together to make this such a successful school. … Continue reading The governance of the school

Foundress Day and Guiding Statements

Foundress Day – September 21 As we celebrate “Foundress Day” on September 21st, we explore our historical roots and focus on their contemporary affirmation as expressed in our Guiding Statements. St. John’s International School has a longstanding relationship with the FCJ (Faithful Companions of Jesus) congregation. Not only was our school founded by the FCJ Sisters but our Heads of School were traditionally Sisters till just 10 years ago. Even though we no longer have the privilege of having Sisters on campus, their legacy remains with us till this very day and we are privileged to have our Sisters active … Continue reading Foundress Day and Guiding Statements

Launching the Hub, our new parent portal

We are delighted to inform you of the launch of our new parent portal, the Hub. The Hub (available at is a password-protected, web-based portal that provides your family with information specific to your children. This is one initiative that will further improve the communication between the school and parents and provides an efficient and easy-to-use tool  to keep up to date. After putting in your credentials, you will see a screen with your children’s names and links to relevant information such as the academic schedule for each child in Middle and High School (a technical issue is preventing us from … Continue reading Launching the Hub, our new parent portal

Advisory Board: All will be revealed on September 8th at 19:00

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 … Continue reading Advisory Board: All will be revealed on September 8th at 19:00

Welcome to the St. John’s Director’s blog!

Dear parents, The school year has officially begun…and it has been another great start.  We managed to get all students into the appropriate classes, on the right buses, and into the right areas for athletics and activities try-outs.  The halls and fields and theater are abuzz as the anticipation of the new year brings with it great energy and enthusiasm.  Of course, the enthusiasm is buoyed by the recent excellent IB results. With a remarkable 98,4% passing rate and an average score of 33.3, St. John’s scored far above the global average. (click here to see the full results). As we constantly look for … Continue reading Welcome to the St. John’s Director’s blog!