Secondary School: 06/09/2019

Welcome to our New School Year

It is with great delight that I write our first blog of the new school year. This year promises to be an exciting year with our first ever graduating class of Grade 13 and new subjects such as Dance and Sport. For all of our families we hope that you have enjoyed a wonderful summer and we extend a very warm welcome to our new students and families joining us in the Secondary school, both from our PYP section and as new families to our vibrant school community.

Our Secondary Staff Team

I would like to take this opportunity to welcome our new team of Secondary staff here at ISC. They have worked tirelessly over the last week to prepare for our new academic year and it is a true privilege to work with such a dedicated team of professionals, focussed on providing the best possible learning experiences for our students. Our staff are exemplary role-models for our students, especially in collaboration where planning takes place in many differing teams, such as subject teams, homeroom teams and programme teams.

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Our full Secondary team continues to grow and we are delighted to welcome Mr Matt Brown (Physics), Mrs Cornelia Brown (Art), Ms Giulia Brianzi (Dance) and Ms Veronique Selmeci (Maths). In addition, we welcome Ms Biazzi (IAL-Italian as Additional Language) and Ms Roberts (EAL-English as Additional Language) as they join us from the Primary Team, and Mr Ruben De Giorgio as he moves across to teach PE. Supporting me with the leadership of our Secondary team is Ms Karen Lockett, our MYP coordinator.

Within our homeroom team, we have a member of staff overseeing the well-being of our students in their homerooms. They are a first point of contact for our families and I am delighted to introduce:

  • Ms Roberts with 7A_SR
  • Ms Blakeway with 8A_JB and Ms Mani with 8B_MM
  • Ms Gray with 9A_LG and Ms Selmeci with 9B_VSMr Brown with Grade 10
  • Ms Ackers with Grade 11
  • Ms Evans with Grade 12
  • Ms Wallace with Grade 13

Our new timetable structure

School timetable. Vector illustration III.

We have streamlined our timetable across the school, bringing our learning times into a greater alignment and meeting the needs of our growing Secondary school. Our new timetable for this year operates as follows:

Learning Times: Monday – Thursdaylun-thu

Learning Times: Friday

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As you can see from our timings, we are continuing to offer our fantastic club programme, a real highlight from last year. Our club programme will be divided into Middle School and High School and we are grateful to our amazing teaching staff who continue to offer a wide range of clubs in both club times. Our High School students will also continue to have the opportunity to build up their leadership skills by leading club sessions with the support of staff. Students will sign up for clubs over the next few days and our offer for this term includes Creative Team, Gender Diversity, Maths Support, MUN Model United Nations, Library and Homework Time, Band club and Volleyball to name but a few.

Within our new timetable structure, we are offering both Robotics and Public Speaking to every student in Grades 7 – 9. A new choice of subject will also be available to all of our MYP students as we are now offering a choice of Dance or Sport for one of our Physical and Health Education lessons each week. During the next few weeks, students will have the opportunity to take part in taster sessions for both Dance and Sport, before choosing their preferred option for the remainder of the year.

Following our successful trial of cycle assessment, this has now become a timetabled lesson on a Wednesday, lesson 4. All students have received a copy of their schedule for cycle assessments through the entire year so they can plan and revise effectively for the assessments. Look out for more details from Ms Karen in our upcoming curriculum corner (will be published into one of the next newsletter).

To find out more about the exciting changes in Secondary school, please join us for our annual Back to School night on 17 September, from 18:00 to 19:30. This will give you the opportunity to meet with teachers, find out more about our curriculum and to ask questions about learning in the Secondary School.

A Uniform Update

uniforms

We thank our families for their patience during the move to our new uniform supplier, through Inspired. Our students are welcome to attend school Monday – Thursday in a white T-shirt and plain navy blue bottoms, respecting the colours of our uniform, as they eagerly await the arrival of their new uniforms. Please remember that every Friday is a Free Dress Day – look out for themes throughout the year.

Student of the Month

student of the month

On the last Friday of each month, we will be celebrating with students in our monthly assembly. As part of our celebration, we will be awarding our coveted Student of the Month award to a member of each Homeroom. Our theme for September is the Learner Profile and we are looking for students who exemplify the Learner Profile in their daily lives at school.

Technology at ISC

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Another important first for us during this week has been with the introduction of a Bring Your Own Device Policy throughout our Secondary School, a move widely supported by our students.  We are seeing great use of technology throughout our school as each classroom has a large TV display to which staff connect with their own device. Our staff have been making full use of this new technology in ways such as modelling problem solving using the pen feature of their device for students to follow on screen. Ms Riccò, our Technology Integrator, has worked hard to provide our students with their own school e-mail addresses and giving introductions to our on-line learning platform called ManageBac.

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ManageBac is an online learning and communication platform for IB world schools, which supports our community with curriculum planning, assessment and reporting. ManageBac is not just for our teachers and students though, as parents will also receive an email to access into ManageBac in the forthcoming weeks to help you to keep track of your child’s academic progress online, including academic reports. We will be running workshops on ManageBac for parents so please keep an eye on future newsletters for further details and dates. Please join us on 20 September for our first ManageBac Drop in for families, from 14:30 to 15:30. Ms Ricco will be on-hand to answer questions about ManageBac and to support families in becoming more familiar with this powerful learning platform.

Contracts in Secondary School

In order to be able to guarantee a healthy, quiet, and supportive learning environment based on shared rules, we work with students using our Secondary School Code of Conduct. Families will be receiving an e-mail communication detailing our code of conduct and this has been introduced to students in our assemblies this week and during Homeroom time.  We appreciate that the document is a lengthy one but we kindly ask you to pay attention to the contents of these policies, to read them and discuss the contents with your children. Thank you for your support working in partnership with us in this. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you require any further clarification and guidance.

i agree

When you have familiarized yourself with these documents, please return the signed form via your child to their homeroom tutor. To assist you with this, our students will be bringing a paper copy of the signature page home with them.

Secondary School Calendar  

We will be releasing shortly to families our Secondary school calendar. This will contain the main events, workshops and initiatives planned for the Secondary School, giving you the opportunity to add the items of interest to your family calendars well ahead of time.

Our first event will be our Secondary ‘Back to School’ night, taking place on Tuesday, 17 September from 18:00 to 19:30. Our evening will give families the opportunity to meet with teachers and to learn more about the subjects that your children will be studying in the MYP and Diploma Programme programmes here at ISC. Our teachers will be based in subject learning spaces, enabling you to experience first-hand some of new learning spaces, and they will be available through the evening to answer your questions. Please drop by to say hello!  Prior to this Information Evening, we will be e-mailing to families the subject annual plans, so that you may prepare your questions ahead of time.

Our ISC Secondary Bonding Day

Within our IB programmes, our students develop essential life-skills, such as collaboration. The ability to work in teams is one of the interdisciplinary learning goals of an international education and to help our students in their journey in this we begin our new School year with our annual bonding days.

On Wednesday 11 September, we will take our students for activities based around our IB Learner Profile.

Grades 7 through Grade 9 students (MYP1-3) will experience Dragon Boat Racing in Milan and our Grade 10 and Grade 11 students (MYP4–5) will experience sailing on Lake Como. As our Diploma Programme, Grade 12-13, students continue to learn life skills for their future beyond school, they will visit Cucina In Milano, learning how to cook a meal and to enjoy together socially their master creations in the kitchen.

Details have been e-mailed out to families earlier this week – please remember to let Ms Elvia know by email (epiras@iscomo.com) in our school office if your child is unable to join us on this day.

Parent Workshops and Events

We are all life-long learners and we appreciate how important it is to our families to have to learn about the curriculum that we offer in our Secondary School, so that you may support your child in their learning. We will continue our regular Tuesday morning workshops for families with students in the MYP and Diploma Programme programmes, from 08:50 to 10:00. The workshops will cover a range topics and will introduce you to key members of our team, such as our Service as Action coordinator. The dates of our Secondary School workshops appear in our calendar and welcome booklet.

I am delighted to introduce a new format this year for our Diploma Programme families. Each month I will be hosting a coffee and chat, on the last Monday of each month, giving families the opportunity to join me in discussing key features of the Diploma Programme during that month, updates on Universities and to ask questions that they may have about the programme. We look forward to meeting with you at our first Coffee and Chat on Monday, 30 September, from 15:00 to 16:00.

We would also like to invite our Diploma Programme families to our Welcome to Diploma Programme evening, on Thursday 26 September. During this evening you will have the opportunity to find out more about the Diploma Programme and the importance of the core of Theory of Knowledge, CAS and Extended Essay.

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And finally, we look forward to our New School Year full of learning experiences that are challenging, enjoyable and ultimately rewarding ones. Please don’t hesitate to contact myself (npearce@iscomo.com) or Ms Karen (klockett@iscomo.com) at any time throughout the year if we can be of any support. Here’s to a great year – go ISC!

Nicole Pearce
Deputy Principal – Head of Secondary