Secondary School: 07/06/2019

Welcome to the new edition of our Secondary Newsletter!

As I write this newsletter, I have taken the opportunity to reflect over a small selection of the experiences that our students have experienced over the last few weeks, with contributing articles from some of our fantastic teaching team. Over the last five days, I have been fortunate to take part in a UK University conference and opportunities in Scotland, reinforcing the need for students to take advantage of opportunities to enrich their applications, such as those written about below by our staff, helping to make our students stand out in a highly competitive University market.

Here are just some highlights of the key messages from Universities that I have taken home from the conference:

  • The need for grit and determination – Universities are reporting that an increasing number of students are going to University and are struggling to cope, with 1 in 4 students struggling in some way. Universities are increasingly looking for students to demonstrate in their applications how they have overcome challenges and developed determination, and The need for grit and determination – Universities are reporting that an increasing number of students are going to University and are struggling to cope, with 1 in 4 students struggling in some way. Universities are increasingly looking for students to demonstrate in their applications how they have overcome challenges and developed determination, and how they have learnt from failure. For our students, we will continue to help them see that it is ok to fail as a learning experience, using critical reflection to help them to develop and improve, developing a positive, growth mindset.
  • The need for research at an early stage to inform the application process and for students to tailor their application to what Universities are looking for. I continue to recommend taking opportunities as families to visit University campuses. It is never too early to start having conversations at home about University and possible career pathways. If you are visiting a new city, it is always a great opportunity to visit a new University campus to get a feel for the type of location and style of University that your child may be interested in. It doesn’t need to be a full campus tour, just a short walk around looking at the buildings and thinking about the location as a possible choice for the future. For our High School students, we have suggested questions that they may wish to consider to make the visit more meaningful.
  • The need for evidence to support their applications, giving concrete examples to demonstrate how they have achieved the areas written about in their personal statements. This needs to be linked into their chosen field of study and critically discussed. Evidence may involve wider reading, completion of an on-line course or Summer course and work experience.

A growing number of Universities are beginning to offer interdisciplinary elements to their degrees, giving students the opportunity to work collaboratively in teams across different subject disciplines. I was most impressed by Edinburgh University, who are launching a Futures Institute. This will focus on four key areas:

UNI PIC

  • Fostering interdisciplinary thinking, teaching and action.
  • Meaningful collaborations, not only between differing subject faculties in the University but also forward-thinking businesses, governments and world universities to ask what the future could look like and provoke change.
  • Data fluent, class expertise in data science with the arts, humanities and social sciences to better understand key issues.
  • World-changing activities, making a change, whether locally or on a global scale.

If we consider our IB programmes in relation to this, you can see how initiates such as the Edinburgh Futures Institute gives our students opportunities to continue to build upon their experience in the IB.

If you have any questions above University and the pathway to University through the IB Continuum, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

Creative Month

May was a creative and inspirational month at ISC. As you’ve seen from the school social media pages, many extra-curricular events took place during the month. There were musical performances, drama productions and festivals, art workshops and design EXPO’s to name a few. Students were inspired, especially the Grade 7 and 8 Creative Team, who ran art workshops for the Grade 2, 3 4 and 5 PYP students as part of their service as action. We all realised that creativity can happen in any school subject and shown in many different ways, in fact we realised how every month is creative month for us.   – Ms. Lockett

Maths Challenge

Last week ISC hosted the second annual Grade 8 Maths Exchange. It was a fantastic event that all students found very stimulating. It was wonderful to see all of the 28 students from Como, Modena, Monza and Siena so engaged and involved in all of the challenging mathematical activities. The two teams from ISC also managed to come first and second in the competition! Well done to all those who were involved.

Please visit the school library to see the fantastic work produced during the poster round on display.

We hope to engage in a similar competition next year, so grade 7’s ensure you are performing well and working hard in your maths lessons and you will be chosen.       – Ms. Blakeway

Gender Equality

On Friday 31st May, the Grade 11 and DP students were joined by International Development expert, Ms Monica Tabet-Gugolz. She came to introduce the topic of “Gender Equality in International Development” to us. Subjects discussed included the meaning of ‘sex’ and ‘gender’ and our interpretation of these terms; the difference between equality and equity, especially relating to gender and discrimination before birth; and how different contexts around the world influence the need for inclusive policies that empower both women and men in order to develop the economy. Ms Tabet-Gugolz’s talk was enlightening and thought-provoking and we are very grateful to her for spending the afternoon with us! –  Ms. Ackers and Ms. Gray

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InfinityBots

Programming, creative engineering, collaboration, research and public speaking were the foundation stones on which ISC founded its winning team, InfinityBots and entered this eager group of learners into the First Lego League (FLL) competition for the first time ever. The neophyte nature of our arrival cannot be overstated, as the InfinityBots’ dynamic rise from zero to hero is extraordinary.

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One snowy morning in February, the InfinityBots set off for the regional competition, expecting to gain experience and some insight as to how the competition worked. Nothing more. They returned triumphant, having not only won the competition and a place at the Italian nationals in Rovereto, but also gained a nomination for a special award ‘Oltre La Robotica’ given for the most innovative solution to a physical or social problem in space. In Rovereto the team competed against the best squads from all over Italy and…won their place in the FLL International Open in Izmir, Turkey, this May, representing Italy in a four day final. In Izmir it was difficult not to be overawed by the scope and scale of the event, every continent was represented, 84 teams in all, many with sponsorship and decidedly larger membership, most of them with professionally produced publicity and merchandising. We had shown our customary team spirit and initiation by producing handmade items to promote our team and deck our stand. As always at ISC we relied on each other for support and the provision of excellence.

Day two began with an opening ceremony and team presentations before getting down to the serious business of the robot missions, scientific, design and research project presentations. It was time to get over the huge impression made by the venue. The team were focused and dedicated and by the end of the day, strolling with the ‘Colours of Culture’ City Parade from Konak Beach through the town centre, InfinityBots seemed at home in the mass of waving flags, posing with other teams for selfies as the locals cheered from their apartment windows overlooking the route. Socialising on an international scale can bring out unsuspected talents, it turns out that the InfinityBots are a mean posse of breakdancers too. (Perhaps ‘entente cordiale’ was giving us a hand.) Not every path was as smooth –  on the third day, the Robot began to behave like a stroppy adolescent – it was exhausted from all the travelling, it ‘forgot’ how to complete its tasks, it left a piece of itself on a practice table – but an InfinityBot under pressure is an InfinityBot at his collaborative and creative best. The team came together and problem solved, they discovered how many variables can arise in the competition, and found ways to overcome them. After the mishaps, imagine the surprise when the team received two ‘callbacks’. This meant that the presentation judges had nominated InfinityBots for awards one for Mechanical Design (Robot) and the other for Presentation (Research Project). They had to perform  again and respond to a series of questions.

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The road to an event of this kind is a learning experience per eccellenza. We have created memories, interest and a sense of pride in our own community and beyond. The work creates its own optimistic propulsion, and the team is already thinking ahead to the 2019/20 challenge, ‘City Shaper’. How to incorporate lessons learned from the other teams? What could InfinityBots construct on the base robot, to make it more reliable? How might more refined and sophisticated programming improve performance? Although the team did not win any awards at internationals, being there was a prize in itself.

Robotics 4

 As coaches, we could not be prouder of all their achievements and watching the team grow closer and stronger has been a joy. Like them, we cannot wait to get hold of the new ‘City Shaper’ board in August, share our ideas with other teams and research new projects based on architecture and design. To Infinity and beyond … as the saying goes.  – Ms. Riccò

Our ISC Community

goodbye

As the year draws to a close you will have received the profiles of the new members of our teaching team for the next academic year.  Whilst we are very excited to have such incredible teachers joining us, it is also deeply sad to be saying goodbye to others. As you will have seen from Ms Ferloni’s letter, Mr Ferrara, Mr Clifford and Ms Rosales will be leaving us at the end of this year. We would like to take this opportunity to thank them for everything they have done for our students and our teaching team, and for being such a key part of our community. We look forward to hearing of their new adventures in the future.

ISA Examinations 

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We have now received the International School Assessment results for the children present for the testing in Grades 8 and 10.  We are currently in the process of downloading and analysing the reports and they will be available to parents via the ManageBac Portfolio during the first week of the Summer vacation. A summary of the results of the school will be given in September at the Parent Evenings.

End of Year Reports

On June, 21 our families will receive our MYP or DP End of Year Report.  This is a summary of learning and achievement in the later part of the academic year. Parents will be able to download the report from ManageBac by clicking on the REPORTS tab on the left hand side of the screen:

Step One:  Log in to ManageBac:  https://iscomo.managebac.com/login

Step Two:  Click on the Reports Tab on the left hand side, towards the bottom

Step Three:  You will see the report ready to download as a PDF

For ManageBac login issues please email Ms Ricco:  jricco@iscomo.com

For families leaving us, please take time to download copies of your child’s reports as ManageBac access will no longer be available from 1 August.