Secondary School: 18/01/2019

Happy New Year and Welcome Back!

I hope everyone had a wonderful winter break and you were able to enjoy time with family and friends. We also give a special welcome to our new families who are joining our Secondary school for the first time in 2019.

“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language

And next year’s words await another voice.

And to make an end is to make a beginning.”

The above is from Little Gidding, the fourth and final piece of T. S. Eliot’s Four Quartets, a series of poems he wrote in the early 1940s, during the worst of the Second World War, when his adopted London was under siege by air raids and Europe was in flames. It speaks of renewal, of rising from challenges and it is often quoted when we start afresh in a New Year. It makes me think about what I remember as the highlights from our last term, what challenges we overcame as a community and what were the unexpected delights. It also makes me think about the new terms ahead of us and its opportunities and challenges, embracing all the possibilities. As a community, students, staff and families, what we will learn that is new and of making a change for the better. For our students, this may be setting and achieving goals from their upcoming reports, or research and working towards the University of their choice. Or, making a difference on the football pitch, or in Creative team or in Service as Action. We looking forward to meeting this challenge together with our students.

It is lovely to see our students returned to school refreshed and well prepared for the Spring Term ahead and we have returned at full speed, with Field Trips and Science Week to name but a few highlights.

We have some updates for you as begin the new term, from a timetabling and staffing perspective. Ms Roberts is now supporting our Primary Team as a Grade 6 teacher and we are finalising the recruitment of an EAL teacher to work with us during the rest of the year, before Ms Roberts returns back to our Secondary Team. We are fortunate to have Ms Lucy, our PYP EAL teacher, working with our Grade 7 and 8 students, and Ms Andrea working with our Grade 10 and 11 students in this interim period. Mr Clifford is working with several of our DP students in Maths at a Higher Level so I am delighted to be working again with Grade 10 and 11 in Chemistry. Prof Pallotta has changed his working hours and is now with us on a Friday morning, instead of a Thursday afternoon. Finally, as our Grade 8 continues to grow in size, we have also taken the opportunity to split our Grade 8 English class into two separate English classes based on their Homeroom, both of whom will continue to work with Ms Gray.

Science Week:

This week has marked ISComo’s Science week of fun and Ms Ackers shares with us some highlights from the week.

Students have been taking part in a variety of activities to ignite a passion for science. Students have been studying Science themes throughout the curriculum this week to show that science is all around us and not only confined to the laboratory, this has included drama lessons on Galileo and reviewing science news articles in English. We have had break time science sessions in which students have observe scientific phenomena, taken part in chemistry experiments and watched dissections to better understand the composition of living organisms. We have had a science photo booth every breaktime in the atrium for students to dress up as scientists and have their picture taken as well as dress like a scientist day on Thursday.

It has been a fantastic week celebrating science and encouraging all members of our community to explore science further. Happy Science Week!

General Consulate of Peru visit

Today the Spanish class students have visited the Consulate of Peru in Milan, with the objective of knowing the diplomatic functions of the representative officials and the consular representations of Peru abroad.

The visit was a great opportunity for our students to have a more concrete vision about the meaning of being citizens who are projected to an international reality, both in the educational field and in their professional future.

Thanking to the gentle availability of Mr. Minister Augusto Salamanca Castro, Consul General of Peru in Milan, the visit took place in a very cordial atmosphere and the students have participated with great enthusiasm, asking questions on various topics, to which, Mr. Consul has answered in a very clear way, leaving in each of the students a very important message of what they need to arise their purposes, but always bearing in mind that passion and dedication are the most important elements to achieve any goal.

In addition of that the Consul has explained in detail the work done by embassies and consulates in the world. Another issue was the political and cultural relevance that this activity can offer in the future, to students, to evaluate a possible career in this type of functions.

The current need to break down any barrier and face a world in continuous evolution, it makes the power of communication an important element in the formation of the individual. That have been the main objective that we have wished to focus with this visit, an experience, that the students have appreciated in a very positive way because it reinforces the importance of learning several languages ​​to approach and understand different cultures and always maintain an open mind.

We also consider that this activity is very interesting to evaluate the communicative level of the students and show that their effort, curiosity and interest in learning, has a very important value for their personal growth as students of a school with international visions.

We want to thank in a particular way the Consul Augusto Salamanca Castro, for the enthusiasm, dedication and time dedicated so that our visit leaves us above all a message of constant improvement and a strong desire of been better every day, giving the best of everyone in everything that we propose.

Thank you dear students for your participation.

Ms. Maria Sol Rosales and Ms. Alba Q. Rodriguez

Para-Olympian visit

The students of Grades 7 and 8 enjoyed the opportunity today to meet Fabrizio Macchi, an Italian sports champion in para-cycling. Fabrizio is an Italian para-cyclist, expert in road and track racing, world champion who won a bronze medal at the Athens 2004 Paralympics.

At the age of 43, he published his first book entitled ”Più forte del male”. In class, students have read some pages of his autobiography, and the reading has invited the students to reflect on the meaning of perseverance and willpower.

Our workshop has given the students the possibility to bring the pages of his book to life, getting to know better Fabrizio Macchi and filling their curiosity with more questions. We also hope that is has inspired our students to never to give up and always find new solutions. Certainly, the message that Fabrizio transmitted and taught us, with his direct testimony, is that love for life is stronger than anything else.

We are very grateful that Fabrizio has taken the time from his busy schedule to meet and inspire our students. We want also to thank Mr. Delmati, a famous photo-journalist  who has accompanied Fabrizio: thanks to his photos, the students were able to relive unforgettable moments of the life of this great champion.

Planning afternoon: Friday, 25 January

A collaborative culture is at the core of an IB World School. It’s not just about students working together, fostering a community of experience and learning, but also includes teachers and staff. Our staff meet together on a weekly basis to plan collaboratively within subject teams, homeroom teams and as a wider team of staff. In support of this, and to enable us to engage in deeper conversations over an extended time, we hold a series of five planning afternoons throughout the School year, with our next afternoon taking place on 25 January. On each of these dates, our students will end School at 1pm with our staff remaining for an extended collaborative planning afternoon. In this afternoon, our staff will be focusing on cycle assessments and you may find out more about this in the MYP curriculum corner from Ms Lockett.

Reports: published Friday, 8 February

It is scary how quickly time flies as we approach the end of January and the midway point of the year. Staff are working hard in writing reports for our students and our Mid-Year reports will be published to families February through ManageBac.

These reports will help you and your children fully understand the progress achieved so far during the school year. Our reports have been written using IB’s evaluation criteria and the “achievements”, as well as the “efforts”, of our students are assessed in the form of according to the evaluation indicators of the MYP.  These grades range from 1 to 7.  Included is also the Homeroom Tutor comment relative to the Learner Profile and the attitudes that are encouraged, describing the personal development of your child, the level of independence reached, their interaction with others, and their approach to school and their studies.

Further details will be provided with the reports to help you to understand the grading rubrics used.

Residential Trips: Tuesday, 26 March – Friday 29 March

The multi-day residential trip for our MYP classes will be held from Tuesday, 26 March through Friday 29 March.

The proposals have been identified by the teachers based on their interdisciplinary connections to the ongoing learning of the different classes.

  • The proposal for Grade 7 is to travel to Val D’Aosta, visiting the city of Aosta, the nature trails of the Gran Paradiso National Park, a power plant, enjoiying a cable car ride to Mont Blanc and visits to castles.
  • For the classes of Grade 8 and 9, we are planning to visit Trento and Austria
  • For our Grade 10 and 11 students, we are evaluating Barcelona and Valencia, following on from their trip to Berlin last year
  • Our Diploma students will use this time for concentrated and extended on their Extended Essay, University and future career planning, and CAS.

As school trips are considered part of the curriculum in all respects, all MYP classes and their teachers will be involved.  Classes here on campus are suspended during the days of the trip and students who do not participate will be marked as absences for the days involved. We will send you further communications once we have received full details from our travel company.