October 27th, 2016
Schools are in many respects like a large river: they look smooth on the surface but there is a great deal going on underneath the surface. During the school day there is a hush over the place, occasionally interrupted by the happy sounds of soccer at breaktime. Walking around the sportsfield and gym after school last week I was impressed to see the growth in the number of students taking part in sport and clubs and the quality of the performances. Our football, netball and cross-country programmes are all expanding, made possible by the willingness of our teaching team to roll up their sleeves and get involved. We have recorded some competitive performances and good wins this term against a number of the well regarded sporting powerhouse schools in town. This is made possible by the willingness of more and more of our staff to involve themselves in coaching sport. We get to know our students in a very different context to the classroom and in so doing, are able to reach out and make an impact in their lives. In the classrooms during the afternoons there is a wide range of clubs and societies taking place, from chess to art to a city-building computer games group.
The three way conferences that took place last week meant that many of our PYP staff started their days early and stayed long after sunset to meet with parents and students. We have had some very positive feedback from parents recorded in the Primary foyer.
Last weekend many of our staff were on IB professional development workshops – there were over twenty different three day seminars taking place at Uptown school, including some delivered in Arabic. Jill Shadbolt led one on assessment – a challenging topic here in Dubai where we seek to balance the principles of authentic IB assessment with the requirements of the local educational authority. I, too was a delegate, attending a IB Middle Years Programme course for programme administrators. It was good to take time to review the ‘From Principles into Practice’ document and to work alongside a group of very keen and capable MYP leaders. Others in our staff team are involved in the British NPQ leadership training, or are studying for their masters’ degrees.
Our subject and grade level leaders dedicate a great deal of time to these crucial portfolios. Much of this work is beneath the surface and invisible, evident only in well planned units of inquiry or benchmarked and challenging assessments. These are the foundation stones of the academic programme.
I want to thank all of our staff, academic and support, for their willingness to go the extra mile and to serve the school and its students in many different ways. Their dedication and professionalism are much appreciated. Without doubt the happiest part of my day is watching the students arrive in the morning and seeing the lesson start and, with that, the enjoyment of learning that makes this school such a unique place.
Principal Greenfield Community School