From the Principal’s Desk

This has been a really rich and full few weeks for our school, full of educationally exiting things.

The Grade 10 Personal Project Exhibition was a great success. Each year the standard and range of the projects improves. Walking round the hall on Wednesday I  met with an aeronautical engineer, architect, martial art expert, horse rider, two poets, an author, ballet dancer, musician, fashion designer, swordsmith……..the list goes on.  It was wonderful to hear the students talk passionately about their research topic, reflecting on the learning process, the Approaches to Learning skills, global contexts and sharing their journals. Each had a staff mentor and spoke of how they had inspired, guided and, when needed, encouraged them when the task seemed overwhelming and deadlines loomed.

Book Week was a great success, as always. There was a wide range of activities taking place. It was wonderful to see mums and dads walking around the school heading to their children’s classes to read stories. Book sales surpassed previous records. The parade last Thursday was terrific and thanks to the various Grade teams and the Primary leadership team for taking such care to plan their outfits. Sonnette de Lange as the Queen of Hearts and Jane Gaughan as Cruella deVille had everyone stopping and saying ‘wow!’ We were fortunate to host a visit of the Emirates LitFest poet Lemn Sissay. He shared his uniquely powerful poetry with a group of Grade 9 – 11 students and told something of his extraordinary life story. It was truly inspirational: after an hour everyone was spellbound and we had to cut the question time short. He awarded Jess McNamara the poetry prize and read her word around to the audience.

Lemn Sissay with Jess McNamara, Mustafa Khan and Angela Garcia Gastelum

Two of our senior students took part in the Emirates LitFest Poetry Recitation competition. Congratulations to Mustafa Khan or Osama Shabaan who secured first and second places. They came to have lunch with me on Thursday and their faces lit up as they spoke of the poets that they met and interacted with who were members of the judging panel.

On Wednesday last we hosted the first Taaleem Ignite competition. Lego has come a long way since we were children and it now produces a wonderful set of robotics kits that consist of motors, sensors and cool stuff. Teams were divided into age categories and the various Taaleem schools competed to design robots or machines to do a range of tasks. One had to follow a black track around a large sheet of white paper. Another was a series of tasks that a moon buggy had to perform on the surface of the moon. The creativity, collaboration and problem-solving that the students and teams showed were extraordinary. It was an amazing educational experience for them and I loved hearing the buzz in the hall. GCS won one of the four categories and all our students were inspired.

GCS students calibrating their robot for the Taaleem Help on Mars Challenge

On Tuesday we hosted a visit of senior CIS staff. We are proud to have been successfully accredited by CIS and are now a member of an international professional community that is committed to sharing best practice. We also hosted a visiting team from a number of Japanese universities who were looking at our Career Related Programme. They had travelled to the UAE specifically to see GCS’s programme in action.

On Wednesday last week the Grade 10 students and parents attended an information evening on the course and subject options for Grade 11 and 12. After a presentation they had the opportunity to meet with the academic staff and leadership. It afforded families a great opportunity to consider the many options they have ahead of them and to meet the people who will guide them through this important chapter in their school career. A series of individual meetings with students and families to discuss their choices will take place next week.

We hosted an external accreditation from BTEC, moderating our Art and Design assessments this week. These are the Career Related Programme modules that some of our Grade 11 and 12 students undertake. The accreditor was very positive about the standard of the work and assessment and all our grades (the vast majority of which were Distinctions) were approved.

A Duke of Edinburgh team enjoyed a challenging hike through the RAK mountains last weekend.

As I write we have a team participating in the Dubai International School Model United Nations event. We have done very well a this MUN in previous years and I am sure that our team will do themselves and our school proud.

These are just some of the many activities that have been taking place and my apologies for those that I have omitted, but I am running out of space. Thank you to all of our staff for the tremendous commitment that they show to the school and to our students for being willing to take part in such a wide range of activities and events.


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