Tagged with "From the Principal"...

Från rektorn

Uppsala Roos and more

Uppsala Roos and more

On Thursday, at one of our bi-weekly staff meetings, I found myself quite choked up as I shared with staff a letter written from one of our current Year 9 students for students who will be entering Year 4 in August.  I was extremely touched by the sentiments shared by this student that it was the first time that I found myself being quite reflective and emotional about the year that has been, with the fathom that only 7 more days of the academic year remains. When taking this challenge of starting a new school I knew it was a mountainous task. Knowing that I have the trust of our company, parents, students and staff in my hands, has been strengthening to my spirit. Each day I have woken up knowing the challenges to be faced, at the same time, preparing myself for the new unexpected obstacles that will be placed in front of me. But when reading these words to my staff, I could appreciate all of the hard work and dedication that my staff has for our students, school and myself. They have transformed the educational experience for not only this young student, who has now been able to place her faith in grown ups again, but for all our students. I am humbled, and reminded of why I decided to take on this journey.

Though our vision has been to promote a quiet and calm environment for students to learn, we also want to create an atmosphere where students are able to explore a number of activities that make their schooling experience all the more rewarding. The months of April and May saw our school participate in a number of such activities.

Uppsala Roos (yes that is short for Kangaroos), made their first appearance on April 25th at Edsberg sport field, where a mixed team of Year 4 and 5 boys and a mixed team of Year 4 and 5 girls participated in the annual Inter IES School Football Competition.  This was a seven-aside contest, where children were competing to win the Turf Moor Cup for boys and girls. Though we did not receive any placements, I am proud to say that our Uppsala Roos displayed great football skills and team spirit. Well done! 

On this day, we also had six students representing Uppsala in the annual Inter IES Eurovision Song Competition hosted by the Modern Foreign Language Departments. Following their victory last year, Internationella Engelska Skolan Eskilstuna had the honor of hosting the contest this year. The school organized a fantastic show that was just as astounding as the Eurovision hosted in Baku, Azerbaijan. Each performance was judged following a number of criteria such as their ability to use the language, their stage performance and musical ability to name a few. Uppsala had two lovely musical pieces representing the French (Le vol du'n ange) and Spanish (Causa y efecto) languages. Though we did not make the final 3 places, our students came back inspired and are already planning to rock in next year's event to be held in Gävle. Check out the company's home web site for the winning performances.

During this spring term, Ms Herbert our Art teacher has been working with our students with international inspired art. This theme formed the basis of our in-house art competition, where the three winning pieces of artwork went on to be sold in an auction hosted at SO Stockholm Gallery in Kungstädgården in the middle of Stockholm. It was quite exhilarating to see our young artists work being sold. The three pieces from Uppsala were sold for 1,700 SEK, where half of this money raised has been donated to The Swedish Tibetan Society, which builds and runs schools in Tibet, while the other half has gone to the young artists who produced the work. Parents at our school had the opportunity to see all of our students work on display during our first PTA (Parent Teacher Association) Spring Mingle on May 13th.

Lastly, six students in Year 7 and two students in Year 8 were selected to participate in Camp IES. These camps provide our students with the opportunity to practice their leadership skills, to boost their confidence and challenge themselves and their cooperative abilities. From the description of Mr Roriston, our UK native and music teacher, "it was very rustic and almost like the reality TV show Survivor.  While, Ms Kipfer, our USA native and PE teacher, described it as being "a great program and camp experience". Both students and staff had a fantastic time, and we can see the positive impact the camp has had with these students. We are looking forward to participate in Camp IES again next May.

With all these activities and plans for the end of year, it is no wonder that I have little time for reflection of all our students' and teachers' achievements. Though each day is challenging, I do go to bed each night with a smile knowing that I do play a small part in enriching our young students lives. Go Uppsala Roos!

Från rektorn

Scientific Inquiry Workshop

Scientific Inquiry Workshop

On Thursday April 5th, IES Uppsala hosted an all-day professional development seminar for around twenty-five science and art teachers within our company. This workshop was led by Mr Mark Baldwin, the director of education at the Roger Tory Peterson Institute of Natural History in Jamestown, New York, USA. Some of you may be familiar with the name Roger Tory Peterson (interestingly of Swedish decent), whose notable achievements are for advancing the environmental movement in the 20th century and the development of the field guides, as we know them. Roger contributes his achievements and interest in nature to his teachers in his formative years of school in Jamestown. Mr Baldwin, our host, was thrilled to be in our new school in Uppsala, a town notable for Carl Linnaeus, the developer of how we define nature with modern taxonomy. 

With my scientific background and vision for a scientific profile for our school, I was very eager for this Scientific Inquiry workshop day so that we can learn how to further integrate science and discovery into our curricular.

Mr Baldwin received a Bachelor of Science in biology and science education from the State University of New York and Master of Science in Teaching from Antioch/New England Graduate School. He has taught science in Vermont, Alaska and New York. Mr Baldwin now works with teachers to help them gain skills and confidence to infuse nature study into their teaching. His special interest is in the professional development of teachers to promote teaching and learning that are outdoor-, nature- and place-based. We were honored to be hosting this event focused on teaching and learning skills, habits and attitudes that promote inquiry and discovery about the natural world. 

As Mr Baldwin described, a field journal is a simple yet effective way to record observations, organize data, and make sense of what you observe, and can turn any contact with nature - even in the schoolyard - into an opportunity to learn. This workshop engaged teachers in a series of exercises and field experiences designed to sharpen observation and visual note-taking skills. The aim of the day was to promote teachers to encourage their students to transform blank books into indispensable tools for scientific discovery and artistic expression, as who knows, we may have a young Roger Peterson in our midst.

With the weather being kind to us, we started the day by heading outside into our school grounds, which encompass the genetic gardens, to collect interesting natural objects that would be used in pure contour sketching exercises. The aim of this task was to have all of your attention fixated on the object itself, such as a pinecone, which launches oneself into the state of "discovery readiness", where you prepare the learner to inquire and then create. Following this exercise, we focused on gesture sketching, as this incorporates one to consider that nature is always in motion. Gesture sketching taught our participants that a few well-aimed lines can train the eye to see and recall this motion and the overall forms of objects as identified in nature. So the difference between pure contour sketching and gesture sketching is that pure contour sketching helps participants break out of symbolizing to a more active way of seeing, while gesture sketching further sharpens observation skills.

Mr Baldwin assisting teachers outdoors
Mr Baldwin assisting teachers outdoors
Mr Baldwin addressing our teachers
Mr Baldwin addressing our teachers
Dr Heimeier engaged in sketching
Dr Heimeier engaged in sketching

For our last exercise in the morning, participants were engaged in disciplined observational sketching, which is simply a modified form of pure contour sketching; instead of looking at the object the whole time you sketch, you look at it most of the time. In this way your sketch will represent the object itself not your biased preconceptions about it. Regular use of a magnifying lens is a great way to refine observation skills and make science connections to art and writing.

After lunch, we went outside again and focused our attention on sound mapping. Here, participants were taught that sound mapping is a way to record what you are hearing into your field journal because a lot of scientific and artistic observation of nature involves carefully listening and analyzing what has been heard. For example, listening to birdcalls, distinguishing between man-made and natural noises.

Engaging classroom discussions
Engaging classroom discussions

Warming up after fika indoors, we voluntary shared our field journal entries, which prompted questions about what each of us has seen and heard, what questions we have, and what lines of inquiry and creativity we wish to pursue. This naturally led to a discussion of what curricular/professional applications will allow us to reflect on what we have learnt during the day and how one may begin to implement these in the classroom. I was particularly happy to hear of cross-curricular developments among the sciences and arts.

Från rektorn

Spring Celebrations

Spring Celebrations

The smell of spring is in the air. Swedish tulips are in bloom, with squirrels and birds beginning to make their way back to our school grounds. When I see such life returning, I am reminded of the Disney film, The Sword in the Stone, where Merlin the Magician gives social, educational and magical lessons to a young boy referred to as Wart, who eventually pulls a magical sword from a stone and anvil to be hailed as King Arthur. The scene from the film that I am referring to is the one where Merlin turns Wart and himself into squirrels to learn about gravity. Wart is almost eaten by a wolf, but is saved by a female squirrel, who falls in love with him. The additional lesson learnt, is that well love is perhaps the greatest force on earth. With squirrels, spring and the theme of love in the air, it seemed almost natural that our junior school hosted its very first Valentines Day Dance on February 17th. Valentines Day is a day to celebrate your appreciation of another. Thank you to our class 4B parents for putting on such a lovely event for our Grade 4 and 5 students. Both staff and students enjoyed themselves immensely. With so much enthusiasm, energy, and fantastic dance moves, it was very difficult to select our Dancing King (Pauria, 4A) and Queen (Amber, 5A).

With March 17th fast approaching, it was time for another celebration, Saint Patrick's Day, a cultural and religious holiday commemorating the patron saint of Ireland. This day is one of the most celebrated festivals throughout the world, perhaps due to the large number of Irish people that have emigrated from Ireland. Our Irish teacher, Ms Herbert promoted our school to "Go Green" for Saint Patrick's Day, which we celebrated on Friday March 16th. During the week, all students were able to learn about the history of the festival and had the opportunity to experience Irish dancing in our ball hall, led by Ms Herbert. It was wonderful to see our school decorated in shamrocks, green, white and orange.

Going Green
Going Green

Ms Herbert leading in dance
Ms Herbert leading in dance

Though spring is in the air, before we could officially say goodbye to winter, we had to hold our first winter Sports Day (March 22nd). Although we were uncertain whether we should take on such an undertaking in our first year, this was a great day where the whole school, middle and junior students, could mix with each other in their chosen activities. Students were all smiles from their activities ranging from skiing, hiking, basketball, soccer, belly dancing, salsa dancing to bike riding. Thank you Ms Kipfer for initiating this event and for all staff and parents assisting in the range of activities. This day was a well-deserved break for our students who have been working so hard during this school term.

We have really seen the progress in our students' educational and social development this term and we are proud of each of their achievements thus far. A great example of this was on our last day of term where Ms Udekwu, our HOY for Grade 8 and 9 students, had a true Hollywood themed end-of-term assembly. With musical scores being performed by our students from films such as Twilight, the students were able to finally see each Year 8 classes Teenage Soap Opera episode that they had been working on in English. I was taken aback by the increased confidence and advancement in each of our students' development in the English language. Well done to all and to Ms Petzall for challenging our students. Golden Easter Rabbit Oscars were awarded to Osman, Chino and Lillian for their outstanding performances. We have stars in the making, so stay tuned.

Från rektorn

Spring Term Begins

Spring Term Begins

This has been our first full week back at school in the Spring Term of 2012 for our well-rested students and staff. We have also welcomed 12 new students to start in year groups 4, 5, 7 and 8 and 3 new staff members to join our enthusiastic team. For our students in middle school, we have opened up our student lounge. This is a great space where students may work, read, relax, play games and socialize with one another. Furthermore, construction on our art and music rooms in the upper loft of house 1 are complete and our science labs in house 2 are ready for use. What a week!

On Wednesday, Mr Fyles, our company's CEO and Mr Howell, our media manager visited our school to meet with students and staff. It is always a pleasure to have members from our head office visit our school. Later that evening, we hosted a successful information meeting for a number of new families interested in beginning with us in the Autumn of 2013. Our queue for the coming academic year has grown with interest, it is exciting to see our school continue to grow and develop here in Uppsala.

As Thursday came around, text messages from family and friends back in my home country reminded me that today was indeed a special day: January 26 is Australia Day! What is Australia Day you may ask? Well it is the commemoration of the arrival of the First Fleet of 11 ships from Great Britain, and the raising of the Union Jack at Sydney Cove by its commander Captain Arthur Phillip, in 1788. This day is considered as the formal establishment of European settlers in Australia. On this day, we celebrate Australia's cultural diversity, beautiful landscape, our remarkable achievements and our bright future. How did I find myself celebrating this day in Uppsala? With a pack of tim tams (for those Australians out there, you know what I am talking about) and a memento box filled with 60 Australian tourist brochures produced by our grade 6 students as part of an English assignment last term. What a fabulous surprise gift from Ms Herbert! As I read each child's creative work on my home country, it made me proud to see the progress and academic development of our Grade 6 students thus far. So, in true Australian Day spirit, I reflected with joy on our achievements as a new school in Uppsala and look forward to our ongoing development.

 

Sarah 6BSarah 6BSarah 6BArild 6BArild 6B

 

Från rektorn

Great Expectations

Great Expectations

The New Year brings new beginnings and new possibilities. It is a time to plan for the future and to make new commitments. It is also a time to reflect on the year past, and the achievements one has made. As I sit here in my office in our school, with a warm cup of tea in hand after the week's New year celebrations, I am doing just that, reflecting on our schools development, re-reading the best wishes from families and staff and taking some time to plan ahead before we begin again on January 11, 2012. It makes me proud to know how far we have come as a school in our first few months since opening in Uppsala.

When I think back to August 1st, this was a great day as it saw me welcoming our dedicated and enthusiastic staff to our school. Our journey together had begun and 17 days later, another momentous day arrived.

Staff arriving, planning, working and learning together so that we can come together as a great team developing this new Internationella Engelska Skolan in Uppsala together.

With a terrific staff team of 33, we proudly opened our school doors to more than 300 students. All excited about what was to come. The weeks into September proved to be a challenge for our students as they not only had to adapt to new traveling routes, new friends, and a new environment, they also had to adapt to new rules, new expectations, which encompass the ethos and values of being a student within Internationella Engelska Skolan. Despite these challenges, one thing that struck me then as it still does now, is the good spirits of our students and staff and how they both excel in giving all of themselves to the development of our school.

Students and families arriving for our first school day. Staff going the extra mile to assist with traffic crossing for our students safety.

Graced with sunny, good weather, our junior school staff organized a football tournament for our grade 4s and 5s. Taking full advantage of our new football grounds, our 6 classes played a round-robin tournament, with 4C and 5A being the football winners for the grade levels. Not to be left out of the sporting challenges, middle school staff organized an afternoon of competitive fun with our first "clash of the classes". Activities ranged from tug of war to potato sack races, all proving to be a lot of fun and encouraging the students to work together as a team. This was exactly what class 8B did in the finals, where they defeated class 9Q who took to the field dressed as the fictional character Steve Urkel.

Elias and Vitus from the winning team in 4C

As the darkness set in October, Mr Allen and myself had the pleasure of reviewing magazines that our two year 7 classes had produced as part of their English assignment. The magazines ranged from fashion, beauty, photography, ponies, Steve Job, sports, video game reviews, ketchup and special editions. We were amazed with not only the creativity of the students, but their ability to cater the English language to the target audience they wished to address.

Front page spread of the magazines produced in English from classes 7A and 7B

To ensure that I did not forget Halloween, one of our Choice classes in year 6 showed us that Michael Jackson is alive in Uppsala as they put on a Thriller sensation! As a result, 4B turned into little zombies and roamed the school with Ms Shulyakovskaya. As the term drew to a close, Crazy Hat Day saw two of our classes think outside the box: Class 4A used recycled material to make their hats while Class 7B promoted safety travel with their fluorescent pink and yellow colors reminiscent of an 80s Wham music video.

In the dungeons of our school, the music from Michael Jackon's Thriller could be heard, stirring up the zombies to dance once more

I do not know who was more excited when we returned in November after the autumn break, but our playground for junior school was ready. With still no signs of snow, the playground and outdoors has been put to good use!

Playground installed during Autumn break. Cant believe that there is no signs of snow yet! This is going to be a great surprise for our grade 4 and 5s when they return!

However, November is a very dark month for an Australian such as myself to get used to in Sweden, but when I think of the November just passed, I recall the warm welcoming our staff and students gave to new prospective students and families at our first Open House day. This Saturday was a great success because of our staff and students. Our students displayed their talents at being tour guides, musicians, and chefs. Some students participated in extra lessons whilst our teachers displayed student work and discussed our academic visions. To top it all, a cup of tea was enjoyed in our dining hall.

Open House Day in Uppsala

The month of December brings not only the excitement of the holidays, but to be in Sweden to celebrate Nobel day is for me, as a former biomedical researcher, a day of great excitement. To share in my enthusiasm, Grade 4s and 5s celebrated Nobel day by being inventors themselves. Again, Mr Allen and myself were fascinated with the range of ideas of our budding inventors as the morning was spent displaying inventions, followed by a class picnic lunch and then workshops for saving eggs, making musical instruments, and snow flakes. Our grade 6 ?" 9s participated in two Nobel day-themed workshops. To celebrate the sciences, students researched and produced posters on among others, Alfred Nobel himself, Prof Marie Curie (100 years since she received the Nobel in chemistry; her second award?" what a remarkable woman!), as well as last year's (Prof. Edwards) and this year's (Profs. Hoffmann, Beutler and Steinman) winners in medicine. The second workshop celebrated the Nobel laureate in literature, Swedish poet/writer Tomas Tranströmer, whose writings inspired our students to make their own interpretations of his work through painting, music and writing. 

One of the climaxes of the day was our Nobel lunch for the years 6 ?" 9, inspired by the Nobel dinner at City Hall. During the lunch, awards for the best short story in each year level were handed out by the Swedish department. This was a wonderful day and we already have plans in progress to make next year's event bigger and better.

Celebrating Nobel Day for Grades 6 - 9 in our dining hall. 

Toasting to the success of the students development in the academics of the sciences and arts. 

The Swedish department gathering and waiting for Dr Heimeier to come to award the best Swedish short stories in the year levels.

For our first Lucia celebration, our music teacher Mr Roriston, brought to our aula glows of light and wonderful music together with our junior school choir.

The harmonies from our Lucia train of 32 was spectacular and enjoyed by the whole school, with Amber from 5A being our school's first Lucia.

As the last day of our first semester together arrived on Dec 21, our aula was filled once more with wonderful performances in three school assemblies to celebrate the achievements for grades 4 and 5, grades 6 and 7 and our grades 8 and 9. Our junior and middle school choirs, individual talented performers and our rhythmic year 8 and 9 choice groups were all phenomenal. These heart-felt performances added to the celebrations of our students' academic development in their core subjects. In addition, these assemblies highlighted the support that the students have for each other. Each achievement was celebrated as a group achievement. The applause and support rings more loudly in my ears each time I reflect on this day.

In summarizing the events of this past semester at IES Uppsala, it is with great expectation and excitement that I look forward to our next semester together.

Seeing you all again on January 11th

Från rektorn

From the Principal

From the Principal

Dr Rachel HeimeierI am delighted to be appointed principal of IES in Uppsala. Our school is placed in the green, booming area of Ultuna. My vision is to develop a strong scientific profile for IESU and to ensure that each child be seen as an individual and to be given the opportunity to excel at their level of competence.

Why science you may ask? Well, science is exciting! It is awe-inspiring, fun and creative. Science impacts our daily lives, our long-term health and well-being, our children, the policies and decisions that affect our society and the world we live in. To succeed in the modern world, it is important to be able to communicate, think critically and be innovative. Such skills are the cornerstone of the scientific process. By implementing a science profile at IESU, our students will be taught to problem solve in a social setting, be creative, to not be afraid to question and critically evaluate any situation. This will encourage them to be free-thinking and to make informed decisions that impact their own life.

As I take on this new endeavor, I will bring with me my energetic, positive personality and my professional experience. I have more than ten years of biomedical research practice in academia and scientific institutes. As a young woman working in such a competitive and international milieu, I have learned the importance of fostering a constructive work environment where pupils and instructors alike can be open-minded and fearless of facing challenges head-on. On a personal level, I have an international background and I have experienced the transition of moving from one country to another as a child, adult and professional. I understand the needs and fears involved in such transitions. I am curious by nature and my curiosity keeps leading me down new paths, moving me forward, and opening up new doors.

I look forward to this new venture and its challenges and hope to see you and your children soon as I open the doors of our new school in August.

With kind regards,

Dr Rachel Heimeier

Sidor