As the mid-semester break begins I am sure that our families are all looking forward to enjoying some quality time together. This was a very busy term and it was filled with learning opportunities for our students as well as wonderful opportunities for our community to bond. All of this would not be possible without the dedication of our staff and the energetic support of our parent community. I want to say thank you to the large number of people who have been so actively engaged in the life of our school.
Looking ahead, it is timely for me to point out that our academic calendar for 2018/2019 is now on our website. Please note that the holiday scheduled in April 2019 has been moved by one week. This was to accommodate the fact that many families preferred to have the holiday overlap with the Easter public holiday.
You will also note that our school day has been lengthened and will start at 8.45am next year. We will also finish at 3.30pm every day including Fridays. This will allow for more contact teaching hours.
Two weeks ago, I was fortunate to attend the GESF (Global Skills and Education Forum) in Dubai. This was an amazing experience and it made me very proud to be a teacher. The GESF is run by the Varkey Foundation (separate to GEMS Education) and it focuses the spotlight on the importance of education, particularly teachers, across the world.
This year’s winner of the one million US dollars Teacher Prize was Andria Zafirakou from the UK. To know more about the prize and the inspirational story of the Varkey Foundation please visit: www.globalteacherprize.org
Last week our school hosted 170 teachers from across the globe while they participated in ten International Baccalaureate (IB) professional development workshops. We also hosted over 40 tours for the participants of the IB World Heads and Global Conferences. These educators came to Singapore from all over the world and they were all very impressed by our school facilities and, of course, our teachers and students. The CEO of the Council of International Schools commented on how enthusiastic and happy our children were and that her visit to GEMS was “inspirational”.
On the first day of the opening of the IB Global Conference, one of our students (Arnav – Grade 11) gave the introductory speech in front of 1800 people. He was very composed and all the representatives of GEMS Education attending the event were very impressed. Arnav spoke confidently and with great dignity as he wore his GEMS World Academy blazer with pride.
And speaking of pride…I am very happy with the excellent offerings that our Grade 12 students have already received for their university placements. Please take the time to read the article by Mr. Cox in which he outlines how successful our students have been so far.
Just some of the names of the top tertiary institutions which have made conditional offers to our students include University College London, King’s College London, Durham, Ecole Hoteliere Lausanne, Les Roches, University of British Columbia, McGill, Rutgers, Syracuse, Washington, University of California Santa Barbara, and University of Boston. For a school with its first year of graduates, this is an impressive list. All the hard work of our Grade 12 students is paying off.
As the holiday begins, I want to wish you all a wonderful time over Easter,
Richard Henry, Head of School, GEMS World Academy (Singapore)