Secondary Years Principal Message: Academic Year 2018-2019 Updates

Schools run on routines and expectations – and the academic calendar. Secondary Years Education leadership team (ELT) has been busy planning and preparing for the upcoming academic year since December 2017 and now we are ready to share the updates with our community.

As we continue to grow in numbers, it is important to change the structure in the Secondary Years in order to: 

  • maintain an environment of knowing and caring for each individual student
  • diversify age-appropriate culture and expectations

From August 2018  Secondary Years School will be sub-divided into Middle school section (Grades 6-8) and High school section (Grades 9-12). 

The Secondary Years School will remain one division under the guidance of one Principal. I am pleased to announce that Mr Mark Petterson has been appointed as the Deputy Principal of the Middle School Section, and Mr Jonathan Cox has been appointed as the Deputy Principal of the High School Section.

Here are some of the benefits of the revised structure:

  •  Homeroom programme will be more differentiated, focusing on relevant issues and utilizing age-appropriate resources. In addition to that, each day will start with a 15-minute Homeroom slot which can be used flexibly.  For example, Grade 6 Homeroom teachers can work with their students to make sure they are organized and prepared for the day,  caught up on emails and school notices. The use of this time may be more self-directed for the older years, giving them more ownership of the time. A sense of belonging and pastoral care will remain a focal area for all grades.
  • Middle school hub.  We are looking at organizing our learning space to create a ‘hub’ for our Middle schoolers (Grade 6-8) to give them a sense of belonging and ownership, as well as cutting down on passing time and trips across many floors.
  • Improved communication. For the Middle school (Grade 6 especially) an active two-way communication between the Homeroom teacher and parents is crucial. We are currently looking at school-wide communication options for the next Academic Year.
  • A differentiated approach to the assessment. To extend opportunities for contextualized, concept-based learning and assessment, there will be no semester examinations for Grades 6-8. There will be one rigorous examination week each semester for Grades 9-12. We are aiming to prepare our students for external examinations in Grade 12 (optional IGCSE exams in Grade 10).
  • Assemblies. The existing Secondary Year’s assemblies will be complemented by grade-level assemblies as appropriate to foster.

Our first IB Diploma Grade 12 graduating class is currently undertaking the external DP examination session. This milestone moment makes me reflect on how we continue to follow our IB Diploma Programme implementation strategy.

In the year 2016, we launched the programme with an impressive 20 subjects. In 2017, we added three new subjects to the existing programme. And Now!…

We are planning to offer three additional DP subjects for the upcoming Academic Year 2018-2019:

 I am looking forward to seeing many of you at the Parent community evening next Tuesday.






Jan Stipek,  Secondary Years Principal, GEMS World Academy (Singapore)

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