Message from the Secondary Years Principal

Jan Stipek, Secondary Years Principal February 1, 2019
Message from the Secondary Years Principal

What are the factors that make a school excellent?

There is no one factor that can accurately determine the effectiveness and excellence of a school. We can debate over curriculum, facilities, location, leadership but the answer is pretty simple. Here at GEMS (Singapore), we know that great teachers inspire great students. 

Our teachers are highly-qualified international IB practitioners. Empowering leaders who make a difference drawing on highly acclaimed, research-based curriculum to prepare students for global leadership roles.

Recruiting and retaining high-quality teachers is key. The recruitment period for each academic year starts as early as October (one year prior to the commencement of the new academic year) and takes many forms:

  • Skype interviews
  • On-campus interviews
  • On-campus visits
  • Using recruitment agencies specializing in international school teacher placement
  • Recruitment fairs, etc

GEMS (Singapore) continues its growth in enrollment numbers and we've been busy recruiting educators for the upcoming Academic Year 2019-2020. Once we will finish the recruitment process we will share the names and bios of the Senior Years teachers joining us in August 2019.


Parent Engagement Workshops 

We have also been busy planning and running various events for GEMS Parent Community. Please click here to review the full list of events.  The timings of these sessions deliberately rotate throughout the morning, afternoon and evening to allow the largest possible number of parents to attend. When practical, sessions are also recorded and can be accessed through the Parent Portal.

Here are some highlights from the past events: 

Assessment in the MYP 

Ms Kylie Begg, MYP/IGCSE Coordinator, delivered a session on 16 January showing that assessment in the MYP is not just about tests, but it can also take many forms. The main objective of the session was to present the purposes of MYP assessment and how we use criteria to describe students' levels of achievement.

Approaches to teaching and learning

I conducted a session on 30 January about approaches to teaching and learning (ATL) and how these approaches are incorporated into the MYP and DP Curriculum. We've also discussed how they can enhance student learning, assist student preparation for DP assessment and beyond.


Save The Date!

Preparation for the Week Without Walls 

When: 11 February 
Time: 6:00 pm
Presented by: Mr Derrick Molloney, ELP Coordinator

This session has been organised to provide pre-departure information for Grade 6 - Grade 9 students and parents. 

G10 & 11 Subject Selection Session 

When: 12 February
Time: 6:30 pm
Presented by: Mr Jonathan Cox (Deputy Principal) and Mr Michael Fletcher (DP/CP Curriculum Coordinator)

This session has been organised for Grade 10 parents and students and order to provide the information about Grade 10 & 11 subject selection.

Introduction to Extended Essay

When: 19 February
Time: 6:00 pm
Presented by: Mr Ericson Gutierrez, Extended Essay Coordinator

The Impacts of Third Culture Living 

When: 20 February
Time: 9:00 am 
Presented by: Ms Hazel McClure, SY Counsellor

This presentation looks at the highs and lows of Third Culture Living and suggests ways both parents and schools can support our students to achieve their potential.

Navigating Parenting In The Digital World

When: 26 February
Time: 9:00 am 
Presented by: Mr Patrick Holt, Head of Educational Technology

This presentation will provide an overview of challenges and opportunities the digital world presents to our students. For parents, this means they have to face the dilemma of providing online access to their children and managing online time. We will discuss what do you need to consider as a parent when your child goes online and how the school can help you. 

Please click here for more details and information about upcoming Parent Engagement Workshops and events.


Arts Week 

Last week was the Arts week here at GEMS (Singapore). Over the several past years, this has become one of the highly anticipated events of the year.

It is an amazing way to showcase our student (and parent) talent! The SY Open Mic shows on Tuesday and Thursday were well attended and made the GEMS Canteen a buzzing (and rocking) event space.

Artists showcase took place in the main foyer and attracted a number of students from across the entire school – there were paintings, photographs, live music acts, musical instruments presentations and many more.

Thank you to the entire Arts department led by Mrs Rimmer for organizing an outstanding event and everyone for making it happen. 


Chinese New Year Assembly

We have just had our annual Chinese New Year Assembly and we would like to congratulate all performers and everyone who has been involved in the preparation of this performance.

It’s wonderful to see our students making great progress in their Chinese language proficiency and also our native Chinese language speakers using this opportunity to inspire others and celebrate this important festival together with the GEMS Community. 


Coming Soon! The Addams Family Musical 

We are almost ready! 68 students have been involved in the production as cast, orchestra and crew with many more supporting by creating sets, props and costumes, guided by a number of talented and dedicated teachers. More information will be coming shortly.

Opening night: 22 February at 7:00 pm
Matinee: 23 February at 3:00 pm

Tickets will be distributed using an online booking system and will be on a first come, first served basis.

Have a wonderful Chinese New Year holiday!



Jan Stipek,
Secondary Years Principal


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