Secondary Years Principals Update

Jan Stipek, Secondary Years Principal November 23, 2018
Secondary Years Principals Update

We have just had a couple of very busy weeks at the Secondary Years, full of enriching events, activities, and student successes. As such, I would like to take the opportunity in my newsletter entry to go over and elaborate on some of these events.

Week without walls 

As a school, we firmly believe in experiential, authentic learning and service opportunities. In our classrooms, teachers plan units which draw heavily on authentic resources and encourage students to make interdisciplinary connections. Throughout the year, our students are involved in a range of local community service projects. This approach, in a way, culminates with the annual week without walls residential trip for each grade level. Our grade 10 students have just returned from a week in Cambodia where they engaged in a building project in a local community. Many of the students I spoke with agreed this was a transformative experience for them due to the first-hand experience of directly helping others who are as fortunate as us. 

On Tuesday, Mr Derrick Molloney, our Experiential learning coordinator, facilitated a parent information session for the grade 6-9 trips which will take place mid-March. Thank you to the 65 families who attended. Follow up communication has already been sent as a reminder and for those who were not able to attend. Our hope is that most students will take up this opportunity – although there will be an alternative plan for students who stay in Singapore, this will not fully replace the experience a guided out-of-country trip will offer.

Parent portal

We launched the Parent portal for SY parents last week and up to date have had over 170 registrations. This portal will eventually reduce the number of other systems and will provide a single gateway, communication and information platform. Currently, parent portal should be used to update your contact information, check your child’s attendance, read SY Daily homeroom bulletin and generic school notices, access your child’s timetable and find teachers’ contact details. Until further notice, please continue using ManageBac for assessment/homework, grades and reports.


In addition to our regular student-led assembly last week (led by grade 7 students), grades 6-8 students also attended an inspiring talk by a National Geographic Adventurer and a published author, Rob Lilwall who shared with our students his life-changing experiences of a 3-year cycling journey around the world. As a former teacher, he turned our students into a captivated audience who asked many well-throughout questions at the end. What a treat!

IN Exhibition

Well done to our DP Visual arts students for showcasing their artwork at the annual IN Art Exhibition at the Australian High Commission this week. 12 Gems students/alumni were exhibiting their artwork as part of this collaboration between the Art departments of 17 international Schools. In addition, two students, Jade Thurlow and Dhafin Rizaldi, provided music during the opening night. Well done everyone!

Examination week

Grades 9-12 will undertake their annual examination week from 6-12 December. This is an opportunity for our older students to review their learning in semester 1 and familiarize themselves with examinations conditions; the latter is especially important for the Grade 1- and 12 students in order to become well-prepared for their final external examinations around May 2019. Our curriculum coordinators, Ms Begg and Mr Fletcher, have put together a very comprehensive but busy examination timetable incorporating the complex combination of subject combination and different examination lengths for the different papers. They will be sharing this information with students and parents next week. 

SY Sports day

The SY sports day on Friday 22 November was a great success. It was the first time students represented and collected points for their Houses. The PE team, led by Mr Tauroa, put together an impressive and balanced range of sports and activities. Everything from soccer to table tennis to scrabble!

Congratulations to the Red house for earning the winning 2220 points today!

Young Founders Summit 

I would also like to recognize and congratulate three grade 8 students, Samuel Poder, Neil Ghosh and Arsh Shrivastava, who participated in the Young Founders Summit (YFS) @ South East Asia,  pitching their innovation of a Cure Band which senses the heart rate of at-risk cases and alerts their next-of-kin and an emergency response team with an App. It was dubbed the most impactful idea by a judge at the competition. The team emerged Grand Champions of the Summit, clinching US$5,000 and a trip to UCLA to compete at YFS Global. What an amazing achievement!

Jan Stipek
Secondary Years Principal 



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