Page 1

October 2009

Farewell to Margaret Hallett p2 Annual Capital Fund report, p6

The Somersfield Academy Newsletter

New principal charts new course for Somersfield Principal Jim Christopher with students (from left) Omar Turner, Kate Draganetti, Tamiko Douglas and Aliche Danadelle. 1

Thank you and welcome Chairman of the Board Tom Vesey bids farewell to former Principal Margaret Hallett who oversaw 11 years of remarkable growth at Somersfield and welcomes her successor, Dr. Jim Christopher


It was the classic case of the right person at the right time. But then the inevitable happened: After 11 years presiding over the blur of growth and development, Margaret decided the time had come for her, too, to move on. Margaret and Somersfield Academy had become so intertwined it was hard to imagine one without the other. Fortunately, those involved in finding a new principal – which included a committee of staff and parents as well as the board search committee and the board itself – didn’t embark on an impossible search for a perfectly matching replacement. Instead, we started looking for somebody who could build on what Margaret had accomplished. We needed somebody who understood the values and promise of the school and work to turn them into reality. And after so much rapid growth – Margaret started with 125 students, and finished with 405 – we needed somebody with the teaching and administration experience to consolidate on our rapid gains. Again, Somersfield has been blessed with the right person at the right time. Dr Jim Christopher, who took over from Margaret at the beginning of January, has had a distinguished career as an historian, teacher, author, and education administrator. He has served as principal of both public and private schools, as well as the superintendent of a school district in Ontario. He has considerable experience in helping schools, and teachers, to become better at what they do. And when it came to helping Somersfield, Jim already had a big head start.

lot of childhood education is a crazy blur. Kids settle into a new class, and the next thing you know, graduating and moving on. But presiding over this blur, at least from the first September I drove up to the school and handed my first-born into Somersfield’s care, was Margaret Hallett. She was the one constant, as little generations of little children grew and moved on – and as the school itself sprouted up, matured and moved as well. By early last year, when Margaret publicly announced her plans to retire, there were just a handful of parents, board members and staff who remembered anybody else in charge. (Nobody at all could remember the school without her, for she as there, as a teacher, on the very first day in September 1991.) So it was hard to imagine a future without her. It sounded quite scary back in “the early days”: It was never clear whether this new school was going to catch hold, whether the vision could be turned into reality and the bills be paid – whether, in short, the school would even survive. Without Margaret Hallett’s intelligence, energy and determination it wouldn’t have happened. More importantly, perhaps, she inspired the intelligence, energy and determination in administrators, teachers, donors, parents and students. She made them see that Somersfield Academy wasn’t just another school, not even just another good school. It was a school that really could come close to its lofty promises of compassion and respect, daring dreams, intellectual curiosity and honouring the hidden talents of the individual. 2

Cover Story

Jim Christopher first visited Somersfield in 2006, when he presented Margaret Hallett with the school's CESI certification.

He had worked closely with the school in both of his pervious positions, as executive director of the Canada Association of Independent Schools, and as executive director of the Canadian Education Standards Institute (CESI). Indeed, he was part of the CESI team that examined Somersfield in detail in 2006, when our school successfully applied for CESI accreditation. He knew our history and our plans for the future. Not surprisingly, the transition was a smooth one. As Jim settled into his new office at the beginning of the year, Margaret volunteered her help to the board’s Finance Committee as it tackled the technicalities of its 2009-2010 budget. With that work completed, Margaret has now joined the board’s Development Committee, helping to raise money for the school to which she has already contributed so much. Somersfield, meanwhile, is already profiting from the wide experience Jim brought with him. With good humour and humility, he is sharing the wisdom and insights from the schools where he has worked, and from the countless other schools and educational programmes whose successes and challenges he has had the chance to examine. I am thankful to both heads, to Margaret and to Jim, for helping to create, preserve, and develop this wonderful school. Together with our staff, parents, volunteers and donors, they are turning Somersfield’s values and promises into reality for Bermuda’s children.


Principal's Message

A new path for Somersfield


At the elementary level, we have expanded our 6-9 programme with a new large class and have equipped our P5 and P6 classrooms with interactive digital “smart” boards. The MYP programme continues to grow with greater emphasis on a more student-centred cohort approach. We have also expanded our technology support with the addition of seven more “smart” boards and – thanks to the generosity of our corporate partner KPMG – we now have two mobile computer labs of 20 workstations each, to be used throughout the Foundation and MYP programmes. Another exciting new initiative for 2009-2010 is the inauguration of the Somersfield Chair in Mathematics. This newly-created position has a mandate for both in-house and community outreach programmes in professional development for the teaching of mathematics. We have established a public-private partnership with the support of a number of corporate partners to provide inservice to not only our own staff, but to math teachers in public and independent schools all over the island. With growth and turnover we are also thrilled to welcome a dozen new teachers to our ranks. The school is already buzzing with the excitement that change and renewal brings and we are all looking forward to welcoming our students and families back for another great year at Somersfield.

chools are, and should be, constantly in a state of change. Each September Somersfield Academy welcomes incoming students and their families, meets new teachers and staff, and strives to be just that much better than the year before. Summer is always a much-needed time of renewal for all members of the school community and the school itself is no exception. Over the past two months Somersfield staff have worked tirelessly to expand and freshen up our facilities. Four new classrooms have emerged from our efforts: a beautifully appointed pre-primary class on the ground floor of the main building; a spectacular, newly expanded 6-9 classroom upstairs; a centrally positioned spacious language classroom in the MYP building; and a totally refurbished music cottage on the southeastern side of the campus. Our corridors and classrooms are sparkling; we have completed extensive repair and re-plastering work on the main entrance and we have erected a safety fence along the base of the cliff wall on the north side of the playing fields. We are ready to go! This year will see many exciting changes at all levels of the school. At the pre-primary and primary level we have added a new class, including our first cohort of full-day three year olds in order to better meet the needs of working families. In addition we are beginning a stand-alone 3-6 after school enrichment programme and will have a full-time learning specialist in place for the division starting in January.

Dr. Jim Christopher Principal 4

Message from the Chairman

Board of Governors From Left to Right: Mike Maguire, Ralph Rathjen, Anne Dupuy, David Whiting, Elizabeth Walker Sobhani, Aaron Smith, Romelle Warner, Tom Vesey, Jennifer Patterson, Curtis Dickinson, Jim Christopher. Not pictured: Pat Phillip-Bassett, Alexandra O’Neill, Darren Johnson, and Stuart Hayward

A hectic year for Governors


t has been an especially busy year for Somersfield’s Board of Governors. Significant issues have included the appointment of a new head of school, implementation of strategic plans, concerns over the global financial crisis and its impact locally, and the continued growth of the school. In June, Michael Maguire became the board’s deputy chair, taking over from Jennifer Patterson, who held that position since 2003. Jennifer will remain on the board for this school year. David Whiting has taken over from Mike as treasurer. At the end of the last school year we said farewell to two board members. Tony Nagel served on the board for 10 years, including three years as board chair. He was very much involved in all the school’s major decisions over the last decade, from major building projects to the selection of our new head of school. Also departing is Jane Collis, who joined the board two years ago as secretary but is, unfortunately, moving to Canada. Three new members joined the board in June.

Curtis Dickinson is a Somersfield parent and executive vice president at the Bank of Butterfield. A Bermudian, he has worked as an investment banker in both the US and Europe. Also joining us is Anne Dupuy, who has already been serving on the board’s Finance Committee and is now the board’s deputy treasurer. Anne, a Canadian, is a chartered accountant. She has two daughters at Somersfield. Elizabeth Walker Sobhani, who has given the board a tremendous amount of help with strategic planning over the last couple of years, has also joined the board. She is a Somersfield parent and a management consultant, who focuses on advising non-profit organisations through her company EWS Consulting. Continuing on the board are Aaron Smith, Pat Phillip-Bassett, Alexandra O’Neill, Darren Johnson, Romelle Warner, Ralph Rathjen and Stuart Hayward.

Tom Vesey Chairman of the Board


Raising the bar

Principal Jim Christopher reflects on a record annual giving campaign


for three year olds to support working Bermudian parents; lap-top carts; SMART boards; and, the introduction of PYP strategies to our Foundations division. Before we knew it, companies and individuals became interested in what we were doing and wanted to get on board. One company (KPMG) donated 40 laptops and two lap-top carts to kick-start our “mobile computer lab” initiative; another (MS Frontier Re) funded the expansion of our SMART board capabilities; and our parents’ association got so excited about what we were doing that they raised money to create a new entry-level classroom; upgrade our theatre facility; and make significant technology purchases at all levels of the school. Other companies and individual parents supported our Math initiatives and before we knew it, we had recorded the best year ever in raising funds (in half the time!) So what did we learn in all this? Three important lessons have emerged in our first venture into the potentially shark infested waters of development. The first, is to tell the truth. We have been up front and open about our debt challenges, our cash flow concerns, and our worries about the escalating need for bursaries and scholarships. Donors have welcomed our candor and have been interested in being a part of helping us find solutions. Secondly, we have been grateful. Saying thank you and giving public recognition have been a big part of what has caught people’s attention. There are no tax breaks for charitable giving in Bermuda. Our supporters are just that, supporters. They are interested parents, good corporate citizens and friends of the school. Our events are as much about community building as they are about fundraising and we want people to feel good about attending, not merely good about getting out without spending too much! Finally, we have been cheerleaders for what we are doing and what we are going to do. We will always measure the success of our advancement initiatives in terms of dollars and cents, but there is so much more to it. As long as there are development strategists that think that heavy handed pressure tactics and “guilting out” potential donors is a long-term sustainable strategy – we should continue to do quite well by comparison! In some races, nice guys don’t necessarily finish last.

hen I joined Somersfield in January there appeared to be three strikes against expanding our development prospects. To begin with, a long-standing, highly respected and locally connected Head of School, my friend Margaret Hallett, had stepped down at the height of her game to pursue other interests; the long-serving development officer had been lured to a powerful rival school early in the fall, taking contacts and relationships with him, and hadn’t been replaced; the school had just finished a massive and exciting building campaign which had inspired giving but now was completed (and about $12 million in debt); and – wait, did I say three strikes? – we were plunging headfirst into a major global recession which was bound to have an impact both on our school population and the financial liquidity of our donors! Despite all that, we are pleased to announce that we have just completed the most successful annual giving and fundraising campaign in the school’s history. Thanks to your generosity we raised $362,430.82 with 24% of our parent body participating in the Somersfield Academy Annual Fund. How did this happen? Well, the same three (four?) strikes turned out to be to our advantage. To begin with, the current economic climate galvanised the Board into reassessing its financial position and willingness to carry a significant debt load. The finance committee began to discuss strategies for long-term sustainability; we created a formal development committee to set priorities, name targets and identify new sources of funding; and, the Board opened itself up to expanding our student base in key areas as a hedge against future contraction – the result was an improved cash flow, a manageable debt reduction strategy and a revitalised development mandate. Secondly, Margaret had hired, in consultation with me, an atypical candidate for development officer. Starting the same day as I did, Megan Troake brought no advancement experience, but offered a wealth of energy, enthusiasm and personal connection with members of the parent body and the larger community. In fact, we used our newness as an advantage as we were able to talk about change and growth and the face that somebody else had build up the debt but that we were left to pay it off! Over the next few months, we launched some new academic initiatives: the Somersfield Chair in Mathematics; full-day programming 6

Annual Fund 2008-09 Annual Fund

Capital Donations

Founders Club ($10,000)

The Principals Club ($500-$999)

Anonymous (1) Butterfield Bank Foundation (accreditation) John Gressier MS Frontier Orbis Investment Management Partner Re PTA Renaissance Re

Emilio Barbieri BYSP IPCRe matching Aaron and Karen Smith Lesage/Villeneuve Max Re Ltd. Peter and Jackie McLellan Shaun and Cynthia Thomas Morris Alexandria O'Neil Aaron Smith Derek Stapley Derek Woolley / Sylvester, Lee Bill and Bina Yit

Tivoli Club ($5,000-$9,999) Anonymous (1) Arch Re John Buchanan Conyers, Dill & Pearman

The Trustees Club ($1,000-$4,999) Anonymous (1) Allied World matching Robert Bissett Rhonda and Kirk Caza Christopher/Stevens Family Charles and Jane Collis Andrew Cook Anne Dupuy Gwen Fahy Margaret Hallett Hendrick Family Colm and Niamh Homan Kevin and Dorte Horsfield, John Johnston and Tawyna White Ihab Khali Garth Lorimer Turner Ben and Claire Love Brian Madeiros Michael Maguire Rosangela Papadopoulo Ralph Rathjen Eckart and Andrea Roth Schauble Family Foundation Stephen Troake Talbot Van Zanden Tom Vesey Dr. Wilbert Warner David and Debbie Whiting Richard Williams David Wolfe

The Supporters Club ($100-$499) Anonymous (2) Balcombe, Wayne Black Bda Gymnastics Association Audley Campbell Heidi Coleman Peter Darling Jonathan Daspin Paul DeSousa (Karen Leseur) Paul and Deanna Didyk Chris and Silvie Downey David and Diane Elliot Richard Harris Dirk Hasselkuss Brian Higgins Helen James Emma Lee Emma and Jose Lopez Max Re Ltd. Beatrice A. Meyer Christopher Morris Helen and Mark Orchard Amanda Pearman Read-A-Thon Chris Furbert Sharrieff, Neysan Sobhani and Elizabeth WalkerSobhani Andrew Stevenson Frank Stocek Blythe Walker Stacey Lee Williams


$100,000-$500,000 Axis Specialty Limited Bank of Bermuda Foundation Montpelier Re

$5,000 - $99,999 Abacus Trust (c/o) Hannover Re Tom Vesey

$1,000 - $4,999 Arthur H. & Annette C. Bolton Charitable Foundation Margaret Hallett PriceWaterhouseCoopers

$100 - $999 Alexandra O'Neill RiAnn Pully, '09 Idrees Sharrieff, '09 Betsey and Tommy Vesey Domico Watson, '09

Annual Fund

New plaque honours our donors


omersfield has seen tremendous change in the past 10 years, growing from 130 students to over 400 along with the development of the campus in Devonshire. The success of our Montessori and International Baccalaureate programmes is unprecedented on the Island, and so too is the level of support we have received from the community. At a reception earlier this year the school paid tribute in the form of a permanent plaque in the lobby to those who have contributed significant financial support over the years. The confidence and trust that has been shown to us through philanthropic investment


has secured our future – and the future learning of every child who comes through our doors. We are very grateful for the involvement and support of your organisation, which has allowed a most unique and innovative school to thrive on this small Island. If you or any members of your organisation would like a brief tour of the school or any further information, please do not hesitate to contact our Development officer, Megan Troake, who would be delighted to let you see our state-of-the-art gym, science labs and other facilities. Again, thank you for your contribution to the success of Somersfield!


What’s so smart about SMART boards?


We have recently seen the provision of teacher and student workstations in every classroom; the installation of LCD projectors in most rooms; the beginnings of an interactive digital board initiative; and, with the support of our corporate partners at KPMG we have been able to establish two mobile computer lab “laptop carts” to provide greater flexibility to teachers. Many schools pride themselves on having a smart board in every room, or requiring every family to buy their child a laptop. They might make for great marketing, but ineffective use of those resources – while good visual PR when prospective parents or visitors glance in the classroom – can impede rather than enhance the learning process. In the best schools, students excel in the use of technology because teachers who “get it” are given the support and the infrastructure they need to push forward the frontiers of learning. It would appear to be far more effective to guarantee that every student has at least one exceptional on-going experience with technology in her or his timetable rather that to try to provide a series of mediocre ones. Teaching and learning is the ultimate interactive experience. Whether or not it involves the use of technology is far less important than the extent to which it engages, challenges, and meets the needs of our kids. That is why, as much as we have invested in technology in our classrooms, our real priority is to continue to staff them with “state of the art” teachers. They’re the “smart” in smart boards!

rincipal Jim Christopher explains that how Somersfield teachers use technology is far more important than any digital wizardry. Our new SMART boards have quickly become part of the Somersfield classroom experience – but how do they work and, more important, how do they help our students and teachers? SMART Boards (actually a brand name that has become synonymous with the product - like we used to always say “Xerox machine”) are interactive digital whiteboards that work in concert with the teacher’s computer to run simulations, store written discussions, and provide myriad hands-on learning experiences for students. Over the past year, with the support of MS Frontier Re and the Somersfield Parents Association, we have installed 11 of these electronic marvels in our P5, P6 and MYP classrooms. But does the addition of these types of resources guarantee a better educational experience? Not necessarily. As one of our teachers said: “It’s not about technology, it’s about learning.” There is no point in investing in interactive digital “smart” boards or LCD projectors if they are only going to be used as 21st century blackboards and overheads. What needs to be happening has to begin with our academic vision of the school. We have to ask the questions: “How can we enhance student learning and academic performance with the aid of technology? What could we do more effectively with technological support than we could do without it?” and, “How do we make students and teachers see the available technology not as a gimmick, but rather as a stepping-stone to take learning to the next level?” 9

Class of 2009

Meet the class of 2009 Chantae Hollis

Ri-Ann Pully

Domico Watson

Time at Somersfield: 2 years Interests & Achievements: Prefect, Class Representative on the SGA, Cross Country, Jr Pathfinder club induction, School Netball Coach, Music Theory Grade 3, Honour Roll Personal Project: “I’ll be Okay” song and music video Areas of Interaction: Human Ingenuity Future Study: Bermuda High School, IB Diploma programme

Time at Somersfield: 2 years Interests & Achievements: Nominated for Youth Philanthropist of the Year for her personal project, Piano Grade 4, Candy Striper Personal Project: “Dangerous Minds”, a documentary on youth violence in Bermuda. Areas of Interaction: Community and Service Future Study: Bermuda High School, IB Diploma programme

Time at Somersfield: 7 years Interests & Achievements: Track & Field, Tennis, Prefect Personal Project: “A Community Seen Through Art”. Areas of Interaction: Community and Service Future Study: Bermuda High School, IB Diploma programme


Class of 2009

Donte Brown

Jabari Burgess-Robinson

Idrees Sharrieff

Time at Somersfield: 3 years Interests & Achievements: Track & Field Personal Project: History Behind the Bermuda Kite. Areas of Interaction: Human Ingenuity and Health and Social Education Future Study: Bermuda High School, IB Diploma programme

Time at Somersfield: 7 years Interests & Achievements: Track & Field Personal Project: Photo Gallery and Poems of Bermuda Scenery. Areas of Interaction: Community Service Future Study: Mentoring Impact Academy

Time at Somersfield: 5 years Interests & Achievements: Track & Field, Captain of Football team, nominated for Denton Hurdle Awards, Citizenship Award, winner of Bermuda Arts Competition Personal Project: “Play Like the Pros” Soccer Skills and Tricks video. Areas of Interaction: Community and Service Future Study: Bermuda High School, IB Diploma programme

Henry Taylor Kelsea Williams Time at Somersfield: 9 years Interests & Achievements: Head Girl, Class Representative SGA, Honours, Youth Citizen Award, Rotary Youth Leadership Award Personal Project: “Out in the Open”, Personal Identity Documentary. Areas of Interaction: Future Study:Bermuda High School, IB Diploma programme

Time at Somersfield: 4 years Personal Project: Created and recorded three original pieces. Areas of Interaction: Human Ingenuity Future Study: Performing Arts School, Mt. Paran,


William Broughton Time at Somersfield: 10 years Interests & Achievements: Softball, Track & Field, wrote a 43,000-word novel Personal Project: “The Perfect Flow” the writing of a book Future Study: school in the USA IB diploma programme

Professional Development

IB evaluation report I

n March of this year, Somersfield Academy received a three-day evaluation visit from the IBNA (International Baccaulaureate Organisation in North America.) The visit was very productive and we received a great deal of feedback that will be extremely useful for us as the school moves forward. A formal report was sent to us over the summer outlining our strengths and on the four standards of practice: philosophy, organisation, curriculum and the student. It also contained advice on how we can further improve our MYP programme. The visiting team found the school facilities to be well maintained and felt that they presented a welcoming façade to visitors and students. They recognised that Somersfield has a strong reputation on the Island as a private school and commended the wide diversity of students and staff representing the international community. They also felt that the Head of School, Division Head and IB Coordinator showed a good understanding of the principles of the MYP programme. The school was also commended on its strong, academically-focused curriculum and exemplary assessment practices. Teachers at Somersfield have aligned their subjects with the aims, objectives and philosophy of the IB programme. The visiting team talked with both staff and students and felt that teachers were very knowledgeable about students and their diverse needs. They commended us for the way in which we structured the timeline of the personal project and felt that there was a strong commitment on the part of teachers in this area of the curriculum. Several suggestions were made about improving the quality of Somersfield Academy’s MYP programme. As a result, the administration, staff, and Board of Governors will be reviewing the school’s mission statement in order to make it more aligned with that of the IBO. There will be an evaluation of funding in all subject areas so that each one has a financial budget and so that all teachers have access to a variety of teaching tools and resources. Teachers will be also integrating International Mindedness, Community and Service and the Learner Profile into their lessons and units on a regular basis. They will be given professional development workshops on how to better integrate inquiry-based learning into their subjects, and will be planning more units collaboratively instead of individually. Finally, all MYP staff will undergo level 2 IB training in their respective subject areas and in other aspects of the curriculum such as the Areas of Interaction and the Personal Project. This will serve to further enrich their knowledge of the MYP programme and its philosophy.

Jeneba O’Connor IB co-ordinator


Somersfield establishes Math Chair


his year (2009-10) saw the inauguration of the Somersfield Chair in Mathematics and we are delighted that Rosanna Luzarraga has joined us as the first occupant of the position. The Math Chair has been created to offer both in-house and community outreach programmes in professional development, and with the support of a number of corporate partners, we plan to provide service to not only our own staff, but to math teachers in public and independent schools around the Island. Ms. Luzarraga, who is from the Philippines, has wide-ranging experience in the field, having been Math Coordinator in Elementary Department PYP at the American International School in Kuwait, Mathematics Head for the International Division at the I-Shou International School in Taiwan, and has taught math grades 4-7 at The Dominican School in Taiwan, and grades 7-9 at Camarines Norte College in the Philippines. She holds an MSc in Education (Middle School Mathematics) from Walden University and a BSc Science in Mathematics Major in Actuarial Science University of Santa Tomas. She has also completed several workshops, including IBO Workshops in Developing MYP Units in Mathematics, Internationalism, and Curriculum Development; and PBS and ASCD in probability, UdB and classroom 2.0. The American International School in Kuwait said of her: “I cannot speak highly enough of her work ethic or her knowledge of content, pedagogy or methodology. Her philosophy reflects a willingness to consider different ideas and methods in order to continue to develop her teaching repertoire.” We are sure that Ms. Luzarraga will bring many positive professional benefits to math teachers at Somersfield Academy and other schools in Bermuda.

Middle Years Programme


Learning new lessons

that the general opinion is the examination system in the UK is far too easy, standards have dropped and students are having to do less work to receive top grades! There was no praise for teachers, or their methods of teaching, or the fact that students are learning in a way that allows all young people to reach their potential, why is criticism so easy, yet praise so difficult? Maybe it is time that the “old boys” network of examinations needs a little pressure from above and below. Someone told me recently that a little knowledge is a lot of power; I know he is right. Decades of research have led to the realisation that existing knowledge dramatically shapes what students come to learn.  At Somersfield, as teachers we routinely seek to uncover what the students know and believe, this prior knowledge serves as a foundation for further learning. We look thoughtfully at our curriculum and at the activities that we incorporate into the school and classroom to determine how to allow our students to reach their dreams. We aim to engage students in their own learning, so that students will find their time here at Somersfield personally rewarding, meaningful and intellectually stimulating. We are proactive in creating learning environments that spark motivation for our students to become deep and meaningful thinkers. 

earning is something that happens quite naturally, as children develop they follow what is sometimes called “normal” patterns of learning, and they become more skilled and knowledgeable almost as a matter of course.  Learning in school does not happen by chance, though children will learn many things that are not planned for. An understanding of the ways we believe learning takes place is really essential for those responsible for planning and implementing programmes of learning – the teachers. There is no denying that individuals in the 21st century are bombarded by information, it is a daunting task to know what to attend to and what to ignore. I remember doing my “O” levels, and memorising all the information for my examinations generally most of it was forgotten in the months to come. It seems that the amount of information that students need to know now has exponentially increased over the past few years. Yet students’ mental capacities have remained virtually unchanged over the centuries. Therefore as teachers we have to help students learn “smarter” or more efficiently, so they are not drowned by this continuous flow of information.  Whilst I have grave doubts about the educational system in the UK, it made me quite sad to read in the UK Times newspaper,

(Continued on page 14) 13

9-11 Program (Continued from page 13)

Finally, it scares me a little (well, quite a lot) that we are expected to educate young people for the future. One hundred years ago it was easy to predict what the future held for young people, so the education system catered for the industrial society we lived in. I recently attended a conference in Montreal, where the guest speaker, Alan November, stated that the 21st century will demand people who are experts in skills that include: Dealing with huge amounts of information, and the skills of processing this information Working with people all over the world. Collaboration and problem solving on a global scale will demand excellent communication skills The real revolution is self-directed people who do not need a boss to tell them what to do. Knowing is no longer sufficient, self-direction is important. Unlike the Industrial Revolution we need people who are highly disciplined, and have an understanding of lifelong learning. (www. Teachers of the 21st Century have the responsibility of educating young people for a new era, where unknown and exciting work opportunities will be created. One thing can be guaranteed: Somersfield will give the students the knowledge, understanding and skills to make decisions that will give them a head start for a great future – no matter what path they may take.

Trying a different approach


ast year the faculty of Somersfield Academy embarked on a school wide initiative to  consider  how effectively we practice differentiation in our everyday teaching. Both the Montessori and IB progammes stress the importance of looking at every child as an individual learner so it is vital to the reputation of our programme that we honor that philosophy and truly practice what we preach. We took a close look at our 9-11 programme; we recognised its many strengths, curriculum and teaching staff being among them. We did see that the teachers at this level were not able to differentiate as effectively as they might having a mixed age group in these classrooms. The children who excelled in certain areas were not stretched as much as we thought they could be and the children who needed support were not getting as much individual attention as they might. Our goal across the school, and at this level, is that all children are engaged and challenged in meaningful activities that spark their individual interests and encourage them to inquire, participate and ultimately become lifelong learners. This year, the 9-11 programme will consist of two Primary 5 classes and two Primary 6 classes. All of the children at this level will have ample opportunity to socialise and work together in a number of group initiatives, but within their classrooms their teachers will be able to stretch and support, know their students’ and families’ needs, and use all of the many benefits of differentiation everyday with every child. Somersfield Academy is a progressive school; we will never stop seeking new ways to enrich the learning experience of our students.

Victoria Brewer Division Head

Julia Watson Division Leader 14

Pre-Primary 3-6

A lifelong journey


work which always involves the parents. In fact, our first project will be schoolwide, premised on the United Nations theme “The Year of the Natural Fibres.” The UN chose this subject to raise awareness and to stimulate demand for natural fibres worldwide. Our research will give us insight into a myriad of cultural diversities. In becoming internationally minded, children begin to see the commonalities and the differences in our world cultures. They begin to understand that what shapes us is our history, our geography and our life experiences. Children are naturally curious and are born with a desire to learn. In our environment, their curiosity is nurtured and encouraged by our caring teachers who guide them towards becoming independent, creative, compassionate individuals ready to embrace and enhance our diverse world. Your children are on the threshold of a lifelong journey that will take them into a world full of learning opportunities we may never have dreamed possible.

uring our lifetime, we travel on a journey that takes us to places in mind and body that we may never have dreamed possible. We are exposed to a variety of experiences through the numerous resources we have at our fingertips, providing greater opportunities for learning than ever before. Through today’s amazing technology, we can discover Tutankhamen’s tomb, climb Mt. Kilimanjaro, explore the oceans of the world, or travel the broad expanses of our universe. In addition, with Smart Boards in the classrooms, students can literally have an interactive experience! Wow! By using the resources we have at our disposal today, we are able to develop a more global perspective of history, geography and world cultures. In Casa dei Bambini subjects come alive. Children are provided with direct hands-on experiences to explore and learn. They learn about their own family history through individual timelines and expand this knowledge into the world around them. Children realise that as “members of the human family our roots lie in the distant past, and history is the story of our common heritage.” Understanding this valuable concept naturally sparks an interest in international cultures. At our level, students are introduced to French, finding joy in saying “Bonjour Madame” when their French teacher enters the room. Here again they are immediately exposed to a different language and culture. Through puzzle maps, our little ones begin to learn the names of the world’s continents and countries, as well as learning about how the earth was formed with its various geographical features. From this flows a desire to study specific places. In addition, our children develop an understanding of cultures through literature, art and music, and integrate these subjects through project

“The secret of good teaching is to regard the child’s intelligence as a fertile field in which seeds may be sown, to grow under the beat of flaming imagination.” - Maria Montessori

Gwen Fahy Division Head 15

Class of 2008

Class of 2008 Sophie Rathjen

Thilo Roth

Chardinae Wilson-Trott

Prefect, field hockey Personal Project: Raising Breast Cancer Awareness Where are they now? Pomfert School

Prefect Personal Project: Web 2.0 Where are they now? Atlantic United World College, Wales

Prefect Personal Project: Giving back to the Community Where are they now? Florida Flight Academy

Kirsten Spencer-Arscott Lateefah Caines Prefect, netball all stars Personal Project: Take a Journey Through My Life Where are they now? Bermuda High School

Prefect, President of Student Government Association Personal Project: A Poetry Anthology Where are they now? Bermuda High School


Asia Washington Prefect Personal Project: My Life in a Blanket Where are they now? Saltus Grammar School

Professional Development

Staff Attain Their Masters Grafton Phillips

Megan Troake

Master of Science in Information Technology: Telecommunications Management (University of Maryland University College) The Master of Science in Information Technology program provides a broad technical understanding of current and evolving technologies in the IT field with an emphasis on moving technology from the laboratory to the realm of business development through core courses such as Telecommunications Management. Telecommunications Management itself requires 36 credits of coursework. Mr. Phillips specialised in Data Communications and Networks, Network Management and Design and Wireless Networks and completed optional courses such as Relational Database Systems and Internet Technologies.

Masters in Organisational Management (Endicott College) This programme is based on the belief that learning leads to change and those organisations with the ability to learn continuously will be successful in uncertain and changing environments. The course requires 36 credit hours and a thesis.

Christina Davis Masters in Education with a concentration in Montessori Education (Plymouth State University in Plymouth, New Hampshire) This degree program was flexible for graduate study as it allows students to develop a program of study addressing specific professional goals and interests.

Melissa Judd Master of Education in Counselling Psychology with a specialiSation in Community and Educational Settings (Ontario Institute for Studies in Education: University of Toronto) The degree requirements consisted of a 500-hour practicum, 10 courses, and a comprehensive examination. Mrs. Judd completed her practicum onsite at the University of Toronto’s Counselling and Psychoeducational Clinic for Children, Adolescents, and Adults. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Solution-Brief Focused Therapy are the modalities she worked from. The required courses included one in counselling skills, group theory, ethics, multicultural counselling, and a practicum course. After receiving her M. Ed., Mrs. Judd became a certified member of the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association.

Maha Turner Will complete her Masters of Education Degree (Xavier University) in December 2009. This is an intensive two-year programme involving on-campus classroom, correspondence and online coursework. It has helped Mrs. Turner experience a philosophical renewal, conduct research on nurturing the spirit of the child, and gain new insights and ideas regarding the Montessori Education.


School Trips

Vive la France!


ast September, 30 M2 students travelled to Paris for a cultural and linguistic visit accompanied by four teachers (Mrs. Dodd, Mrs. O’Connor, Mr. Farrell and Mr. Philips) and two fabulous tour guides (Claude and Anne-Marie). In a very busy schedule we saw and did many things while using our French during our morning lessons and at every opportunity – particularly during our compulsory shopping spree We saw all the traditional sights and were in awe of their beauty and size. We visited Notre Dame Cathedral, Sainte Chapelle and the Louvre where we were intrigued with the Mona Lisa masterpiece.  We visited Sacre Coeur cathedral and were amazed at the beautiful view of Paris from Montmatre, while also getting to feel the French art de vivre. We then went on a boat trip along the River Seine under the bridges and lights of Paris.  One full day was spent in Asterix Park enjoying all the great variety of things to see and do.  We also enjoyed going up the Eiffel Tower where we appreciated the incredible layout of the Napoleonic city. The trip was a very enjoyable experience for everyone including the teachers and everything went off without a hitch thanks to our tour organizer, Mrs. Dodd. M2 students

MYPs get a glimpse of ancient wonders


omersfield Academy tries to link its school trips with the curriculum content that the students are covering. This past year we chose a trip to Rome and Greece as M3 students were studying Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar in English and ancient Greek civilisation in Humanities while M4 and M5 Art students studied columns. So on March 24 2009, 36 students and five teachers, proudly dressed in our Somersfield tracksuits, set off for Rome, Italy! Guided by our wonderful tour director, Matteo, who was with us the entire trip, we saw all the major sights in Rome, learning about how the early Romans entertained themselves in the Coliseum, standing o the spot where Caesar was killed in the forum, admiring the works of art in the Vatican and just soaking in the Roman atmosphere. A highlight was eating ice cream at the Trevi fountain in the late evening! Leaving Rome, we headed off by coach to Pompeii – an amazing experience for us all. It is incredible to see so clearly how the people lived before their sudden death. We could even see how they made and baked bread! They have rebuilt one of the houses so that it was just as it was when the eruption happened. That night we caught the ferry to Greece. We zoomed to Olympia and a flying (literally) visit through the original Olympic grounds, as they were closing 10 minutes after our arrival! Fortunately, you can still see the entire area from the road and our guide talked us through while we watched from above. That day we also celebrated Earth Hour in our own special way. We were on the bus at the designated time so we asked the bus driver to dim the bus lights and we turned off all iPods and game systems. We probably didn’t save too much energy, but we did our bit! The next day, we headed to Athens, stopping at Epidauros to see the most well-preserved ancient Greek amphitheatre in the world. Our guide told us all about the Golden ratio, which was put into use in building the amphitheatre. A few of our students took advantage of the best acoustics in Greece and treated us to a song rendition. After a stop to admire the Corinth canal, we arrived at our hotel in the suburbs of Athens. We toured Athens by bus, visiting the Olympic stadium from the start of the modern Olympic Games and the Acropolis, where our guide explained about the Parthenon and how the early Athenians lived. After leaving Athens, we spent a day in London, which included a visit to the Globe Theatre. One flight later and we returned home with very tired, but much more knowledgeable students! 18


An active sporting life


he 3-6 Physical Education programme at Somersfield Academy allows the students to learn many new skills and games while being active. The students learn how to work with a team and cooperate, how to work as an individual and learn their own strengths and weaknesses and trying to improve on them, how to try their best even if the tasks can be challenging, and most of all to play fairly and have fun.  All of these things are done through different games and sports. The upper primary and middle school Physical Education programme is aligned with the Bermuda School Sports Federation calendar. This gives all students a chance to learn the sports that the school teams are competing in. The P4-P6 programme is moving to a higher skill acquisition focus while at the same time maintaining a focus on cognitive understanding, sportsmanship and team building. In the academic year 2008-2009 the school competed in the following BSSF events: swimming, football, netball, rugby, badminton, track & field, cross country, field hockey and softball. The PE staff hopes to add cricket, lacrosse, rounders and volleyball as sports that Somersfield can compete against other local schools in this year.


Student Activities

Read-a-Thon: read all about it!


he 2009 ‘Sail into Reading’ Read-a-thon was a huge success. Two weeks of reading at every opportunity, guest authors and readers, a character day, bake sales and wonderful support from volunteers, teachers, parents and, of course, students came together to produce impressive results. Somersfield Academy students read a total of 213,000 minutes with over 18,000 minutes of that working to donate grains of rice to needy families on one of our favourite websites, Ms. Johnston’s and Mrs. Judd’s classes won the 6-11 class prizes for the highest average number of reading minutes and the MYP Grand Prizes went to Reem Bushara, Miles Smith, Nick Hall, William Broughton with the Overall Grand Prize being awarded to Aidan Burke. As the result of the dedicated reading and generous sponsors, the students earned over $12,000 which will be used to enhance the reading programms and the libraries throughout the school. Congratulations and a big thank you to all who supported and/or participated in helping Somersfield ‘Sail into Reading’! Susie Hall

Mosaic marks 400th anniversary


omersfield students, family and friends literally pieced together the school’s unique tribute to Bermuda’s 400th anniversary of settlement to create the mosaic that now adorns the outside wall of the gymnasium. The impressive 12x10-foot mosaic was deigned by Primary Art Teacher Kendra Earls and the project not only marked an important historical occasion but also acted as a fundraiser for the school. Students began putting pieces together in art classes and the work was largely completed at the School Fair where we asked members of the community to pay 400 cents each to add four pieces of tile. A big thank you to the companies who generously donated the tile and supplies: Eurotile, Pembroke Tile and Stone, Baptiste Builders Supply, BAC and Sousa’s.

Bermuda Day Float


omersfield entered a float in the Bermuda Day parade for the first time. The theme was “A Journey Through the Centuries” and our float title was “Somers Isle to Somersfield” representing our own journey. The Somers Isle Company originally claimed our property as a school field and over the centuries the land was used as a farm, cricket, rugby and field hockey field before it became a school in 2001 when Somersfield was established. Our float had a green field representing the property and featured the Somers Isle Company crest and the Somersfield Star logo, with students dressed in historical attire. More than 75 parents, teachers, staff and children walked with the float in the parade. It took over a month to build and wouldn’t have come to fruition without the dedication of teachers Lisa Brewster and Kim Simons. Thank you to all parents, staff and students who helped in this project!


Student Activities

All The World’s A Stage “All The World’s A Stage” was the title of the fifth annual MYP Arts Production and consisted of four short plays from around the world: The Handless Maiden (a French fairy tale inspired by the Brothers Grimm) The Riddle of the Tambourine (a Spanish comedy) The Money Garden (a West African folk tale) Kismet (an Indian “Cinderella” story)


tudents wrote and performed their own monologues in the audition stages which resulted in the M3s and M4s being divided into four casts. They were hard at work for months memorising lines, designing sets, and composing music for their respective plays. This production was student-centreed and student driven with each cast nominating a student director. Student directors worked closely with teachers to plan and run rehearsals. They helped coordinate props and costumes, and they communicated to teachers the needs and concerns of their cast. Ultimately, they were the stage managers for their play. M4 art students designed and created sets for each play. They completed research, drew plans, and were responsible for completing six panels for their play. The M3s helped to bring these artistic visions to life. The students have also participated in mask-making workshops to create masks for various characters. M4 music students composed music and recorded their own compositions. These recordings were used during the performances of the plays with a number of students choreographing dances to go with them. Thank you to Melissa Brough, Pamela Montgomery and Fraser Dodd for their leadership and perseverance through a new and inspiring production. 21

Student Activities

Photos courtesy of The Royal Gazette.

You can count on Hana!


n “Pi Day” March 15, 2009 (or 3.159!) math teacher Joe Farrell organised a day of activities associated with Pi, the ratio of any circle’s circumference to its diameter. He held a competition for the student who could recite the most digits of Pi in the correct order. Primary student Hana Bushara (aged 9) was the winner reciting the first 135 digits of Pi!

M4 students take PRIDE in documentary

M Ri-Ann in focus


udding filmmaker Ri-Ann Pully tackled the thorny subject of youth violence in an impressive 40-minute documentary, “Dangerous Minds”, which she created as her personal project for the IB MYP programme. Ri-Ann spent five months investigating the rise in violent crime since 2001, interviewing students from public and private schools, shop owners on Court Street, gang specialist Calnika Roser, and Daniel Hill, the father of teenager Kellon Hill, tragically murdered at a beach party for his gold chain. The documentary also revealed that there is far more violence in schools than many realise or admit, with bullying and running feuds between rival high schools. Ri-Ann’s work was highlighted in a feature in The Royal Gazette and earned her a nomination as one of Bermuda’s Youth Philanthropists of the Year by the Centre on Philanthropy. 22

4 students successfully created a documentary film about community group PRIDE Bermuda. The filmmakers interviewed PRIDE staff and student members for the documentary that will help PRIDE fulfill its mandate to “educate and empower youth and adults in support of healthy lifestyles by implementing drug and alcohol prevention programs and activities in our community.”


Parents play their part

A Night at the Gallery



omersfield is known for its great parental involvement. For years, parents have shown tremendous support to the Somersfield community and we are sure that this trend will continue over this next school year. During the school year 2008-09, the PTA supported the performing arts, teacher professional development, classroom resources, landscaping, teacher laptops and the library cataloguing system by donating $93,000 to the school. This is an amazing feat in light of the economic downtown experienced throughout the year. This year we will introduce a new Parent Steering Committee. This committee will be responsible for overseeing all PTA events, and will also be a voice for the parent body. Representatives from the committee will meet with the Head of School, the Director of Development, and the Board of Trustees on a regular basis. The committee will be chaired by Parent Relations Coordinator Stacey-Lee Williams and will have approximately six to eight parent representatives from each level of the school. In addition to the steering committee, parents are invited to join the various other event committees: raffle committee, Auction of Promises team, yearbook team, spring fair committee, Read-A-Thon committee and the newly formed community outreach team. We trust that every parent will be involved in the Somersfield volunteer programme this year. You are needed, you are appreciated, and aside from all of your wonderful kids, you are what make Somersfield tick!

very year our parents and PTA do a fabulous job with the Auction of Promises. Anyone that has ever volunteered to help knows how much work it is! We are delighted to report that this years auction, A Night At The Gallery, held at the Masterworks Museum of Bermuda Art in the Botanical Gardens went down in the records books. This years winning bids ranged from $25 to $3,600. It wasn’t a cheeky little number but there were Red Nails involved and a lot of red faces in the garden! We estimate that we raised around $57,000 on the night but of course “the memories are priceless.” We didn’t have a committee until the last minute but then we had more committee members volunteering to organise it which brought in more art and attracted more guests than ever before. It just shows how much can be accomplished by our community when everyone plays a part. A final thank you to our Somersfield community, Bermud Rentals, The Go Down Berries, DJ Damon Smith, MEF, Goslings, Bacardi and Masterworks. Well done and pats on the back to: Carolyn Fischer, Elizabeth Gressier, Sarah Wood, Donna Wolfe, Erin Daspin, Jackie MacLellan, Elisa Stubbs, Pamela Doherty, Rosie Johnson, Stacey-Lee Williams, Lisa Brewster, and Lori Baker-Lloyd.


107 Middle Road, Devonshire DV 06, Bermuda Tel: (441) 236 9797 l Fax: (441) 236 9789 Email:

website: www.

Our Promise

Traditional & Innovative Somersfield’s traditional Montessori Programme has been taught since 1991. Indeed graduates of this programme continue to make great personal, social and educational strides.

To stimulate intellectual curiosity and accomplishment; to instil compassion and respect; and always to honour the daring dreams and hidden talents of the individual.

Our new Middle-Years Programme (MYP), based on the innovative work of the International Baccalaureate Organisation, was introduced in 2001. With the introduction of our new programme students are now able to remain with us from age three through sixteen. The MYP, like the Montessori Programme, encourages the best from within all our students. These two distinct and unique programmes will culminate in universally accepted qualifications for our graduates.

Our Core Values

An Education that Makes a Difference At Somersfield, we believe that today’s young people must become lifelong learners capable of responding to continuous change. They need to know how to work in teams, solve problems, think creatively and critically and to learn by doing. Underlying our philosophy, indeed our model, is the belief that children learn more effectively when they are engaged in the joyful work of generating, exploring, interpreting and connecting ideas in order to solve challenging problems. Creative teaching strategies help students go beyond simply memorizing and recalling facts to generate their own understanding and application of information. Somersfield offers an education that makes a difference.


We are a learning community


We practice peace


We inspire intellectual curiosity


We instil respect for self and others


We foster independence and responsibility


We embrace a sense of joy and wonder


We honour the strength and courage to stand for truth


Somersfield Academy Newsletter, Fall 2009  

Annual newsletter of Somersfield Academy, Bermuda

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