Page 1

VOLUME 22 – SPRING 2013

the tribune The Journal of the International School of Paris

Wellbeing is an integral part of ISP’s

statement, and we have a very practical,

spirit. A few years back we asked parents

hands-on and preventive approach to

an open question about what makes the

these – sometimes delicate – issues.

school special, and one of the most

Our goal is to ensure that each and

summary

Wellbeing at ISP – Caring for One and All From the Head of School ............................ 2 Admissions Team ............................................. 2 Wellbeing Structures at ISP ........................ 4 Questions for the School Counselor...... 5 Primary School Wellbeing ........................... 6

frequent replies was that ISP is friendly

every student’s wellbeing needs are met

and welcoming. The long tradition of

in the best possible way, while taking

caring about one another is also evident

into account the safety and interests of

in the many testimonials that our

the school community. This is a difficult

alumni write.

task, but thanks to the new structures,

PSPE in the PYP Curriculum..................... 11

increased training and growing expertise

Parent Testimonial...................................12

Recently, the spirit of wellbeing has been enhanced with structure. At ISP,

in this area, ISP continues to strike the

wellbeing is much more than a value

wellbeing balance.

The School Nurse ............................................. 6 Moving Up to the Big School ..................... 7 PSE in the Secondary School .................... 8 iPSE – Empowering the Individual ....... 10

Volume 22 – Spring 2013

1


From the Head of School

Admissions Team: Custodians of Wellbeing

Audrey Peverelli

Interview by Tuija Wallgren, Office of External Affairs

In my previous professional

needs that have to be considered.’

life, I had the privilege of working

the school, the ISP Admissions

The team achieves this through a

in family therapy. Later on, I

Team (Catherine Hard, James

thorough and rigorous application

worked as a School Counselor,

Cooper and Courtney Knight)

process. ‘It is our task to make sure

and was also tasked with teaching

gives students and families their

that each student we admit will

a ‘Social Skills’ program. Already

first experience of the school’s

be able to access support he or

then, being aware of potential

wellbeing support systems. As

she needs, while always remaining

personal issues and their dynam-

Catherine says: ‘Opening a new file

mindful of the wellbeing of

ics was an important part of

and meeting a family for the first

the ISP community as a whole,’

personal development. In this

time is like embarking on a new

says James.

sense, the world has not changed.

and exciting adventure. There are

What has changed, however, is

always new discoveries to be made,

often involves reading between

the diversity of issues and forums

most of them positive and each

the lines, which is where the

in which they can arise, especially

one unique. Families, especially

Admissions Team’s combined

via the internet and social media.

students, are often nervous at first,

experience of more than 20 years

I am very proud of the consider-

which is why empathy and the abil-

comes in. The final decision on any

able time and resources we have

ity to put people at ease are crucial

application is made after close

focused at ISP to help students

skills for an admissions officer.’

consultations with a number of

develop good life choices,

As with any new relation-

The application review process

other ISP colleagues and a dialogue

because these are essential for

ship, the one between a pro-

with the candidate’s parents and

the future, as well as at school.

spective family and ISP begins

previous school. In doing this, it is

ISP used to be small enough for

with getting acquainted. ‘It is a

usually possible to identify any rel-

a natural ‘high touch’ focus on

wonderful opportunity for us to

evant individual wellbeing issues,

student needs. As we have grown,

be introduced to so many amaz-

and to make sure that the school is

we have formalized support

ing and talented students with

well-informed and has strategies

structures, and named Vice-

interesting backgrounds and great

and resources available to success-

Principals of Wellbeing in both

potential,’ Catherine explains.

fully support the student.

Primary and Secondary Schools

The Admissions Team can become

who have teams that both gather

quite intimately involved with

the wellbeing of prospective

information, and make sure that

the lives of incoming families and

students and parents is a key part

the right people are there to

what they are going through at

of the story. However, it is also

support students appropriately

that particular moment. The emo-

important to do everything we

and in a timely fashion.

tional and relational dynamics of

can to safeguard the wellbeing

Just yesterday one of our

James continues: ‘Supporting

a family are always complex, and

of the existing ISP community.

graduating students came to me

these can be magnified in a period

While we do not exclusively look

spontaneously, to tell me how

of transition.

for students who are academic

wonderfully ISP had supported

2

As the first point of contact at

‘It is our job to distinguish

superstars, we are very careful to

her over the past seven years. To

between the immediate, short-

admit candidates who have the

me, that is a sure sign that our

term turbulence that the family

potential to bring something spe-

support systems and, indeed, all

might be experiencing and any

cial to the community. We review

our staff, are working well.

long-term issues or well-being

each application in depth, so that

the tribune — The Journal of the International School of Paris — www.isparis.edu


Admissions Coordinators Catherine Hard and James Cooper with their Assistant, Courtney Knight (center).

Catherine Hard gives a tour of the Primary School campus to a prospective student and his family.

we can develop an accurate idea

‘We get strong support from the

Parent Gathering, to see that for

of how that student’s presence in

wellbeing team and other col-

the vast majority of them the anxi-

the community is likely to influ-

leagues. Everyone takes admis-

eties have disappeared. Parents

ence its other members. In cases

sions decisions very seriously.

are generally happy and surprised

where we feel the influence on

Also, we feel that Ms. Peverelli, our

at how easy the transition has

the school community would be

Head of School, truly understands

proven to be’, Catherine says. ‘Our

primarily negative, we may not feel

and values the importance of our

teachers and supporting staff are

able to offer a place to the appli-

work, which may not be the case in

truly caring, and the atmosphere

cant in question.’ Sometimes it also

all schools. At ISP, we have a true

at ISP is warm and welcoming.

appears that ISP is not the best fit

collaboration.’

The best part is to witness how

for a family for other reasons, or

Once a student is accepted, it is

the children blossom. During my

there simply is no space available

time for the Admissions Team to

many admissions tours I often see

for the children. In those cases the

let go, and follow the results from

recently admitted students in their

team often assists the family in

the sidelines. ‘We often become

new environment, surrounded by

finding an alternative school.

very attached to the families

their new friends. Getting that big

during the sometimes lengthy

smile from a previously shy and

grateful for the support they

admissions process. It is great to

insecure student is the most

receive from their colleagues.

meet the parents again at the New

gratifying moment of this job!’

James and Catherine are very

Volume 22 – Spring 2013

3


Wellbeing Structures at ISP by Barry Mansfield, Secondary School Principal Wellbeing Team – in addition to the

begin to define their identity they

School Counselor and Secondary

seek autonomy, privacy and status

School Vice-Principal of Wellbeing,

outside the home and outside

it includes PSE teachers and men-

school. However, students cannot

tors. Considerable investment is

always be autonomous in a school

made in supporting each student’s

day almost entirely directed by

personal, social and emotional

others. It might also be difficult to

learning journey.

have a sense of status, or a sense of

Our Wellbeing Teams are guided

The raison d’être of schools

competence or achievement, espe-

by an understanding of the space

cially if academics are not really

that can divide the demands of

where the student excels. Schools

institutional education and the

are not private places – students

is to facilitate learning. Every

emotional needs of our students.

achieve (or not) in public, including

school’s institutional structures

Our young people are learning

the publication of diploma exami-

and expectations mirror the differ-

about how ‘to be in the world,’

nation results – so they might get

ent kinds of learning they value.

both as scholars and as individu-

attention, but not always in the

Like all schools, we at ISP value

als, and there are demands that are

way they need. This may sound like

the learning of different academic

sometimes challenging to recon-

a recipe for rebellion – but at ISP

literacies and their accompanying

cile. The Human Givens Institute

this is not the case.

skill sets, and this is clearly visible

outlines a number of emotional

in our daily routines, interactions

needs that we all have in order to

needs of our students. We do not

between students and teachers,

remain healthy. These are:

regulate against them. Our teach-

as well as in our investment in

• Security — a safe environment

ers do a great job because they

resources. However, we also nur-

which allows us to develop

know that learning about the self

ture each child’s personal, social

• Attention (to give and receive it)

is the hardest thing any of us ever

and emotional development. The

• Sense of autonomy and control to

do. Sometimes traditional aca-

personal nature of this practice

make responsible choices

demic structures do not meet the

may make it less obvious, but it

• Emotional intimacy — to know

emotional needs of students, and

is evident across our school. Both

that at least one other person

it takes careful support strategies,

sections of the school have their

accepts us totally for who we are

patience, courage and consider-

own Vice Principals of Wellbeing.

• Feeling part of a wider community

able personal skill to assist and

Their task is to ensure that we can

• Privacy to reflect and consolidate

advocate for students who may

provide a safe, healthy and har-

experience

be in the space between what

monious learning environment for

• Sense of status within social

school offers and what they need

each and every individual student.

groupings

emotionally. Our Wellbeing Team

The Primary School Wellbeing

4

We know that as teenagers

homeroom staff, Heads of Grades,

ISP acknowledges the emotional

• Sense of competence and

bridges that space, and offers a

Team consists of classroom teach-

achievement

secure framework for students to

ers, Grade Level Coordinators,

• Meaning and purpose — which

learn about themselves, providing

School Counselor and Vice-

come from being stretched in what

what may be the most valuable

Principal of Wellbeing. The

we do and think.

learning experience that happens

Secondary School has a bit larger

— www.hgi.org.uk

at ISP.

the tribune — The Journal of the International School of Paris — www.isparis.edu


Seven Questions for ISP’s Counselor, Régine Leclerc Interview by Tuija Wallgren, Office of External Affairs What are your qualifications and background?

to know that an adult can listen to them without being

I am a counseling psychologist with 22 years of

judgmental. Sometimes just one hour of discussion is

teaching experience, and I am currently preparing

enough to help. On the other hand, it is helpful for the

a doctorate in education, focusing on relationships

students to know that there is continuity in the support.

between home and school.

I also help the students in an indirect way by providing

How long have you been at ISP?

guidance to other ISP staff members in situations where

I have been here for seven years. Initially, I worked together with a specific anti-bullying committee to

their student may be going through a difficult period. What is your role in the wellbeing team?

create ISP’s anti-bullying policy and I also introduced

The counselor is one element of the team, and I

the PSE curriculum. The main long-term work has been

am informed of all wellbeing situations, whether I am

to develop a ‘counseling space’ for students.

directly involved or not. My role is to bring in my coun-

What does a school counselor do?

seling perspective, and to be available for guidance on

Being a school counselor is a very versatile and varied

behavior management, discipline, conflict resolution,

job. In addition to offering support and guidance, a school

support and so forth. As a whole school counselor, I am

counselor acts as a link between the support structures

also a link between the Primary and Secondary School

within the school and external agencies. The counse-

wellbeing actors. In Primary, I act more as a counseling

lor plays a key role in identifying possible wellbeing

consultant to teachers, parents and the wellbeing team,

issues, informing and working with families and giving

rather than someone who delivers actual counseling to

referrals to external specialists if necessary. Students

the students (although this also occasionally happens).

may walk in at any time, or be sent by the wellbeing

One difference between the counselor and the other

team or a teacher. I also work closely with families.

wellbeing staff is confidentiality. I give my counseling

Why is it important to have a counselor in school?

sessions in confidentiality, with only few exceptions, in

A big benefit is the availability of immediate support,

which cases I have a ‘duty to warn’ others (parents and

and quicker and more efficient crisis intervention. Early

administration). These exceptions are when students

interventions and therapeutic support are essential when

are in danger of hurting themselves or being hurt

dealing with school phobia, cultural adjustment, identity

by someone else, or if they are about to hurt others.

issues, eating disorders, and so forth. A trained coun-

Another difference is that a counselor uses therapeutic

selor seeks to read situations in a clinical way. A coun-

tools, and specific counseling skills.

selor is available for immediate consulting, short-term

What is your approach to counseling?

to longer-term support and guidance, and can refer to

My counseling approach is existential/relational and

external agencies if necessary. A counselor on campus

psycho-educational. The relationship between a coun-

can provide instant and accessible emotional support

selor and student is crucial to the process. Counseling

for everyone at the school, whether they need advice,

is about creating links, and I believe that the counse-

guidance or just a safe space in which to be heard.

lor’s role is to help a person repair and maintain those

What kind of help can students get from you?

links through relational role-modeling. Counseling is

My role is to respond to immediate and longer-term

also about helping the student to create meaning for

learning, developmental, socio-emotional and psychologi-

their life, which in turn creates personal fulfillment

cal needs of students. It can be done, for example, through

and motivation for personal growth. Having meaning in

individual or group counseling, coaching, support and

one’s life makes people happy, and happy children and

guidance to families. It is important for any adolescent

adolescents come to school! Volume 22 – Spring 2013

5


My Thoughts on Wellbeing by Fiona Symons, Primary School Teacher & Grade Level Coordinator As a class teacher at ISP, I think

class teachers help students gain

work closely with the PYP

that my most important role is to

a sense of identity and support

Coordinator and all teachers and

ensure that the students in my care

them in developing healthy and

assistants within their grade level

feel happy and comfortable in their

happy interactions and relation-

to ensure consistency and con-

classes. Happy students are the key

ships through Personal and Social

tinuation of learning between the

to effective learning. Class teachers

Education (PSE, see article about

different Grades within the school.

have a special role to play as they

PSPE in the Primary School on

This includes helping teachers

are responsible for their students

page 11). This can be in the form

develop scope and sequence docu-

for most of the school day. Through

of circle time sessions, whole class

ments, which ensure that children

discussions, class teachers help

discussions, role play or reading

build on their learning from one

children to understand the school

related books aloud in the class.

year to the next without any of

rules and routines, making sure

Class teachers are also responsible

the basic skills being missed. This

that students are able to follow

for communicating any concerns

ensures a smooth transition as chil-

these. Class teachers are there for

to parents so that we can work as a

dren move from one Grade to the

the children if they have any dif-

team to help the children. If neces-

next (including the important tran-

ficulty, if they are feeling unwell or

sary, class teachers will liaise with

sition from Primary to Secondary

if they need help to resolve conflict

the person in charge of wellbeing

School).

with a classmate.

to ensure children or families have

Through units of inquiry or by dealing with issues as they arise,

the required support. The Grade Level Coordinators

Within Grades and Grade levels, we also work very hard at the end of each year and over the summer

The School Nurse by Damian Kerr, Secondary School Vice Principal for Student Wellbeing At first glance, the school nurse

6

apart from the others in school.

is bound by medical ethics and

is present to deal with the inevi-

The school nurse also works

table cuts and bruises that come

within the wellbeing team to make

student safety. In addition, the

up on a daily basis. While this is

sure that any discussion regarding

nurse conducts sight and hearing

undoubtedly part of the role, in

students takes into account their

tests for younger students, contacts

reality our nurses do much more.

broader medical needs. She is an

parents when accidents happen,

legal constraints, and also ensures

When students go to the infirmary,

essential member of our team,

and is usually the person who

ISP’s school nurse

they find a sympathetic ear, a place

organising and coordinating our

would get in contact with emer-

Bénédicte Wetzel

where they won’t be judged, and

students’ medical information,

gency services, in those rare cases

attending a confer-

one where they can talk about

ensuring that their vaccinations are

where they are needed, either for

ence on anorexia and

choices they might be considering,

up to date, writing up Individual

advice by telephone as recom-

bulimia to broaden

or ones that they have made. They

Health Plans for students with par-

mended by SAMU (Service d’aide

her knowledge on

can talk freely and are able to get

ticular needs, and communicating

médicale urgente), or in person at

these topics.

the advice of a healthcare profes-

essential information to members

school.

sional, who is not a member of the

of staff in a way that respects the

teaching team and has a role a little

students’ confidentiality. The nurse

the tribune — The Journal of the International School of Paris — www.isparis.edu

Sometimes, when the nurse isn’t doing all of these things, and when


Moving Up to the Big School Fiona Symons makes

by Damian Kerr, Secondary School Vice Principal of Student Wellbeing

Every student in the Secondary School has a homeroom teacher who is the point of contact for parents who need to pass on information, ask questions, or simply check in on how their child is doing at any given time in the school year. The homeroom teachers – there are 23 homeroom groups this year – work in different grade level teams. They ensure that

her students comfort-

student concerns are passed on and make teachers

able in class, to ensure

aware of any difficulties that an individual student

effective learning.

may be going through, seeking extra support if and when it is needed. They make themselves available to parents and are involved in discussions about the

to decide on class lists for the

needs of the students in their groups, always look-

following year, in order to ensure

ing to be an advocate for their classes and the indi-

that all classes are as balanced

viduals in them. They lead assemblies about healthy

as possible. Teachers pay specific

eating, subject choices, community and service, man-

attention to having a balance of

aging stress, the extended essay or the personal pro-

genders, native English speakers,

ject, organising workload ... The list is endless.

children learning English as an

For the last two years, we have had Heads of

additional language, French speak-

Grades in the Secondary School to support the work

ers and different ability levels.

that we all, especially the homeroom teachers, do

Whenever possible, we also con-

with and for the students. Loretta Fox (Grades 6 –

sider friendships so that children

8), Raj Bolla (Grades 9 & 10), and Céline Babulaud

feel comfortable in their new class,

Mr. Kerr often takes

(Grades 11 & 12) have become very important mem-

and try to place students who are

the opportunity to

bers of the wellbeing team, fulfilling vital roles in the

learning English in a class where

chat with individual

school. They work with Homeroom Teachers, Heads

there is another child who speaks

students around the

of Department and Curriculum Coordinators to make

their mother tongue, so that they

campus.

sure that the expectations of students and the sup-

have somebody with whom they

port for them are clear, coordinated and consistent.

can initially communicate. This is

The Heads of Grades lead their respective homeroom

important in building children’s

teams, and are the homeroom teachers’ points of

confidence.

reference with regard to all of the different aspects of student life, all the while teaching an almost full timetable in their respective subjects. The Heads of Grades get to know all of the students in their grades and are involved in discussions about students within the wellbeing team, making sure that the whole

she knows that the first aid kits

school context is known when decisions are taken or

are up to date, that crutches bor-

plans are developed.

rowed have been returned, parents

Homeroom teachers have a genuine and special

have collected sick children, the

interest in the students in their homeroom classes.

sécurité civile has been organised

This relationship goes beyond the one that typically

for Sports Day, the First Aid Trained

builds up between subject teachers and students.

list has been updated from the

Although they usually spend only 15 minutes with

last training session, and the last

their group each day, the homeroom teachers actively

batch of sick letters from doctors

seek out the students in their class during breaks,

have been filed away, she might

congratulating them when they achieve something

have five free minutes for a cup

special or giving them encouragement when needed.

of coffee. But that’s when a staff

They may even raise an eyebrow when they notice

member, or even a parent, might

that a student is not achieving to the level they nor-

drop in because they have ‘a little

mally do, or if someone has stepped out of line. It is a

problem’ they’d like to talk about...

delicate balance, but it is one which the students and

Nursing at ISP – it never ends.

homeroom teachers understand and respect. Volume 22 – Spring 2013

7


Toby Cann gives Grade 12 students advice on how to cope with the pressure during revision and exam period.

Personal and Social Education – Honestly, Here and Now

father was a headmaster of a private school in Britain, and Toby himself began teaching

would be easier at ISP than it had been at

right after finishing his studies. ‘I’ve realized

the rough-end schools in England. He was

that I do need to work with young people.

wrong. ‘The way students speak and behave

They give me energy and I feel that I’m doing

at school may be different, but young peo-

something important. ISP students are amaz-

ple face similar issues and problems all over

ing! They are incredible, tolerant and open-

the world.’ At that time, ISP had recently

minded, and I feel that I’m working with kids

included PSE in its curriculum, and Toby was

who will grow up to make a difference in this

the first teacher who was hired to exclusively

world. It is truly rewarding.’

teach the subject. The program had just been

PSE is a very different class compared to

started and it has evolved a lot since then.

the other subjects. It is not part of the MYP.

The PSE curriculum that we have today is

Students are not given grades, and instead of

PSE gives students the knowledge

Everything you wished you

• Personal and Social Education

and confidence to cope with situ-

could’ve talked about in school,

• Taught in Grades 6 to 10

ations. It allows students to grow

but didn’t. PSE: a sharing of

three lessons per two weeks

together as a group and discuss

practical, supportive information

• Curriculum is specifically writ-

their opinions in a safe environ-

about age-appropriate life skills.

ment. — Raj Bolla, English, Theatre and PSE Teacher,

by Tuija Wallgren, Office of External Affairs

What is PSE? • One lesson per week, Grade 9

ten for the ISP community students in making informed

Grade Level Coordinator for Grades 9 and 10

—Thomas Ryan, Learning Support, PSE and Grade 6 Homeroom Teacher

choices

specifically written for the ISP community,

looking at different phenomena in the world

more or less by Toby.

around them, the students are looking at their

• Includes topics that support

The nine areas of focus are:

ISP is one of the few international schools

own lives. The goal is to give students facts

• Community

that have a PSE program. ‘It takes courage for

and information, evoke discussion and debate

• How to obtain privacy

a school to have this program. It’s so much

among them and give support to them during

• Control over one’s own life

easier for the school to claim that they don’t

this phase of enormous emotional and physi-

• Status

have any of the problems and, therefore,

ological change. Students make their own

• How to give and receive

there is no need to discuss the issues with

decisions based on the information they get

attention

the kids. The truth is that all schools have

from school and the values, morals and cul-

• Achievement

drugs, bullying and risky behaviour among

ture that they have learned from their family.

• Connection to others

the student body. The difference is whether

‘This is not about what I did 20 years ago,

• The dynamics of meaning and

the administrators are doing something

or what the students’ parents want them to

about it or burying their heads in the sand.’

be doing 20 years from now. This is about the

purpose • Sense of security 8

When Toby Cann came to ISP in 2008 to teach PSE, he was convinced that his work

Toby has been in schools all his life. His

the tribune — The Journal of the International School of Paris — www.isparis.edu

students’ lives right here and now. There is a


I heard a student say “I love com-

PSE is the most important of

ing to PSE- we talk about life

subjects. We do not all need to

and there is no stress” and I knew

learn about quantum physics

how precious this time with our

but we all need to learn about

students is. — Christina Burton, Geography,

life. — Paul Willson, Physics and PSE Teacher

Humanities and PSE Teacher

part of the curriculum where we go through choices in life, and talk about things like tobacco, drugs, alcohol and sex. I remember a student who, at the end of one of my weekly PSE lessons, came up and asked me if I had been spying on him, as he had been dealing with exactly those topics in his immediate life,’ Toby explains. PSE is about the kids, not the teacher. A PSE teacher cannot talk about himself. The most important skill is to be able to listen and understand. There needs to be an element of trust in the class before discussions on these From the left:

I asked the students about what they think PSE is, and these are some of the aspects they came up with: ‘PSE allows students to examine what is significant in their lives, gets the important facts out in the open and gives them a safe place to share their opinions and discuss

Mr. Willson, Ms. Bolla, Mr. James, Mr. Cann, Ms. Hindson and Mr. Ryan. Ms. Burton is missing from the photo.

the burning issues.’ I could not have said it better myself! —Jackie Hindson, Theatre, Music and PSE Teacher topics, many of which are sensitive, become

better. Says Toby: ‘These young people have

meaningful to the students. A PSE teacher

a full life ahead of them, and while we all

often hears things that other adults are not

wish them well, we know that everyone will

told, and like in all wellbeing issues, the

meet hardships and challenges as well. We

teacher will need to strike a balance between

have made the messed-up world, and now

institutional and individual needs. ‘Luckily,

we need to prepare the kids to survive in it.

we have a fabulous wellbeing team at ISP, and

And they will.’

everyone is always ready to be a supportive sounding board to others,’ Toby says. While making informed choices is a big part of discussions in PSE classes, that’s far from being all. The issues vary from social psychology and community patterns to learning how to meditate and concentrate

Perhaps you can’t teach people how to be happy, but you can certainly give it a good try. —Jonathan James, Approaches to Learning Coordinator, English, French, PSE and Grade 10 Homeroom Teacher Volume 19 – Spring 2011

9


iPSE - Empowering the Individual by Tuija Wallgren, Office of External Affairs

Jonathan James wears

adult. This important time

school community as well.

Having an individual

many hats at ISP, and sev-

for reflection can help the

Having a mentoring program

mentoring program

eral of those are closely

student to find better revi-

has raised the overall achieve-

is beneficial for the

related to wellbeing.

sion and homework strate-

ment level of the school.

whole school, not

Jonathan is a language and

gies, clarify the importance

It has improved students’

only for the indi-

PSE teacher, a homeroom

of good choices in activi-

attendance and punctuality,

vidual student, Mr.

teacher, MYP Approaches to

ties outside of the school

and made them generally bet-

James says.

Learning Coordinator and

environment, or reveal

ter at handing in their work by

Personal Project coordina-

some of the root causes of

the deadline. The results are

tor. He is also part of ISP’s

under achievement. While

acknowledged by everyone,

Individualized Personal and

the nature of iPSE support

illustrated by enhanced

Social Education (iPSE) pro-

varies enormously between

school spirit and close

gram as a mentor.

individual students, the com-

student-teacher relations.

mon thread is the listening.

The mentors work closely

vides individualized support

The students should feel

with curriculum coordinators,

to selected students who

that someone in the school

making sure that they are

might require extra help in

is clearly on their team.’

aware of any special needs of

The iPSE program pro-

reaching their full poten-

individual students as well.

tial. These students meet

30 ISP Secondary School

regularly with an adult, who

students are involved with

‘Mentoring is an important

can help them in identifying

iPSE, and with ISP’s increas-

tool for inclusion. The sup-

the things that might reduce

ing commitment to wellbeing

port can be incremental for

their chances of being

in general, the mentoring

a new student, who might be

successful. The aim is to

program continues to grow.

coming from another school

empower the young person

More and more staff mem-

system with completely

and help him or her make

bers are being trained for the

different expectations and

informed decisions. The

program, making it possible

methods of studying. It is

mentors are all ISP teachers,

for us to offer the support

also a good way of bringing

and have received specific

to more students each year.

in kids who are at a risk of

iPSE training.

‘The students’ needs are the

being marginalised. If a child

‘The benefits of the

Jonathan explains,

same as before. We are just

does not fit the mould, we

mentoring program are

better equipped to meet

can support them in becom-

manifold,’ Jonathan explains.

those needs with the mentor-

ing successful members of

‘It gives the student an

ing program,’ Jonathan

the community. In some

opportunity to discuss his

points out.

cases we can even help

or her learning with an 10

In its fourth year, about

the tribune — The Journal of the International School of Paris — www.isparis.edu

iPSE is important for the

them think about the way


Wellbeing in the PYP by PYP Coordinator, Sean Walker

they interact with teachers

collaboratively, behave at lunch

and their own peers, getting

and respect ideas that may be dif-

them to treat everyone at

In his role as the PYP

ferent than our own. All of this goes

school in a way that actu-

Coordinator, Sean

a long way in creating a culture of

ally makes them welcome

visits the classes

trust among students and teachers,

and supported by the

and gets to know the

within which students feel safe to

community.’

students he does

express themselves, take risks in

not have in his own

their learning and develop impor-

classroom.

tant social skills through coopera-

There is no confidentiality element in the mentoring program, and while the relationship is student-

tive activities. In the Primary School, PSPE

PSE is also an integral part to

centered, the goal is to keep

(Personal,

Physical

the units of inquiry explored in

everyone involved informed

Education) is actually a part of

each grade level. Many units allow

about the student’s situa-

our IB curriculum, Primary Years

students to make personal con-

tion. Parents are a natural

Programme (PYP). There are six

nections and consider big ideas

part of support structure,

subject areas within the PYP:

from different cultural perspectives.

and the mentor contacts

Language, Mathematics, Science,

Units allow students to inquire into

them weekly or fortnightly

Social Studies, Arts and PSPE.

a range of concepts such as beliefs

to report about the student’s

The two areas of PSPE (Personal

and values, relationships and per-

progress. The mentor also

& Social Education and Physical

sonal and cultural identities. In

keeps the other teachers

Education) have many connec-

doing so, they reflect on them-

abreast of any important

tions and are used to help stu-

selves as individuals and learn to

developments concerning

dents inquire into identity, active

respect and appreciate similarities

the student. ‘Like the name

living and interactions. Much of

and differences between them-

tells us, the individualized

the PSE curriculum is embedded

selves and others. Through inter-

PSE program is different for

into the daily routines and special

actions with others, they learn

each child and mentor. While

events at the school, which are

important skills in compromise,

it is important to inform the

part of what makes ISP have such

reaching consensus, negotiation

parents, teachers and other

a strong sense of community. This

and resolving conflict.

support people about the

includes the way we acknowledge

As with other curriculum areas,

specific needs or strengths

and celebrate diversity among our

PSE allows the school to model and

that students might have,

students, arrange for all classes to

foster attributes of the learner pro-

the most important goal is

have buddy classes to work with

file so that our students become

to empower the students

students of different ages, share

principled, caring, open-minded and

themselves. It is fabulous to

learning in assemblies and estab-

balanced, not only as learners but

witness that happen!’

lish expectations for how we play

as human beings.

Social

and

Volume 22 – Spring 2013

11


Wellbeing beyond ISP A testimonial from a former parent highlights the importance of wellbeing structures in a school ISP had a great deal of influence at a very difficult time in my daughter’s life. She recalls all the times a teacher pulled her aside and took the time to talk to her. Now that she is older, she realizes just how supportive ISP has been, and she is aware of the good influence it has had in her life. Today, she is a year away from University in one of the best schools in our area. She was lucky to be admitted there, and she works very hard and has her priorities straight. She loves music and loves to go dancing. She has a very good group of friends. She is turning out to be a fine young woman, and has quite strong opinions about drugs and alcohol. I think this might have been the influence of the wellbeing program at ISP. She is very outspoken about the subject, and rarely drinks and does not touch drugs. At the school we transferred to when we left Paris, I was surprised to find that there was no wellbeing program like the one at ISP. In many schools, there are a number of drug and alcohol related problems, but their policy is more based on immediate expulsion than prevention. It seems that nobody wants to deal with such problems, as the administration is afraid it might affect the reputation of the school. However, as you know, these problems exist everywhere. In most corners of the world, kids try drugs and abuse alcohol. I think that ISP is very progressive in addressing these issues head on. There is a lot of focus on prevention, and parents who are willing to participate have an opportunity to really get involved in their children’s lives. ISP gives second chances to the students who commit to solving their problems. It is not all or nothing. The school also has the tools to help teenagers in difficulty: Class discussions, individual therapy and meetings with wellbeing professionals or Head of School. The wellbeing program has been able to build a relationship of trust with the child while, at the same time, remaining very informative to parents. Overall, the wellbeing system at ISP has been a very positive influence on my children’s lives. It especially provided the best of support for my daughter at a very turbulent time in her life. We will always remember the support ISP gave us during our time in Paris.

Top: A thank you card from a student to a teacher. Bottom: Grade 5 students getting a little fresh air.

ISP - Secondary School - 6, rue Beethoven, 75016 Paris - Tel: 01 42 24 09 54 - Fax: 01 45 27 15 93 ISP - Primary School - 96 bis, rue du Ranelagh, 75016 Paris - Tel: 01 42 24 43 40 - Fax: 01 42 24 69 14 www.isparis.edu - reception@isparis.edu - admissions@isparis.edu

12

the tribune — The Journal of the International School of Paris — www.isparis.edu

Head of School: Audrey Peverelli Editors: Tuija Wallgren and Tasia Asakawa Photos except page 2 top and page 6 bottom: Des Harris (info@thepicturedesk.com.au) Design: A. Tunick (www.atunick.com)

ISP Wellbeing Tribune June 2013  
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