LAHC Newsletter Nº 21 (J uly 2009) LATIN AMERICAN HEADS CONFERENCE
In this issue: Page A H1N1. Alan Downie reflects on the pandemic and its effects on his school
Keeping a Sense of Proportion. Tim Gibbs looks back on his years at Northlands
Rebuilding in Peru. A joint BSP/LAHC/IBO Project in Chincha comes to fruition
The annual ABSCH Educational conference. LAHC participa tion in a prestigious national event
Striving for Excellence. A challenging opportunity for Professio nal Development in the UK
Think Green, Share Green. An environmental initiative by Hiram Bingham
International Day of the Environment. The Mayflower School, Santiago, pursues its commitment to ecological responsibility
Geting into Hot Water. Caernarfon College ‘goes solar’
Storysacks. An innovative and creative project in craft and rea ding in Saint Gabriel’s School
Letter fron Nepal. Ian Raitt reports from Kathmandu
A H1N1 The unattr actively labelled ‘Swine Flu’ has been do ing the r ounds of Latin Amer ica, and has caused severe disr uption to schools in a number of countr ies. In many cases, however , the pandemic has pr ovided tr ials which have tested the mettle of both educational and adminis tr ative ser vices. Alan Downie, Head of Lancaster School, in Mexico City, wher e the flu fir st hit, recalls the positive side of har dship in the following account. A really good communication network is very helpful. We managed to have direct email contact with every secon dary student, member of staff and parent. We also had a communication tree for informing staff of what was going on (a lot of ancillary staff don't have email) and as an SMT we "met" online three times a day through a group chat (8 a.m.,2 p.m., 8 p.m.) to keep up to date on developments and discuss strategies, particularly when the return to classes came about. When the whole city closed down at the beginning of May it was like being under house arrest, so the internet was a real lifeline. I sent out a message every day to the whole community, sometimes informative, sometimes to raise spir its. We sent a lot of work to the kids and a lot of them did it they were getting really fed up as it went on. I was connected to the internet almost nonstop for 12 to 15 hours a day for a lot of the time and was receiving well over 100 emails a day, most of which I was replying to within 5 minutes of receiving them: people needed to know that they had someone there for them all through the crisis. Basically, Mexico served as the guinea pig for the rest of the world and everything that was learnt here should help
LAHC 2009 The AGM this year saw the acceptance of a new management structure for LAHC. In the course of last year, the Executive Committee devised a way of in volving a greater number of people in driving the as sociation forward towards ambitious goals in the ful filment of the Development Plan. The decision to give Committee officers direct responsibility for the areas of Communication and Student Activities, together with the appointment of Communication, Education and Student Activities co ordinators in every school and at regional level is ai med at improving communication and enhancing the identity of LAHC as an educational network. Although it is taking longer than anticipated to set up the new structure, it is confidently predicted that, when its benefits are grasped, it will herald a vibrant new stage in the development of our association.
other countries to deal with it more effectively. As a postscript to this, we include the following tributes from two parents received by Alan during this difficult time. “I should like to thank you for your concern for all members of the community, especially for our children; not only for keeping them occupied, but also for caring about their health and keeping us informed.” “Our family wants to thank you .. above all .. for the warmth with which the school has acted .. understanding how important .. the education and development of a child is. .. although email is very impersonal we have really felt looked after, supported and united in some way.”
There’s a lighter side to everything!
LAHC Newsletter J uly 2009 Keeping a Sense of Pr opor tion By Tim Gibbs Tim Gibbs assumed the Headship of Northlands in Janu ary 2005, after hav ing worked for 26 years in international finance. During that time, he worked in Toronto, New York, Caracas and Buenos Aires. Upon leaving Northlands at the end of 2008, he was given Associate M e m ber sh i p of LAHC. Looking back on his time as Head of a prestigious school, Tim writes: ‘I must say that after almost five years on the job I came to appreciate very acutely the enormous pressure and unrealistic expectations that a private school Head must deal with, and, in a similar proportion, those under him or her. My parting message to all the Northlands parents was pre cisely that – “you must place your trust in your school and
Rebuilding in Per u
On Friday 27 th March the inau guration ceremony of the reconstructed school No. 22267 in Sunampe, Chincha took place with the presence of four representatives of the British Schools of Peru and LAHC, Pamela Parro, from San Silvestre, Lucy Castañon from San Jorge and Fernando Chávez and Don Jones from Cambridge College. The installations, to which the final touches had been completed the day before, were officially blessed by the head of the church in Sunampe. This was followed by a march past of the older students, looking very smart wearing uniforms donated by one of our member schools, and speeches
its administrators. If you cannot trust your school, the edu cation you seek cannot be delivered.” ‘I think these reflections are representative of the great challenge that LAHC faces (and by definition its accom plishments when overcoming that challenge), which is to add a global dimension to an essentially local activity. I discovered very quickly that a private school environment tends toward being an extremely involuted and selffocused microcommunity. Parents, staff and, unfortunately, by ex tension, students are generally extremely attentive to what transpires within their school boundaries, and the inverse to what transpires without. Naturally the Heads suffer the same syndrome. Consequently, the enormous and continuous effort of LAHC to push initially the Heads, subsequently the staff and finally the students to broaden their boundaries beyond their communities and even their countries is of im mense value. That, however, does not make it easy to achieve and LAHC will need constant creativity to get its constituents to periodically place the important above the urgent.’ We often need the vision from the outside to help us acquire and maintain a sense of perspective. Tim’s words give much food for thought concerning the role that LAHC can and must play, not only in enabling its members to have access to the occasional reality check, but also in opening the eyes of staff and pupils to the importance of the world beyond the classroom.
from representatives of the staff and parents and from the Director of the school. All expressed their gratitude to the students, parents and staff of the BSP, LAHC and IB schools who had contributed to the relief fund and a plaque was presented to the Director, Jose Luis Torres, in honour of their collaboration. Once the formal ceremony had been completed, those present were invited to share a lunch of delicious dishes typical of the area and, as Su nampe is in a grape growing region, accompanied by plenty of wine. The school year had started on March 2 nd with the students occupying
Happy to have a school again! the same temporary shelter as last year. The reconstructed site was considered safe to receive students on March 17 th and the roll had grown steadily since then to around the forty student mark by the day of the inauguration. The BSP schools would like to add their thanks to all of their own students, parents and staff and those of the other LAHC and IB schools who have con tributed to the earthquake relief fund and made the reconstruction of school No. 22267 possible.
Don Jones Headmaster, Cambridge College, Lima The commemorative plaque
LAHC Newsletter J uly 2009
Association of Br itish Schools in variety of eyeopening perspectives on thine and Tatiana Sobral from the Brit Chile 2009 Annual Confer ence the impact of digital technology on the ish School, Rio, Bronwyn Davis from One of the great benefits of LAHC member ship is to be found in the increasingly close ties being es tablished with other educational as sociations with similar aims, such as the Association of Br itish Schools in Chile. Freddie RussellKing, Chair of the ABSCH Education sub committee, comments on a manifes tation of such a par tner ship. Over the years, the themes of the ABSCH annual educational conference have ranged from the generic, such as formative assessment, cognitive accel eration, thinking skills, to the more specific mathematics, science and lan guage. This year’s conference ad dressed the topic of elearning and provided a wonderful opportunity for delegates to glean insights from oth ers’ experience and to encounter po tential pathways in the developing world of eschooling. The conference was held in mid April at the Universidad Finis Terrae in Santiago, The sessions offered a
educational landscape, together with San Silvestre and Richard Sheldon from Markham College, both in Lima. Presenters touched upon a varied series of instances where technology has shown potential for supporting and enhancing learning. The challenge is for teachers to harness available tech nologies and employ their creativity to motivate and stretch the 21st Century learner. Networking at the conference is one core aim and one which should L to r. Lorna Prado (Headmistress, Santiago continue to receive strong support College), Peter Napthine (The British School, throughout the year ahead. It is to the Rio, Richard Sheldon, (Markham College), ultimate benefit of each school that Tatiana Sobral (The British School, Rio), such professional connectivity be ac Bronwyn Davis (San Silvestre) tively supported. Today’s digital land scape increases the potential for such number of very specific windows on networking. Great institutional benefits current practice in schools. may be gained by schoolbased and Of particular significance within schoolinspired learning, supported by the context of LAHC was the fact that networking as might be found in Asso this year’s conference broke new ciations such as ABSCH and LAHC at ground, in that LAHC schools outside their best. Chile were well represented: The lead The complete programme, speaker, Gabriel Rshaid, is Headmas with photographs, may be ter of Saint Andrew’s Scots School. In viewed at www.absch.cl. addition, we were joined by Peter Nap
ment of teaching and learning outcomes. Tutored support in both countries helps teachers to reflect, select and refine appropriate practice in relation to their unique school con text. The experience transforms the professional teacher in Providing firsthand terms of his/her practice and commitment to knowledge of the British the school. educational system for non The course is made up of two ‘M level’ UK trained teachers remains modules. Successful completion of these two an ongoing challenge for all modules results in a Postgraduate Certificate LAHC schools. What does a in Leading Professional Enquiry. This award, British classroom look, feel accredited by the University of Warwick is and sound like? These are equivalent to one third of an MA in Education questions our expatriate and we hope to be able to offer the opportu teachers attempt to answer nity to complete the full MA with Warwick in for our Brazilian colleagues, the near future. Kenilworth Castle but nothing quite compares In the spirit of collaboration and sharing to experiencing it yourself. that lies at the heart of LAHC, we are keen to In January 2009, The British School, involve other schools in this project. The programme is a Rio de Janeiro, launched an ambitious perfect way to share good practice, strengthen links across Professional Development for Senior School teachers with our region, not to mention the less altruistic benefits of the University of Warwick, whose staff have become our economy of scale. If this is a programme you think your colleagues, helping us to go further than we could alone. school might be interested in being involved in, please con The yearlong programme begins with a threeweek tact Del on firstname.lastname@example.org for more details. study visit in the UK. It includes visits to a number of local Del J ames schools and offers a practical, firsthand context for extend Staff Development Coordinator, ing teaching experience. Participants are encouraged to ex the British School, Rio de J aneiro plore the relationship between leadership and the improve
Str iving for excellence Postgr aduate Cer tificate in Leading Educational Enquir y – Univer sity of War wick study visit.
LAHC Newsletter J uly 2009
Envir onmental Awar eness and Responsibility Continuing the theme of education in environemtal awareness and responsibility begun with the ‘Green Supplement’ in November last year, we are anxious to continue to encourage schools to contribute articles on this subject, in the hope that this will inspire others to similar or greater efforts, so that LAHC, as an association, may establish a reputation for actively espousing environmental concerns. We are pleased to carry, on this page, a report of an innovative initiative devised by pupils in Hiram Bingham, the Bri tish International School of Lima and of an activity in the Mayflower School, Santiago, on Page 5, an account of the insta llation of solar water heating at Caernarfon College.
THINK Green SHARE Green Macas 2009 Hiram Bingham Prom XX This eyecatching logo dr aws attention to a cam paign by this year ’s pr omotion at Hir am Bingham to pr ovide gr ass and tr ees to a school which they ar e spon sor ing. Macas is a community situated at km 48 on the road to Canta, 10 minutes from Yangas, in the Province of Huaro chirí. For the past 4 years, different classes have been en gaged in projects to help the community, and we have built prefabricated classrooms and playground equipment, we
have provided educational materials, shelf units, and, every year, we have carried out a Christmas Chocolatada . This year, Promotion nº XX has devised an innovative ecological Project: THINK Green, SHARE Green, the aim of which is to convert an area of 300m 2 of ground be longing to the Santa Rosa PrePrimary School into a green area. To help us achieve this we are selling turf at 10 Soles per m 2 , which includes transport and fertiliser. For every token bought, the purchaser will receive a silicone bracelet and be assured that the contribution will go to benefit the Macas community and also our planet. We shall also take 100 trees to plant in the Primary School. Tokens will be sold during break. They will be avail able from any member of the promotion, in the CAS office, and also from a stand near the drinks machine. Many thanks for helping us to make this project a real ity. Prom XX
Inter national Day of the Envir onment In the previous (March 2009) edi tion of the newsletter , Marcela Flo r es, of the Mayflower School, Santi ago, wr ote on the subject of how en vir onmental concer ns are being ad dr essed in the school. Here, she sets finger to keyboar d again, and tells how the school celebrated the Inter national Day of the Envir onment a number of activities aimed at gener ating an awareness within the commu nity of the responsibility and commit ment which we have to assume to wards care for our planet. On this day, pupils were encouraged to come to school dressed in colours representing the areas of recycling which are practised in the school: Classes A in red (cans), B in green (organic matter), C in yellow (Plastics), and teachers, administrative staff, Student Council and management On Friday 5th June, The Mayflower in earth colours. School, Santiago, celebrated the World At the beginning of the day, Student Day of the Environment. This included Council representatives handed out
packets of seeds to be planted at home. There was an assembly for each level, with songs, poems, speeches, all on the subject of the day’s theme. After this, classes watched videos on global warming, the ozone layer, and water and energy conservation, and the Stu dent Council sold healthy food prod ucts, such as fruit salads, home made cheeses, dried fruits, juices and dairy products.
LAHC Newsletter March 2009 Getting Into Hot Water Caer nar fon College, Casablanca, ‘goes solar ’ About a month ago, a Parent ar rived at School with his pickup loaded with interesting boxes proclaim ing ‘Solar Water Heater .’ The boxes were offloaded and the device duly installed on the roof of the dining room. Impressive. Although we are in the middle of winter, we were amazed when next day 100 litres of very hot water gushed from the outlet tap. We used it to do the washingup.
The fully insulated 100 litre tank keeps the water hot for days. Last Sun day, when we had bright sunshine for only a few hours in the afternoon and the temperature went down to below zero at night, we still had very hot wa ter the following morning. It took a while to learn to use the heater efficiently. We found out that the system cannot be pressurised (you can’t leave the tap closed unless you provide an escape valve, which we added). Nor can you leave the filling system open or pressure will be created, so we added a ‘toiletvalve’ to cut off the inlet once the system is full. So far it all seems to work. We no longer use the gas heater to heat the kitchen water, and we are car rying out a study to determine the sav ing in terms of expense. The calcula tions have not, at time of writing, been concluded. However, all data available so far indicate that this will be consid erable, not to say staggering. Our next step will be to ac quire two more heaters to provide hot
Page 5 water for the showers in our soon to be inaugurated changing rooms. If this much hot water is made in the middle of winter, how much will we have in spring, not to mention summer? Clearly we will need a well insu lated storage tank for the show ers, but at 100 li tres heated in approx. 30 min utes, the 800 litres needed for the show ers will only take 4 hours to accumu late. As our sports are always in the afternoons, this presents no problem. Maybe we can start selling Hot Water? Nothing but Sunshine from now on, folks. Try it. Solar Water Heaters are a Gas!
John Eason Headmaster, Caernarfon College
ting, character development and prediction, the importance of illustration. We have been fortunate to involve ABSCH Mums and Dads reading with their children! Whole conference speakers in parental workshops, extending the families working together making characters, scenery, non vision with their specialist perspectives and active partici fiction books, all relat pation. ing to their chosen sto Towards the end of each year, an open morning is ries! Talking about held at the three school sites for families to share their books! Exploring books story sacks with the whole school community: children, together, in both Eng teachers and parents. Mums and dads, grandparents and lish and Spanish! children all work together to tell their chosen story to Parents are pas excited audiences in sionately involved in each school playground. sharing books with The added value for their children via our the school is the varied Storysack Project, now in its fourth year. What started collection of home as support workshops in Kinder to encourage parents’ made storysacks do involvement in early reading has mushroomed into both nated each year to add handiwork sessions and educational training across the to our collection. Such entire Junior School, as the school has responded to the materials generate lots developing knowledge base in the community. Partici of interest when used by pants are able to reflect on their familial experiences teachers in the class with each new cohort of parents, and a sense of owner room. For more infor ship has grown. mation, visit www.sangabriel.cl (top right: Programmes and Parents and the storysack coordinator share materials Link. Click link to Storysacks). and practical ideas for the production process. Creativity and imagination abound! A series of focused workshops are Freddie RussellKing run over the year to support parents as partners in their chil Head of Junior dren’s reading journeys. Parents explore questioning tech Saint Gabriel’s School, Santiago niques and how to share a book, examine storyline and set
LAHC Newsletter March 2009
Letter fr om Nepal Ian Raitt, Head of Davy College, in Cajamarca, fr om 2001 to 2004, and of the Colegio Per uano Br itánico in Lima fr om 2005 to 2007, went to Nepal in 2008, to be Head of Kathmandu Univer sity High School. He has sent this r epor t, which we should like to share with our r ead er s.
world, and this is where the initiative lies. The students work, and they have respect. I am into the second part of Peter Brook’s adaptation of The Mahabharata. Part 2 is Exile in the Forest. Clearly, doing this astonishing nine hour marathon production, but given over three years, is a major life event. Next year I will be able to use students in class 11 and class 12, but up till now the maximum age has been 15, and they have responded well. Next year we could even do a tour of northern India. It gives one something to think about and hope for. But, alas, that will probably have to wait until the swine flu dies down, as it eventually will, but not I suspect before it has caused a lot more havoc. I have been thinking about where to be over the next few years, prior to 2012. Where would be a safer place to be? With a systems breakdown, financial and technological, Nepal might still be reasonable if you have water and land and can grow things. I spend a lot of time wondering what is going on with this economic crash. Has it been engineered to bring in a single world currency? Will the dollar collapse, but maybe not quite yet? I remember wonderful vistas in the southwest of the USA, but now that country seems to have unsustainable debt that can only be inflated away.
Pokhara The whole experience of being in Nepal has defi nitely expanded something within, even if it has made anger management more obviously important. The advantage has been that one is left alone to improve the school and does not have a complicated school board to deal with, nor diffi cult parents. The other side is that patience is required since things happen very slowly, and one sometimes feels like the sole initiator of projects. There is always some heavy energy that won’t move, and provides resistance. In this case, I’d say that the teachers are conservative and resist change, though those about to start teaching A levels are enthusias tic. It’s quite good to be iconoclastic and do something outside the holy IB model: in this case, all students will study Maths, Physics and Chemistry, with a choice of Biol ogy or computing. English is tested by doing the General Paper. Other centres here only do three A levels, but we will be like Budanilkantha School, set up on British lines 30 years ago, where they do four A Levels plus the General Paper. Out of about 80 students, 60 get good scholarships to study overseas each year, mainly in the USA. It was interesting, however, that one of our former students who went on to do the A level course at Budanil kantha and got top marks for Nepal in Maths and Physics, then got a four year full scholarship to Reid College in Ore gon, has decided after one year of studying Sciences, to switch to English. The other positive thing here is the atti tude of the students. Asia is now the leading force in the
Mahabharata With the benefit of hindsight, one should have sold one’s shares last year, changed one’s pounds into dollars, then bought back mining shares in November to enjoy an 80% recovery. However, gold itself has been remarkably stable. It has had three tries at getting over $1000 an ounce and staying there. Most people think it will succeed this year. However, our world and our worlds are in transition. I suspect far deeper changes ahead, but not complete annihila tion. In fact, great opportunities. You may follow Ian’s adventures in Nepal on his blog: http://web.me.com/ratters/Site/Photos.html. You may also contact him by email at email@example.com.