Clarion Newsletter, September 9, 2021

Clarion Newsletter, September 9, 2021

Good evening Parents and Friends of Clarion!

Stay N Play – a special event for potential Clarion families Thursday the 16th:

We ask you to spread the word to your friends and coworkers about Clarion School and to inform them about an opportunity to visit Clarion on Thursday the 16th from 2 until 3 PM. In this newsletter, you will find the information about how to sign up for the event. You can also bring friends with you at dismissal next Thursday and from there they can sign up with Shazia in the atrium of the school, as well as with Asia and Heerral in Admissions.

As we close out tomorrow the first two weeks of school- which have been exceptional on many levels – we are also preparing zoom presentations from homeroom teachers to you for a “Curriculum Night”.

Curriculum Night will be Tuesday the 14th of September:

Pre K, K1 and K2 will be from 5:00 to 5:30 PM

1st to 6th Grade inclusive will be from 5:30 to 6:00 PM.

The purpose of curriculum night is for homeroom teachers to speak to parents about the curriculum areas in which they teach your children.

I have taken the decision to do this event by zoom because while KHDA has lightened the protocols for COVID on schools, I am still cautious when it comes to how many and how long parents can and should be in groups on campus. We have done very well with COVID since August of 2020 and I want to continue to do so.

I thank you for understanding that we will look to do further curriculum related events that are part of the “Clarion Way” in person later this year- even before the December break.

Having said that, we will hold “Curriculum Night” on Zoom and I thank you for your participation.

In the Zoom call, teachers will cover the following curriculum areas:

  • Language Arts
  • Math
  • Science
  • UOI (Unit of Inquiry; includes Social Studies, Moral Education)

Teachers will speak to you about how we are using a Transdisciplinary approach to learning in our lessons. They will show you our room and hallway areas used in homeroom by your children. The bonus of Zoom and laptops! We will ask each teacher to record their presentation for parents that cannot tune in to see it later. This is a positive impact of Zoom, as a live event would not be replicable or even recordable like this. The specialists who teach your children will provide each teacher with information for the Zoom presentation (in Power Point) and the specialists will also “pop in” to each session for the children they teach. The specialists will either join the Zoom call or they will appear on screen live for a minute to introduce themselves to you ‘face to face’ in the homeroom teachers classrooms.I am looking forward to the 14th, and I am sure it will be a successful event.Thank you for your understanding and teamwork!

Follow Up to Curriculum Night:

The last two weeks of September we will also host grade level groups in their children’s classrooms to “learn” how their children learn every day. Individual grade level invitations will go out to parents by grade level email for an afternoon to come and spend 40 minutes with.your children’s teachers in the classrooms. By doing this, we are hoping to give you a glimpse into the daily culture of learning that your children enjoy each day at Clarion. The dress code will be COMFORTABLE clothes as you may be finger-painting, doing science experiments, block building, and sitting on floor cushions or working at stand-up tables, as a way to try out our new emphasis on flexible seating. Of course, you must be vaccinated or have a PCR done less than 48 hours previous to the invited day to come and learn.

MAP testing begins. next week!

Every year Clarion gives the MAP tests to Grades 1 through 6, three times a year: September, January, and June. We do this to meet KHDA’s requirements for external benchmarked testing requirements, but true to the “Clarion Way” we use the results to work on individualized educational programming in the classrooms. Your homeroom teachers will communicate any details needed to you, but these are not assessments you can ‘study and prepare for’.The intention of the September MAP assessment is to give each child a starting baseline set of ‘scores’ upon which we base their individualize growth for the year. We share these results with you throughout the year and work with you as parents to understand how your child and her/his assessments give us a picture of their progress.The best way to prepare? Have a great evening meal the night before, read a book together, build something at home together, paint, play, dig in the garden…and get a good night’s sleep!

Special Photos on The 14th:

As this is a new school year, we are going to have a photographer come in and take some ‘shots’ of school life on the 14th. I am telling you this as parents to ensure that we ‘look good’ that day. I will have a fresh uniform shirt on, and a big smile as I take the photographer around school and we engage children in activities. One note- if you have not yet contacted Heerral the Clarion School Parent Liaison regarding the non-permission to photo form and wish to request it, please contact her directly . We have a list of several students now, and will ensure that we respect the updated list on Tuesday next. Thank you!

A final note:

Have a great weekend! You don’t need more from me right now other than a big thank you to the many of you who looked me up on LinkedIn and made connection requests. I enjoy posting about Clarion, and spreading the word on LinkedIn has people talking about us!

Have a great weekend!


Jim #HappyWeekendClarion Pastore

Clarion Newsletter, September 2, 2021

Clarion Newsletter, September 2, 2021

Dear Parents and Friends of Clarion,

Five days into the 2021-2022 school year and we are off to a fabulous start!

I have enjoyed my return to out front from day two of school and I enjoy your hellos and waves as you drive in with your children. I also do appreciate that every day someone comes to say hi with their child, to ask a question or to show me something their child is bringing to school.

Building a community and keeping an eye on the front drive way entrance to school, and the traffic there is what my presence is all about. Likewise, Ms. Suzanne has been in her regular Pre-K/K1 hallway position to help lend a hand when needed and to say hi to parents as they drop off, and to children as they arrive.

The teachers and staff have been on target with teaching and learning, and this first week was woven with team building, caring and sharing.

Kiss N Drop:

I would like to recommend that you use the KissNDrop gate if at all possible in the morning to drop of your children to school. You can access it through Gate No. 1, which is the big double sided wooden bus gate in the front of the school.

We have two school staff at the KissNDrop gate every day- Mr. Rasool and Mr. Mahmoud- and they keep a close watch over your children as they enter school.

Vaccination: IDs and stickers to enter school:

To enter campus even for drop off/pick up you will need to show a proof of vaccination or up to date PCR test.

Contact Nurse Kristine about your proof of vaccination by photo of your actual vaccination card or screen shot of your Al Hosn App. This is mandatory to come on the campus at all, even for pick up/drop off.

Send this directly to Kristine at Thank you!

If for any reason you are not vaccinated, you have the below options for drop off/pick up from school:

  1. Show proof of a PCR NEGATIVE in the last 48 hours (that means probably 3 PCR swabs per week if you come onto campus every day…).
  2. Use the Kiss N Drop gate.
  3. Park and walk your children to Gate 3 where they can go in on their own under the watchful eye of our school staff.

We will be issuing a special Clarion School “Vaccinated” sticker for your school parent ID cards, we have started this process today and it will continue all of next week.

Thank you for understanding that this is a process driven by protocol specified by the KHDA and DHA, and as a school we are obligated to be compliant. This is also for everyone’s safety.

Photos on our Website and Social Media and how Clarion handles this:

All schools enjoy giving shout outs on social media about how school is progressing, and this includes school websites, Instagram, Twitter, Linkedin, etc. Clarion is no different and we have a lot to be proud about and to brag about!

We love to show off your children and they love being a part of what we do online. Having said that, we do have a school policy regarding the use of photos of students online:

Policy: Clarion may at times use photographs, audio, and/or video recordings taken at school events or during the course of the school day. We use these photos to show our activities and educational programs at Clarion School. All photos of the Clarion School teachers, staff and students are used to show the school in good faith and in a positive and affirmative representation of school life.

Opt-out of photography:

Parents who do NOT want their child, or themselves to be photographed or recorded, and used in connection with Clarion School should request a “Photo Opt-Out Form” from Heerral Asnani at

Once a parent has submitted a completed Photo Opt-Out Form to the school through Heerral, they should also inform their class teacher they have submitted this form to Heerral.

(If you opt out, unfortunately this also means use of photos with your child on Seesaw; we do want Seesaw to reflect our ability to communicate what your child does in the classroom on a weekly basis; so opting out means no photos on Seesaw).

Thank you for understanding that we treasure the opportunity to share with all of you your children in their activities, we respect your rights and needs as well with our policy. A team of educators looks at all photos/videos before posting to ensure privacy.

Final Word:

Part of my job is to work on community relations, and sometimes that just means being there present in the community. This morning on my corner as I greeted the cars and buses coming into the school, an SUV pulled up right in front of me, the passenger window went down and a hand reached across the seat from the driver’s side. “Best tea for you best principal!” said the local gentleman who waves to me every day and shouts out “Best teacher! Best teacher!” as he drives by.

What a great way to start my day!

You can follow me on LinkedIn as I post stories about Clarion and what we do and how we work and play. Please connect to me there and help spread the word about the “Clarion Way” every day through reposting on Linkedin!

Have a great weekend, and thank you for your trust in the staff and teachers of Clarion School. This truly is a wonderfully inspiring educational place!


Jim #TheBestIsYetToCome Pastore

Clarion Newsletter, August 26, 2021

Clarion Newsletter, August 26, 2021

Dear Parents and Friends of Clarion,

We are so proud to be re-opening for school year 2021-2022 on Sunday August 29.

At 7:30 AM gate 3 will swing open and you may begin to come in. We will go on another fantastic year at Clarion School.

Below are a few notes from me. New parents- this is our ‘typical’ weekly newsletter and after my note comes a variety of information points from school about things you need.

Vaccinations and evidence of Vaccination:

Vaccination cards and the Al Hosn App are both vaild. From Sunday the 29th you will need to show proof of your vaccination status if you are entering the Admin building for fees, uniforms, etc. – KHDA protocols are firm about this and parents must have this.

Please send your children to school with Water and Hats and Sunscreen applied already:

Water bottles like last year please! Send two bottles in this hot weather and thank you for understanding.

Hats and sunscreen also – put on sunscreen in the AM and it will be on all day.

We do use shady areas for break – courtyard, street and playground with the shade covers, but we also recommend that you send in hydration fluids (fancy term for H2O), and hats and put on sunscreen.

Direct quote from KHDA regarding “Travel and Health Declaration Form”:

“In line with new protocols for face-to-face learning, please note that it is no longer obligatory for schools to request parents to submit a “Travel & Health Declaration Form”, as this embedded within the wider Dubai protocols. This needs to be communicated to all parents, students and teachers.”

I lifted that directly from an email to me from KHDA on Thursday the 26th. Consider it communicated here and thank you for understanding!

To Enter School:

  1. Please use Gate 3 the double metal green gates in front of the parking lot In the morning from 7:30 until 8:10 (Week 1 it will be 8:10 am; after week one Gate 3 will close at 8:00 am).
  2. Proceed through the courtyard to the gym for a temperature check –
    1. KG parents – should go back out and go to their classroom outside doors to drop your children with the teachers.
    2. Grades 1 to 6 – go through the gym after your temperature check and into the “Street” and turn LEFT to go to the stairs to go up and drop off your children at the entry doors to the sunset and sunrise wing 1st floor entryways.
      1. Use the stairs in the street. to go UP to grades 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 using the stairway; come DOWN using the ramp (same as last year!).
  3. Remember that masks are mandatory for over 6 years (adults too!).
  4. Please note that no parents may enter classrooms nor may they enter class hallways – this is a firm directive from KHDA.
  5. There is a 10 minute time limit inside school; you can hang out by the gate 3 and outside but not in groups – we could always have KHDA come visit!

Drivers who drop off inside Gate 1, the “Bus Gate”:

You may use the “Kiss N Drop” area to stop, park for a minute or three, and unload your children. Kiss n Drop is for ….dropping not for stopping parking and walking children inside. Please abide by this!

The Parking Lot in Front:

Parking is a careful, safe and slow process. WE WILL NOT rush you day 1 2 3 to hurry in and out from parking. But do not rush in racing to park or driving too fast for school. We all need to settle in the first week so relax. Thanks!

IN case you missed it…there is a 10 minute maximum time on campus at drop off and pick up. This is a KHDA mandate thanks for understanding. Many campuses won’t even let you in past gate 3 like we do- thanks for understanding.

CCI’s and CCE’s as ECAs:

ECA’s = Extra Curricular Activities

CCI = Co-Curricular Internal; this means it is run by our teachers as part of the 2x a week program after school from 3:15 to 4:00 pm. This information will go home in a few days with the registration link.

CCE = Co-Curricular External; these activities are run by outside KHDA approved vendors all week and is mostly focused on swimming and sports.

When we begin the teacher led CCI’s and CCE’s on the 12th of September, there will not be late bus service. Clarion School bus service runs to come to school in the morning and to go home from school after regular class dismissal.

Birthday Treats:

Due to Covid protocols we cannot let you bring in food that is shared between students. However, you can order through our food service provider individual cupcakes if you wish for your child’s birthday. Please email JR ( ) and your child’s homeroom teacher directly and give at least a week’s notice. Thanks!

Other Notes on KHDA news:

With the publishing of the back to school COVID Protocols from KHDA last week, we now know that there will be permission to do:

  • Field trips – we are already researching what is open and how to get reservations; every place has its own COVID protocols
  • Use Pools for PE – we will update you in 2 weeks as we just found out 2 days ago.
  • Have events at school – once the heat breaks it will happen!
  • Open the café in the atrium building – we have found a few potential providers to do this, and they are working on plans to open in a few weeks, more news later.

Final Word: I am so proud of everyone who works at Clarion for their hard work and dedication. We are at a historic high of student registrations- 290+ – and will go over 300 shortly. This is a testament to the team we have here at Clarion. I particularly want to thank the back office staff who cleaned, unpacked, distributed, organized and enabled the educators to focus on their prep work over the last two weeks.2021-2022 will be a special year for so many, and following up on such a successful 2020-2021 will make this year even better! So much greatness in one place- I just shivered in excitement thinking about it! See you all out front on Sunday. And thank you all for your support and understanding as we strive to always do our best for your children.


Jim #BiggestKidInDubai Pastore

Clarion Newsletter, July 1, 2021

Clarion Newsletter, July 1, 2021

Good afternoon Clarion Parents and Friends,

Yesterday saw several major Clarion School events.

1st Fifth Moving Up Ceremony:

Our “1st Fifth” finished the cycle of primary school in a wonderful ceremony at 1:00. The staff were a magnificent support for Ms. Joy as she led the Grade 5 students in preparing, organizing and running the event. “The Clarion Way” was evident in how the students led the preparation for yesterday; preparation that makes me supremely confident that they are ready as young women and men for our 6th Grade in the fall.

Thank you to Joy, Ashik in facilities, JR (‘mista coffee!’), Roralyn, Alwyn, Rasool, Rushna and Elham (for the videos!). The event was a success due to the work of our dedicated staff supporting our students.

Clarion Yearbook:

We issued the 2020-2021 yearbook and I want to give a big shout-out to Ms. Rana Ghazal Laghoutis, who supports Clarion from SIG. She did the heavy lifting to organize the yearbook and to ensure we had it in our hands for the last week of school. Thank you Rana!

Staff Celebration:

We had the staff celebration lunch at 2:30 off campus. I was able to thank the support staff at Clarion for their hard work:

The front office/admissions team: Shazia Khaleel the front office executive, Asia Minervini the Admissions manager, and Heerral Asnani the Parent Liaison. These 3 ladies keep the front of the school humming!

Our Accountant: Jafar Mohammed, works with dignity and a gentle smile so patiently with everyone.

Our IT Manager: Rushna Patel, makes sure our internet is safe and operational, gets out reports and messages to parents, and so much more!

Our HR Manager: Onita Fernandes, works tirelessly to make sure that the staff and teachers get the support they need.

Our School Nurse: Kristine Ballares. The hardest job on campus this COVID year- I am so proud of her patience with KHDA and DHA!!!

Clarion’s Facilities Manager: Ashik Nizar, makes sure the AC works and the property is kept up!

Our Facilities support: Roralyn Delfin, is always smiling, always making sure we have what we need!

Our procurement person: Rodolfo Garcia (JR), you might miss his coffees, but he keeps us supplied for teaching and learning!

The Clarion Handyman: Alywn Costa. Dignified and service oriented- a wonderful man.

The Gate guard and more: Thaddeus Edoga, cheerful and professional- he makes a late round to shut the back gate when I am here after dark!

Pool Lifeguard and handy helper: Rasool Mohammad, always with a smile and hello and here to help in all ways possible!

Sunrise 1st floor Restroom Supervisor: Georgett Ajong, is cheerful and caring in her support of students and teachers.

Sunset 1st floor Restroom Supervisor: Lorna Villabito, is friendly and compassionate and so wonderful with your children!

And our 5 bus drivers: Mohammed Shuaib, Nowshad Khadar, Suthakar Subramanian, Murali Reddy, Arab Shah.

I am so proud of the diligence the drivers displayed in keeping your children safe to and from school this year!

We also saluted our departing staff:

We wish them all well in their future endeavors and thank them for the time they spent with us at Clarion- particularly this challenging yet rewarding COVID year.

I want to thank the board for supporting the event yesterday with teachers and staff!

Summer notes from me to you:

During the weeks when school is closed for summer, I will send periodic emails. For example, next Thursday I will send out an email regarding summer programs and ways to enjoy reading and maintain progress made this year.

I will also send an email on the new staff and the amazing talents they are bringing to your children in the new academic year.

Information will be forthcoming on the special sports programs that we will run in grade level blocks (Grades 1-2 as one block; Grades 3-4-5-6 as another block) as we push out to find a group of 3 to 6 schools of like size to Clarion for home and away games for our children. Football, basketball, swimming will start us off, and we will add more when we find schools who wish to partner with us!

I will also send you an email with a breakdown of the fantastic results at a school wide level from our end of year external assessments – this proves that teaching and learning in a progressive environment does prepare students for external success on a personal level, and promotes success school wide in attainment.

Other emails will give details for the restart of school – first day August 29th– as more information comes in from KHDA and DHA and MOE.

I can’t promise to limit the information and I thank you in advance for understanding that we have so many great things planned for you and your children for next year.

Summer hours on campus:

8 AM to 3 PM. There will be several people here each day, but not everyone every day!

Admissions will be open, and they can help with most requests.

Final word:

Part of life is to work hard and enjoy the fruits of your labors. I am particularly proud that we as an organization were able to keep our word on some of the big items that were brought to me this year.

  • We launched Grade 6, and are projecting that we will have from 12 to 16 Grade 6 students when we open for 2021-2022.
  • We re-started the yearbook after a two year hiatus, and this 2020-2021 production continues in the style of the first two years of Clarion yearbooks.
  • We graduated our first 5th Grade. The “1st Fifth”, who will be the “1st `Sixth” when we reopen on August 29th, 2021.

I hope I have the honor to graduate at least 7 more fifth Grades so I can be here to see all of the current children complete the cycle of Pre-K to Grade 5…and graduate this years’ “1st Fifth” from Grade 12 as well one year later!

It has been a fantastic year, one that I will treasure. Your support as parents has been second to none in this city, or, I firmly believe, around the world. I speak to principals and teachers at many schools here and abroad; they are amazed when I say that I literally get zero complaints about how we have run things during this year of COVID

You as parents have complied with requests, followed protocols, accepted that meetings were online, did your diligence with your children for their “Student Led Conferences”, which we plan to make another Clarion “tradition” continuing next year and in the future.

As a team of parents, staff, teachers and students we grew stronger as the year went on, and COVID brought no fear to us. We all adjusted, we all persevered and we all grew.

And mark these words…the CAFÉ will be BACK and so will the CPC (Clarion Parent Community). Both will be amazing ‘reboots’ as we ride out of COVID in 2021-2022.

The support given to me and the staff by the Clarion Board, led by the CEO Ms. Aparna Verma, and the COO Mr. Kumar Verma, has been brilliant. They brought me to Clarion and I am proud to say they have supported me as I did my best to support all of you throughout this year. Along with the Verma’s I was also supported by Mr. Dileep Menon for SIG Operations, Ms. Janet O’Keeffe the Director of School Improvement, and Susan Whistler the Director of Marketing/Admissions/ Communications.

Thank you Aparna, Kumar, Dileep and Janet for all you do!

My final thank you goes to two ladies who helped me grow, who adjusted to me and with me, and who persevered together in putting up with me throughout this COVID year reboot of Clarion:

Thank you Ms. Suzanne Rodricks, our amazing VP. We would not have the professional growth and curricular acumen to be ready to take off even further next year without your vision, care and patience.

Thank you Ms. Nada Iskandar, our fantastic Internal and External Assessment Leader. You spearheaded the use of MAP for growth for each student, and the fruits of that labor are already showing.

I am a better person for having worked with you this year.

Thank you all for all you do to show your support for Clarion School.

Have a fantastic summer!


Jim #ClarionRocks #ClarionCares #ClarionTriumphs Pastore

Clarion Newsletter, June 24, 2021

Clarion Newsletter, June 24, 2021

Good evening Clarion Parents and Friends,

The end of any school year is filled with wonderful projects, sending home of work, and report writing and classroom organization. I had the chance to interact with several class sections today: K1 class visiting my office; students in Grade 3 and K2 helping teachers deliver resources around the school; and looking in upstairs to see the Solar System the Grade 1s made as hands on project. School is still busy and we are proud of all that the teachers and students are doing.

A few notes below:

Dogs on the Clarion Campus:

As our wonderful year rolls to a close, I do have to clarify for our community that dogs cannot visit school. There have been at least three requests to bring family dogs to campus to ‘show them to my classmates’ before summer. The regulations pertaining to this from the relevant authorities are stringent. I do understand that dogs may have visited in the past at Clarion. But the SIG liaison to KHDA has clarified that this is not possible.

Thank you all for understanding and I will investigate safe and approved ways for next year to try again. Thank you for understanding.

Class Lists:

As we are getting ready to roll students up to their next grade level, the current grade level teachers have meetings to work on placements for students in homeroom sections for next year. This is a reminder that we need you to have your child’s re- enrollment completed through admissions and accounts so the teachers can do this work next week. This is important work, as we try to get a great balance in each class for next year and the teachers will ensure that we have a great mix in every homeroom.

Thank you for your understanding and help in this matter!

Early Dismissal Wednesday the 30th at 12:30 PM:

Thank you all for understanding that next Wednesday the 30th we have two events at school that necessitate an early dismissal:

  1. At 1:00 PM, the grade 5 class has a “1st Fifth!” event to recognize them moving up to be our “1st Sixth!” next year.
  2. At 2:30 all the staff- drivers, TA’s teachers, and administration- have a “We BEAT Covid this year!” luncheon off campus. At the luncheon we will celebrate staff, recognize the leavers, and overall congratulate the entire team at Clarion School for an excellent job done this year. I asked for a luncheon so as to make it possible for all of our staff to attend and I thank you as parents for recognizing my need as Principal to do this with the entire staff.

There will not be after school activities on Wednesday, June 30th.

Clarion’s 1st Fifth:

I would like to thank in advance the team at Clarion for their work in preparing for the Grade 5 event next Wednesday. Ms. Joy, the specialists (especially Ms. Srei the Art Teacher), the Grade 4 students and their teacher Paige, and many others have been working on this, making it a very student centered event.

While we would, in any other year, have a community wide event, protocols limit the amount of people we can have present. But I promise…as we roll down the road and continue to grow and expand, we will celebrate our successes as a whole community.

We are working on putting the event on Zoom, and will send out a link we before the event, if possible. Thank you all for understanding.

ABT and IBT Assessments Last Week:

As part of the National Curriculum for the UAE all children must take Arabic. Native speakers and those who hold a passport from a country that is Arabic, are mandated to take Arabic A (with few exceptions) by the MOE. All others take Arabic B as 2nd language learners of Arabic.

Likewise, for Islamic studies, children who hold a passport from a country that is considered to be an Islamic country, are mandated to take Islamic studies. A small % of the total students at Clarion take Islamic studies.

During this school year, we have implemented various ways to make all our external assessments mandated by KHDA (MAP, for example) be received by the students in as organic a fashion as possible. We want students, of course, to do their best and to take the assessments seriously as a challenge on that day to do their best. We also understand that we do not want to make these external assessments stressful. I chose as Principal to be ‘extra organic’ with the ABT/IBT external assessments this year. We did the assessments in a low-key fashion and my feedback from the teachers and Ms. Rushna, our IT manager, has been positive. Ms. Rushna ensures the use of iPads for the external assessments goes well for the students and technology does not get in their way.

This is the first year we are doing ABT/IBT for Grades 1 to 5 school. We will use the results to check our progress as a school and also to check our students’ progress against their own learning over the years. Personal growth is the objective. School growth will be a positive result of all children obtaining personal growth in their own ways.

Summer access to IXL and Razkids:

Please remember that your children have personal IXL and Razkids accounts that are accessible 24/7 all summer long. No, this is not mandatory; I still in fact prefer reading a good old fashioned book, newspaper or magazine! But these programs are available for the students and they have used them all year long.

End of Year Report Cards:

These will be sent home on the 30th and the format will be very similar to the mid- year report you received at the half-year mark in the end of January. I want to thank the teachers for their work on the reports, for their care and professionalism. This is also a reminder that all accounts should be up to date for any invoices you have for the 2020-2021 school year. Please contact Mr. Jafar for any information regarding accounts!

The last Word:

The summer solstice has passed us by this week, and we have long days as we finish the school year. It has been a year filled with powerful learning experiences and joy. I want to thank all the parents who have reached out to me to compliment our dedicated team of teachers and staff. It has been a pleasure to hear all your appreciation and postive feedback about how our staff and teachers work closely with your children.

When contacted about any queries, I am happy to address these and take the time to look into it to keep our families happy at Clarion.

Please be rest assured that our team of teachers, staff and myself respect the privacy of every student and family as we are all a part of the same community – I believe privacy and respect go hand in hand.

I truly do enjoy helping Clarion parents at all times, as does our entire staff.

Thank you all for your support as we finish up with a fabulous five days next week!


Jim #Clarion1stFifth Pastore

Clarion Newsletter, June 17, 2021

Clarion Newsletter, June 17, 2021

Good afternoon Clarion Parents and Friends,

June rolls on, and we have 10 school days to go in the 20-21 school year. An important note about one of those days:

“Fifth” Moving Up Event:

On Wednesday, June 30th, we will have a “Moving Up” event celebrating our “1st Sixth” at Clarion. We are proud of them, and a team of people including Ms. Joy the 5th grade homeroom teacher, Ms. Srei the art teacher, Ms. Suzanne the VP and others will all help make this a successful happening.

This event will happen at 1 PM on the 30th, and therefore we will have an early dismissal for all students at 12:30 that day. Thank you for all understanding that in order to do this event, KHDA has simply said ‘follow all protocols’ and in order to do so we do need to have this event after dismissal in order to use our facilities properly.

In the future post-covid we will be able to include other students and more external attendees; but this year we are limited to direct family only- parents, and siblings who attend Clarion, as well as a handful of teachers and staff. Weather requires us to use the PE hall for this, and we thank you for understanding that pick up that day will be in the courtyard for 2nd and 3rd grades, and in the street for grades 1 and 4.

Creating traditions is what schools do, and I am proud to help in any way I can as we as a team create a new tradition with our 5th graders this year and every year into the future!

As part of our day, we are then as an entire school staff, celebrating the successful school year with a school lunch off campus from 2:30 until 4:30.

The attachment from Emirates Environmental Group:

I am so proud of our recycling efforts. We have been collecting and processing with EEG (Emirates Environmental Group) recyclables in several areas, one of them plastic. We have surpassed the threshold in plastics with our efforts and the attachment recognizes us for this. We have received previous recognitions from EEG for our efforts this year, and we intend to continue this next year, and to do much more, so we can keep ‘earning’ trees to plant in the name of our school. I look forward to more extensive efforts next school year and I want to thank all of you who have continuously filled the green collection bins in front of school every day.

The Academic Calendar for 2021-2022:

Attached (in the email) is the calendar for 21-22. You will note that there is a longer break for Eid at Fitr the first week of May, and that should help us all to prepare for the last 8 weeks of school next year. School start and end dates, as well as the December Break and Spring Break, are all dates mandated by KHDA. We have kept the “Gratitude Day” (can you say Turkey and Pumpkins?!) and blocked out days to ensure that the weekend in October when the Prophet’s Birthday is celebrated can be a 4 day weekend as a ‘middle of the August-December Semester break’ is possible. KHDA has tightened up their calendar parameters to eliminate “PD” days and mandate other items, so flexibility is limited.

Further additions to the calendar that are school specific such as report cards, MAP testing, and special events, will be added in August in a different format. In particular, special events will need to wait until KHDA and DHA have made their adjustments to school opening protocols for 2021-2022.

Clarion Uniforms:

The office staff will be here on a rotating basis over summer, so you can come in to buy uniforms.

Final Report Card:

The final report card for 2020-2021 will be issued on Wednesday, June 30th. This will be in much the same format as the mid-year report at the end of January, which was the midpoint numerically of the school year.

As this is the official school report for the entire 2020-2021 school year, in order to receive it for your child(ren) it is necessary to clear any outstanding school invoices – this does include tuition payments, bus fees, and even lost library books. The appropriate people (Jafar for tuition fees and bus fees ; Ms. Heena for missing library books ) will contact you for these items if needed.

The final word:

We are finalizing the last make-up MAP tests for the 3rd yearly session and so far I am very excited about our results. Teachers will send the results home in reports at the end of year, and we are still testing one group of students who were out in a covid-bubble over the regular MAP testing period, as well as a few students who need to make up a missing assessment or two. But the results are very good and show significant improvement as a school from last year and even from this past September.

I like to emphasize that every single student and their individual growth is the imperative; and that how each child grows in relation to the ‘standard’ for their age/ grade cohort is also important, but secondary to the child’s individual growth. Grade level cohort growth and school success is part of all this, and our results this Spring show that a Progressive pedagogical approach done with fidelity can move the needle in a very positive way with test scores.

When it comes to individual students, I want to point out that children do NOT grow in completely linear predictable ways; they don’t do so physically, socially or emotionally and this is doubly so for their educational growth. Parents who have more than one child know that is true even in your own household. My mother still talks about how me and my two brothers hit certain ‘markers’ in all the aforementioned areas in different ways at different times (even if my brother Greg CHEATS and wears shoes with extra thick heels every year when we take a 3 brothers photo….I’m still taller! LOL).

My point is this. MAP scores are just a score. It takes a 3 year cycle of scores done 3x a year to get a true picture of how a school progresses for student growth and attainment. Likewise, even your own child will at times flatline from one MAP test to another in a cycle, and may even lose a point or two at times. But over 3 years, we should see growth if the tests are administered the right way, with the right consistency and using the proper procedures.

Consistency and running the MAP (and any other external assessments) in appropriate child centered ways was a priority for us at Clarion this year. It is our professional duty to do so and we took both parts of this seriously – following the rule while still focusing on what is best for YOUR children. This is something I am so proud of from the team who ran MAP for us this year: Ms. Nada our Head Assessment and the teachers and Ms. Rushna our IT manager worked on student adaptations across school so that as we progressed in the year we could make the assessment days more comfortable and inviting for students.

Our Data is strong and it is valid because we did two things: we followed the MAP protocols and we made MAP work for us! This is what a well-run team does and I thank them for this. Yet again this is an example of how the Clarion School staff have taken seriously the challenge of making external assessment and standards and protocols work in a positive way within our progressive child entered environment.

Thank you all for all you do to support Clarion School!


Jim #TheBestIsYetToCome Pastore