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May 6, 2021

Good afternoon Clarion Parents and Friends,

Lots of news below- I apologize in advance but then again there won’t be a newsletter next week due to the Eid holiday!

Eid Holiday:

The UAE government has released information regarding the Eid break in the news over the last several days. Clarion will therefore be closed from May 11 to 13 i.e. Tuesday-Wednesday-Thursday. We will be back to school on Sunday, May 16.

We WILL have a full day of classes to finish our Ramadan schedule on Sunday the 9th and Monday the 10th next week.

SPIRIT WEEK AFTER EID…dress up/up own is not over yet:

Yes, we skipped the dress up/down day in April; we did have two the last week of March though. And now, we will celebrate the return to school after Eid with a “Clarion School Spirit Week!”

The five days of school, May 16 to May 20 will each have a simple theme to them.

The idea as discussed with the student leadership group – our Sport’s Captains – is that we meet each theme day idea with things we already have at home.

The five days are:

  1. Sunday, May 16: Sports Shirt day (we all have a sports shirt from a favorite team…or wear one that a parent or friend has!)
  2. Monday, May 17: Crazy Hair day (what is the funniest and most creative hair we will see that day!? Be careful that coloring isn’t PERMANENT!)
  3. Tuesday, May 18: Twins day (come dressed exactly the same as a friend or 2 or even 3!)
  4. Wednesday, May 19:: Hat and Tie day (what funny hats and ties or other neck- wear do you have at home? Ask family to help!)
  5. Thursday, May 20: Mismatched Clothes day (two different shoes…socks…stripes with checks…be crazy!)

Parent Coffee Meeting: Update on Grade 6 Program for 2021-2022:

On Monday, May 10 at 11.00 AM, there will be a ‘coffee-less coffee morning’ online meeting for parents. (I’m fasting so no coffee for me but you are welcome to sip away while we chat!).

The focus will be an update on the Grade 6 program for next year. I am excited by where we are headed; doing furniture orders for ‘something a bit different’ in Grade 6; materials orders that match the “Clarion Way” of teaching and learning; and most importantly hiring two excellent teachers to team with Ms. Joy as a triangular Math- Science-English team of specialists. We have a great group of returning students and new students who are already signed up and eager for 2021-2022 to start.

All parents are welcome, of course, no matter if your current Clarion child is 3 or 11!

Communication with homeroom teachers and school staff:

As we continue to roll through the school year, many of you have become even more expert in organizing ‘play dates’ between your families that take place after school. I would like to remind you that if you are authorizing someone other than the regular parent/family member/family employee to take your child home with them, please communicate in writing with the homeroom teacher of your child and the front office of school.

The Clarion School teachers do the job of ensuring that children go home with the person supposed to pick them up. The same goes with the bus assistants, who work very hard every day to ensure that the right children are going home on the bus. At times this year, I have even witnessed a homeroom teacher check with a parent by phone when someone else came to pick up a child; likewise, I have watched the bus loading process several times in recent weeks, and seen how hard the bus assistants work at ensuring all heads are counted, seat belts on, and the right children are on the buses.

We have even stationed our staff at Gate 3 to watch not only who goes in…but who goes out with whom at the end of the day.

Thank you for understanding that we are here to serve you in this capacity- safety comes before all else.

BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) Initiative in Grade 5:

Ms. Joy, along with several of the specialist teachers in Arabic B and French, Ms. Eman and Ms. Rezlene, will be helping to test run the “BYOD” initiative at Clarion with the Grade 5 students in May and June this year.

The Grade 5 parents received a “Clarion Device Usage Policy” today to review and return signed, so we can encourage their children to bring in a laptop or tablet as a tool to use at school. Yes, we have a few additional ipads and laptops to share if someone forgets, or does not at this time have a device to bring to school; but more importantly the policy involves beginning to understand as a parent community how much we wish to be safe and secure while using devices at school, the student’s device, or any school device. Please be rest assured as parents that our move in this direction in no way takes us away from our emphasis on learning by doing with Project Based Learning; but as we saw in the very extensive Science project done earlier this year, our Grade 5 students are already using devices for their school work in Clarion and at home. Furthermore, the BYOD move in the upper grades will ensure that families can understand that use of devices is intended to amplify and extend student learning experiences, not to replace them.

And…no devices at recess or lunch break! That is a ‘non-negotiable’ from Mr. Jim, as we want your children to be engaging with each other and getting some movement into their lives at those times of the school day. Our goals are to engage students in developing their independence as students- to increase their academic ‘agency’ so to speak- while also beginning to upgrade their skills in the ever evolving area of digital literacy by becoming digitally fluent.

Thank you Ms. Narsisa for your Instagram work this last week+:

A shout-out to our PE teacher, Ms. Narsisa, for her work with the Clarion Instagram account recently. She has curated and uploaded stories for all of us onto the Instagram account that explores some of the fun (May the 4th be with you day! to “World Math Day”) with a special set of surprise postings today.

Thank you Narsisa for all you do for the children of Clarion School!

Calendar update: Thursday June 10th is now a school day:

Earlier this year KHDA cancelled all PD – Professional Development- days in school calendars. I checked directly with KHDA on this and they were VERY firm and insisted that this day be a regular school day.

Therefore the June 10th ‘no school day’ has been changed to a day of school.

MAP Assessments May 30 – June 3:

Clarion will have the third sessions of MAP (Measure of Academic Progress) assessments for students in Grades 1 to 3 from May 30 to June 3. Our focus is on each individual student and their growth over time.

A reminder to parents that MAP is an adaptive test that adjusts to the student literally based on where they are coming from in the last MAP assessment and how they are doing as the test session progresses. It is used to measure a student’s progress and growth in school.

The testing information is important to teachers because it indicates a student’s strengths and any help that is needed in any specific areas. Teachers use this information to help guide instruction in the classroom, and the “Spring” testing results from the May 30 – June 3 MAP will be used.

Last thoughts:

Teacher Appreciation Day is on different days in different countries around the world :

  • In India it is Sept 5th each year to recognize the birth date of the second President of India, Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan.
  • In the USA it is the “First Tuesday of the first full week of May” each year.
  • Globally it is October 5th; the UAE recognizes teachers that day too.
  • This week was “Teacher Appreciation Week” in the USA and we want to recognize our staff for the dedication they have given to your children this year.

Clarion is an American School by curriculum and design; Progressivism is linked to school philosophy in several countries historically making that part of our school DNA very international; and our students and staff come from over 50+ countries. So I would like it if we recognize teachers not just on one day, but continually throughout the year. I think it is fitting that I include our well wishes as a community to the teachers of Clarion School today as it is also the 103rd birthday of the Father of the UAE, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.

Sheikh Zayed believed that all the progress he wished for the UAE would be built upon a foundation of education, and many of his most famous quotes are about education:

“Education is like a lantern that lights your way in a dark alley.” and

“The real asset of any advanced nation is its people, especially the educated ones, and the prosperity and success of the people are measured in the standard of their education.” and

One of my favorites…“Future generations will be living in a world that is very different from that to which we are accustomed. It is essential that we prepare ourselves and our children for that new world.”

The people that light that lantern…that elevate the standard of education, that prepare our children for that new world are the devoted staff here at Clarion.

Thank you Clarion teachers and assistants for all you do every day for the children of Clarion!

Sincerely,

Jim #TeacherSupportPerson Pastore

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