Clarion Newsletter, November 4, 2021

December 20, 2021

Happy Thursday Clarion Parents and friends,

We had a very busy week, that was filled with great things I will speak about below.

Last week, we finished up our NEASC Accreditation visit on Thursday afternoon and it went quite well. We are anticipating a great result when we receive the official results of the visit in 5ish weeks, and are already planning our next steps for re-accreditation in 4 or 5 years.

Diwali:

Was a huge success! Thank you Priyanka for your efforts to come in to read to the children this morning and to show off your culture to the KG classes as a “Clarion Children’s Commons” in the atrium.

The spirt of Diwali went on all day in school and we appreciate this way of celebrating wrapped into curriculum and school life. For example, in Arabic classes, the children made ‘candles’ with an idea from Ms. Shaimaa and Mr. Mahmoud from materials that say Happy Diwali in Arabic. Thank you to several of our staff who decorated the staff room and laid out a spread of traditional food for Diwali- everything was so wonderful and yummy.

UAE Flag Day:

We had a wonderful and appropriately respectful UAE Flag ceremony at 11 AM in the courtyard for the whole school in an assembly. The Arabic A students led by Ms. Wafa gave speeches in Arabic and English, and the school Choir led by Ms. Iva, led the school in the UAE National Anthem. The students were so well behaved and understood that there are times we are more serious than others- and Flag Day ceremony is one of them. I was so proud of everyone!

PTC on Tuesday:

We had a very successful PTC day on Tuesday. I want to thank all our teachers and parents for your efforts. The hybrid solution I asked everyone to do that permitted many of you to zoom-in with the teachers seemed to go very well. I do know that several of you have had to schedule on another date and I want to thank the teachers for their flexibility.

Covid Protocols for coming onto Campus:

A reminder that anyone that comes into the campus- even for drop off/pick up – needs to either have their vaccinations done OR have a current (within 48 hours) PCR test result. KHDA and DHA are still insistent on this, and we do have a handful of parents who for medical and other reasons are not vaccinated. This goes for school events, and school trips, and coming into classrooms as well. Thank you all for your understanding.

Opening a Grade 2C section starting Sunday, November 7:

On Sunday we will have a Grade 2C section opening at Clarion. This is part of our measured growth to ensure sustainability as we grow upwards (into Grades 7, 8 and 9 over the next 3 years then through to graduation!) as well as ‘sideways’ in grade levels. Opening Grade 2C means we will have three Grade 2 sections.

We welcome Ms. Darlene as the new teacher. She has been helping us over the last two weeks in classrooms, and is a great complement to a strong Grade 2 team of Ms. Shalini and Ms. Olivia.

2C is small so far, with several new students already joined and shifting to their new room on Sunday the 7th with a new few additions. Several more new to Clarion students will join 2C in the next 2.5 months. We have a zoom call scheduled at 2:45 PM today with myself and Ms. Darlene and the parents of 2A and 2B to invite them to meet her and to ask questions about how we will be organized. Parents can then opt (several already have) to move to the smaller section, but no one will be forced to move.

Grade 2C will be in the same hallway - right next door to 2B – and for some specials will be integrated with one of the other sections. We will also have 2C work together with 2A and 2B in recess and lunch breaks to ensure connections between children.

Thank you Darlene for joining us, and we look forward to your help as we continue to grow!

Pumpkin Experimentation:

We have so many wonderful pumpkin ‘experiments’ going on at school right now.

All I did was authorize buying 2 large pumpkins for every homeroom. 38 pumpkins.

We delivered them.

Students and teachers looked at them and thought…

…and thought…

…and thought…

And planned…

…and planned…

…and planned…

And then through a combination of teacher and student agency they decided.

Some were decorated for Halloween. And will be reused later in experiments.

Books on Pumpkins were devoured.

Some were cut open and examined minutely. Seeds counted and dried. Plants will be grown from seeds and even inside pumpkins!

Some pumpkins were floated. Some were mashed. Some were scooped empty to put things in.

Pumpkin goop was weighed and handled and used to paint (goop is a science word when you are 4!).

Some pumpkins are still under discussion for examination.

One Grade 4 pumpkin from LAST YEAR is still in my office since their experiment was “Let’s see what happens to a pumpkin that we don’t cut open!” I am amazed too, but I guess that AC and dehumidifiers have kept it solid and going strong!

Some are out in the sun (one is painted BLACK up on the upper street for some sort of experiment!).

Some are turning into ooze in garden areas or in boxes near rooms outside.

But all the pumpkins are being put to good use.

Try to understand that the pumpkin plotting and prodding, poking and processing is ongoing.

Science and exploration is underway.

One thing I didn’t have to do was tell the teachers what to do.

All we did was drop off pumpkins at their rooms and say “have fun with them.” They did.

Learning is ongoing and children are between wonder and understanding.

The only thing we DIDN’T do was make a pie from one. I will rectify this next year as I miss my pumpkin pie with whipped cream!

The Clarion Way. Finding novel ways to learn and wonder, experiment and explore.

School Photos:

Stu Williamson will be in Clarion the week of the 14th for official school photos. We want your children to come in regular school uniforms that day- not PE uniforms. Thank you and a schedule will come out next week!

Final thoughts:

I was so pleased to see how our staff and students brought our two celebrations- UAE Flag Day, and Diwali- into the classrooms as opportunities for learning this week. It is consistently impressive to see and hear what goes on at Clarion and I am always inspired by the passion and commitment I see at school.

As or my bright red Diwali outfit…it’s the only one I could find that fit. There was no “Clarion Orange” available nor navy blue, so I guess I have to have one made to order for next year! And no I am NOT the “Diwali Santa Claus! LOL

And then Grade 6, and 7, and then 8 followed by 9…As we grow, we add on grades. This year, Grade 6 is already growing (more new students are coming to join us in January!) and we are fielding inquiries already for Grade 7 for 2022-2023.

We will be adding Grade 7 next year, and we appreciate if you ‘spread the word’ that Clarion is rising in more than one way. Our ultimate growth will see high school graduation in 2028 of the current Grade 6’s. I wonder if the pumpkin in my office will still be with me in 2028?

Have a great weekend everyone!

Sincerely,

Jim #ClarionMakesThingsHappen Pastore

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