Oct 7, 2021

Happy Thursday Parents and Friends of Clarion!

Yesterday was our FIRST field trip since last winter 2019.

Hard to believe it has been so long! I went with Grades 4, 5 and 6, and their homeroom teachers Ms. Katherine, Ms. Joy and Ms. Daniela and an assistant Mr. Neil. We were supported by five parents as small group chaperones and spent a wonderful time at the “WETEX and Dubai Solar Show” right next to the new train station at the EXPO2020 site. The students had clipboards and spent a large portion of their time interviewing various distributors of environmental safety companies and government agencies – such as DEWA – while they did action research. This involved students collecting information and contacts that they can use in their Science and UOI classes this year.

I have to say that I was delighted at how our students interacted so well with the people at WETEX. We had the youngest students there (the rest were all high school aged!) and our students were well behaved, inquisitive, good listeners and great questioners!

The trip was a complete success and my thanks to the team at school who organized this- Ashik in facilities, the three bus drivers, Ms. Shazia for all the set up work and organization and communication directly with WETEX to obtain permission, and JR and Roralyn for their help as well- they even made sure I had a Clarion Flag for the trip!

I look forward to more innovative trips like this- our students are capable of attending events like this and showing that Clarion School students can do research out in public!

CAT4 Assessments next week:

We will be giving the students in Grades 2 through 6 the CAT4 next week, and we are required by KHDA to test several grade levels with the CAT4 each year; we choose, however, to test all our upper elementary students so we can use this relatively short assessment to help us plan and improve upon the teaching and learning we do with your children.

As quoted on the website:

“CAT4 is an assessment of developed abilities in areas known to make a difference to learning and achievement – namely verbal, non-verbal, quantitative and spatial reasoning – and provides you with an accurate analysis of potential student achievement.”

The CAT4 provides a rounded profile of student ability that permits teaches to target support, provide the appropriate levels of challenge,, and make informed decisions about student progress. The testing looks at 4 areas to assess strengths and potential weaknesses:

Verbal Reasoning: the ability to express ideas and reason through words, which is essential in subjects with high language content, and this is the most obvious skill picked up by more traditional assessments.

Verbal Reasoning: students work with problem solving using pictures and diagrams; these skills are important in a wide range of school subjects such as math and science.

Spatial Reasoning: assess the capacity of students to think and draw conclusions in three dimensions, which is a skill needed for 21st century STEAM subjects, but that is NOT measured easily in other datasets in traditional assessments.

Quantitative Reasoning: this looks at the ability of students to use numerical skills to solve problems, which is applicable well beyond mathematics.

The teachers will use the results as an additional tool to help us differentiate for your children in school.

Clarion Commons:

The second tranche of homerooms were in on Tuesday from 5 to 6:15 pm and we had Ms. Suzanne the VP and Ms. Nada, head of Assessment, give short presentations of ‘what we are proud of’ at Clarion. Then the seven groups of parents went off to their classrooms for time with their children’s homeroom teachers. Next Tuesday the last group of teachers and parents will do the same thing in Grades 3, 4, 5 and 6, and I am so proud of how Clarion School is working within protocols to give parents time to come into school, and into our hallways and classrooms! I overheard the excitement of parents as they were saying it has been over a year and a half since we were inside the school rooms and I could not agree more with their passion to get in the rooms and to interact with the teachers.

CPC:

The CPC – Clarion Parent Committee – will be communicating out to Clarion parents about their leadership this year and upcoming projects and events. I want to thank the group of volunteers who met with me this past Sunday to discuss the groundwork that should be laid for a successful year. I am quite positive that it will be a return to much of what we did before at Clarion, with some new spins on things!

ABT/IBT Assessments were this past week:

We are required to give an external benchmarked assessment to our students. This includes Arabic for all students and Islamic for the students who have that additional class. We use the Arabic Benchmark Test and the Islamic Benchmark test to see where our students are in relation to the National Curriculum in these two areas. I am pleased to remind us all that last June we took the end-of-year ABT/IBT and our school overall had the 7th highest improvement of 150+ schools in the UAE who took these KHDA recognized assessments.

What we do with the assessments is use the October ‘test’ to see where we need to work with our students as we move them forward and upward through the year. The expectation is that the Arabic and Islamic teachers will work with students to shore up areas of weakness and to seek ways to improve what we do, how we learn, and how we grow.

Once again, Clarion School chooses to use mandated assessments as growth-oriented products which help us align our students for success!

Final thoughts:

As I roamed along the upper corridors this morning I was so pleased by the environment of care and learning at Clarion. There seems to always be an undercurrent of excitement in so much of what students do with their teachers. But now as we finish week five, there is a palpable sense of student-organized learning- and teaching of each other as they do so. Ms. Nada has been working with homeroom teachers to set up “Seesaw Centers” in the rooms where students can each week pick work to put up in their digital portfolios for parents to see. We will of course be inviting you into the rooms again in several more weeks, but along the way and throughout the year, students and teachers will be posting to you on Seesaw their progress. This is how Clarion uses technology to enhance reporting to parents. This is a great way for you to have a year-long record of where your child started, and where they move forward to by the end of the year.

Thank you all for your trust in us as we work with your children every day!

Sincerely,

Jim #ClarionCPCsupporter Pastore