Back to School: A Year-long Conversation

Back to School: A Year-long Conversation

September 7, 2018

Tonight, we host the last of three evening events in which we invite parents to come 'back to school' at the start of the 2018-19 academic year. Over the three week 'season' for Back to School, we will have hosted nearly 2,000 parents on campus. These annual events are primarily aimed at information sharing and tone-setting for the year.

For our teachers, particularly those who are new to ISF, Back to School Night always creates anticipation and some mixed emotions: they are excited at the prospect of meeting the parents of the children they are now teaching; at the same time, they are anxious to create a good, positive impression. We value these events as they provide us with a very practical way of establishing contact between home and school; they also offer the opportunity to align expectations for the weeks and months to follow.

Each Back to School Night offers remarkable symmetry. Teachers share perspectives on curriculum structure, course content, and homework expectations. Parents want to know what is to be taught, school expectations about tasks to be completed at home, and the ways in which their children will be assessed over the year. Essentially, we start the year together on the same page. In this sense, each Back to School Night is an important part of a successful 'launch' of each school year.

The Back to School Night also seeks, with the best of intentions, to encourage regular, open, and at times frank communication between parents and teachers. We start the journey with a fairly clear idea of where we want to end up in June 2019. What we cannot predict with clarity is how our children will fare along the way: the unexpected challenges they may encounter, the complex social interactions that may impact on their studies, the events beyond school that may influence mood and manner.

The management of a child's education requires vigilance, attention, understanding, and a great deal of care and compassion. We aspire to offer all of these things to each family. At the same time, we ask for this to be reciprocated by each family. Back to School Night is not a single event to mark the start of the academic year. It is the start of a year-long conversation between educators – school-based and home-based – about learning and children. Please support us by participating in this rich, interesting, and at times perhaps challenging conversation: our children are depending on us.

Dr. Malcolm Pritchard
Head of School

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