Farewell to 2017-18

Farewell to 2017-18

June 14, 2018

Today marks the end of the 2017-18 Academic Year. Summer beckons, schedules and routines will be significantly modified; many families will travel over the coming weeks.

At the end of the learning year, it is customary to take stock and reflect on what we have learned and accomplished, and what lies ahead of us. This year been one in which our school has changed in so many different ways. The physical shape of the school has undergone a remarkable and expansionary transformation, with the substantive completion of Phase III construction (A Block and C Block). This project is now entering its final phase with the redevelopment of Professor Sir Charles Kao Square and the Clifford C.F. Wong Secondary Library over summer. The familiar pathways and corridors of our learning home have been extended, re-routed, or complicated so that getting from one end of our school to the other requires some careful thought and much more time than was previously the case. The choice of venues for learning activities and meetings has more than doubled, something that has created some confusion that we hope will pass quickly as we 'relearn' the geography of our school.

In so many other, less tangible ways, we have grown and matured. Over this past year, our school‘s heart and soul have been enlarged, enriched, deepened, broadened, and tempered by joy and sorrow. Our values and guiding ethos have been challenged and tested. Much has been learned, but at great cost and with deep personal sacrifice. Most have been touched deeply and personally by life events in our community this year. I have great faith that we finish the year with stronger ties and deeper connections, bonds that draw us together and sustain us as a learning community.

At the end of each academic year, we say farewell to some colleagues and families, and prepare to welcome some new members in August. Of particular note is the departure of Dr. Eric Jabal, Secondary School Principal, who completes an eight-year marathon at the helm in Secondary School. Dr. Jabal has worked tirelessly and inspirationally in leading a team of outstanding educators to consolidate IB culture in our school, graduate seven classes, and grow our student and faculty ranks into the vibrant, diverse, and excellent learning community that ISF Secondary School is in 2018. We wish Dr. Jabal well in his new role with the Council of International Schools, where he will continue to pursue educational and institutional excellence on a broad, international canvas. His departure from ISF will actually be quite short: Dr. Jabal returns in August as a CIS consultant to assist us in our preparation for the next phase of CIS/WASC accreditation.

The second notable departure is Ms. Nancy Dyck, who retires to her beloved Canada to focus on home and family from a much closer vantage point. Energetic, committed, and fiercely protective of her students, Ms. Dyck has seen Primary School undergo a remarkable transformation to become a close-knit, purposeful, and uniquely bicultural primary school, the like of which cannot be found elsewhere. Ms. Dyck has developed a close and highly effective collegial bond with Ms. Shan Ning; the two have been workplace 'sisters' for five years, and they have touched the lives of every ISF child who has passed through the Primary School. We wish 'Ms. Nancy' and her husband, John, a richly fulfilling and healthy retirement in Nova Scotia.

In both cases, both Dr. Jabal and Ms. Dyck are being succeeded by long serving members of our school community: Mr. Nick Forde and Ms. Jenna McKee will take up their respective duties as Secondary School Principal and Primary School Deputy Principal (English) in August. Ms. Clair Chiang joins Ms. McKee as the other Primary School Deputy Principal (Chinese) at the same time.

Finally, among the small number of other faculty departures, it would be remiss of me not to make public mention of the retirement of Helen and Jim Bowden. Two of our most 'senior' colleagues, originally from New Zealand, Mr. and Mrs. Bowden have had an amazingly diverse and adventure-filled career in teaching spanning nearly 50 years. At this point, together, they command nearly a century of experience in the classroom, a remarkable achievement in the 21st century where we are expected to spend just a few short years in each 'career'. It is fair to say that these two master teachers have seen just about everything that can happen in a primary school classroom. We wish them a happy and healthy retirement!

No matter what your plans are for the summer break, we are reminded by the Bard that, "summer‘s lease hath all too short a date…" and the commencement of the 2018-19 Academic Year is just eight weeks away! Use the time wisely.

I wish each and every member of the ISF Community a restful and restorative summer; I hope you will all return to us safely, recharged for another year in early August!

 

Dr. Malcolm Pritchard

Head of School

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