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The Party's Over! Welcome to the New Academic Year.

Thursday, 7 September, 2017

Dear BBIS Parents

Welcome back to a new academic year. We hope that your summer break saw a wonderful time spent with family and friends, possibly even, in some exotic country.

The first few weeks of school have run smoothly in the main with the usual minor start-up issues and the school has now settled into its routines.
We are pleased to welcome an increased number of students into Grades 11 and 12. We currently have 86 students in Grade 11 and expect closer to 90 by the end of the month. In Grade 12, we have 85 students … a large graduating class.
We have enhanced the curricular offerings this year with the addition of IBDP Design Technology and Russian A Language and Literature. This year will also see the first group of students to graduate in IBDP Theatre.
Joining our excellent staff of educators we have:

Mr Anthony Russo    Coordinator of Educational Technology
Ms Ekaterina Minaeva  Teacher of Russian A
Mr Christopher Kelly Teacher of German
Mr German Alavarez  HoD Modern Foreign Languages (MFL), Teacher of Spanish and Theory of Knowledge
Mr Ramzi Darwazeh Theory of Knowledge (TOK) Coordinator, Teacher of History and Theory of Knowledge
Mr Paul Arkilander HoD Science, Teacher of Biology
Mr Lee Peel  Teacher of Mathematics
Mr Karl Proctor  Teacher of Mathematics

As you might be aware, our teacher of Geography, Ms Christin Mohammed-King, is currently on medical leave until 31 October, at least.  We wish her a full and speedy recovery. We are very fortunate to have been able to engage Ms Catherine Justus to teach all of Ms Mohammed-King’s classes. Ms Justus comes to us from Ireland and is a very experienced teacher of Geography having taught up to IGCSE and IBDP level in Dubai, Dresden, Nice, Melbourne and Berlin.

Mr Simon Pönisch has been appointed Extended Essay Coordinator.

BBIS has created a new whole-school position, Head of Outdoor Learning, and Mr Dan Stiles has been appointed to that role. While the details of the role are evolving, Mr Stiles will be responsible for learning beyond the classroom. We live in a city which offers many rich educational opportunities to enhance our courses and Mr Stiles will be responsible for developing these opportunities. The position, and initiative, should not be confused with the International Award (Duke of Edinburgh) which Mr Stiles also leads.

The annual Trip Week for Grades 6 – 10 will take place from 25 – 29 September. While Grade 11 and 12 classes will continue as much as possible, given a reduced faculty, this year we are instituting some new trips of our own focussing on the IBDP ‘core’ for DP students and on Personal and Professional Skills for CP students.

A DP TOK excursion is planned for the Wednesday for Grade 11 DP students. They will visit the Brandenburg Gate, Reichstag, Holocaust Memorial, Neue Wache, Memorial to the Sinti and Roma victims of National Socialism and possibly the Grunewald Memorial. The purpose of the trip is to encourage students to consider the role of memory (a TOK Way of Knowing), particularly public memory, and explore which sites and events are remembered and which narratives are emphasized and which are neglected.

A CAS Expo is planned for the Thursday. The guest presenter at the expo will be Mr Anthony Skillicorn who has been responsible for enhancing and strengthening the CAS and Service Learning programmes at The American School of The Hague and Dulwich College, Shanghai. We look forward to his input and interaction with the students.

The Grade 11 CP students will take a tour of the Bundestag on the Wednesday. This trip is in conjunction their Personal and Professional Skills class, namely with their first unit on Politics and Democracy which addresses the question, “To what extent do individuals have a say in the decision-making processes within a nation?” On the  Thursday of Trip Week, all of the Grade 11 and 12 CP students will go climbing in the Potsdam Abendteuerpark.

To assure quality of the Career-related Programme and its delivery at BBIS, we will host a consultation visit next week. This is a smaller ‘check-up’ visit for our CP programme (which we have been running for 6 years now) so that the CP can then join the rest of our school programmes’ synchronised self-evaluation / reaccreditation cycle.. Everything is in place for what is expected to be a successful outcome.

As it was last year, a series of coffee mornings will be offered over the next several months with presentations covering topics generated by parent interest such as:

  • Being an IB Parent (and Surviving)
  • Everything You Always Wanted to Know About the IBDP and IBCP
  • What Is This Thing Called TOK?
  • Understanding CAS / Service Learning
  • The Extended Essay / Reflective Project
  • The University Admissions Process
  • The dates of these mornings are currently being worked out. Stay tuned for further information coming from the PTA.

You are probably already aware from the school calendar, but just a reminder of the IBDP / CP Information Evening for parents of Grade 9 and 10 students to be held on Tuesday 19 September, commencing at 18:00, in the MPR in House 3. Andrew Hand (DP / CP Principal), Karin Schnoor (DP Coordinator) and Julia Peters (CP Coordinator) will present on the Diploma and Career-related programmes and address any questions you might have as you consider, with your son or daughter, the appropriate educational pathway in Grades 11 and 12. 

The IBDP / CP ‘team’ and I look forward to partnering with you this year to ensure a positive educational experience for your son or daughter.