Message from the Head of School
It was a remarkable and challenging year for all of us, on both a professional and personal level.
The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic to operations was countered through our Distance Learning Plan (DLP), where the teachers and leadership team conjointly mobilised to move educational services online.
As 2019/20 academic year draws to a close, we reflect on this remarkable year with positivity and success. We can take pride in our unity, our perseverance, and what we have accomplished as a school community. At the outset, I would like to thank the OSC community for your compassion, patience, and support during this challenging year.
During the fall months, our students engaged in various co-curricular activities apart from the academic programme which included the productions of Alice in Wonderland and Oliver, SAISA international and local sports competitions, Gecko Robotics, environmental campaigns, and leadership programmes. Our students were engaged in RCCI, SOS Children’s Village, and interacted with all aspects of our local community. Through experiential learning, field trips across Sri Lanka were organised, which were a great success. Our counsellor hosted a number of university visits to facilitate higher education aspirations of our students.
In November, our teachers were provided with opportunities for continuous professional development, through a workshop conducted by
Dr Mark Church from Harvard University titled “Cultures of Thinking”. In the primary school, our IB PYP teachers underwent the most up-to-date training in the IB and participated with Katy Romero in a week-long professional development in best practices in teaching maths in the Primary Years Programme (PYP). The entire school prepared for its winter re-accreditation synchronised visit from CIS/MSA and IB, and in February 2020 held a successful one-week-long visit from three accreditation/authorisation bodies.
Recognising that a pandemic was growing worldwide, by January 2020 our leadership team started working on a Distance Learning Plan (DLP) to build from what was created in May 2019 after the Easter attacks. The teachers and leadership team conjointly mobilised to provide a high-quality online experience for all. Within two days of the government calling for a closure of all schools across Sri Lanka, OSC moved its educational services online. From 13 March 2020 until 11 June 2020, the DLP allowed for continuity of our educational programme for all classes Preschool to Grade 12.
The Graduating Class of 2020 performed very well under the challenging times, and we are very proud of our students’ academic results as well as their university offers and acceptances. Our externalised standardised testing scores indicate that our students performed well above the worldwide American and international norms. The pages ahead will describe in more detail how our students performed academically while they developed their interests and passions in our co-curricular programmes, in service for others, and their chosen creative enterprises.
OSC gives back to the community in immeasurable ways which widens the metric of excellence at OSC. We believe that a real measure of a school is not the outcome of testing results, rather that our students become agents of their own learning who recognise that together, along with all of our differences, we can impact change. The DP1 student created, organised and led Zoom-A-Thon for UNICEF and Children’s Education in Sri Lanka. It was a four-hour Zoom-A-Thon to raise awareness and funds to support children’s educational access across our host country was testimony to our students’ international-mindedness.
Our exceptional teaching staff is highly qualified and fully committed to our students and their families. We invest in them knowing our staff is our greatest asset. The loyalty of the staff was exhibited throughout the pandemic and into the summer where 88% stayed in Sri Lanka, knowing if they left, they may not have been able to get back for their students. The loyalty of the OSC teaching staff is inspiring.
Finally, we have immense pride in our parents who invest in their children’s education and believe in the home-school partnership. Without them our DLP would not have been so smooth. Thank you to our parents who showed amazing resilience during a difficult time. A further thank you goes out to our School Community Network (SCN) members, and all of our parents who continue to work hard volunteering their time by providing input to policies, practices and supporting events across the School. Their sense of community helps us realise our goals.
After such a remarkable and challenging year for all of us, on both professional and personal level, I wish to thank you for your partnership and your support. All I can do is to humbly assure you that as always, your child remains our greatest priority.
The underbelly of a school is an ethos for continuous improvement. Crafting plans for improvement is our bread and butter. We work with students so they may continually improve and get better. “Better than before” should be the heart of any accredited school striving for excellence.
Be proud you are part of this school.
Be a proud Gecko – always.
Michelle Kleiss, EdD
Head of School