There were two most enjoyable community events to end Term3 on a high sporting note. The WISE Field Day and the PYP Sports Carnival. Both were enormous fun and allowed for a good balance of participation for all and competitive spirit.
Although a good time was, I am sure, had by all it was not just about that. If you doubt the competitive edge you should certainly have witnessed the tug-of-war competition where students really dug in for their house and gave everything for victory. Indeed so many of the events showed the Woodford students the value of teamwork, efficiency and hard work. Hard physical effort like studying can be both rewarding and fun. It was also hugely gratifying for me to see so many older students engaging so comfortably with the younger students and relaying instructions in a thoroughly supportive manner (even if the older ones were left scratching their heads at times).
I know that students and spectators alike enjoyed and benefited both events. These activities build school spirit and allow parents to get a feel of the good things happening at Woodford. Many thanks to Ryan his team of IGCSE PE student helpers and all the Primary staff for their efforts, expertise and enormous patience. I’m sure they were all happy to enjoy the holiday at the end of it.
Woodford International School hosted Solomon Islands’ first ever ‘Tournament of Minds’ in September.
With special permission to pilot Tournament of Minds in Solomon Islands, Woodford teams went head-to-head entertaining and persuading a panel of expert judges about the merit of their solutions to a 4 week Engineering – Mathematics challenge.
Each team designed and produced a unique mechanical device capable of independently producing three distinct sounds, within a range of constraints. The teams were judged on the effectiveness and design of their devices, the quality of their dramatic presentations and mathematical explanations, their use of recycled materials and other criteria. The teams’ designs and presentations were totally different from each other, reflecting the students’ creativity and independence. In a tight battle, the ‘Rulers of Phenophalia’ took the title of TOM Champions.
TOM is a problem-solving programme for mixed-age teams of students from both primary and secondary years. Tournament of Minds was created in Australia thirty years ago and now involves tens of thousands of students each year from Australia, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Thailand, South Africa and other countries in the region. Participants in TOM develop diverse skills, enterprise, time management, and the discipline to work collaboratively within a competitive environment. Participants in the inaugural Solomon Islands Tournament of Minds said TOM was also ‘super-challenging’, ‘incredibly rich with learning’ and ‘heaps of fun’.
Many thanks to all the participants, judges and advisors. A special thank you to Emily for initiating and coordinating the event.
We owe a huge debt of gratitude to Lyn Watts who visited our school for two days in September to consider how we might improve our curriculum delivery. Her bright, wholehearted personality, considerable classroom experience and sound common sense ensured the two days were not only inspiring and informative but also fun. As a fellow professional it was a joy to meet someone so keen and able to foster school improvement. It is no wonder her services are in such high demand throughout Australia. I am sure her visit will lead to considerable improvement in teaching and learning here at Woodford and hopefully lead to further visits in the near future. Also a huge thank you to Judy Martin our Teaching and Learning Director who accompanied and advised Lyn throughout her tour. Both Judy and I will lead a PD event for teachers after their return from break to look at ways we can incorporate Lyn’s ideas into our work here. Parents can read Lyn’s initial insights in the School below:
Lyn Watts Report
Thank you for your invitation to review the beautiful Woodford International School. It was a joy to spend last week with you observing quality classrooms and engaged learners across the school. I have completed an audit of Teaching, Learning and curriculum and can now make the following observations:
Lessons have clear learning intentions with goals that clarify what success looks like.
Sound lesson structures reinforce routines, scaffold learning via specific steps/activities. Planned sequencing of teaching and learning activities stimulate and maintain student engagement
Explicit teaching practices clearly show students what to do and how to do it.
Collaborative learning is supported by designing meaningful tasks. It involves students actively participating in negotiating roles, responsibilities and outcomes.
Questioning opens up opportunities for students to discuss, argue, and express opinions and alternative points of view.
Differentiated teaching methods teachers extend the knowledge and skills of every student in every class, regardless of their starting point.
Clearly Woodford aims to lift the performance of all students, including those who are falling behind and those ahead of year level expectations. In order to ensure that all students master objectives, effective teachers plan lessons that incorporate adjustments for content, process, and product.
The curriculum design is also very successful. Primary School students undertake the International Baccalaureate (PYP), while Middle School students participate in the Cambridge/AICE Program and Senior School students are measured against the Solomon Islands National Curriculum. These internationally recognised curricula provide excellent guidance as to effective teaching and learning processes as well as curriculum planning, development and evaluation of learning.
It is clear that the Woodford International School highly values the relationships between teachers and students, and students with their peers. There is considerable evidence to support the school strategic plan statement that,
“WIS is a community of learners that builds on each child's strengths, drawing from our diverse local context and a rich international curriculum, to develop globally ready learners equipped to shape their future and achieve their dreams.”
A sad farewell
Regrettably for Woodford International School, our Acting Head of School, Ms Rachel MacKinnon, has been offered a compelling new international school leadership opportunity in Europe. Unfortunately for the students, staff and community of Woodford, this means Ms MacKinnon will finish in her current role on Friday 11 August 2017.
The Board, on behalf of the whole School Community, thanks Ms MacKinnon for her many contributions to the school over the last two years – as PYP Coordinator, Deputy Head for Learning and, since December 2016, as Acting Head of School. Ms MacKinnon has worked tirelessly and effectively in stewarding the school through a challenging period and we thank her for her efforts, her commitment and the significant value she has contributed to all aspects of the school. We are stronger as a school now than we were this time last year, and Ms MacKinnon has provided a strong foundation on which to build our school going forward. We wish her all the best in her new role.
Woodford will welcome Mr Anthony Baron as the new Head of School on 28 August 2017. Mr Baron has made a minimum three-year commitment to the School, recognising that we need stability as we introduce the new Cambridge A Levels senior school curriculum next year and continue to improve the quality and systems at Woodford. Mr Baron and Ms MacKinnon are in regular discussions to ensure a smooth transition of school management roles and responsibilities and the Leadership Team is ready and able to fill the brief gap between Ms MacKinnon’s departure and Mr Baron’s arrival, supported by the Board.
A concurrent strength and challenge of life in international schools is the relatively high ‘turnover’ of teachers and students – each new person brings fresh ideas, energy and perspectives but each farewell brings a touch of sadness too. As a Board, we are mindful that Ms MacKinnon’s departure could be challenging for some students and teachers, who will miss her greatly. If you feel your child is struggling to adjust, please reach out to their class teacher so they can help to support your child through the transition period.
At our meeting on 29 July, Board members thanked Ms Rachel MacKinnon for her service to the Board as Acting Head of School. We also elected Ms Bernadette Ombu to take over as Secretary of the Board.
Policy Development – draft fraud policy
In 2016, the Board adopted the school’s first ‘strategic policies’ to support efficient, fair and transparent administration of the school. Our first Strategic Policies Compendium addressed key school management and governance issues but the Board is committed to further developing and refining the compendium to strengthen the school. At our meeting on 29 July, the Board agreed to publish a draft Fraud Policy (emailed to parents) for public consultation. The Board welcomes comments and suggestions from parents, students and teachers on how to improve the policy. After considering feedback on the draft policy, the Board intends to refine the policy with a view to adopting it at the next Board meeting on 30 August.
Please send any comments or suggestions on the draft policy to email@example.com by 16 August. The Board aims to publish consultation drafts of child protection and fundraising policies following its next meeting.
Get in touch
As always, the WIS Board welcomes your comments and suggestions – please do not hesitate to contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org, or any one of us in person – we would love to hear from you.
We are pleased to announce that Team Solomon Islands came 35 out of 163 teams at the First Global Competition in Washington DC. A huge congratulations to our team and an enormous thank you to everyone that has supported them in this journey. Our team returns to Honiara on Saturday. We will now need to start preparing for the competition in Mexico City in 2018!
For photos and videos please go to: https://www.facebook.com/WoodfordInternationalSchool/
Dear Parents and Guardians,
Welcome back to Woodford for Term Three! This term promises to be another exciting nine weeks with lots of learning and a number of events to keep us all busy.
Please pardon our appearance as we watch our new building being constructed at the end of the carpark near the Hall. We were hoping for the building to be ready for the start of Term Three but, owing to circumstances beyond our control, it will probably be ready nearer the end of August. Please help us by ensuring that you and your children do not go anywhere near the construction area. We appreciate your patience during this time.
With our new building being put in place, there will be no parking for parents past the boom gate. Please do not ask the guards to let you in as they are under direct instructions not to open the boom gate unless the car has a Woodford Pass. We appreciate your help as we endeavour to keep our community safe.
We are pleased to announce that Café El-Shaddai will be operating the tuckshop from the start of Term Three. There are some changes that have been made to the ordering system and this week we will operate on a cash only basis. Previous tuckshop cards can no longer be used. Please bear with us as we change our system during Week One ready for Week Two. A letter explaining the new system will be sent out later this week.
Extra-Curricular Activities (ECAs)
ECA sign-up has been reopened as of now until Friday, 21 July @ 6:00 pm. Please sign-up your child if you have not done so already using the following link https://sites.google.com/view/wissbactivities/extra-curricular-activities/sign-up-form
Sadly, over the break we learned that two more members of our staff will not be returning to Woodford.
Ms Janene Greenaway, our wonderful teacher volunteer who has been working with teachers and students for two days a week, is returning to Australia at the end of July. We thank her for giving her time and for the quiet, confident way in which she has mentored teachers and students alike. She will be greatly missed and we wish her all the best.
Ms Lynette Adomea, our office manager, left for personal reasons at the end of June. We would like to take this opportunity to thank her for all the work she did for Woodford, her wonderful presence in the office and within the community. Please bear with us as our office staff work to take on the extra workload until we appoint a new office manager later in the year.
It is vitally important that we have up-to-date contact information for your family in case of emergency. If you have changed your email address, phone number or address please contact us at email@example.com with your new contact details as soon as possible.
Term Three Events
Week 2: Week Without Walls for Year 6 - 11
Week 5: Friday 18th August – Mufti Day
Week 5: Saturday 19th August - Woodford’s Got Talent
Week 6: Monday 21st August - Friday 25th August - Art Extravaganza “How We Express Ourselves”
Week 7: Friday 1st September – Father’s Day Assembly
Week 8: Wednesday 5th September – Primary School Learning Journeys and Secondary School Three-
Week 9: Friday 15th September – Primary School Sports Day
In the last week of Term Two, we held a PTFA AGM where our new PTFA was formed. We would like to take this opportunity to thank all the teachers and parents who attended the AGM and the community for its support. Our elected officers are as follows:
President: Miraflor Belarmino
Vice President: Merian Kho
Secretary: Anna Sufiona
New Head of School
At the end of last term, the WIS Board announced the appointment of a new Head of School – Mr Anthony Baron. We are hoping that Mr Baron will arrive in Honiara at the end of August and join us for the start of Week 7 (Monday, 28 August). If you missed this special announcement you can view it here: http://wis-wavelength.weebly.com/
We wish you all a great term!
Acting Head of School
The WIS Board is proud to announce the appointment of a new Head of School – Mr Anthony Baron – who will commence at the end of August 2017.
Following the early departure of Mr Dwight Mott in December 2016, the Board undertook a recruitment process to identify the new Head of School. After careful consideration of the attributes and skills required to lead Woodford and thrive in our unique context in Solomon Islands, the position was advertised internationally and locally from March 2017. Thirty-two applications were received from around the world. From this group, eight applications were shortlisted and five very strong candidates were invited to interview.
Anthony (Tony) Baron was a ‘stand-out’ candidate. He is an experienced international school leader with over 30 years working in international schools in seven countries over four continents. His first Head of School post was over 20 years ago. Since then, he has led schools in introducing and developing international programs, including IB and Cambridge programs, and has vast experience in strengthening the management and financial resilience of schools like Woodford. Tony has an excellent track record in ‘staying the course’ at schools he has led – he was at his most recent school in Angola for eight years and before that had five years at an international school in The Bahamas and four years at an international school in Malawi. Tony is passionate about prioritising the development of both staff and students, giving them the tools necessary to empower them and the space for them to express themselves. He also believes in celebrating the diversity of international schools while maintaining a community school atmosphere. His track record demonstrates his capacity and commitment to follow through on such passions and each school’s strategic priorities. The Board has full confidence in Tony and looks forward to introducing him to students, parents, staff and the Honiara community late in Term Three.
The Board takes this opportunity to extend a special thank you and heartfelt appreciation to Ms Rachel MacKinnon for stepping up into the Acting Head of School role in challenging circumstances following Mr Mott’s sudden departure. Ms Rachel embraced the challenges and worked with enviable determination and passion to ensure Woodford started 2017 without missing a beat. She restructured leadership and streamlined management to better align the school’s structure with its strategic direction and to enable the most productive use of staff and other resources. She stewarded the school from a position of financial uncertainty to one of stability and growing strength. Further, under Ms Rachel’s leadership, the school has strengthened its connections with the broader Honiara community, including a new inter-school sports program and the inaugural Careers Market, both initiated and organised by Woodford. Our engagement with Solomon Island Government ministries and other stakeholders has also strengthened. Student learning has benefitted from the school’s revitalised and modernised systems for class planning and staff development and appraisal, both of which more effectively draw on the expertise of the Woodford Educational Support Team (WEST) and senior staff to ensure continuous improvement in every classroom. Also under Ms Rachel’s leadership, the MAP standardised testing system has been introduced, improved student reports have been developed, ICT systems have been upgraded, safety procedures and business systems have been strengthened and a new library building has been donated to the school, the latter reflecting Ms Rachel’s powers of persuasion and persistence. She has done an outstanding job as Acting Head of School. Ms Rachel will continue as Acting Head of School until the end of a brief handover period with Mr Baron. She will then resume her substantive position as Deputy Head, where her expertise in ‘teaching and learning’ will enable an even greater focus on ensuring Woodford International School students receive high quality, engaging and effective teaching and enriching opportunities to develop and dream, both inside and outside the classroom.
A Welcome Message from Mr Anthony Baron
My name is Anthony Baron and I am delighted to be writing to you all as the newly appointed Head of School at Woodford International School.
Firstly, a big thank you to you the parents and staff for your continued support for the school. It is this support that has clearly been instrumental in in enabling Woodford to reach the position it is at today. It is a privilege to be appointed as the Head of School for such a successful, ambitious and popular school. I am very keen to start work with all members of the Woodford community to build upon the strengths of the school and to secure its position as one of the leading schools in the Pacific region.
As to my own background, I was born in London, U.K and studied Economics at the University of Essex obtaining both BA and MA qualifications. I also gained a PGCE from St. Mary’s College, then part of London University, and a further MA in Educational Planning and Development at the Institute of Education, London University. My first teaching post was at a comprehensive school in Neasden, London and my latest was as Director of Luanda international School, Angola. I served for eight years in this latter role, during which time the school developed into one of Africa’s leading schools, driving the academic and all-round achievement of the school and gaining exceptional reviews from IB, CIS and NEASC visitors. Prior to this role, I have been a Head of School in the Seychelles and The Bahamas and have had other senior roles in Malawi, Bahrain, Cambodia and the U.K. I have, for family reasons, been out of full time education for two years but am back and raring to go.
As you will be aware, the school will be introducing the Cambridge International A Level program and examinations from the beginning of the next school year. This and other initiatives bring with them challenges but also new opportunities, not only for Woodford but also the whole Solomon Island community. Drawing on existing relationships with parents is an integral part of this change and I will meet as many of you as possible at upcoming parent forums, at the school gate or in my office to listen to your thoughts and ideas and to see how we might best report details of progress in the months ahead.
The clear and distinctive strategic plan will guide my team with regards to what happens in the classroom, in extra-curricular activities and in pastoral care within the school. Our Mission at WIS is to “build a community of learners that builds on each child's strengths, draws from our diverse local context and a rich international curriculum, to develop globally ready learners equipped to shape their future and achieve their dreams”. To fulfill the Mission will involve high expectations of students and teachers; excellence in academic work; excellence and a high degree of participation in extra-curricular pursuits; high quality pastoral care; a genuine focus on the individual; and the development of leadership skills and lifelong learning. Underpinning all of this is the essential partnership between parents and teachers. I will work hard at establishing strong bonds within the school communities and across the School. The opportunities afforded by the “all through” nature of Woodford are considerable for both younger and older students.
Above all though, I aim to ensure our students feel happy, secure and valued. The community is key to this and I am so looking forward to discovering the country with the cleanest air in the world and its wonderful beaches. And most of all, I look forward to meeting the students, teachers and parents of Woodford, as well as the broader Honiara and Solomon Islands community.
Woodford International School
PARENTS, TEACHERS and FRIENDS ASSOCIATION (PTFA)
NOTICE OF ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING
Monday 19th June 2017, 6:00 pm
The WIS PTFA Annual General Meeting will be held from 6:00 pm on Monday, 19th June 2017 in the WIS hall. All parents, teachers and friends of Woodford International School are warmly invited and encouraged to attend.
Light refreshments will be available from 5:30 pm – come early and meet your current PTFA committee, the school leadership team, as well as other parents, teacher and friends of Woodford!
To encourage and facilitate parents’ attendance at the meeting, free childcare will be provided for the duration of the meeting.
What is the PTFA?
The PTFA provides a structure for parents to become involved in, and enhance, the WIS community experience, as well as to support the school’s Mission and Vision. WIS believes that a vibrant PTFA contributes to the health of the school. The school’s 2017-2021 Strategic Plan commits the school to re-establishing the WIS Parents Teachers and Friends Association (PTFA), with a mandate to encourage parents’ and friends’ involvement in the life of the school.
In line with this commitment, an interim PTFA committee was established in March of this year to work towards full re-establishment of the PTFA (following a few years in which the PTFA was inactive). The PTFA exists as an entity subject to the full legal and policy framework of WIS and its Mission, by-laws and activities align with and support the school’s Vision, Values, Mission and Strategic Policies.
Why should you get involved?
Joining the PTFA Committee is an opportunity for parents, teachers and friends of the school to:
What happens at the AGM?
The AGM must run in accordance with the PTFA by-laws (available on the WIS website or in hardcopy from the front desk of the main admin building). Key provisions of the by-laws follow.
b) Treasurer’s Report;
c) Election of PTFA office bearers (President, Vice-President, Treasurer, Secretary)
d) Election of PTFA general committee Members
How to get involved – nominate!
If you are interested in getting involved as an office bearer of the PTFA, please fill in the attached nomination form, get it signed by two other parents or teachers (one ‘proposer’ and one ‘seconder’) and submit it to the sealed box (marked PTFA) at the front counter of the admin building.
Alternatively, you can submit a brief email to PTFAnominations@wis.edu.sb identifying the position you wish to nominate for, your proposer and seconder (and their connections to the school eg “parent of Billy in year 9”) and include them in the cc: line of your email.
To be valid, nominations must be received by 6:00 pm on Thursday, 15 June 2017.
All nominations for office bearer positions will be advised to PTFA members (all WIS parents and teachers) by email and will be published on noticeboards around the school.
Nominations for general committee members will be taken orally at the meeting. If you are interested in joining the committee, please arrange a seconder in advance of the meeting.
Solomon Islands students will participate for the first in a global robotics competition in Washington DC July this year.
A team of four students from the Woodford International School will compete with students from more than 160 nations in the event.
Solomon Islands was the only team from the Pacific apart from Australia and New Zealand.
The competition will engage high school students with different levels of robotic designs and promote Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics or STEM education.
The Solomon team’s mentor Rakesh Pandey said the event will be a fantastic opportunity for the young students to celebrate sciences, mathematics, innovate creations and solutions at the same time.
He expected the competition to be very tough but hoped ‘Team Solomons’ will make an impact with their designs.
“Some of them are in extremely advanced stage. We are hopeful that if we do not win we will make sure that there is an impact, we’ll leave an impact there,” he said.
“We are hoping that we won’t come down doing nothing. We are hopeful that people will recognise the Solomon Islands team.”