Hola and Greetings to all.
Having completed one year as Principal of Shining Star International School, Abu Dhabi, I would like to allow myself a moment of reflection. In the best of times leading a K-12 school requires 36-hour days and this time round my role wasn’t expected to be a normal one. The Push to Excellence 2021-22 campaign announced this month, actually had its soft launch 12 months ago. It involved upgrading the school’s infrastructure and adopting ‘Best Practices’ and ‘New Initiatives’ from my treasure trove of ideas, collected over a lifetime of educating young minds. Little did I know that an innocuous micro-organism originating out of China would disrupt everything we sought to do by causing havoc across the globe, completely changing the dynamics of the education landscape we were accustomed to.
We had a battle! And it required all hands-on board. Teaching and learning couldn’t stop, and all of us had to step out of our comfort zones and get innovative. I was so proud to see my team rising to the challenge, reaching for their inner reservoirs of strength and reserve, accepting the gauntlet thrown to all of us.
Our teachers gave up their Spring Break to learn how to navigate virtual classrooms on digital platforms and we soon emerged collective champions, setting an example to our students, on how to unleash ones true potential in the face of sudden adversity. All our teachers got certified as Microsoft Innovative Educators and are now experts at using the 21st Century Learning Design to plan and deliver their lessons.
The Covid-19 education crisis has proven that the first responders – Our Teachers are courageous and exceptional human beings. They put service before self, often neglecting their own families to ensure that their students teaching and learning experiences were not compromised. With alacrity and agility, SSIS graduated to becoming a ‘High Tech School’ and it is a privilege to being referred to as being the ‘Best In It’s Segment’.
2020 has been a great year for SSIS in terms of academics. We got our best-ever Grade X and XII Board result and our subject toppers made us very proud by scoring in their high 90’s.
Our students also made us proud on the global front. 15 of our budding Shining Star poets were amongst the best child poets chosen from the UAE, to have their poems published in the UN Convention on the Rights of Child magazine, published by the Ariel Foundation.
SSIS was also among the Top 100 Global Showcase Schools invited to the World Education Week organized by T4, 5 -9 October 2020, and it was an honor to share our Best Practices to a global audience. This has been the school’s finest achievement so far, a truly international landmark.
“Excellence is never an accident. It is always a result of high intention, sincere effort and intelligent execution. It represents wise choices of many alternatives. Choice not chance determines our destination.” – Aristotle
We have made our choice. There is no compromise for excellence! We will uphold the highest standards where the school is concerned.
My responsibilities are not limited to only leading the school. I consider parental engagement on the future of education a priority and my personal responsibility. I believe that the present education landscape needs to make a shift, by bringing in learning content and experiences better suited to preparing our young learners for the fourth industrial revolution.
The skills of Global Citizenship, Innovation, Creativity, Technology and Interpersonal skills are going to be in high demand in the future. To be able to develop these skills, there is an immediate need to change how learning is delivered. The future of education will need to be personalized and self-paced for students, who will remain life-long learners.
At Shining Star teacher training is a high priority to ensure that our teachers impart personalized, problem based and collaborative learning to all students. SSIS is an inclusive school, our doors are open to all our learners and the teaching and learning experience is customized to suit each student’s individual needs.
Toastmasters and Gavel Club will kick off in February to empower our students and teachers with public speaking and declamation skills.
Being a mother to a daughter enrolled in a Post Graduate course at University, I feel guilty for not always being available for my child. It is my hope she will understand, that my first and foremost responsibility is to my school and the team, who look up to me for inspiration. I try my best to maintain a balance between family and my official responsibilities. These are tough times for everyone. But then again, ‘Tough times really don’t last……. Tough people do.’
Admissions are now open for the academic year 2021-22. Enroll your children at SSIS and let us work together to graduate them as Shining Stars.
I ask for your support on our Journey to Excellence and look forward to personally welcoming you and your child on campus.