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From the Principal

The first Lucia performance at IES Östersund

The first Lucia performance at IES Östersund

This week it felt like the countdown to the Christmas break had really begun!  These are difficult times and we have to constantly adapt and be careful to act in a way that is in accordance with health guidelines.  But that is why it is even more important that we at IES Östersund work creatively to set up our end of term traditions.  On 10th December we held our first Nobel Day and then on 11th December we celebrated Lucia.  Our large hall meant that it was possible to have a Luciatåg and our Year 7s sung in three separate performances to enable all students and staff to participate in a socially distanced way.  The events were fantastic and were yet another opportunity for me to feel extremely proud of what the staff and students have been able to achieve in such a short time and in such challenging circumstances.

 

I am so looking forward to the special events that we have planned for our final week of term in week 51.  However, I know that my teaching staff are also working extremely hard to complete the gradings for all Year 6 and Year 7 and to also update subject rubrics and information on SchoolSoft for all students from FSKL upwards.  As a result of Covid restrictions we have not been able to hold parent information sessions about grading but there is information available on SchoolSoft and our student-teacher-parent meetings in weeks 4 and 5 will provide opportunities for more discussion about next steps for students.

From the Principal

Covid - 19 Updates

Covid - 19 Updates


The constantly changing situation with Covid-19 in the Östersund region has presented many challenges for us at IES Östersund.  Information and advice changes on an almost daily basis and it sometimes seems difficult to make sure that carers, students and staff are all hearing the most up-to-date messages.

 

I would like to thank all IES parents and carers for helping us to keep our students and staff as safe as possible.  It is really appreciated that carers try and minimise the number of times that they enter the school building and if it is necessary to come inside, I have been grateful that all visitors do not proceed beyond the 'stop' signs that are at reception.  The adapted Fritids check out system in the afternoon also seems to be working quite smoothly.

 

As of writing (December 6th) the latest advice is that any student with a sibling and/or parent/carer at home who is infected by Covid-19 must stay at home.  More information can be read here https://www.folkhalsomyndigheten.se/nyheter-och-press/nyhetsarkiv/2020/d...

 

Additionally, if a student becomes unwell at school, the student's mentor must call home first to inform parents/carers.  The student should then be collected as soon as possible from school.  This procedure is in place to help keep all of our students as safe as possible and to reduce the possible risk of a spread of infection, both within school and the wider Östersund community.

 

Thank you very much to everyone who is helping us to uphold these protocols.

 

From the Principal

Comments for Parents and Carers.

Comments for Parents and Carers.

In my last blog I wrote about the importance of feedback and communication.  We regularly ask our students for feedback and are currently in the process of using some of their ideas to help with continually reviewing and developing teaching and learning for all students.  In this blog I would like to provide some feedback to our parents and carers.

 

Over the past few months our lost and found boxes have been filling up very quickly.  What started off as one box has now become four boxes.  Whenever we find items that are named, we immediately return them to the student.  Unfortunately, most items have no name.  We have included messages on SchoolSoft, asking carers to name items.  We have also asked carers to ask their children to check in the lost and found boxes or for carers to come and look, so that items can be returned to their rightful owners.  (Boxes have been put outside the school building to make it easier for carers to check). Our mentors have also spoken to their students about taking greater responsibility for their own items in order for us, as a school community, to maintain a calm and orderly learning environment.  Despite all of this, we still have a lot of unclaimed items.  

 

Therefore, we will be informing all students and their carers that any unclaimed items that remain in the lost and found boxes by Monday 11th January (student school start day) will be donated to charity.  It is my sincere hope that over the next couple of weeks, the amount of items starts to reduce and many of the items are reunited with their owners and that more items (especially hats, gloves and shoes) are named before they come into school.  Thank you for your help with this!

 

From the Principal

Student Feedback.

Student Feedback.

At IES Östersund we believe that it is really important to ask for feedback, to listen to feedback and to take action (when appropriate) on feedback!  Over the past few weeks, we have been working with all our students to gather their feedback about teaching and learning at IES Östersund.  During a mentor time, students in every class were asked a few simple questions about academics.  The survey results were then shared and discussed with the student School Council representatives.  Most recently, the student School Council representatives led discussions with their own mentor groups to collect answers to the question, "How can teachers make lessons even better at IES Östersund?".  

 

The results are now in and the feedback has been fascinating.  We have received some very informative, well-considered and imaginative ideas from our students.  However, there is no point collecting feedback if the next steps are not communicated to stakeholders and so, over the next few weeks, we will be informing students about some of the actions that will happen as a result of their comments.  The students' ideas will also be communicated to all staff and incorporated into workshops and training plans over the next few months.  We shall also be using the TV screens around the school and our social media channels to keep students and parents and guardians updated about how we are responding to our students' feedback.  

 

I believe that it is very important to keep communication channels open and so I encourage all parents and guardians to make contact with their child's mentor, in the first instance, if they have any feedback for our school.  Together we can work collaboratively to continue to make IES Östersund a school with a calm learning environment where we have mutually high expectations of each other and we all continue to develop our command of English.

 

From the Principal

World Kindness Day 2020

World Kindness Day 2020

November can often be a dreary month, and certainly, with the increased challenges that Covid is presenting, it has at times been tricky to keep things upbeat at school.  Therefore, as a school community we are embracing the concept of 'Nice November.' We have been encouraging random acts of kindness throughout the month and on Friday 13th November we all celebrated World Kindness Day together.

 

The day was a great success.  Everyone was encouraged to wear bright colours and mentor groups participated in a variety of activities to promote kindness and empathy.  There was also a special display at school which shared staff and students' thoughts about what made them proud and what made them happy. 

 

Possibly the most popular feature was 'friendly fika' which was provided for everyone.  Different year groups met to enjoy it together, chat and get to know each other a little better.  There was a lovely atmosphere around the school during the day and it was a super example of our Student Care Team, our Admin team and our teaching and fritids/junior club staff all working together to promote one of our school messages - be kind.  I am sure that we will all be doing our best to continue these good vibes throughout the rest of the year!

From the Principal

Covid - 19 precautions

Covid - 19 precautions

The autumn break week was a wonderful opportunity for many teaching staff and students to relax and re-energise.  However, the IES Östersund Fritids and Junior Club staff and the Student Care Team staff were still on site, caring for children and carrying out useful tasks in preparation for the start of the second part of our autumn term.

 

We have all been affected by the news that Covid-19 rates are increasing again in Sweden and I have been advised by IES Headquarters that we must take extra measures to best manage the situation.  One change is that most on site face to face meetings must now be cancelled and only the most urgent meetings can now take place.  This means that with immediate effect we respectfully ask that no parents or carers proceed beyond the school reception if they enter the school.  It would be ideal if all parents/carers said goodbye to their children at the school gate.  Parents/carers who are collecting children from Fritids are now asked to enter the school and check out their child at the Fritids check out point which is located in front of the school reception.  

 

I am sure that everyone will understand the importance of these new procedures and will cooperate with us so that we can do our best to try and reduce the spread of infection.

From the Principal. 

From the PrincipalStudent Work

First Halloween at IES Östersund!

First Halloween at IES Östersund!

Friday 23rd October was such a special day in the history of IES Östersund. We had reached a significant milestone - the end of the first half of the autumn term!  However, what made the day so great was the fact that we also had our first IES Östersund Halloween dress up day on that day too.  It was such fun to stand at the school gate in the morning and meet and greet our students as they arrived for the day and see so many in costume.  A lot of thought and effort had gone into their outfits and I was very pleased to see that everyone had taken careful note of our dress up guidelines too.  Many of our staff had also entered into the spirit of the day.  There was a lovely atmosphere of happiness and peaceful celebration around the school and this was increased by the super decorations that several classes had made.  The school yard wasn't forgotten either because the F-3 classes had been working hard on making special, autumnal lanterns and these were placed under the trees during the day.

Lanterns decorated by FSKL - Year 3 students

 

It felt such a privilege to be part of IES Östersund history, as we, the school community, worked together to create our first traditions.  This was a wonderful way to end what has been a very busy few months.  The day made me feel so proud to be Principal of our new school.  A school which is building a strong ethos day by day and which is creating a community which can work hard together but can also have fun together.  Our Fritids team will continue to be providing activities during the autumn break for some children but it is my wish that for the rest of the staff, our students and their families, week 44 will be a time of relaxation and enjoyment away from school.  

From the Principal

IES Regional Conference - Friday 16th October

IES Regional Conference - Friday 16th October

IES Östersund took part in its first Regional Conference on Friday 16th October.  This meant that the school was closed to all students for the day.  However, it was a really great opportunity for all our staff - teachers, Fritids and Junior Club leaders, the Student Care Team (SCT), receptionists, admin staff and our site premises staff and the Leadership Team - to have some quality time together to reflect and review.  We have achieved so much together in such a very short amount of time and it was really important that everyone was able to think about their own personal achievements and what has been accomplished by the team.

 

Staff at IES Östersund were also able to connect, using google hangouts, with other colleagues at IES Skellefteå, Sundsvall and Falun.  These schools have been up and running for longer than us and so we were really happy to learn from their experiences and benefit from advice and tips from them!

 

Personally, I thought the day was a really good use of our time.  I felt so proud of all our staff when we had our final feedback session at the end of the day and we were able share how we want to work with our goals and visions for IES Östersund.  I feel confident that the staff that are working here have a really good understanding of what it means to work in a school which promotes a command of the English language, maintains a calm and orderly learning environment and has high expectations for every student.

From the Principal

Building Progress - October 2020

Building Progress - October 2020

I have been very busy working with builders, architects and designers recently.  This is because we are preparing the second phase of the school building.  I took a tour of the special, practical rooms and was excited to see kitchen units being fitted in the home economics room!  We will also have an art room, craft rooms and a science lab and prep room.  In addition to those rooms we will have access to several more classrooms, group rooms and another staff work room.  Fritids will move into a new location and there is also more space for student lockers.

 

We have been told to expect to be able to use some of the space by the start of December and the whole of phase two will be open for business from January.  A lot of people are working very hard to make sure that this happens and I am very grateful to them for their cooperation and efforts.

From the Principal

First month at IES Östersund

First month at IES Östersund

September 2020

Hello Östersund!

We opened to students on the 20th August as the 38th IES school in Sweden.  The first month of being a fully functioning school has been intense and exciting.  There have been many meetings with new teachers, students and parents who have come from different parts of the world and these meetings are shaping the development of our shared culture and ethos.

Our students have embraced our values.  They are especially positive about our determination to create a safe and orderly school environment where teachers can teach and students learn in peace.  Bilingual teaching and learning has been a challenge for some, but students are adapting quickly and are developing their language skills at a rapid pace.  I am very proud of what our students and staff have achieved so far and I know that things will continue to improve all the time.  

It is unfortunate that the local media have been focusing on issues other than our core values and daily activities.  I therefore thought that I would take this opportunity to highlight our focus, our goals and our promises.   

Internationella Engelska Skolan Östersund offers teaching in a safe environment. Student well-being and the right to learn in a peaceful environment are prerequisites for all our students. We are proud to say that every day we work as a team to provide a safe, structured and secure school learning environment.  

Furthermore, we are proud to say that we have high academic expectations and aspirations for all our students.  Students' future personal and professional success in adult life is often dependent, in part, upon their educational experience in their formative years.  That is why at IES Östersund, we do all we can to promote a positive growth mindset approach to academic endeavour.  I and my staff share the same desire to see each and every student as an individual and personalise their educational experience accordingly.  At IES Östersund we do not expect everyone to be the best but we do expect everyone to do their best.  

I am proud that the IES Östersund family is a diverse socio-economic and cultural community.  Our students represent 14 different mother tongue languages and the staff represent 8. Multilingualism and cultural differences are part of our everyday life and we embrace a truly international atmosphere.  Promoting language skills is a natural “must” and, because English is our collective language, developing a command of English is essential.

I am very proud of what we have achieved so far and I am convinced that our school community has a place alongside other educational establishments within Östersund.  We are here to stay and are committed to delivering our values and ethos every day to our students and their parents and carers.

I would like to end by sharing our promise with all students, guardians and staff

“Teaching and education is our core business! We will deliver good teaching and every student will be given the best conditions to reach their full potential, based on their personal level. Jointly, we will build and maintain a strong positive culture and safeguard our work environment. We will work for, and maintain, confidential relationships where participation and commitment will characterize our daily work.”

 

Mr Reunanen

Your Principal

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