Here we are at the start of another school year and very happy to welcome back old friends and families whilst also excited to meet new students, parents and colleagues. There have been many changes at BSQ over the summer and I hope that you all enjoy the many new shaded areas, classrooms, multi-purpose spaces for meeting and activities and the new soft floor play area for climbing and play. BSQ is a vibrant, growing and professional school where we create an environment in which our students can flourish, grow and learn and these new facilities will give us even more opportunities to do so.
Next week we will showcase some of the fantastic changes and how we are already using and enjoying them and you will have an opportunity to see them yourselves when we welcome you to the campus for our Welcome Back Evening on September 5th.
Families who were with us last year will remember that at the end of May we hosted the CIS team who came to evaluate the school in terms of accreditation membership renewal. The process involves a stringent assessment against 95 standards of quality linked to staffing, teaching, student well-being, global citizenship and many other elements of our school life and the CIS expectations. I am delighted to share with you the fact that we were successful in our goal and have been officially notified that we remain a CIS school. The CIS team commented that BSQ is a ‘vibrant and engaged’ community with teachers who show ‘high levels of professionalism’ and that the school does an ‘outstanding job’ in caring for the safety and welfare of the students. My thanks to everyone in the BSQ who contributed to this fantastic outcome.
New Communication Platform.
This year we will be launching a new way of communicating with you all on a daily, weekly and termly basis. Canvas is a learning management system that is already in use across schools, businesses and universities across the world – including in the UK by the University of Oxford, University of Birmingham, London Business School, University of Wolverhampton and Manchester University. It is also the leading platform used by a number of Ivy League universities in the USA including Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Cornell and MIT. More information will be coming your way soon but for now you can see some of the ways in which Canvas operates here.
As you know, it is often the case that the UV levels here are very high, and in line with our responsibility to keep the children safe here at school, we have introduced a new policy linked to Sun Safety and part of that policy is that all students (and staff!) must be wearing a hat when they are outside.
In the primary school this is the BSQ hat that is part of the school uniform only (see the information in the parent handbook) but in the secondary school the students may choose their own hat to wear. Each classroom will have a supply of sun cream and our school doctor Sara Luengo is on hand to offer up to date advice about being sun smart.
You had the opportunity to meet our new staff through the newsletters last year and I hope that you also have many opportunities to meet with all our team members during the course of the year. As the school grows so do the number of fantastic professionals here to ensure that your children are welcomed, happy, challenged, cared for and able to learn at the highest level. Over the next few weeks we will showcase some of the teams in the school who undertake important roles in the care and education of all the students but this week I just want to say welcome to all our staff as they start their new school year at BSQ. We look forward to welcoming you all on Thursday September 5th at 6pm to meet the secondary tutors and primary class teachers to find out about your school year ahead.
From the Staff and Students
Welcome back to our teachers and their stories about learning in the classroom this term. This week we hear from Ms. Ruth Todd.
Every year, at this time, social media and conversations with friends (yes teachers often socialise with other teachers!) are often filled with messages or memes of dread about the return to work. And whilst it is always nice to have an extended break in order to travel and unwind I for one do not see the return to work as something to dread.
There are just too many things to look forward to: meeting new staff and students, seeing returning staff and students, hearing about learning experiences and exciting travels, seeing the changes in campus and (again) students as they grow up, talking about and making plans for the year ahead, fresh starts, getting to talk about recommended places to new staff and reminding ourselves (the returning staff) about how many exciting places there are to visit here, the list goes on.
It really has been a fantastic start to the year with lots of smiles from students and staff alike, and an extremely positive atmosphere around campus. I for one count myself as very lucky to be part of the BSQ community, which is what we return to every year as we start again. Long may it continue and I hope you all have a fantastic year.
Dates for your Diary
September 2nd – First day of classes for Reception Students
September 3rd – First day of classes for Nursery Students
September 5th – Welcome Back Evening at 6pm
September 21st – Welcome Back Picnic
September 26th – Juramento de la Bandera
The Calendar for 2019-2020 is on the school website here. Please do make sure that you have all the key dates written in your personal diaries.
Being BSQ – Primary Update
I have great pleasure in welcoming you to the new academic year here at The British School Quito, whether this is your first year here at BSQ or the next of many. For those returning, you will notice a great many changes to the Primary School since the students left in late June for the holidays, not least to the campus. We have added several new classrooms, including a new Nursery block, improved the playground surface and increased the available shade.
It is amongst the teaching staff where you will find more changes, with new teachers joining our staff to work alongside their colleagues to help create a caring, creative and challenging place to live and learn. For the past two weeks they have worked tirelessly alongside their colleagues, learning about what makes BSQ so special and adding their own experiences, skills and knowledge to our teaching body. Please do take the time to have a look around the campus and welcome our new staff, particularly on Thursday 5th September when we will welcome all parents to the school at 6pm to meet the teachers.
Of course, we also welcome new students to our school, from Nursery to Year 6, and we look forward to them joining our community and sharing our values throughout the year and developing as individuals in this unique learning environment. Again, please help us make our new families feel welcome and get to know them - aside from the opportunity to meet them on Thursday 5th we will also hold our annual Welcome Back Picnic on Saturday 21st September, with more details to follow.
Another development this year is our introduction of our online communication and information tool, called Canvas. This is already used by the staff here at BSQ in a variety of ways and we will soon be inviting you all to join this online community so that you can access even more information about your child’s learning and the events and activities that are happening at school.
Although we have greatly increased the level of shade available for our students, we still expect all students to have a labelled hat in school every day. Without a hat, they are restricted to playing in one of the shaded areas only. They are able to bring it to school on Monday, leave in school all week and take home to be washed at the weekend. Similarly, we ask that every student has a labelled water bottle in school every day to maintain hydration levels throughout the day. Bottled water is available in every classroom and the communal areas to refill their bottles. Finally, all the students look really smart in their school uniforms – please ensure that all items of uniform are clearly marked with their names.
With the new year comes new challenges and goals to be met – I look forward to sharing these with you over the coming months as we truly strive for academic excellence and personal growth.
Head of Primary
Being BSQ – Secondary Update
Welcome back, one and all, to what will surely be another fabulous, full, and fulfilling year of learning and living in Secondary.
There are many new faces among the students and parents, from near and far, and we hope that you'll all soon feel settled, at home, and part of the BSQ family.
We have a number of new teachers, too, in Secondary this year.
We welcome Ms Aditi Sadotra, Mr Stefan Karakasian, Ms Belen Arellano, Mr Bradley Edwards, Ms Claire Maudsley, Ms Valeria Cano, Ms Sara Avent and Mr Matthias Lee, all of whom you'll have an opportunity to meet with soon at either the Welcome Back Information Evening on Thursday 5th September, or at the PA's Welcome Back Picnic event on Saturday 21st September.
We've had a busy, exciting start to the year already. The IB students, new and old, have been in classes since Thursday 22nd as they begin and continue their journeys towards success. The Year 7 students started on Tuesday, while everybody returned on Wednesday. Classes are already in full flow, and the buzz of learning is tangible.
Students are already making good use of the new facilities, including extra three extra classrooms, more shaded areas, and more seating for lunch and break.
Please do help us in ensuring that your children have everything they need for learning and for recreation. This includes a laptop of similar device if they are in Year 9 or above, hats for when they are outside in the sun, and the right uniform for the right days - including House sports shirts for our fortnightly House sporting competitions.
One change this is the way we will organize our parent, teacher and student conferences. These will now take place during the school week, hopefully avoiding any clashes with weekend plans and allowing all of the Secondary school to attend on the same day. The first of these will be on Thursday 7th November, so please make a note in your planners.
Once again, welcome. I do hope to see each and every one of you very soon.
Head of Secondary
From the BSQ Counselling Team
This week our school counsellor, Andrea Carrera, talks about successful parenting.