CIS/NEASC ACCREDITATION VISITING TEAM REPORT
Name of School:
St. Dominic’s International School Lisbon, Portugal
Dates of Visit:
March 27 – April 2, 2004
Name of Team Chair:
Name of Co-Chair:
TABLE OF CONTENTS Page Number 4 5 7 8 11 16 19 22
Introduction Preamble Guidelines for Completion of Report on Standards Section A: Section B: Section C: Section D: Section E: Philosophy and Objectives Organisation and Administration School Staff Early Childhood Programme Elementary Curriculum Programme Sub-Sections E1-E-10 Elementary Curriculum Learning Areas E-1 and 6: E-2: E4: E5: E7: E8: E9: E10: E10: Section F*: The Arts Information Technology Language Development Mathematics Physical Education Science Social Studies Curriculum Enrichment Programme Religious Education
26 27 28 30 32 33 34 35 36 37
Middle Years Programme of the International Baccalaureate Sub-Sections F*1-F*9 Middle Years Programme Learning Areas: F*1: F*2: F*3: F*4: F*5: F*6: F*7: F*8: F*9: Language A Language B Humanities Natural Science Mathematics The Arts Physical Education Technology Personal Project
44 46 48 50 52 54 56 58 60
Secondary Curriculum Programme Sub-Sections G1-G13 Secondary Curriculum Learning Areas G1: G2: G3: G4: G5 and 6: G7, 8, 9 G10: G13A: G13B: Language A Language B Mathematics Natural Science Humanities The Arts Physical Education Design Technology Theory of Knowledge
Page Number 62
66 68 69 71 73 75 76 77 79 80 83 86 90 94 97 100 103 106 109 111 113 114
Section H: Section I: Section J: Section K: Section L: Section M: Section N: Section O: Section P:
Special Needs Education Guidance Services Health Services & Safety Student Services Student Life Library/Media Centre School Facilities Finances and Financial Management Assessment of Student Learning and Performance
List of Major Commendations List of Major Recommendations Concluding Statement Team List
INTRODUCTION NEASC The New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) is the oldest of the six regional accrediting agencies in the United States. Since its inception in 1885, the Association has awarded accreditation to educational institutions in the six-state New England region that seek voluntary affiliation. In 1980, NEASC agreed to work co-operatively with the European Council of International Schools (ECIS) in serving institutions interested in seeking accreditation with both organisations. This cooperation continued when ECIS transferred responsibility for accreditation services to the Council of International Schools (CIS) in July 2003. The governing body of the New England Association of Schools and Colleges is its Executive Committee which oversees the work of five commissions: Commission on Institutions of Higher Education, Commission on Independent Schools, Commission on Public Secondary Schools, Commission on Technical and Career Institutions, and the Commission on Public Elementary Schools. The Committee on American and International Schools Abroad (CAISA) of NEASC submits its recommendations on membership to the Executive Committee through one of the school commissions. The United States Secretary of Education is required by federal statute to publish a list of accrediting agencies which he determines to be reliable authorities as to the quality of education offered by institutions. The New England Association is on the Secretary’s approved list. In order to achieve this status, the Association was required to submit its policies and procedures to the same rigorous scrutiny which is expected of the Association’s own member institutions during the evaluation process. CIS In July 2003 the Council of International Schools (CIS) took over responsibility for the Accreditation Service which the European Council of International Schools (founded in 1965) had been offering to schools since 1970. CIS is an independent, non-profit, membership organisation of approximately 500 international schools in approximately 110 countries throughout the world. It serves the interests of some 340,000 young people, a constituency which represents many nationalities with varied cultural, religious, and linguistic backgrounds. CIS also includes universities and colleges to which students from international schools apply. Presently over 150 CIS member schools have been granted accredited status following a directed comprehensive self-study and a rigorous, thorough evaluation by a Visiting Team, which found them to meet the CIS Standards for Accreditation. Accredited schools are subject to regular monitoring through routine progress reports and visits, and they must undergo a full re-evaluation every ten years. CIS accreditation is accepted throughout the world, including in the USA through the recognition programme of the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS). There is very close co-operation between CIS and NEASC, both of whom require schools seeking accreditation or re-accreditation to use their joint evaluation instrument for School Improvement through Accreditation which is ‘The Institutional Evaluation Guide for American/International Schools’. The school evaluation programme consists of three main stages: the self-study conducted by the professional staff and other members of the school community, the evaluation by the visiting team, and the follow-up programme carried out by the school under CIS monitoring to implement the findings of the self-study and the valid recommendations of the visiting team. CIS recognises that schools which are different may be equally good. The fundamental premise of the accreditation programme is that an educational institution must be evaluated in terms of the CIS Standards for Accreditation and the degree to which is the school is putting its own Philosophy and Objectives into practice. . The school’s Philosophy and Objectives statement is therefore a vital document, and it should express the principles which guide the governing body, school management and professional staff in their efforts to meet the needs of the students enrolled. The visiting team’s observations on the school’s philosophy are found in Section A of this evaluation report. As the responsible body for matters of evaluation and accreditation, the CIS Board of Trustees charges visiting teams with the responsibility of assessing the degree to which evaluated schools are putting their own Philosophy and Objectives into practice and the extent to which they are meeting the published Standards for Accreditation.
PREAMBLE A team of 11 educators, plus a team secretary, representing the Council of International School (CIS), the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) and the Middle Years Programme of the International Baccalaureate Organization (IBMYP) visited St. Dominic’s International School, Lisbon, Portugal from 27 March 2004 through 02 April 2004. The logistical arrangements for the visit were impeccable, enabling the team to work together in a highly professional atmosphere to prepare this report. Prior to the visit the school had conducted an exhaustive Self Study in which all members of the staff were involved, together with parent, Board and student representatives. This Self Study served as the basic documentation for team members as we spent time looking at all aspects of school life and programmes. The Visiting Team gathered for an introductory dinner and meeting on the Saturday evening, had an extensive visit to the campus on Sunday, followed by a reception with staff and Board members at the home of the Principal, Mrs. Chari Empis. Throughout the visit Mrs. Empis did everything in her power to make us welcome and to make the visit successful. On the Sunday evening the Visiting Team began its deliberations in earnest on the school philosophy and the school facilities. From Monday through Thursday team members spent time visiting classes, meeting teachers, parents, students, administrators, and Board members with a view to learning as much as possible about the school and its programmes. Each evening the team met in extended sessions to discuss findings and to work together to produce this report. St. Dominic’s rightly enjoys a positive reputation in the Lisbon area as a school for expatriate children as well as Portuguese nationals seeking a sound education using English as the medium of instruction. It was established in 1964 by the Irish Dominican Sisters as part of their overall operations in Portugal. This background means that the school has a structure of governance which differs significantly from most international schools. The structure is described in Section B (Organization and Administration) of this report. The school was initially accredited by ECIS and NEASC in 1994 and has grown significantly in size and stature since then. It has successfully adopted all three programmes (Primary Years, Middle Years and Diploma) of the IBO, and offers excellent continuity of education for students aged 3 to 18 years. The Visiting Team was immediately aware that the students in the school appear happy and secure, and have a great deal of confidence in the education they are receiving at the school. Every team member reported on positive interchanges with students of all ages, both individually and in group settings. Relationships between students of all ages, and between students and teachers are positive and generate an extremely strong sense of school spirit. Many instances of this will appear in this report. As in all schools, there are areas which merit attention, and the Visiting Team has outlined a series of recommendations which we hope will serve as a blueprint for the school as it embarks upon the next period of its development. Central among these areas are two fundamental issues: communication and long range planning. There is no doubt that the school will benefit from a well thought out and structured strategic planning process, which must include all sectors of the school community. This will not only ensure the long range viability of the school and its programmes, but will also engage the various constituents in a meaningful exercise to benefit students, current and future. Communication has been a major issue in the St. Dominic’s community over the past two years. There have been issues between the staff and the Board/Administration and between parents and the administration. While it is not the function of a Visiting Team to go into the merits of the specific issues which have caused concern, members of the Visiting Team do feel that it is incumbent upon all parties to find ways to work together to overcome the mistrust and feelings of disenfranchisement which have arisen as a result of these breakdowns in communication. There are several recommendations to that effect to be found in this report. It is worth reiterating at this point that these problems of communication have not affected the very positive atmosphere among the students and between the students and staff. However, in the long run, the school and
its students can only benefit from improved levels of communication and trust among the adults in the community. As Chair and Co-chair of the Visiting Team we would like to thank team members for their long hours of dedicated and professional endeavours in the compilation of this report. The team members came from a wide range of international schools and professional backgrounds, and quickly blended into a very strong group. We hope very much that the St. Dominic’s community will be able to use this report in a positive manner as they consider plans and actions for the future. We must thank Mr. Simon Thompson (Chairman of the Self Study) and the school community for their hard work in compiling the Self Study, which the team found mostly very thorough. We must also thank Mrs. Teresa Hanmer who co-ordinated all the arrangements for the visit in an extremely friendly and professional manner. And, of course, we must specifically thank Principal Mrs. Chari Empis for her graciousness in receiving us so well. Finally, in addition to our recognition of the team members we must make specific mention of Ms. Imogen Lathbury, who served as our team secretary. The collation of this report in a short period of time, as well as taking care of many administrative details, demands hard work, IT and typing skills, patience and a sense of humour. Imogen displayed all of these characteristics and made all of our lives easier during a very hectic week. Alex Horsley Chair (CIS) Rist Bonnefond Co-chair (NEASC)
COMPLETION OF THE REPORT ON STANDARDS FOR ACCREDITATION
The Chair of the Team will lead the Team to consensus with regard to each Standard, using the space provided and the following rating system: Meets the Standard Exceeds the Standard Does Not Meet the Standard (M) (E) (D)
In cases where the school either exceeds or does not meet the Standard an appropriate Commendation or Recommendation should appear in the Visiting Team Report. NB: A written comment is optional for ratings of “E” or “M”. In cases where the school does not meet the Standard and therefore a “D” rating is awarded, a comment must always be given. (This comment could simply refer the reader to a particular recommendation in the Visiting Team Report or could be more detailed). Comments should be clearly linked to a numbered Standard.
SECTION A: PHILOSOPHY AND OBJECTIVES 1. The school shall have a clear written statement of its educational philosophy and objectives that addresses the needs of students and establishes expectations for quality education. The school’s philosophy and objectives shall be generally understood and accepted by the governing body, administrators, staff, parents, and students. (Note: governing body is used here as a general term that includes boards of trustees or directors, individual owners, ecclesiastical authorities, or others exercising ultimate control of the school). The school shall provide for the periodic review of the statements of philosophy and objectives to ensure that they are appropriate to the needs of its students. The school’s philosophy and objectives shall be prominently and accurately stated in the literature describing the school. The school shall admit students only on the basis of information adequate for a reasonably reliable assessment of the appropriateness of its programme to their needs. RATING M
6. The school shall not accept or retain students for whom there is not a reasonable prospect of profit from the programme. 7. There shall be evidence that the school is actively striving for excellence.
Comments Standard 2 – see Recommendation A2 Standard 3 – see Recommendation A1 Standard 4 - see Recommendation A3 (currently the Mission Statement is displayed only in some publications)
SECTION A: PHILOSOPHY AND OBJECTIVES DESCRIPTION The philosophy and objectives as outlined in the Mission Statement of St. Dominic’s International School are rooted in the Dominican Philosophy of Education and the programmes of the International Baccalaureate Organization. The most recent Mission Statement was revised in 2002, and the Aims and Objectives were revised in 2003. These documents were produced by the Trustees and members of the School Board, with some input from Senior Management of the School. There are references to the School’s philosophy in the opening pages of some of the various brochures describing the School, but not in all. The actual Mission Statement appears verbatim in very few of the School brochures for teachers, students, parents or prospective parents. There is a documented admissions process and a statement of priorities for admission, with the School having a policy relating to the percentage of local national children admitted. Placement tests in English and mathematics are administered to new students to determine educational needs in those areas. PERCEPTIONS Although there are statements of philosophy and aims and objectives, it appears that these are not widely disseminated throughout the School community, with the result that many teaching staff members, parents and even students are unaware of the underlying goals of the School. This fact that these statements were developed and approved only by Trustees, the School Board and Senior Management means that the wider community does not have a chance to “buy in” to the philosophy of the School. There is clear scope for a more inclusive approach to a regular review of mission, aims and objectives. There does not appear to be any concerted effort to ensure a consistent approach to inclusion of statements of mission, aims and objectives in all School publications for students, parents and prospective parents. Although there is an orientation programme for new teachers, this does not appear to begin with a real effort to explain the underlying philosophy of the School. Teachers are aware that the School is committed to the Dominican Way of Education, but could be helped more to understand the implications of this approach. The admissions process appears to be clearly stated, together with appropriate placement testing in English language and mathematics proficiency. The School is rightly proud of its status as an “IB World School” based on its commitment to the three programmes of the International Baccalaureate Organization, and continues to make a concerted effort to ensure that these programmes are fully understood by the entire School community. COMMENDATIONS The Visiting Team commends: 1. 2. 3. 4. The spirit of the statements of philosophy, aims and objectives which stress an inter- and multicultural approach to education. The School for its commitment to the underlying philosophy of the Dominican Way of Education. The School for its clear statement of priorities for admission, with the resultant diversity of the student population The School for its commitment to the programmes of the International Baccalaureate Organization, and the ongoing efforts to ensure that information about these programmes is properly disseminated throughout the entire community.
RECOMMENDATIONS The Visiting Team recommends that: 1. The Trustees, School Board, and Senior Management adopt a procedure for regular review of the Mission Statement and Aims and Objectives, and find ways to ensure that the wider School community (teaching staff, parents, and older students) is actively involved in the review process. The Administration ensure that the mission of the School and the underlying aims and objectives are communicated effectively to all sectors of the School community. The Administration ensure that the Mission Statement features prominently and consistently in all School publications, and is widely displayed throughout the School campus. The Administration ensure that orientation programmes for new teaching staff, parents, and older students include an introductory session on the School’s mission, aims and objectives The Administration review regularly the admissions procedure and placement tests to ensure that students meet the stated admissions requirements, and are fully equipped to benefit from the programmes of the School.
2. 3. 4. 5.
SECTION B: ORGANISATION AND ADMINISTRATION 1. The governing body shall be so constituted, with regard to membership and organization, as to provide the school with sound direction, continuity and effective support. 2. The governing body shall provide appropriate training for its members in the understanding and performance of their duties. 3. The governing body shall use a system for the evaluation of its own effectiveness in performing its duties. 4. The head of the school, although accountable to the next higher authority, whether the superintendent/director or governing body, shall be the responsible leader of the school. 5. The governing body shall utilize a clearly defined performance appraisal system for the head of the school. The appraisal shall be conducted with the knowledge of the head of school, and reported in writing. The head shall have an opportunity to discuss and appeal any aspects of the appraisal. 6. There shall be evidence of long-range educational planning with a strategy for accomplishing the school's goals. 7. The governing board and the administration shall comply with all applicable statutes and governmental regulations. 8. All statements and representations relating to programme, services, and resources shall be clear, factually accurate, and current. 9. There shall be a co-operative and effective working relationship between the governing body and the school administration. There shall be clear understanding of respective functions, set down in written form. 10. The school shall have clearly formulated policies wherever necessary to give consistency and order to its operation, and shall ensure that these policies are understood by those concerned - staff, students, parents and others. 11. Administrative leadership and procedures shall effect a co-operative working relationship between administration and staff and ensure proper utilization of the capacities of all concerned. 12. The school shall observe ethical principles in all its dealings with parents, staff, and students, and shall maintain co-operative and constructive relations with them in the interest of serving the needs of its students. The school shall maintain friendly and constructive relations with the citizens and authorities of the community in which it is located. It shall seek to promote fruitful cultural exchange between itself and its host community. COMMENTS – see next page M*
M D M
M M* M M*
COMMENTS: Standard 1 – see Recommendations B2, B3, B4, B5, B6 Standard 3 – see Recommendation B7 Standard 6 – see Recommendation B8 Standard 7 - there is a perception among some staff members that this standard is not met, but team members could see no firm evidence to that effect. Standard 10 – see Recommendations B6, B9 Standard 11 – see Recommendation B10 Standard 12 – some members of the community claim that there have been unethical practices, but it appeared to the team that these were mostly faulty lines of communication
SECTION B: ORGANISATION & ADMINISTRATION DESCRIPTION St. Dominic’s International School is an independent, non-profit school located in the town of Carcavelos, a suburb of Lisbon. The land and buildings that comprise the campus are owned by a Foundation established in 1993 by the Irish Dominican Sisters, Region of Portugal. The Foundation also encompasses three other institutions: a family services center, a school for the poor, and a shelter for the indigent. St. Dominic’s International School pays rent to the Foundation for the use of the campus and facilities and has the “right of first refusal” to purchase them if they are ever put on the market. The trust is called the Foundation for Social Work of the Irish Dominican Sisters (Fundacao Obra Social Das Religiosas Dominicanas Irlandesas). It is administered by approximately eight trustees chosen from among and by the Sisters, of whom there are fourteen. The Trustees in turn appoint a Board of approximately nine members, some Dominican sisters and other lay people who have a connection to the School. The Trustees are charged with fiduciary responsibility for the School and ensuring that St. Dominic’s stay true to the educational principles of the Dominican Order. The Board, which includes the Principal as a voting member, is responsible for setting policy, overseeing the operations of the School, and hiring and evaluating the Principal and Assistant Principals (Heads of the Junior and Senior Schools). The Sisters elect one of their number to serve as Vicar of the Order, and that person simultaneously heads the Foundation and is President of both the Trustees and the Board of St. Dominic’s International School. The membership of the Irish Dominican Sisters, Region of Portugal, has been dwindling in recent years, and the nuns who remain are all above the age of 55. The Dominican Order worldwide is experiencing a loss in population, and the Order has begun to discuss whether to merge the Portugal Region with the Irish Region. There are currently no procedures or pertinent by-laws to enable new Trustees to succeed the Sisters at some point in the future if no new members of the Order are recruited to succeed them. At the time of the accreditation visit, neither the Trustees nor the Board has in place a process for training or evaluating their members or their collective work, although the Board has been gathering information from other schools and plans to adopt a system later this academic year. The Principal is the responsible leader of the School and is evaluated annually by the Board. The Principal is assisted by a Senior Management Team comprised of the Head of the Senior School, Head of the Junior School, and the Co-ordinators of the Primary Years Programme, Middle Years Programme, and the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme. This group meets weekly. There are also Management Teams within the Junior and Senior Schools which report to their respective Heads PERCEPTIONS There is an evident commitment to the welfare of St. Dominic’s students on the part of the Board, Administration, and teaching staff, but there are several systemic weaknesses at the School that need to be addressed. Chief among these is a lack of effective and cooperative communication among various School constituencies. Because of this, there have developed instances of adversarial relations between teachers and the Administration, parents and the Board, inter alia. The tone of discourse has occasionally been acrimonious. The governance structure of the School is idiosyncratic and confusing. The Board is charged with setting policy for the School, yet the Trustees retain the authority to review and possibly override any Board decision, although there is no recent instance of their having done so. The Trustees can also dismiss individual members of the Board or the Board in its entirety. The Board’s one-word name reflects its indefinite role in the School’s governance. Although sometimes referred to as a Board of Advisors, its powers and responsibilities seem more akin to those of a Board of Directors. While the Principal possesses a folder of capital projects planned for the near future, there is no long-range plan or long-range planning process to anticipate the School’s future needs and aspirations.
The labour laws of Portugal are complex. There is a perception among some teaching staff that this complexity has been used to rationalize a lack of transparency in such matters as insurance and pensions. The School has recently appointed a Human Resources Officer, however, in part to address these concerns. All School policies and procedures, as well as some Portuguese regulations pertaining to the School, are contained in one large, unpaginated volume that lacks either a table of contents o an index. It can be a challenging task, therefore, to find specific subject matter. Furthermore, some of the contents are in Portuguese, and many teaching staff are not able to read the language. Finally, decisions about such issues as class size, tuition increases, and the like appear to have been made in the context of centralized decision-making and poor communication. Consequently they have caught teaching staff and parents by surprise and have led to some resentment. Decision-making authority is seen by many as being far too centralized, resulting in a sense of disenfranchisement. COMMENDATIONS The Visiting Team commends: 1. The Irish Dominican Sisters, Portugal Region, for their generosity and altruism in seeking to meet the educational, social, and religious needs of the community through the establishment of the four institutions supported by their Foundation. The Board, Administration, and teaching staff for their strong efforts to serve the students of St. Dominic’s. The Administration for bolstering its support of the teaching staff and staff by appointing a Human Resources Director. The Board for its willingness to further its own professional development by seeking expertise from consultants and other schools. The leaders of the School for their long-term commitment to St. Dominic’s and dedication to its future.
2. 3. 4. 5.
RECOMMENDATIONS The Visiting Team recommends that: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. The Trustees, Board, and Administration initiate, as a matter of urgency, a comprehensive investigation into how to enhance communication among all School constituencies. The Trustees address how to ensure the long term viability of the Foundation and, therefore, the School. The School clarify the respective responsibilities and authority of the Trustees and the Board and the relationship between the two bodies. The School rename the Board as a Board of Directors, Board of Governors, or some other meaningful title that would more effectively convey its role in the life of the School. The Board consider establishing Board committees to facilitate oversight of and enhance accountability for the School’s operations. The Board investigate opening membership on such committees to selected parents and teaching staff to give those two constituencies a greater sense of having a voice in major School decisions. The Board move quickly to adopt a system of evaluating the performance of the Board as a whole and of individual members on an annual basis.
The Trustees, Board, and Administration seek to include all School constituencies in the development of a comprehensive Strategic Plan that will illuminate the School’s future requirements in finances and endowment, improvements to the campus, and optimal enrollment and staffing. The School streamline the policies and procedures handbook so that it is clear, concise, and accessible. All parties work together to develop constructive and open dialogue to address current and future concerns, and forge more positive relationships among all stakeholders in the School.
SECTION C: SCHOOL STAFF 1. The school shall have an administrative, instructional, and support staff which is sufficient in number, qualified, and competent to carry out satisfactorily the programmes, services, and activities which are described in the literature of the school. They shall be persons who are genuinely interested in their work and who have the qualities of character and personality to make them desirable associates for young people. 2. All administrative and instructional staff shall be employed under written contracts which provide for adequate salaries, fringe benefits, and working conditions. 3. Contracts shall clearly state the principal terms of the agreement between members of the staff and the governing board. 4. Personnel policies and regulations shall be written and available to all employees. 5. The governing board and administration shall develop and implement procedures for identifying staffing needs and for employing well qualified staff. 6. There shall be a clearly defined system of appraisal of staff, based upon predetermined criteria. It shall be conducted with the knowledge of the staff member and reported in writing. The staff member shall have an opportunity to discuss and appeal any aspects of the appraisal. 7. The school shall have a programme of professional development for the staff. 8. Personnel practices shall provide for adequate compensation, reasonable work loads, acceptable working conditions, ethical treatment, professional satisfaction, and good general morale among all segments of the staff. COMMENTS: Standard 8 – see Recommendation C1 RATING M
M M M
SECTION C: SCHOOL STAFF DESCRIPTION St. Dominic’s International School employs 122 staff from 15 nationalities. There are 71 professional teaching staff from 10 nationalities. The vast majority of the staff are British and Portuguese nationals. There are 51 support staff including administrative, secretarial, maintenance, medical, computer and technical and security staff from 8 nationalities. The majority are Portuguese nationals. Overseas instructional staff are initially employed on two-year fixed contracts and local hire staff on one-year fixed contacts. All staff employed by the School have written contracts and teaching staff have additional contracts for positions of responsibilities. Support staff contracts are made in accordance with the CCT (Contracto Colectivo de Trabalho). The teacher remuneration package for overseas hires includes fringe benefits (travel and baggage allowances at the beginning of the first contract and end of the final contract, a housing allowance which ends in their fifth year of employment a “settling in” allowance, lunch allowance and free transport on the school bus to and from School for themselves and their children on available routes. A teacher’s booklet is available for new teaching staff which details the general circumstances of living in Portugal, taxation, pension and medical information, fringe benefits, School mission, philosophy and scales for salaries and responsibility allowances. A Human Resources Officer was appointed in September 2003 and the School employs one person specifically to assist staff in finding suitable accommodation. All staff are covered by medical insurance. There are different types of medical insurance both private and state administered and during working hours the staff are covered by a different insurance. Nearly all of the teaching staff have at least the equivalent of a first degree and teaching qualification. The remaining staff have at least the equivalent of a first degree or teaching qualification. Opportunities for professional development/in-service training for teaching staff are administered through the PYP, MYP and DP Co-ordinators. Currently, there is a programme for non-English speaking staff to have English language instruction provided by the School and the School is to start a similar programme of Portuguese language instruction for non-Portuguese speakers in the third term or 2003/2004. There are four different appraisal procedures in the School, The Principal of the School has her own evaluation by the Board of Directors every year. The Junior School is in the second year of a new appraisal scheme and the Secondary School is in the first year of implementing a new scheme. The Junior School and the Secondary School both aim to appraise all their teaching staff in a two-year cycle. Support and administrative staff have their own appraisal system to take place every five years. The documentation that exists which relates to staffing covers such areas as School policies and procedures, staff leave, absence, teaching responsibilities, appraisal, pay scales, and staff contact time with classes. The School states the responsibilities of teaching staff, and provides written guidelines how staff should conduct themselves in school and when out of school when their actions may conflict with their professional and teaching responsibilities. A staff association exists which has all teaching and support staff belong to it and is actively involved in dialogue with the executive to attempt to resolve issues which staff perceive as important. There are written grievance, disciplinary and dismissal procedures for teaching staff. PERCEPTIONS There have been issues in the School which have severely strained relationships between teaching staff and Senior Management in the past year. There is some existing grievance about working conditions, teaching loads and issues related to pensions and although some of these issues have been resolved there are still some staff members who perceive that unethical practices exist and working conditions are unequal between equivalent posts.
The class size is considered too high in some areas of the School to allow effective teaching. It is perceived that the Senior Management and staff have reached an agreement to limit this size to a level more acceptable to both parties from the beginning of next academic year. The issues which have arisen over the last few years have contributed to a low morale in some teaching staff areas but staff feel that there is more dialogue open now between the staff association and the Senior Management who meet both regularly and on an ad hoc basis. Teaching staff appear to be well qualified, very caring and concerned about student welfare and learning but feel disenfranchised from the decision making process. Support staff are perceived by the teaching staff to be a valued resource and many support staff are well qualified for the positions they hold. In general, there is mutual appreciation and respect between teaching and support staff and there are examples of good social relations between all members of the teaching and support staff. Some staff find it difficult to articulate policies and procedures clearly or consistently. Their reference source, commonly called the ‘Policy Manual’, that staff consult on these matters is a lengthy, unpaginated, document with no index, only content listings. The School is very aware that there has been a lack of a clearly delivered appraisal of teachers in the past few years and is currently making concerted efforts to implement appraisal procedures. There has been improvement in the overseas staff induction to Portugal and the School over recent years and a Human Resources Officer has been appointed which staff see as a positive addition to the Administration team. COMMENDATIONS The Visiting Team commends: 1. 2. 3. The School for employing well qualified staff who are committed to teaching, and who are placed in jobs in which they can demonstrate competence and expertise The School for addressing issues over staff appraisal so that there is an appraisal system in process for everyone employed by the School. The School for employing a sufficient number of non-teaching support staff to assist in the maintenance of the School grounds, assist in technical areas, and support teaching staff directly with the educational programme. The Administration for appointing a Human Resources Officer to deal with staff administration issues, and seeking to improve the induction procedure for new staff. The Staff Association and Senior Management for meeting on a regular basis to discuss staff grievances and continuing to keep a dialogue open.
RECOMMENDATIONS The Visiting Team recommends that: 1. 2. All parties work together to develop constructive and open dialogue to address current and future concerns, and forge more positive relationships among all stakeholders in the School. The School streamline the policies and procedures handbook so that it is clear, concise, and accessible.
SECTION D EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION 1. The programme of studies shall, in its overall content and design, its organizational arrangements, and its academic and instructional policies, represent a consistent and effective implementation of the school's philosophy and objectives. 2. The curriculum shall be in written form showing the range and content of subject coverage at each level offered. 3. The administration and staff shall provide for curriculum evaluation and review on a continuing basis using a variety of assessment methods. 4. Delivery of the curriculum shall be effected through a range of teaching and learning approaches. 5. The programme shall meet the educational, social, and physical needs of those enrolled. This includes students who may have learning disabilities and students with significant talents. 6. The school shall effectively utilise, whenever possible, the diversity (cultural, racial, and gender) of its students and staff to enhance the educational experiences of its students and the quality of the school's programme. 7. The school shall use the culture of the host country as a resource to enhance the curriculum. 8. There shall be appropriate assessment of student achievement, utilising a range of methods. 9. The results of assessment shall be appropriately recorded and utilised in curriculum review in order to enhance learning and instruction. 10. The reporting system to parents shall be thorough and effective and provide for open channels of communication between parents and teachers. It shall include the results of individual student assessment as they relate to what the school identified for students to know, understand and be able to do. 11. Overall, the programme shall make adequate provision for the general educational needs of its students. The programme of instructional offerings shall therefore include: a. Instruction in those attitudes and abilities which will prepare children effectively for future educational experiences. b. Effective preparation for the beginnings of formal learning sometimes referred to as 'readiness skills'. c. Opportunities for musical and artistic expression and appreciation. d. Specific teaching of such reading, writing and number skills as may be appropriate to children in accordance with their individual abilities and prior learning. e. Opportunities to develop a caring and respectful attitude to their environment. f. Introduction to the use of Information Technology
M M M M* M M M M D
M M M
M M M
The programme of studies shall, in its overall content and design, its organizational arrangements, and its academic and instructional policies, represent a consistent and effective implementation of the school's philosophy and objectives. COMMENTS Standard 5 – see Recommendation H2 Standard 10 – see Recommendation D2
SECTION D: CURRICULUM - EARLY CHILDHOOD DESCRIPTION At SDIS the Early Childhood Programme is part of the IBPYP and as such is under the direction of the IBPYP Co-ordinator. The head of the Junior School also gives input. Time allocation for the various areas of the curriculum is based on the IB PYP but with greater flexibility in Nursery and Kindergarten. The timetable includes more time for outdoor play, snack and lunch plus there is naptime on alternating days with swimming. Fewer specialists’ classes make for a more secure environment for the 3- and 4-year olds. Curriculum planning, review and assessment follow guidelines for the IBPYP. The Early Childhood Team consists of 4 classroom teachers: 1 each from Nursery and Kindergarten and 2 from Year 1, as there are two Year 1 classes; 4 full time assistants and 1 part time assistant, who is shared between Nursery and Kindergarten and 6 ancillary staff who work as supervisors in the playground, assist at mealtimes and accompany the children when they go for swimming lessons at the local pool. The school nurse also has responsibility for these children and her office is situated beside the Nursery classroom. Some students from the Senior School volunteer to play with or read to the children as part of their community and action service/CAS requirement. The ESL programme is not offered in Early Childhood. Children learn the language through a less formal method in their homeroom with their class teachers and assistants. The host country language is taught from Year 1 and then through songs, poetry and simple games. Community resources are also used e.g. museum, oceanarium, local parks, post office, etc. to enhance the curriculum. Children in Nursery and Kindergarten have swimming lessons two afternoons a week as part of their Physical Education curriculum. They also have access to their own playground throughout the School day. The playground has a variety of large motor equipment for climbing, bikes, water play equipment and with various materials including balls, hoops, and bean bags. Both classes have the use of the main gymnasium once per cycle. The children in Year 1 have three periods of P.E. each cycle (6 days) and are taught by the P.E. teacher. Music and the Visual/Expressive Arts form part of the Early Childhood programme and, in the case of Year 1, Specialists teachers deliver the curriculum. All 4 classes learn through the number of Units of Inquiry determined by the IBO and, in addition, experience stand alone units to develop their skills in pre-writing, reading and number. Manipulative and other materials including print and picture books are provided to facilitate this learning. PERCEPTIONS The Early Childhood staff are very committed in their roles. The children are challenged and it is obvious staff have an awareness of current thinking about Early Childhood. Classrooms are child-centered and teacher supported. The staff is friendly and caring towards the children. The assistants are Montessori trained and have experience working with this age group. The assistants reflect the multi-cultural nature of the School. The assistants also benefit from in-house IBPYP training from the IBPYP Co-ordinator. It is a nice plus that extra staff is assigned to this section at recess, lunchtime, and when the children attend swimming. The instructional environment is varied and inviting. Children are given opportunities to explore a range of activities. Teachers interact with children in a respectful and caring manner. There is a very positive atmosphere within the classes. There is good curriculum documentation in place which follows the IBPYP. Although the staff feel the assessment is thorough and comprehensive there has been some concern expressed by parents about the reporting. Some attention should be given in educating parents about evaluation process. All classes have easy access to playgrounds. There are separate playgrounds for the Nursery/Kindergarten groups and Year 1. The playgrounds have areas of shading and are clean and well maintained. Although small in actual area size every effort has been made to provide an inviting area with appropriate equipment. Classrooms are a problem in terms of heating and area. They lack of heating was mentioned by staff as being detrimental to the children’s health. Classroom space is a problem at the present time due to the large number
of students enrolled. The class size at the present time is 25-27 students thus creating a serious problem within the classroom as there isn’t enough area for the children and adults to move around freely. It would seem that some future commitment needs to be made by the Administration about appropriate class size. COMMENDATIONS The Visiting Team commends: 1. 2. 3. The staff of the early childhood programme for their commitment to the students and a very caring atmosphere. The curriculum documentation which is in place. The creative use of the small area available for outdoor play.
RECOMMENDATIONS The Visiting Team recommends that: 1. 2. 3. The School Administration in consultation with the staff set a policy of appropriate class size taking into account the available space. Teachers and administrators work through a parent education programme explaining developmentally appropriate assessments. The Administration add some sort of heating to the rooms for the colder months.
SECTION E : ELEMENTARY CURRICULUM PROGRAMME RATING M
The programme of studies shall, in its overall content and design, its organizational arrangements, and its academic and instructional policies, represent a consistent and effective implementation of the school's philosophy and objectives. 2. The curriculum shall be in written form showing the range and content of subject coverage at each level offered. 3. The administration and staff shall provide for curriculum evaluation and review on a continuing basis using a variety of assessment methods. 4. Delivery of the curriculum shall be effected through a range of teaching and learning approaches. 5. The programme shall meet the educational, social, and physical needs of those enrolled. This includes students who may have learning disabilities and students with significant talents. 6. The school shall effectively utilise, whenever possible, the diversity (cultural, racial, and gender) of its students and staff to enhance the educational experiences of its students and the quality of the school's programme. 7. The school shall use the culture of the host country as a resource to enhance the curriculum. 8. There shall be appropriate assessment of student achievement, utilising a range of methods. 9. The results of assessment shall be appropriately recorded and utilised in curriculum review in order to enhance learning and instruction. 10. The reporting system to parents shall be thorough and effective and provide for open channels of communication between parents and teachers. It shall include the results of individual student assessment as they relate to what the school identified for students to know, understand and be able to do. 11. Overall the programme shall make adequate provision for the general educational needs of its students. The programme of instructional offerings shall therefore include:
E M M M* M*
M* M M M
a. Instruction in the basic tools of learning (reading, writing, number skills, and the use of a library). b. Instruction in all areas of skill and knowledge which form the M* basis for the secondary school studies. c. Instruction in the techniques of study and of learning, and in the M effective planning of time for work and play. d. Instruction in music and art. M e. Instruction in health and physical education. M f. Instruction in the basic principles of ethics (e.g. honesty, duty, the M rights of the majority and the minority, truthfulness). g. Instruction to foster a respect for law and order, the values of M traditions, religions and governmental institutions. h. Instruction in environmental education. M i. Instruction in the use of Information Technology. M COMMENTS Standard 2 – see Commendation E1 Standard 5 – see Recommendation H2 Standard 6 – see Recommendation E5 Standard 7 – see Recommendation E5 Standard 11b – see Recommendation E2
SECTION E: CURRICULUM-PRIMARY DESCRIPTION The Junior School implements the Primary Years Programme of the International Baccalaureate. Following the visit of an IB-PYP evaluation team, SDIS was authorized to continue to offer the PYP in April 2002. This is a transdisciplinary, inquiry-based programme with an emphasis on international understanding. Central to the programme is a set of ideals described as the Student Profile. Guidelines are highlighted in the “Making it Happen” manual. The learning objectives, key questions, methodologies and assessment strategies of this guide have been further expanded in the School’s subject specific curriculum documentation. The Junior School occupies a separate building from Senior School on the same campus. Some facilities are shared, including the sports facilities and food service. The School day begins at 08:40 and ends at 16:00. Classes are scheduled as 40-minute periods, on a 6-day cycle. There are plans to return to a 5-day week next year. There are 241 students in Years 2-6, with two classes at every Year level. Classes range in size from 20–29. There is a Head of Junior School, Assistant Head/Dean of Students, IB PYP Co-ordinator and eight subject co-ordinators (one of whom is the Head of Junior School). Their job descriptions are published in the “Policy book”. The PYP Co-ordinator meets with subject co-ordinators on an alternating schedule. There are 10 classroom teachers Years 2-6, 12 specialist teachers, 3 assistants and 2 librarians. General staff meetings are held once a week in the refectory. Year level teachers meet to plan with the PYP Co-ordinator once every two cycles on an alternating schedule with specialists and assistants. The Programme of Inquiry is reviewed at the beginning of the year. It constitutes 60%-80% of the timetable. Stand alone subject areas or aspects of subjects that do not fit into the Programme of Inquiry take up the remaining time. At the beginning of each 2 year cycle, teachers have the opportunity to change aspects of units covered or replace units. All teaching staff are involved as change impacts on all areas within the School. Review and changes to individual units are made by the teachers at the completion of that unit. The development of the PYP includes ongoing training of all staff. There is an IBPYP Parents’ Guide. St Dominic’s mails a monthly newsletter to all families. Parents communicate with classroom teachers through the child’s diary. If a personal interview is required with any member of staff, parents contact the Junior School secretary to make an appointment. Year levels have a “sharing” time once in a cycle to which parents are invited. There is a Junior School Student Representative Council which meets once a cycle. Members are elected from Years 4-6 and include the Dean of Students. A variety of assessment strategies have been identified in accordance with PYP best practice. Essential agreements were drafted by an Assessment committee. A written report is provided twice a year. Portfolios are developed by students and teachers. Student led conferences occur on Portfolio day. Parent/teacher conferences are also arranged. PERCEPTIONS The PYP supports the School’s Philosophy and Objectives by teaching the whole child and offering each child the opportunity to develop to their full potential. The School has worked to develop curriculum documents which are user friendly and clearly support the School’s Philosophy and Objectives. A well established School spirit and set of values appears to permeate the Junior School. The children are lively, energetic and enthusiastic. They consistently demonstrated respect towards the Visitors. There was concern about whether or not they extended this respect as consistently towards the support staff.
Displays of work throughout the Junior School classrooms indicate that children’s creativity is celebrated. Teachers show dedication and speak of their students with warmth and genuine concern for their well-being. The development of the PYP includes on-going training of all staff. Staff are sent off on PYP workshops on a needs basis according to a 2 year cycle. Decisions as to attendance are made by Senior Management. There is currently no strategy in place for individualized professional development plans. Budget restrictions force the School to develop staff according to PYP requirements. Although workshops have been given in house in the past, this has not occurred recently. Year level teachers meet to plan with the PYP Co-ordinator once every two cycles on an alternating schedule with specialists and assistants. Meeting times between specialists and teachers are not formally scheduled but they do happen on an informal basis. Job descriptions for Junior School Co-ordinators list liaising with staff in the Secondary School. There is apparently no time allocated for this. Although well resourced, there appears to be a tradition of making the most of limited space within the facilities. Classrooms are crowded. The School does not have a written policy stating number of students per class. The Curriculum Enrichment Programme is new this year and has tried to address the need for further language development. The host country and diversity of culture has not been addressed in this programme as they had hoped. The religious education programme does address the diversity of religious cultures in the School community as well as in the host country. The PYP evaluation report expressed the need for a language policy. Staff have attended conferences to this end and there are attempts to move forward in its development. A written report is provided to parents twice a year. Descriptors have been developed by the Assessment committee for different areas of the report. Parents have expressed concern as to the lack of individualization of reports due to the descriptors. There is controversy about the implementation of a numbered grading system. Attempts are made to continue to educate parents as to the assessment philosophy of the PYP. COMMENDATIONS The Visiting Team commends: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. The development of clearly written curriculum documents which support the School’s Philosophy and Objectives. The Junior School staff for the stimulating, caring and creative learning environment provided for children in this age group. The Junior School specialists for their dedication to their subjects. The Junior School students for the positive and friendly relationships among themselves and with the teaching staff. The Junior School for the development of a varied and inclusive Curriculum Enrichment Programme.
RECOMMENDATIONS The Visiting Team recommends that: 1. 2. 3. The Administration adheres to the current agreement of maximum class size.. The Administration provide time for liaising with the Senior School to enhance the articulation between the PYP and the MYP in the subject areas. The Administration review the allocation of planning time within the specialist departments and between specialists and classroom teachers.
4. 5. 6. 7. 8.
The School develop a school-wide Language Policy. The teaching staff find ways to incorporate the host country and the diversity of cultures to enhance the educational experiences of the students. The students reflect on the consistency with which respect is shown to all members of their School community. The Junior School continue to address assessment across the curriculum. The Administration consider the implementation of individual professional development plans and more in house PYP training.
SECTIONS E1 and E6: THE ARTS DESCRIPTION “The Arts” in the IBPYP consists of Visual Arts and the Performing Arts (Music and Drama). “The Arts” at SDIS encompasses visual art and music. Drama is incorporated in the Curriculum Enrichment Programme. The Music and Art documents were completed in 2001. They were adapted from guidelines of the IBPYP. The content of the curriculum document consists of learning objectives, methodology, assessment strategies and extra curricular activity links. Curriculum documents are reviewed cyclically. Students are encouraged to inquire and reflect which supports the School’s philosophy. There are two 40-minute lessons per cycle. The Arts are currently taught in a carousel system in Years 5 and 6, together with science. Each year group is divided into three groups having art, music and science alternatively for a double period. There will be a change in the 2004/005 school year from the 6-day cycle to a 5-day week timetable. The Art and Music specialists meet once a cycle to review curriculum. Written reports are sent to parents twice a year. Students present the process of their work on a Portfolio Day. PERCEPTIONS The curriculum is clearly documented for visual arts and music. There is no curriculum documentation for drama. The inclusion of drama was noticeable during the sharing assembly. It is otherwise addressed for some year levels in the Curriculum Enrichment Programme. Curriculum review and assessment is a constant on-going process that needs to be addressed by the art staff. IT use in particular is seen as lacking in the Art Department. Students are encouraged and motivated to express themselves in order to develop and expand their creative capabilities and share these experiences regularly with their peers and parents. It is felt by the arts staff that the present carousel system has greatly improved the programme in the arts. Concern was expressed that a return to the 5 day week timetable would hinder the progress made in this area especially in being able to meet the needs of the individual students in a crowded working environment. The Junior School music room is far too small too accommodate the needs of the various year levels. The Arts are an integral part of the School experience not only in the music and art lessons but via projects, exhibitions and performances both inside and outside of school. The sharing done by each year level is an excellent example of this as are some of the areas offered in the Curriculum Enrichment Programme. There is a Junior orchestra and the extra-curricular instrumental programme enables a large number of students to have individual lessons on a variety of instruments. COMMENDATIONS The Visiting Team commends: 1. 2. The Arts are an integral part of the SDIS School experience. The art and music rooms are well resourced.
RECOMMENDATIONS The Visiting Team recommends that: 1. 2. 3. The arts Curriculum Co-ordinator work with the PYP Co-ordinator to understand where art history and appreciation may fit in the units of inquiry. The art staff review current assessment methods. The art teachers consider integrating IT use as part of the art programme.
SECTION E2: INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY DESCRIPTION The Junior School IT room has 18 computers, each with a student and teacher net. There are mini computers available for class teaching. Students in Years 1 to 6 receive one 40-minute lesson each week with an IT specialist, and one 40-minute lesson each week with their classroom teacher. Each classroom also has a computer with software. There are printers, scanners, digital cameras, video and a canon projector available in the School for use. IT lessons are conducted in English for all students. Students work individually on activities usually linked to the PYP Units of Inquiry. There is some stand alone skills-based teaching such as typing and skills based development using games. Microsoft software is used extensively for inquiry based working, often leading to a presentation. Students are given time for research based work. The IT curriculum was completed in 2001, and is currently due to be updated. It includes sections on Cross Curricular links with the Units of Inquiry, Scope and Sequence, Methodology, Assessment Strategy, Resource List and Links to Extra Curricular Activities. The student report currently has 6 descriptors at each of the grade levels. Representatives from the IT Department are working on the Assessment Committee to update assessment and reporting in IT. PERCEPTIONS The Junior School IT room is small and unable to accommodate an entire class at one time. The classes are therefore divided into two groups, with half of the class in library at the time that the other half is in computer. The IT Department appears to be well resourced, and priorities are being set for purchase of appropriate software for the next school year. The IT curriculum was apparently written by two Senior School staff, based on an Australian model, which may not properly reflect the PYP philosophy. As part of the curriculum, there is the Programme of Inquiry for the Junior School, as well as a section on cross-curricular links to Units of Inquiry from Nursery to Year 6. COMMENDATIONS The Visiting Team commends: 1. The Administration for providing adequate IT resources.
RECOMMENDATIONS The Visiting Team recommends that: 1. The IT staff, in consultation with the PYP Co-ordinator, update the curriculum with a view to parallel their Scope and Sequence to the PYP’s.
SECTION E4: LANGUAGE DEVELOPMENT DESCRIPTION The content of the Language curricula consist of the areas of the scope and sequence; Oral Communication – Speaking and Listening, Written Communication – Reading and Writing, and Visual Communication – Viewing and Presenting. The scope and sequence is grouped into pairs of year levels; Nursery & Kindergarten, Years 1 & 2, Years 3 & 4, and Years 5 & 6. The annual timeline gives information regarding what is taught at each individual year level. There is an ESL programme for children whose first language is not English. This is an immersion programme in the lower years (Years 2 and 3), with children being withdrawn from class in the older years (Years 4, 5, and 6). ESL staff also work in the classrooms of the older students when the activity warrants. The average amount of time spent on Language is 480 minutes per 6-day cycle (in years 1 to 6, 120 minutes of this time is spent on Portuguese). This figure includes time spent in the library and specific language based activities. St. Dominic’s also provides Mother Tongue lessons for children speaking Spanish, Greek, Dutch, German, French, Swedish and Norwegian. These lessons take place during the Curriculum Enrichment Programme, two afternoons per cycle. There is a Language Co-ordinator, as well as an ESL/SEN Co-ordinator in the Junior School, whose responsibilities include curriculum development, developing resource priorities for budget purposes, and keeping abreast of new developments in Language teaching. Assessment of Language is currently under review with a committee working on a Junior School Policy on Assessment. PERCEPTIONS There is concern by staff of the lack of time for planning between classroom, ESL and/or Foreign Language Teachers. There is difficulty in integrating Portuguese into the units of inquiry due to government regulations in the teaching of Portuguese. However, this is done whenever possible within the existing units. The Visiting Team noted that there is a lack of student dictionaries and other reference materials for non-English speaking children in classrooms, particularly the language of Portuguese. The units of inquiry appear to be well started in resources, however there is recognition by staff of the need to expand and update the resources used within and outside of the units of inquiry when budget allows. The availability of classes in Mother Tongue instruction during the Curriculum Enrichment Programme seems to meet the needs of a good number of students, and students appear pleased to have this opportunity. Since the creation of the Self Study report, the co-ordinators have continued working to provide information to staff, and ordering of materials, to address spelling and handwriting in the Junior School. There is currently no time allocation for communication to take place between the Language Co-ordinator in the Junior School and staff in the MYP. The PYP evaluation team recommended that the School ‘Redefine (the) School’s overall philosophy on language’. Although this has been discussed, at this time there has been no significant movement in that direction. The staff understand the need for the policy, and have plans to address it once work is completed with the Portuguese government concerning expectations of teaching Portuguese in the School.
COMMENDATIONS The Visiting Team commends: 1. 2. 3. The staff for a well written Language curriculum. The provision of Mother Tongue language lessons through the Curriculum Enrichment Programme. The Language and PYP Co-ordinator for addressing the needs in the Self Study with respect to handwriting and spelling programmes for the Junior School.
RECOMMENDATIONS The Visiting Team recommends that: 1. 2. 3. 4. The School develop a comprehensive Junior School Language Policy. The Administration prioritize purchasing of non-English resources for the classrooms based on PYP philosophy. The Administration provide time for cross articulation between the PYP and MYP in the areas of Language Arts. The Administration provide time for planning between classroom, ESL and/or Foreign Language.
SECTION E5: MATHEMATICS DESCRIPTION The school has adopted the PYP in which math is taught as a transdisciplinary and stand-alone subject. The math strands in the curriculum consists of the areas: Number, Pattern and Function, Measurement, Shape and Sequence and Data Handling. The curriculum shows that each year level covers these strands at different depths and how links may be made between the units of inquiry and Mathematics. It provides information on Assessment / Marking, Methodology, What a PYP Maths Classroom should look like and a general list of resources. An annual time line and year-level expectations are used to support the curriculum. There is a Math Co-ordinator in the Junior School, whose responsibilities include: curriculum development, developing resource priorities for budgeting purposes and in keeping abreast of new development in math teaching. A minimum total of 250 minutes per week is spent on teaching Mathematics of which Mental Maths is 50 minutes. A range of activities are encouraged; problem solving tasks, investigative tasks, practical tasks, textbook work etc. Various games and programmes on the computer in the IT room are used to support maths work done in the classroom. Teachers are encouraged to use a variety of assessment methods and student reflection is seen as an important area. Teachers keep their own records of student achievement and records are beginning to be used to track students using diagnostic results. Assessment from Year 6 students is passed up to Year 7 teachers. There is a yearly review process of the curriculum. On a yearly basis, teachers review coverage of the content of Mathematics by using the annual time line. There is limited interaction between the host country, diversity of the school community and using the Mathematics Curriculum. PERCEPTIONS Much work has been done in the area of math curriculum development and documentation. There are documents in place which help guide the teachers in the delivery of the maths programme. The Math Timeline has proved to be very useful in assuring coverage throughout the year of the various units. The Timelines will be revised yearly and are considered a working document. The Timelines show when concepts are taught throughout the year. The classrooms contain a variety of math materials and teachers employ a variety of teaching strategies. There are materials available for differentiation of content. Children are assessed in a variety of ways using a range of methods. Students are able to demonstrate a reflection during Portfolio Day to their parents. There is a clear set of math criteria on the report card sent to parents. Although the job description of the Math Co-ordinator lists liaising with the Secondary School, this is an area which needs to be addressed. There is no link between the host country and the teaching of math or between mathematical vocabulary and the language of Portuguese. Both of these areas are perceived as areas which staff would like to improve.
COMMENDATIONS The Visiting Team commends: 1. 2. 3. The teaching staff for the development of curriculum documentation and the Timelines in particular. The variety of assessments used for reporting. The use of reflection in the Portfolio.
RECOMMENDATIONS The Visiting Team recommends that: 1. 2. 3. The Administration provide time for the teachers to work on linking math to vocabulary and the language of Portuguese. The Administration provide time for the staff to work on linking mathematical concepts with the host country. The Administration provide time for the cross articulation between PYP and MYP maths.
SECTION E7: PHYSICAL EDUCATION DESCRIPTION The PE Department has an office next to the gym in the Junior School. There is a second gymnasium building on site. There is a running track, tennis court, basketball court, tennis/multipurpose court and hockey/soccer pitch. There is one Junior School physical education teacher who co-ordinates the programme with the Coordinator of Physical Education. Curriculum content is based on six areas of study: games, gymnastics, dance, adventure challenge, athletics and health-related exercise. Units of work last for three cycles or nine lessons. Three 40-minute lessons are held each 6-day cycle. Teaching methodology and classroom activities are varied. These include inquiry teaching, cooperative learning and problem solving which are consistent with the School’s philosophy. Assessment strategies include: teacher observation, individual feedback, student reflection, peer assessment, performance checklists and teacher and student questioning. Recording is carried out by the teacher. Reports are given to the parents and students twice a year. PERCEPTIONS The SDIS physical education curriculum document is written clearly in terms of learning objectives, key questions, sample activities, which include differentiated instruction, and assessment procedures. These are adapted from guidelines found in the PYP Physical Education documents and research. Transdisciplinary skills are not incorporated into the document. The timetable of the Junior School PE teacher is full. Scheduled meeting times with the Co-ordinator of PE are therefore difficult to arrange. Even more difficult is the scheduling of meeting times with the classroom teachers to more fully integrate the units of inquiry. Choice of curriculum content is influenced by the availability of space and resources, both of which are shared with the Senior School. Assessment strategies as listed in the curriculum document are varied. In practice it is difficult to follow through with all of these. Assessment rubrics have not yet been developed for each year group in terms of final evaluation of performance. Use of assessment rubrics by students and teachers provide students with greater information on how to improve their work. COMMENDATIONS The Visiting Team commends: 1. 2. The PE Department for developing a clearly written curriculum document which clearly supports the School’s philosophy. The PE Department for their dedication to the subject.
RECOMMENDATIONS The Visiting Team recommends that: 1. 2. The Administration review the planning time for specialists within the department and with classroom teachers. The staff develop performance assessment rubrics and ensure that the variety of assessment strategies listed in their curriculum document are implemented.
SECTION E8: SCIENCE DESCRIPTION The School has adopted the PYP in which science is taught as a transdisciplinary subject. The science strands in the PYP include the study of: living things; earth and space; forces and energy; and materials. Science is hands-on inquiry based which is consistent with the School’s philosophy. There is a Science Co-ordinator whose responsibilities are curriculum development, purchase and utilization of resources, and informing staff of current science practices. The SDIS June 2002 science curriculum document is adapted from IBPYP documents. It is written in terms of learning objectives and it contains key questions, sample activities and assessment strategies. There is a “Philosophy of Science Education” at SDIS and an overview of the methodology to be used included. During science focused units, students in Years 2-4 average 80-120 minutes and students in Years 5 and 6, 120 minutes of science per cycle. During non-science focused units, students in Years 2-4 average 40 minutes and students in Years 5 and 6, 80 minutes of science per cycle. A science specialist teaches Years 5 and 6. PERCEPTIONS The science curriculum document is comprehensive and clearly written. Science is generally incorporated into the Programme of Inquiry. Perceived gaps in the science strands have been addressed in Years 5 and 6 by the addition of science in a 6-day cycle with the arts during the 2003/2004 school year. Science during the cycle will either follow the units of inquiry or be addressed as a stand alone unit. A specialist teacher teaches the course as some teachers were perceived to feel uncomfortable with the subject. There is concern that when the School moves back to the 5-day week, strands of science will not be addressed. The science Co-ordinator and PYP Co-ordinator are working on the identification of science in the units of inquiry. The School is well equipped for the variety of science lessons taught. The teachers’ workroom is full of unit of inquiry based science materials and literature. There are also plenty of materials for the stand alone lessons offered to Years 5 and 6. Reporting is done twice a year with a Portfolio Day mid-year. A variety of effective assessment strategies is contained in the science curriculum document. Transdisciplinary research skills and parts of the scientific method are not currently incorporated in the reports on science specific units of inquiry. COMMENDATIONS The Visiting Team commends: 1. 2. The School’s hands-on inquiry based approach in science. The School for being well equipped to teach units of inquiry with a science focus.
RECOMMENDATIONS The Visiting Team recommends that: 1. 2. 3. The staff continue to review current assessment strategies The staff review the need for science stand alone units vs the incorporation of science into the units of inquiry The teachers include transdisciplinary research skills and parts of the scientific method in the reports on science specific units of inquiry.
SECTION E9: SOCIAL SCIENCES DESCRIPTION The School has adopted the PYP, in which Social Studies is taught as a transdisciplinary subject. The Social Studies strands in the PYP are geography, history and society. The Social Studies Curriculum document for the Junior School consists of Scope and Sequence, Methodology, ‘What a PYP Social Studies Classroom Looks Like’, Assessment/Marking, Degree of focus/strand specific skills covered, Transdisciplinary skills and Resource sections. There is a Social Studies Co-ordinator in the Junior School whose responsibilities include curriculum development, developing resource priorities for budget purposes, and keeping abreast of new developments in Social Studies. Assessment of Social Studies is currently in line to be reviewed by a committee designed for this purpose. At each grade level, Social Studies is the focus in at least one Unit of Inquiry. Instruction for Portuguese A groups (native speakers of Portuguese) has links with social studies focused units of inquiry. From Year 3 through to Year 6 there are links to units with social studies focus in the Portuguese lessons. Language B students (students with little Portuguese) have links only in terms of vocabulary used in class units. PERCEPTIONS The curriculum is thorough and follows PYP guidelines. The Social Studies assessment and reporting is to be addressed by the Assessment Committee directly following Science. There are ample opportunities within the Units to include diversity of culture and host country, which need to be utilized by the teaching staff. There are limited resources in English for studies on Portugal and cultural studies currently in the School. In the Junior School Social Studies Co-ordinator’s job description it lists liaising with staff in the Secondary School. This is currently not done, as there is apparently no time allocated for this purpose. COMMENDATIONS The Visiting Team commends: 1. 2. The Assessment Committee that has been organized to review assessment in Social Studies (among other areas); The teachers for starting to incorporate the host country into the curriculum where possible.
RECOMMENDATIONS The Visiting Team recommends that: 1. 2. 3. The Administration prioritize purchasing of cultural resources for the Junior School Units of Inquiry. The teaching staff find ways to incorporate the diversity of its students and staff to enhance the educational experiences of the students. The Social Studies Co-ordinator liaise with the Senior School to ensure articulation and continuation across the PYP and MYP.
SECTION E10 (a):
CURRICULUM ENRICHMENT PROGRAMME
DESCRIPTION The Curriculum Enrichment Programme has only been in place since the beginning of the 2003 school year. Prior to this time, the children were involved in Extra Curricular Activities at the end of the day. The Curriculum Enrichment Programme is not a specific subject area in the curriculum but has been added this year to enable children to experience different opportunities that they may not otherwise have an opportunity to discover. There are a variety of experiences available in the Upper Junior School. The CEP’s take place at the end of each day from 15:00-15:50. Different activities take place depending on what CEP’s are on offer. On any particular afternoon there may be up to five or six different activities. In addition to this, there could be two or more mother tongue language lessons happening as well as Catechism. Classes have a variety of facilities available to them such as the computer room, music room for orchestra, the junior library where groups can attend reading sessions or do their own research, sports facilities as well as the school grounds. As of yet there is no overall assessment, but in Years 5 and 6 the pupils have been able to participate in their own reflection of the activities they have attended. The ESL teachers have been used in CEP time to further enhance the teaching of both beginning and intermediate ESL to those students who are in need of extra support. There is very limited interaction between the host country, diversity of the school community and using this to enhance the programme. It is hoped that in the future the CEP programme will involve children in different fund raising activities throughout the year. PERCEPTIONS The CEP is a new concept and as such has been met with varied success. The older year groups are benefiting from having the opportunity to take part in a variety of activities during school time, yet the younger year groups are struggling with participation. The teachers feel the younger children are too tired to participate in activities at this time of the day. Having the CEP’s during the school day allows for participation by all children, whereas some children who catch buses might not otherwise be able to participate after school hours. The teachers have offered a variety of activities for the students such as drama, music, art, etc. One area that could be developed is using the resources of the host country to enhance the programme. The time given to Portuguese language and other mother tongue language lessons is very worthwhile. COMMENDATIONS The Visiting Team commends: 1. 2. 3. The staff for the variety of activities offered to the students. The staff for creating an opportunity which allows participation for all students The teaching staff for organizing language classes for a variety of languages.
SECTION E10 (b): RELIGIOUS EDUCATION DESCRIPTION The multi-faith programme of R.E. is taught to all classes from Years 1-6 two 40-minute periods on a 6-day cycle. Students study the six main world religions. Resources are available within the School to support the programme. The School community includes members from many religions which makes it a resource in the teaching of R.E. Students can also learn facts and features of the Catholic faith in a country like Portugal which in itself is a resource. The Prayer Room situated in the School garden is a multi-faith sacred space which is used by all components of the School community. Alongside the multi-faith programme, a Catholic catecheses programme is made available during C.E.P. time due to the high percentage of Catholic children in Junior School and request of their parents for such a programme. The R.E Co-ordinator is a cross School position. The job description for the co-ordinator lists keeping up with recent developments in the subject. PERCEPTIONS The curriculum is clearly documented. It is updated yearly. The recommendation during PYP evaluation to make religion a stand alone subject has been carried out with interest. Conversations with students verify the existence of the multi-faith programme at SDIS. Students were enthusiastic to learn about the different faiths. There are many good and relevant resources available in the School. Additions to the Prayer Room which address the different faiths is appreciated by the School community as is the inclusion and reference to different religious holidays in the monthly newsletter. Ministers and leaders of other faiths visiting the School when possible would enhance the programme. COMMENDATIONS The Visiting Team commends: 1. 2. The School’s development and resourcing of a multi faith programme. The development of a user friendly curriculum document.
RECOMMENDATIONS The Visiting Team recommends that: 1. The RE Co-ordinator consider the inclusion of ministers and leaders of other faiths visiting the School to enhance the programme.
RECOMMENDATIONS The Visiting Team recommends that: 1. 2. The staff review the CEP objectives to see how they can best meet the needs of the students in Nursery to Year 3. The staff look for ways to incorporate the host country and the diversity of cultures during the CEP time.
SECTION F* MIDDLE YEARS PROGRAMME OF THE INTERNATIONAL BACCALAUREATE RATING 1. The programme of studies shall, in its overall content and design, its organizational arrangements, and its academic and instructional policies, represent a consistent and effective implementation of the school's philosophy and objectives. 2. The curriculum shall be in written form showing the range and content of subject coverage at each level offered. 3. The administration and staff shall provide for curriculum evaluation and review on a continuing basis using a variety of assessment methods. 4. Delivery of the curriculum shall be effected through a range of teaching and learning approaches. 5. The programme shall meet the educational, social, and physical needs of those enrolled. This includes students who may have learning disabilities and students with significant talents. 6. The school shall effectively utilize, whenever possible, the diversity (cultural, racial, and gender) of its students and staff to enhance the educational experiences of its students and the quality of the school's programme. 7. The school shall use the culture of the host country as a resource to enhance the curriculum. 8. There shall be appropriate assessment of student achievement, utilizing a range of methods. 9. The results of assessment shall be appropriately recorded and utilized in curriculum review in order to enhance learning and instruction. 10. The reporting system to parents shall be thorough and effective and provide for open channels of communication between parents and teachers. It shall include the results of individual student assessment as they relate to what the school identified for students to know, understand and be able to do. M M M M M
M* M M M
SECTION F*: MIDDLE YEARS PROGRAMME (continued) 11. Overall the programme shall make adequate provision for the general educational needs of students. The programme of studies shall be characterized by a coherent and linked curriculum through the Areas of Interaction: Approaches to Learning Community Service Health and Social Education Environment Homo Faber Educational experiences shall facilitate learning in: a. Language A b. Language B c. Humanities. d. Sciences. e. Mathematics. f. Arts. g. Physical Education. h. Technology. The administration and staff shall provide for the organization, supervision and assessment of the Personal Project according to the objectives of the programme. COMMENTS Standard 6 – see Recommendation F*13 Standard 10 – see Recommendation F*14 Standard 11 – see Recommendation F*11
M M D M M M M M M M M M M M M
SECTION F* MIDDLE YEARS PROGRAMME DESCRIPTION Years 7-11 at St Dominic’s correspond to years 1-5 of the Middle Years Programme (MYP). All students participate in the MYP and programme information is included in handbooks and the School’s promotional literature. The current schedule is based on 40 minute units and a six day cycle (A-F). Day C is a half-day for lessons, with various activities on offer in the afternoon. The students in Year 7 are taught Maths, Language A English, and Portuguese, French B, The Arts (including Music, Drama, Arts and Crafts, and Art and Design), Humanities, Physical Education, Religious Education, Information Technology, Science and Life Skills. Design Technology is added in Years 8 and 9. In Years 10 and 11, each student must take at least one course from each of the curriculum areas of the MYP and all students must study English. Languages A are English, Portuguese and/or Swedish. Languages B are German, Portuguese, Swedish, French and/or English. All students continue with Religious Education, Information Technology, Co-ordinated Science, PE and Mathematics (with the possibility of joining an extension mathematics group). The students can choose from Music, Drama or Art. Design Technology is an option against another arts or language. Geography is taught in Year 10 and history in Year 11. All students must fulfill Community and Service requirements in each year of the programme and, in Year 11, must complete a Personal Project. The School subscribes to the MYP certification process and there is an MYP awards ceremony each June. English as a Second Language (ESL) students are taught in withdrawal groups during language and humanities lessons. They are also given some in-class support in some subjects. There are exit criteria for the introduction of students into mainstream humanities and language classes, as appropriate. The Special Needs programme follows an inclusive model. Special Needs teachers develop educational plans for students in their programme. These plans are shared with the subject teachers. A time allocation work group – primarily heads of department - has recently proposed a 5-day timetable to begin in the 2004/2005 academic year. This involves the re-distribution of teaching time and consideration of the structure of the school day and year. A letter concerning a new options system for years 10 and 11 was sent home during the visit. The MYP Co-ordinator is appointed on a 2-year basis. The co-ordinator oversees the implementation of the MYP. This includes developing procedures for assessment, reporting and curriculum planning, providing information and workshops for teachers and parents, planning activity days and the assembly rota, overseeing the moderation process and working with the Area of Interaction leaders and staff as a whole. The MYP Coordinator gives a presentation to all year six parents and student’s who will be entering the MYP programme. Parents are also offered a workshop on assessment in the MYP. New staff participate in a one day introductory MYP workshop during orientation. The MYP coordinator is also responsible for planning and maintaining the budget for the MYP. This includes stationery, photocopying and educational materials. The coordinator also has a conference/workshop budget. This money is used to send staff to MYP or other conferences and to bring trainers and presenters to the School. The School is committed to providing at least one training workshop/conference opportunity for each member of staff every two years, for either MYP or the Diploma. The School has three Areas of Interaction Co-ordinators. One is responsible for Personal Project, Approaches to Learning, Homo Faber, Theory of Knowledge and Student Support, the Dean of Students co-ordinates Community and Service and Environment, and the third co-ordinates Health and Social Education. Next academic year a new appointment will be made which will combine the roles of the Diploma CAS and MYP Community and Service coordinators. The role of the area coordinators is to oversee and encourage the meaningful implementation of the Area of Interaction. The School is committed to developing the interdisciplinary delivery of the programme. Each cycle, meetings are timetabled to develop interdisciplinary units of work for each year level. At these meetings representatives from the departments meet to plan meaningful interdisciplinary units based on guiding questions. A
programme of activity days is included within the School calendar. These activity days may be trips outside of school or whole-school activities within the School. These days are largely planned to complement the work done in regular lessons. These days are used as a means of promoting interdisciplinary work within each year group and sometimes focus on an Area of Interaction. There is a daily 10-minute registration period where tutors meet with their tutor groups. During this time, announcements are made and registration is taken. Next year, this period will be moved to the end of the day to allow for a more relaxed and concentrated period for addressing pastoral matters. The tutors meet with their tutor group for one 40-minute period according to a pre-set calendar that shares this time slot with assemblies. In 2004/2005, assemblies will rotate so that they no longer coincide with the allocated tutor periods. Currently, Life Skills is taught as a separate subject. Next year, tutors will be given the time and responsibility for covering Health and Social Education issues and encouraging students to reflect on the Areas of Interaction. Assistance and guidance will be provided from the Area of Interaction Co-ordinators. In the Senior School, counselors are responsible for academic and personal counseling of individuals. Students may be referred, or refer themselves, for any of a variety of reasons which may be affecting their School life. The Personal Project process begins in Year 10 with introductory workshops, the allocation of supervisors and the initial focus being decided upon. The product is due in March of Year 11. There is a display of projects at the MYP ceremony in June and past personal projects are stored in the library for reference. Course descriptions for all subjects can be found in the St. Dominic’s MYP handbook. This handbook is in final draft form. Assessment including revised wording assessment for years seven to nine can be found in the St. Dominic’s Reporting and Assessment handbook. Assessment is based upon the MYP criteria which are reflected in the report card. Each student is assessed on each individual criterion. A final grade is then produced on the report card according to the subject grade boundaries. The grades are monitored by the tutors, the MYP Co-ordinator, and the Dean of Students. The staff meets weekly in departments and as departmental representatives in year level teams - scheduled during the school day. There are weekly after-school departmental meetings. After-school MYP curriculum meetings and Curriculum Leaders (Heads of Department) meetings are held monthly. The Secondary School management team consists of the Head of Secondary, the Assistant Head/Diploma Co-ordinator and the MYP Co-ordinator. The management team of the whole School, consisting of the Principal, the head of Senior and Junior School and the PYP, MYP and Diploma Co-ordinators, meets weekly. Monthly, this team has separate meetings with the Staff Association and PTA Committees. PERCEPTIONS The responses in the self-study and during interviews were candid. There is a relaxed, friendly atmosphere in the Senior School and ample evidence of positive student-teacher interaction, despite evidence of overcrowding in classrooms, congestion in corridors and insufficient storage space. Time allocation requirements for technology are not being met for Year 7 and the materials strand is not being taught at this year level. This strand is also missing for those students who do not opt for Design Technology in Years 10 and 11. There is a close correlation between the School’s philosophy and that of the IBO. There is a held perception that PYP/ MYP/ DP transitions work well. Communication across the three IB programmes is facilitated by the weekly meeting of the co-ordinators as members of the School Management Team and by the support they receive from a shared IB Curriculum Assistant. The School’s language policy has been described as “somewhere”, “non-existent”, or “there by default”. The School’s stance on the importance of mother tongue development and the encouragement of parental initiatives is somewhat passive. Some departments and the ESL teachers would like ESL students to receive in-class support.
The special needs teachers are keen to work with mainstream colleagues on facilitating differentiated learning activities; to encompass provision for highly able students, as well as those with learning differences. The activities days provide a valuable vehicle for developing the Areas of Interaction and Inter-cultural Awareness. Some teachers have indicated a desire to enhance Inter-cultural Awareness by making more use of the cultural diversity of the community, and considering varied cultural perspectives when choosing resources. Community and Service focuses entirely on the service element and the guidelines and expectations are neither comprehensive nor widely shared with students. To date, much of Health and Social Education has been taught as a stand-alone class (Life Skills). For 2004/2005, Health and Social Education topics deemed to be important but not covered as a natural part of the curriculum, will provide a focus for tutor period time, with the Life Skills teacher used as a resource for the tutors. There will also be time for reflection on the Areas of Interaction during tutor periods. Some departments have done a lot of work on the documentation of the curriculum, and some teachers are concerned that they are having to re-do things to fit the electronic curriculum map (ECM). However, the programme will be more cohesive if a standard format is used. The ECM will enable teachers to standardize what is happening in their department and make appropriate links to projects undertaken in other departments. Curriculum Leaders and Co-ordinators will be able to map strands and develop progression of learning for the Areas of Interaction. Teachers use a wide range of teaching strategies in delivering the programme and are committed to criterionreferenced assessment, and departments have modified criterion descriptors for Years 7-9. They are at various stages of developing student self-assessment, the use of portfolios and internal moderation. External moderation of assessment feedback indicates that most subjects are using the assessment criteria from the MYP guides appropriately and are setting and selecting suitable tasks for moderation purposes. There is a suggestion that practices in Year 11 are more rigorous than in the preceding years. The new MYP report cards clearly show attainment relative to assessment criteria, as well as the IB 1-7 scale. The Assessment and Reporting handbook is a useful guide for students and parents. There is only one annual parent-teacher conference evening per Year Level. The Years 10 and 11 conference is on 01 April. This is late in the year. There are only 18 x 10 minute slots available. Teachers and parents have indicated concern with these arrangements. The time allocation work group is considering more equitable distribution by subject, the use of outside facilities and the length of the school day. They may also have to consider the length of the school year for students. Parents have expressed concern that a letter regarding the 2004/2005 language options for Years 10 and 11 contained significant changes and that a reply was requested within two days, without the opportunity to ask questions at an information evening. The time allocation committee has been discussing changes for 2004/5 but the letter came as a surprise to many – including the Visiting Team. The current schedule provides for departmental and Year Level common planning time during the day, but the representation of departments is not appropriate at all Year Levels. PE teachers are never able to attend because they have other classes. Although departments are reviewing their curricula there is no formal cycle for curriculum review. Staff new to the School are almost invariably new to the MYP also. This is significant for the School’s professional development budget. There is a commitment to providing IBO training for all MYP teachers via on campus in-service as well as external workshops. As a result of staff turnover, many teachers have not been MYP trained but there is at least one trained teacher per department. The time allocated to MYP induction is perceived to be too little. More could be done with regard to displaying student work in the classrooms and hallways.
COMMENDATIONS The Visiting Team commends: 1. 2. 3. The teachers, staff and students for maintaining a warm and inviting atmosphere throughout the Senior School. The MYP leadership and teachers for the candid nature of their responses in the self-study report and during interviews. MYP leadership and teachers for improving communication with students and parents by developing an Assessment and Reporting handbook for Years 7 – 11 and report cards which show attainment relative to assessment criteria, as well as the IB 1-7 scale. The MYP leadership and teachers for their commitment to implementing criterion-referenced assessment and developing modified criterion descriptors for years 7-9, as well as piloting student self-assessment, the use of portfolios and internal moderation. The teachers for their skill in applying the final criteria, as evidenced by feedback from the external moderation process. The teachers for using a wide range of teaching strategies in delivering the programme. The MYP leadership for building horizontal and vertical planning time into the schedule. The MYP leadership and teachers for the renewed focus on inter-disciplinary planning and the productive use of activity days for inter-disciplinary projects.r The administration for providing support for the three IB Co-ordinators, in the form of the IB Curriculum Assistant.
5. 6. 7. 8. 9.
RECOMMENDATIONS The Visiting Team recommends that: 1. 2. 3. 4. The Administration ensure that all requirements outlined in the Technology Guide are met. The Administration review present facilities in the light of overcrowded classrooms and insufficient storage space. The Administration consider formalising a cycle for curriculum review. The School write a comprehensive language policy to, amongst other things: 5. Make a clear statement regarding the importance of mother tongue development, Consider the provision of in-class ESL support, Clarify the language pathways open to students entering Years 10 and 11.
The MYP leadership standardise curriculum mapping for all grade levels to: Integrate the Areas of Interaction in a meaningful way. Plan more effectively across disciplines. Facilitate vertical articulation of the curriculum. Departments endeavour to apply the same rigour with regard to assessment in Years 7-10, as is evident in Year 11. The MYP leadership and teachers consider giving priority to a focus on differentiation of learning activities, for future professional development.
8. 9. 10. 11.
Departments share good practice with regard to student self-assessment, the use of portfolios and internal moderation. The Administration facilitate the involvement of the PE teachers in inter-disciplinary planning. The MYP leadership evaluate the delivery of Areas of Interaction by the tutors to ensure that they are being significantly and sufficiently addressed. The MYP leadership encourage the use of Community and Service as a true Area of Interaction by focusing on community awareness, in appropriate units and ensure that Community and Service guidelines and expectations are given to all students. The MYP leadership encourage the use of display space, in the hallways and classrooms, to enhance the development of the fundamental concepts and other aspects of the programme. The MYP leadership and teachers consider the full utilisation of the diversity of teaching staff and students, and varied cultural perspectives when choosing resources, in order to raise Intercultural Awareness. The administration review the scheduling of parent-teacher conferences to improve the reporting process. The Administration investigate timely ways of constructively communicating curriculum changes, to the relevant constituencies. The MYP leadership develop an MYP strategic plan that incorporates and prioritises responses to the Visiting Team’s recommendations. The MYP leadership facilitate the development of departmental plans, in accordance with the MYP strategic plan.
14. 15. 16. 17.
SECTION F*1 – LANGUAGE A DESCRIPTION Three Language A courses are offered: English, Portuguese and Swedish. Swedish is offered because St. Dominic’s has served as the Secondary School to a small Swedish primary school in the locality. Swedish is an elective, the numbers of students involved is small (five or six) and the language is taught by a part-time teacher who is a native speaker. All students study English A once their English is considered strong enough. Around 60% of students study Portuguese A. There are two Portuguese classes in each grade level. There are three English A classes in Years 7 and 8, and two in Years 9, 10, and 11. These classes are all mixed ability. Moderation reports for all three languages are available for a number use of years and indicate the setting of appropriate tasks, the use of appropriate criteria and the awarding of appropriate grades. The department has a written syllabus, and there is time available on the timetable for teachers to review and renew this. The department has recently introduced Yearly Planner and Unit Planner documents to enable members to share ideas and to record and document the programme using a standardized format. In 2002/2003, the department piloted a structured and systematic portfolio practice, linking to student-teacher conferencing and formative assessment. The department has also modified the MYP assessment criteria for Years 7, 8 and 9. PERCEPTIONS The department has been involved in a comprehensive review of the syllabus during the last two years that has shifted the focus back to concepts and skills, using the MYP assessment criteria as a guideline. They feel there is still much work to be done in this area, particularly with regard to the structuring and sequencing of skills, and the development of a more coherent approach to encouraging creative responses to literary and other texts. Many of the departmental concerns that emerged during the self study have already received attention and are progressing. The use of the Rubicon Atlas database will allow the department to analyze its existing unit plans to further the focusing of learning through guiding questions linked to Areas of Interaction. Similarly, the decision to work towards having all students in each year group study the same units at the same time will facilitate inter-disciplinary planning. There appears to be a clear commitment on the part of the department to integrate IT skills into units, although this is perceived as being difficult given current access to the IT facilities in the School. The department has also made a commitment to reviewing differentiation of the activities within each unit to ensure they provide opportunities for effective learning for the range of abilities and learning styles that may exist in each class. Moderation of Assessment reports have also prompted this review, and the opportunity for useful collaboration with the Special Needs teachers on this issue also exists. Revision of staff meeting time since the writing of the self study also appears to have facilitated involvement in interdisciplinary projects. The development of a school-wide booklet explaining the MYP criteria to parents has alleviated concerns about reporting to parents, and the portfolios of work now being kept by students will provide material not only to improve dialogue with parents but also offer opportunities for student reflection. Currently the range of materials available, particularly texts, does not allow for the level of exploration of gender and cultural issues that the department would like, but they hope to address this problem by a combination of book purchasing and modification of course units. Classroom visits indicated that lessons within Language A classes contained a variety of teaching techniques, with students focused and well-motivated. Displays of student work, and the contents of student portfolios further indicated the varied approaches used in the department. Of the eight teachers in the department, two have received specific MYP training (in Bucharest and Slovenia).
COMMENDATIONS The Visiting Team commends: 1. 2. 3. The ongoing thoughtful and thorough curriculum review being carried out by the department. The department’s commitment to working with the Special Needs teachers to differentiating learning within departmental units of work. The department's determination to address issues of gender and culture currently missing from the curriculum by restructuring units and purchasing appropriate resources.
RECOMMENDATIONS The Visiting Team recommends that: 1. 2. The Administration encourage more Language A teachers to undertake MYP training. The teachers to continue to search for ways to incorporate I.T. into curriculum units.
SECTION F*2 – LANGUAGE B DESCRIPTION All students in the MYP at St. Dominic’s study three languages in Years 7 to 9: English, Portuguese and French. French is studied as a Language B in Years 7-9, except for those students in ESL programmes who join French classes when their need for ESL Language support has diminished. All students in Years 10 and 11 study Portuguese B / B Advanced level if they are not native or bilingual users. English is studied as Language A. German B and Swedish B are offered as two year programmes in Years 10-11. For students who still have severe ESL needs in Years 10 and 11, English B / B Advanced courses are available. There is a Co-ordinator of ESL who reports to the Head of Language B. There are nine teachers in the department, of whom three have attended MYP courses in the last three years. Language B has been taught 5 periods every 6 day cycle in Years 7 to 9, and 4 periods in the cycle in Years 10 and 11. The department has a variety of resources including overhead projectors, TV / Video units, CD / cassette players, a Coomber cassette player / recorders with microphones, and a cassette fast copier. There is a computer attached to the School intranet in each Senior School teaching room. In common with other departments, Language B has access to a DVD player, 2 LED projectors, and the shared IT facilities. Course books and associated audiovisual materials are available for French, Portuguese B and Portuguese B Advanced Years 7-11; ESL Years 7-9; and German Years 10 and 11. Courses draw on these core resources to differing extents. English B and Swedish B draw material from a range of published and teacher generated material. There are yearly subscriptions to language magazines and an electronic resource bank for French, ESL and German. Recent moderation reports are complimentary about the quality of the assignments set, and the accuracy of teacher assessment of them. Review of these reports has become a part of the informal annual review of curriculum that the department undertakes. Portuguese B and B Advanced students received constant exposure to the target language in day-to-day life. In addition there are field-trips to cultural events including cinema and theatre visits. Portuguese A and B students join together on some Activity Days to take part in cultural visits to, for example, Almoural castle or the Portuguese Broadcasting institutions. For languages other than Portuguese, teachers invite native speakers – students and staff – into the classroom either formally or informally. Sensitisation to the target language also takes place through multicultural Activity Days and events that celebrate diversity, such as United Nations Day. The School’s proximity to Lisbon allows access to Cultural Centres where foreign language enrichment activities take place. Recently French students have visited the Institut Franco-Portugais and the Lycée Français, and ESL students have attended a theatre workshop running as part of the annual ExpoLingua event. PERCEPTION Lesson observation and discussions with teaching staff and students indicated that there was a range of teaching methods used within the department. In some classes students were accustomed to learning in a variety of ways, including pair and group work, role play and filmed sketches, oral presentations and games, while in other classes there were more traditional teacher let activities An examination of student portfolios kept in the classrooms confirmed that some students were engaged in a variety of tasks which they were able to explain clearly and seemingly enjoyed. Many of the activities were targeted at the particular interests of this age group, and offered the opportunity for helping students understand the links between subject content and Areas of Interaction required by the MYP. Examples included tasks based on music, fashion, radical sports, and drug use and abuse. Members of the department appeared satisfied that they had the resources available to facilitate this variety of methodology and activities, including access to IT resources in the School, although others believed that these was underutilized.
Existing curriculum documentation is in the process of being transferred to the recently introduced Rubicon Atlas Curriculum database. Coupled with the introduction of interdisciplinary units, which has forced the rescheduling of various units in different courses, this offers the opportunity both to standardize curriculum documentation between the courses, and to review the scope and sequence of the department’s units of work. More clearly defined assessment tasks and more effective linking of units to the Areas of Interaction should also result from this process. The academic year 2002/2003 was the first time that students below Year 11 became fully aware of the criteria against which their performance was assessed. At the end of that year ‘student criteria’ were produced alongside the teachers’ version. During the course of the visit to the School, changes in the language options available to students in the last two years of the MYP programme (and subsequent Diploma programme choices), were published. Year 10 students will now be required to select from French B, Portuguese B (available only to those whose have learned Portuguese as a foreign language, and English B/B Advanced (available only to those whose first language is not English). The Visiting Team were also informed that the ESL Department will no longer operate as part of the Language B Department for the 2004/2005 school year, instead joining with other student support services. This means that several of the concerns raised in the self-study are now redundant. COMMENDATIONS The Visiting Team commends: 1. 2. 3. The imaginative teaching taking place in a number of the Language B classrooms The use made of local events to enhance the Language B courses The ongoing process of curriculum documentation and review being undertaken by the Language B teachers.
RECOMMENDATIONS The Visiting Team recommends that: 1. The teachers continue to find ways to include I.T in the Language B programmes.
SECTION F*3 - HUMANITIES DESCRIPTION Humanities are taught as three subjects at the School - geography, history and religious education. Religious education is taught to all students in all five years of the MYP with two lessons each 6-day cycle. Geography and history are taught to all students in the first three years of the programme for five teaching periods each 6 day cycle; students then take geography in Year 10 and history in Year 11 for 7 periods per cycle. This arrangement does not prohibit students from opting to do either history or geography or both if they enter the Diploma programme. There are no dedicated humanities rooms in the School. At each year level classes are involved in a unit of field work. Five of the eleven teachers in the department have received specific MYP training since 2001. There is provision for ESL teaching within the humanities. Students in need of language support are identified and given in-class help by a member of the ESL Department. PERCEPTIONS The department had been slow to develop curriculum documents, but the impetus given by the School´s decision to the Rubican Atlas curriculum mapping database has allowed the humanities teachers to move directly to using the new format, thus avoiding the frustration of other departments who have the more difficult task of modifying existing documents. As a result, there is now a growing set of unit plans for each subject in the department, with guiding questions linking the unit to an area of interaction. The units provide a variety of activities and tasks. This allows the individual teachers in the mainstream programme and the ESL group the flexibility to adopt different methods of delivery of the programme to students, while providing assessment tasks common to each unit regardless of the activities undertaken. Some use is made of the local and national environment with at least one unit designed to focus on this at each year level. Examples that were discussed during the visit were the unit based on Exploration in Year 8, a local river study in Year 10, and traffic surveys in the area of a proposed new road close to the School. The department had also been involved in the interdisciplinary units that had taken place this year including ‘What is a responsible decision?’ which had been linked to a geography unit on sustainable development. The cross curricular planning needed for this had been made possible by grade level and departmental meeting time newly incorporated in the teaching schedule for the 2003/2004 school year. Elements of Portuguese history, a legal requirement that the School must meet, have also been integrated into certain units in the first three years of the programme. Information Technology has not been successfully integrated into the humanities programme because of the perception that the computer facilities (both laptops, computer room and computers in the library) are difficult to access. As a result, software that could enhance the programme has not been purchased. Changes anticipated in scheduling for the history and geography in the 2004/2005 school year will allow students to continue to take both subjects for the last two years of the programme. In the past the fact that geography was not offered in Year 11 has influenced the choices made by students entering the Diploma course. The department recognizes that it has not adequately addressed the need to create opportunities for student reflection and self-assessment. There is also recognition of the need to give students a better overview of the units they are studying, and to ensure that they are aware of the assessment tasks they will be required to complete and the criteria they will be used to assess them. Modifying criteria for the first three years of the programme, and the development of task-specific rubrics are also areas of curriculum development that need to be addressed to enable students in the department to participate more fully in the assessment process.
COMMENDATIONS The Visiting Team commends: 1. 2. 3. The departments ongoing efforts to develop clearly written and challenging unit plans. The department’s participation in developing interdisciplinary projects. The department’s efforts to adapt activities to enable the fuller participation of ESL students.
RECOMMENDATIONS The Visiting Team recommends that: 1. 2. 3. The humanities teachers find ways of increasing the use of information technology in their units. The humanities teachers development of task-specific rubrics and the modify criteria for use by students in Years 7-10. Teachers share unit plans and assessment tasks with students at the beginning of each unit to encourage more efficient learning.
SECTION F*4 – NATURAL SCIENCE DESCRIPTION The science curriculum has been developed to align with the MYP framework, areas of interaction and assessment requirements. Teaching methodologies are investigative in nature. Resources include one full-time laboratory technician, four purpose-built laboratories, a computer in each laboratory, internet access, School video library, School reference library and use of the IB OCC for contact with the latest developments and approaches in the programme. Students in Years 7 to 9 have six 40-minute periods per cycle in General Science classes. Students in Years 10 and 11 have nine 40-minute periods per cycle. In Years 10 and 11, the School year is divided into three rotations shared among Biology, Physics and Chemistry. All six members of the Science Department have teaching assignments in both the MYP and Diploma programmes. Students are provided with a list of specific learning objectives and key words at the beginning of each topic. The science teachers have developed distinct descriptors for the assessment criteria for Years 7 through 9. Student portfolios of assessed work in science are kept in the Science Department. The science curriculum is drawn up with due consideration for the School's location in Portugal with specific laboratory practice, many field work locations and activity day themes based on Portuguese discoveries, ecosystems, geography and history. Many of the Personal Projects supervised within the department are based on either specific host country themes or situations, or on the cultural background and interest of the student. PERCEPTIONS The science laboratories are well-equipped and furnished with appropriate fire-extinguishing and chemical spillage equipment. The layout appears to support a teaching methodology based on an investigative approach. However, the laboratories were originally constructed to accommodate 16 students but must now accommodate classes as large as 22 students. Storage space is at a premium, and concentrated acids are now stored in a fume cupboard in one of the laboratories and not in the preparation room. Although students cannot access the laboratories between classes, this method of storage is unsatisfactory. Due to the number of classes using the science laboratories, some classes must use regular classrooms for some of their lessons. Although this represents only 7% of MYP classes in science, some classes are affected more than others. For example, Year 7 have only one double lesson out of six periods in a laboratory and two out of three Year 10 and Year 11 groups have double lessons in regular classrooms. This limits the ability of the teachers to deliver a truly investigative approach. Teachers revise their schemes of work following IB MYP annual moderation feedback. The moderation reports indicate that the assessment criteria are being applied consistently and appropriately. However, as the moderation reports do not arrive until the autumn, the staff feel that it is not always possible to implement feedback or advice for the next academic year. The Science Department carries out an audit of its strengths and weaknesses, and an evaluation of its progress towards previously set targets every two years. This process results in a departmental Development Plan developed by the Head of Department. Effective planning has successfully resulted in the development of the students learning outcome sheets and the lists of key words which are distributed to students at the start of each topic. There is a comprehensive departmental handbook. Although science staff have attended professional development activities, only a minority have received specific MYP training. Links to the Areas of Interaction are evident in the curriculum documents and unit planners, and further staff training would assist staff in developing guided questions more firmly anchored in the areas of interaction. The Science course does not have a bilingual aspect, although the department makes every effort to take into consideration that English is not most students` mother tongue. There does not appear to be a school culture that supports ESL support in the classroom and attempts to have a team-teaching approach, especially in
Years 7 and 8, were unfortunately abandoned to solve a staffing shortage. Science staff would also welcome SEN in-class support. COMMENDATIONS The Visiting Team commends: 1. 2. 3. 4. The Science Department for the development of a comprehensive department handbook and development plan. The Science Department for the development of student-friendly descriptors for the assessment criteria in Years 7 through 9. The science teachers for their appropriate and effective application of the assessment criteria. The Science Department for the production of student learning outcome and key word sheets.
RECOMMENDATIONS The Visiting Team recommends that: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. The administration investigate and implement ways of providing specific MYP training to more members of the Science Department. The administration investigate and implement ways of improving the induction process for new staff in the MYP programme. The science staff revisit the use of secure storage facilities to include all chemicals. The administration review present facilities in the light of overcrowding and insufficient storage space. The administration find ways to incorporate more ESL/SEN support in science classes.
SECTION F*5 - MATHEMATICS DESCRIPTION Curriculum content and its co-ordination in MYP mathematics involves all teachers in the Mathematics Department in the Senior School. Schemes of work for all years and levels are annotated throughout the year, evaluated at the end and updated for the next academic year. The teaching methodologies, classroom activities and technology used are mainly determined by the objectives of the programme. Common activities and methodologies, including the use of technology, are agreed and planned for all the classes in the same year and level. In Years 7 and 8, students follow the same programme in mathematics. In Year 9, differentiated activities are given within the same class. In Years 10 and 11, separate groups are taught for mathematics and extended mathematics. Time allocation is six 40-minute lessons on a six-day cycle. Most classes have at least one 80-minute block. The resources available such as manipulative equipment, books, calculators, etc. are stored in one of the three mathematics rooms. All year groups, except for Year 10, have access to the IT laboratory, either once a cycle or on a rotation basis once every three cycles. The media resource centre is available through previous booking. Assessment takes place regularly with all criteria assessed at least once by the end of each term. Recording is the responsibility of the teachers and at the end of each term, the level of achievement in each criterion is included in the student report. Internal standardization of some assessed tasks takes place. All students join the mathematics lessons irrespective of their level of English. No in-class ESL support is given. There are no written strategies or alternative assessment for students in this situation. The host country location, and the diversity within the School community, are used to support the curriculum, mainly through field trips and activity days. PERCEPTIONS The education offered is consistent with the MYP’s general objectives and the objectives of the mathematics subject area. Integration of the Areas of Interaction is perceived by the instructional staff as an area of concern, as is the use of technology. The mathematics teachers have developed a wide variety of assessment tasks and continue to do so. Each assessment task is accompanied by a task-specific rubric which clearly shows the expectations for the task. Mathematics is included in many interdisciplinary projects and local resources are widely used, although the staff would like to incorporate many more of these types of projects into the mathematics programme. The mathematics staff are planning participation of SDIS at an interschool mathematics competition, involving the three international schools in the area. The links to the areas of interaction or the ability to view mathematics through these “lenses”, are viewed as an area in need of improvement. Only two of the Mathematics Department have received training specific to the MYP. While aspects of information technology have been incorporated into the mathematics programme, limited access to the IT laboratory and practical difficulties with the set of laptop computers are felt to restrict further development in this area since teachers are unable to familiarise themselves with resources and students are unable to carry out tasks in School requiring IT. In order to benefit more effectively from mathematics classes, ESL and SEN students are in need of in-class support.
COMMENDATIONS The Visiting Team commends: 1. 2. 3. The mathematics staff for the development of rubrics for each assessment task. The mathematics staff for the development of a bank of assessment tasks. The mathematics staff for the effective inclusion of mathematics in inter-disciplinary projects.
RECOMMENDATIONS The Visiting Team recommends that: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. The Administration investigate ways of providing MYP training for all mathematics which allows them to forge links with other MYP practitioners. teachers
The mathematics teachers share their expertise in the development of task-specific rubrics, with teachers of other subject areas at SDIS. The Administration investigate ways to allow increased access to the IT laboratory and resources to both students and teachers of mathematics. The Administration investigate ways of providing ESL/SEN in-class support in mathematics classes. The mathematics staff continue to develop meaningful links to the areas of interaction.
SECTION F*6 - THE ARTS DESCRIPTION All students take courses in music, drama and art in Years 7- 9 for eight 40-minute periods in the 6-day cycle, and in Years 10 and 11 students choose to follow one of these subjects for 4 periods of 40 minutes. These are taught by two full-time art specialists, one full-time and one part-time music specialist, and two part-time drama specialists. There is an assistant who helps with the preparation of materials for these classes. There is an extensive extra-curricular instrumental teaching programme, allowing a large number of students to have individual lessons on a variety of instruments. An interschool music centre founded by one of the music teachers promotes interschool collaboration. The Drama Department produces two school theatrical events a year. A variety of teaching methodologies are used. IT is used within the department for research, graphic design, word processing, and creating music compositions, using the Encore and Sibelius programmes. The host country and local area are used to enhance the arts curriculum through field trips to local art galleries, museums and exhibitions and by visits from local artists and artists from abroad. Currently, only one teacher has had specific MYP training (Slovenia). Moderation of work has been ongoing for many years, and moderation reports indicate a clear understanding of MYP assessment methods and the development of appropriate assessment tasks and grading levels. PERCEPTIONS The physical proximity of the arts classrooms has led to a strong sense of collegiality among the department teachers, with much informal discussion about the development of the programme taking place daily. The teachers feel the department is well resourced, offering opportunities for a wide variety of activities. They have succeeded in making the arts area an attractive and inviting one for students by making the rooms themselves available during lunch time and after school, and encouraging the use of adjacent outside areas for arts activities. The department members also demonstrate a strong commitment to the use of the local cultural environment, both through field trips to concerts, plays and galleries and through the encouragement they offer students to take part in local and interschool arts events. Displays of student art work around the School, posters advertising School plays and concerts indicate that this is a high profile subject in the School and one that is viewed with pride. The curriculum documentation that has been undertaken in the department over a number of years shows a clear understanding of MYP principles. Although unit plans do not show a guiding question, there is a clear statement of the objectives of the unit, the tasks that will be undertaken and outcomes anticipated, and the expectations with regards to the design cycle, workbooks, homework assignments and assessment tasks and criteria. They also include hints for ATL skills, such as researching information on the internet, and the documents are written for distribution to students. Units are changed frequently as the department follow up new ideas and resources, keeping the curriculum fresh and vibrant. The tasks included in each unit are varied and challenging enough to cater for different learning styles and ability levels. There is also a commitment to a strong integration of the Areas of Interaction, for example, fundraising arts events for charitable purposes, making a musical instrument, and the use of the local environment as a source of inspiration as in the art unit developed on Flight. Subject links are also clearly indicated, for example in the drama unit on the Holocaust, and the music unit based on the Baroque period, although interdisciplinary units do not currently take place. However, within the department several units have been developed that incorporate aspects of music, art and drama effectively. With the growth in class size the arts spaces are becoming cramped; in particular the music room used for Year 7, while the drama studio (the Bubble) needs redesigning. The department also perceives a need for additional drama/music teachers, and for a sound technician in order to maintain delivery of the arts programme at its present level.
COMMENDATIONS The Visiting Team commends: 1. 2. 3. The collaboration between teachers within the department resulting in a rich and broad curriculum with many links between the arts subjects. The use of field trips to enhance the arts programme. The encouragement given to students by teachers to use the arts facilities during and after school and to explore local arts resources.
RECOMMENDATIONS The Visiting Team recommends that: 1. 2. 3. The School examine ways to expanding/improving arts resources and space to accommodate the growing numbers of students using them. The teachers in the arts subjects further develop the curriculum documents to include guiding questions and to make clear the links to the Areas of Interaction. The teachers play an active part in the development of interdisciplinary units across each year level.
SECTION F*7 - PHYSICAL EDUCATION DESCRIPTION Physical Education (PE) is allocated two double lessons per 6-day cycle, in each year of the programme. After changing and showering time is taken into consideration, the students receive two hours of physical education every six days. Resources include gymnastic, fitness, athletic and games equipment. Two indoor spaces are shared between three classes for 50 percent of the timetable. There is a choice of four outdoor spaces, including three courts and an astroturf soccer pitch. There are two lockable changing rooms, equipped with showers. Class size ranges from 18-26 students. There are two full-time teachers and a part-time assistant. The curriculum reflects the nature of the IBO MYP physical education objectives. The curriculum features units of work from games, athletics, gymnastics, dance, and adventure activities. Health-Related Fitness is also taught as a separate area of study and is also incorporated throughout the teaching of the other areas. The emphasis is on teaching through the cognitive, psychomotor and affective domains, striving for equal focus and the highlighting of the interrelationship between all three. It is co-ordinated by the Head of Department, who reviews the areas of study in terms of the staffing, timetabling and spaces available. Teaching methodologies are based on a series of instructional models for physical education and include direct instruction, personalized systems for instruction, co-operative learning, Teaching Games for Understanding (TGfU), peer teaching and inquiry teaching. The methodology chosen depends on the aims and objectives of the lesson in relation to the group of students and the activity being taught. For example, if the emphasis is on learning in the affective domain, the unit of work may use the co-operative learning model. Activities include skill practice, guided discovery, problem solving, compositional work, group/ partner work, individualized learning programmes, student/teacher demonstrations/presentations, class discussions, game play and more. The technology used includes CD player, TV/VCR and the filming of student work. Assessment is an ongoing criterion-referenced process, and involves a variety of formative and summative practices. These include methods such as teacher observation, written work (tests, assignments, and small homework questions), self and peer assessment, student-devised criteria, teacher questioning, and videoing of performances. The teacher keeps records of student achievements against each of the criteria that apply to each unit of work. Standardisation exercises take place twice a term. Report cards indicate student progress relative to the assessment criteria and summarized against the IB 1-7 scale. These are sent home twice a year, and there are two interim reports. Teaching and assessment practices are designed to cater for the needs of ESL students. Examples include slow, simple and clear instructions, teacher and student demonstrations, grouping based on language ability and development, differentiated tasks (by task, level of difficulty, equipment, group, space etc), and the frequent use of visual aids. The programme is adapted with consideration given to the needs and interests of the students, as well as by the specialized knowledge that staff and students may bring to the programme. Dance is used as a medium to explore cultural issues and identities. Adventure Challenge activities have been introduced to the curriculum this year with the aim of bringing attention to local environmental issues. The curriculum also pays heed to the cultural differences that exist within the study of one type of physical activity. PERCEPTIONS The Head of Department is an MYP trainer, guide writer and senior moderator. The department is “on the cutting edge” with regard to student-centred pedagogy and curriculum development in PE. The curriculum clearly shows the development of the MYP objectives over the five years of study. Objectives are written for the five years of the programme for each area of activity. This supports the progression of student achievement leading to their assessment against the fifth year published MYP criteria. The MYP PE guide includes examples of the objectives over five years and units of work from the School’s curriculum documents. In each year of the programme, there is a sufficient range of activities to ensure the appropriate assessment of all criteria. The adaptation of the Year 11 criteria gives students in Years 7-9 appropriate access to self and peer assessment.
The curriculum could be enhanced by the use of local facilities, as could extra-curricular events and activity days. However, the 6-day timetable has limited the use of local facilities. The present school year has seen a reintroduction of interdisciplinary work and the department is hoping to develop interdisciplinary work with the sciences and mathematics. Representation at year level meetings would also lead to more meaningful interdisciplinary work. The Head of Department schedules PE facility use. The two indoor venues tend to be shared by three classes (PYP/MYP). It is a complex rotation sometimes disrupted by the weather. One of the indoor gyms is a multipurpose facility. It is not ideal that the programme is periodically disrupted by assemblies and examinations. The changing rooms are small and some students change in the Senior School bathrooms. Classes of 26 place great demands on teachers and facilities. The assistant provides invaluable support with regard to the organization of resources and the teaching of large groups. COMMENDATIONS The Visiting Team commends: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. The teachers for the exemplary documentation of the curriculum and student-centred pedagogy. The teachers for modifying the MYP assessment criteria so that they are more appropriate for Years 7-9. The teachers for developing student self and peer assessment. The administration for providing a part-time assistant for organising resources and helping with larger classes. The administration for adopting a schedule rotation which allows for the use of off-campus facilities.
RECOMMENDATIONS The Visiting Team recommends that: 1. 2. 3. 4. The administration facilitate the involvement of the PE teachers in inter-disciplinary planning. The administration consider providing more changing room space. The administration consider optimising class size in accordance with appropriate pedagogy. The administration attempt to schedule assemblies (and the set-up / take-down time) so that there is minimal disruption of the PE programme.
SECTION F*8 - I TECHNOLOGY DESCRIPTION The “Technology Department” is a new acquisition to the school and it was only in October 2003 that a Head of Department was appointed. Prior to this time individual teachers were left to develop their own units of work within the MYP framework. Two members of staff are currently involved in the delivery of the programme. A completely new programme of study covering both Information and design technology has been developed since the creation of the new department. All units of work involve the design cycle in a problem solving project approach. All students receive instruction in computer technology, with students in Year 7 receiving two lessons per cycle, one lesson per cycle in Years 8 and 9, and 4 lessons per cycle in years 10 and 11. Design technology is a compulsory course in years 8 and 9 with 2 lessons per cycle and is offered as an elective in Years 10 and 11 with 4 lessons per cycle. Students in Year 7 do not have lessons in design technology. There is an IT laboratory in the Senior School building with 20 computers linked in a network. Design technology also has a designated room in the same building and a portable unit immediately outside the same building which acts as a “clean area” or overflow room. All students are assessed using the criteria and descriptors in the MYP Technology Guide and samples are sent for moderation in both Information and design technology. Computer technology has incorporated the host country into a number of units of work. PERCEPTIONS The time allocation to technology does not meet the minimum requirements of 50 hours per year of the programme as mandated in the MYP Guide. In particular, time allocation requirements are not being met for Year 7 and the materials strand is not being taught at this year level. This strand is also absent for those students who do not opt for Design Technology in years 10 and 11. The Technology Department is still in its infancy in the MYP at SDIS. The appointment of a Head of Department in school year 2003/2004 and the development of a team approach to the subject area of Technology have already made some significant developments in the delivery of this area of the curriculum. The units of work clearly show how the design cycle is incorporated. It appears that there was previously little cohesion and low expectation in the subject area, which is confirmed through some of the comments in the moderators´ reports. The newly-developed units of work show breadth in their content, and should increase the number of skills and experiences for each student. Some units, particularly in the area of Design Technology, show few meaningful links to the areas of interaction. There is, however, a plan to develop this further. The assessment descriptors in use have not been adapted for use in Years 7 through 9, or to individual projects. The moderators' reports indicate concerns in the way in which assessment criteria are being applied and the quality of the tasks being submitted. In Design Technology appropriate equipment and processes are used wherever possible. However it would be of considerable benefit if DT had easy access to computers. In addition, the room allocated to DT is far too small and dangerous for the number of students that use it. There is no master cut-off switch for machinery and the dust extraction system is unsatisfactory. Students do, however, wear masks when using machinery which create dust, and use protective eyewear. Ventilation in the room is by a single extractor fan, which is unsatisfactory especially when the number of students in the class is in excess of the room's capacity. The number of computers in the IT laboratory does not allow one computer per student, especially in years 7 and 8 and this has a detrimental effect on the quality of the learning experience for the students. Staff expressed concern that the 6-day cycle approach does not greatly benefit the Technology Department and it is very difficult to get projects completed within a given length of time. It was understood during the visit that the Schedule Review Committee has proposed that a five-day schedule will be adopted from school year 2004/2005 for the entire school.
It was also understood that changes will take place from 2004/2005 to ensure that the two areas of Technology work more closely together, especially in Years 7 through 9, and that students will be able to opt for either information or design technology only in Year 11. This is a very new department with two teachers relatively inexperienced in using the MYP objectives. An enthusiasm for developing the programme further and in using resources in the local community and beyond was evident. Contact with other MYP schools would be valuable. COMMENDATIONS The Visiting Team commends: 1. 2. The technology staff for their openness and willingness to adopting the methodology MYP in such a short space of time. of the
The Senior Management Team for setting up a Schedule Review Committee to address time allocation issues for technology in Years 7, 10 and 11.
RECOMMENDATIONS The Visiting Team recommends that: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. The School provide appropriate and adequate facilities and resources for the technology programme. The School address the safety issues in the technology classroom. The administration ensure that all requirements outlined in the MYP Technology Guide are met. The technology staff develop assessment descriptors for years 7 through 9. The technology staff consider developing task-specific descriptors for all units of work. The technology staff forge links with technology teachers in other MYP schools. The technology staff incorporate more meaningful links to the areas of interaction to present units, particularly in design technology.
SECTION F*9 – PERSONAL PROJECT DESCRIPTION The Personal Project is undertaken by every student in the final year of the programme. Students access resources in the School and the community. The students have their own copies of the assessment criteria and descriptors. The students are provided with individual supervision in the School and keep a process journal. The students choose from a variety of types of projects according to the guidelines provided in the MYP guide. The students are all expected to complete a Personal Project in the final year of the programme and are aware that the process is as important as the product itself. Students are informed about the Personal Project in Year 10 by the MYP and Personal Project Co-ordinators. Students in Year 11 normally make presentations of their projects in student assemblies and after the end of year awards ceremony. Students are issued with a Personal Project Guide developed by the School. This is also available on the School's intranet. Each student has a structured schedule for deadlines and meetings with their supervisor. The students are required to meet with their supervisors according to the schedule. The Personal Project Co-ordinator attempts to match students with supervisors by mutual interest or expertise in the topic of the Project. Consideration is given in placing the student with a supervisor who can give language support when their mother tongue is different from the language of instruction in the School. Students are aware that they may write their Project in a language other than English, but it is unusual for this option to be chosen. There are no special measures in times of structured support time within the timetable. Each student is assigned a supervisor in the final term of Year 10. In addition to MYP teachers, other members of staff are recruited as supervisors. New students are placed at the beginning of Year 11. The Personal Project supervisors have access to the MYP guide to the Personal Project and the guide to the Areas of Interaction. Each supervisor is briefed about the nature of their responsibilities and the work expected from students at the beginning of the academic year. Training in assessment of the Personal Project, including standardization with other supervisors in the School happens during the internal moderation process. This moderation meeting occurs in March. All Projects are marked by the supervisor and one other MYP teacher. Exemplars of good practice are entered into the Library collection and are thus available to students, parents and other members of the School community. Parents are informed about the nature of the Personal Project, its role in the programme, and the work expected from the students at the beginning of the process. PERCEPTIONS The staff have realistic expectations regarding work achievable by 16-year-olds. Some concerns do exist in the reliability of the internal moderation process and the Moderator's Report available to the Visiting Team concurred partially with this view. No supervisor normally supervises more than a combination of three Personal Projects or Diploma Programme Extended Essays. This is regarded as a reasonable work load in this area. All the students who met with the Visiting Team, both in Years 11 and 12, spoke very positively of the Personal Project and the Visiting Team was most impressed with the way in which the students articulated the learning experiences they felt had been gained during this process. Last academic year the students were not given the chance to present their projects. Regret was expressed by all parties in regard to this. Year 12 students wished to share their experience with other students and Year 11 students wished to benefit from that experience. It was understood by the Visiting Team that last year was an exception and that presentation sessions were already scheduled for this year. Although many parents seemed to be actively involved in helping their children as part of the Project, concern was expressed that parents are not well enough informed about the nature of the Personal Project, its role in the MYP and the work expected from students throughout the development of the Project.
COMMENDATIONS The Visiting Team commends: 1. 2. The students, staff, and co-ordinators for their enthusiasm for the Personal Project. The supervisors for their support of students during the process.
RECOMMENDATIONS The Visiting Team recommends that: 1. 2. 3. The MYP and Personal Project Co-ordinators investigate ways of improving the quality and frequency of information given to parents in respect of the Personal Project. The internal moderation team act on the recommendations of the Personal Project Moderator's Reports. The MYP and Personal Project Co-ordinators ensure that Year 11 students are given appropriate opportunities to present their projects in a variety of ways.
SECTION G: SECONDARY CURRICULUM PROGRAMME 1. The programme of studies shall, in its overall content and design, its organizational arrangements, and its academic and instructional policies, represent a consistent and effective implementation of the school's philosophy and objectives. 2. The curriculum shall be in written form showing the range and content of subject coverage at each lever offered. 3. The administration and staff shall provide for curriculum evaluation and review on a continuing basis using a variety of assessment methods. 4. Delivery of the curriculum shall be effected through a range of teaching and learning approaches. 5. The programme shall meet the educational, social, and physical needs of those enrolled. This includes students who may have learning disabilities and students with significant talents. 6. The school shall effectively utilize, whenever possible, the diversity (cultural, racial, and gender) of its students and staff to enhance the educational experiences of its students and the quality of the school's programme. 7. The school shall use the culture of the host country as a resource to enhance the curriculum. 8. There shall be appropriate assessment of student achievement, utilizing a range of methods. 9. The results of assessment shall be appropriately recorded and utilized in curriculum review in order to enhance learning and instruction. 10. The reporting system to parents shall be thorough and effective and provide for open channels of communication between parents and teachers. It shall include the results of individual student assessment as they relate to what the school identified for students to know, understand and be able to do. 11. Overall the programme shall made adequate provision for the general educational needs of its students. The programme of instructional offerings shall therefore include: a) Instruction in the basic subject areas of: • Language and Literature (language of instruction). • Language and Literature (second language). • Mathematics (appropriate to the ability levels of students enrolled). • The Sciences, (including student laboratory studies and experience in at least one of the three major sciences of biology, chemistry and physics) • The Social Sciences (history, geography etc.) b) Instruction in the arts. c) Instruction in health and physical education. d) Instruction in the techniques of study and of effective learning. e) Instruction in the effective use of the library and in research. f) Instruction to foster a respect for the concepts of right and wrong, duty, honesty, law and order, the rights of others, and value systems different from one's own, and a study of government as an institution based on law and tradition. g) Instruction in environmental education. h) Instruction in the use of Information Technology RATING M
M M M D M
M M M M
M M M
M M M M M M
COMMENTS: Standard 5 – see Recommendation G3 and G6
SECTION G - CURRICULUM SECONDARY DESCRIPTION The curriculum used at SDIS in the final two years of the Senior School, years 12 and 13, is that of the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme. The IB Diploma curriculum supports the School’s Philosophy and Objectives by teaching the whole child and offering each child the opportunity to develop to his/ her full potential. The IBO sets the content of the courses and assessment. An IB Diploma Co-ordinator oversees the whole programme with the assistance of the IB Curriculum Assistant, the CAS Co-ordinator, and the TOK Coordinator. Teachers are given information about programmes and assessment and have access to appropriate IB Diploma documents. Teachers may design their own programmes within the guidelines. All programmes stay within the regulations and meet the requirements set by the IBO. The curriculum planning, review and revision is controlled by the IBO, and all staff members are encouraged to take part by responding to questionnaires, etc. Review and changes to the courses offered at diploma level are completed yearly. Course provision varies from year to year in response to the specific demands of incoming student groups, the economic constraints of running numerous small classes, and the expertise of the teaching staff. The six academic subject groups are studied concurrently with Theory of Knowledge (TOK), the Extended Essay (EE) and Creativity, Action and Service (CAS). Three subjects must be studied at Higher Level (HL) and three subjects must be studied at Standard Level (SL). HL courses represent a minimum of 240 teaching hours and meet for eight 40-minute periods per six-day cycle. SL courses represent a minimum of 150 teaching hours and meet for five 40-minute periods per 6-day cycle. In addition, students have two 40-minute periods per six-day cycle for PE and one period of Life Skills. Six Activity Days are scheduled throughout the year. For students in Years 12 and 13 these provide extended periods of time for TOK activities and are also used for oral presentations for subjects in Groups 1 and 2 (Languages). The final assessment procedures are determined by the IBO. Assessment of subjects is based on a combination of internal assessment and external examinations at the end of Year 13. Year 12 students sit an end-of-year exam in the summer term. Year 13 students sit Mock Exams at the beginning of the spring term and IB Diploma Exams during the month of May. Internal grades are awarded each term and are recorded with the IB Diploma Co-ordinator, entered on the student’s transcript and serve as the basis for ongoing evaluation. Reporting to parents takes place three times in each of Years 12 and 13. In term 1, a “tick box” interim report which does not contain numerical grades is used. In terms 2 and 3, teachers use full reports with attainment grades and teacher comments. Acceptance into the full IB Diploma Programme is conditional on past School performance, commitment, and responsibility. A total of 50 points is required at the end of Year 11, based on continuous internal assessment, plus satisfactory attendance, punctuality and behavior, in order to move automatically into Year 12. A total of 21 points is required at the end of Year 12, plus satisfactory attendance, punctuality and behavior, in order to move automatically into Year 13. In Year 12, students are required to register for six subjects. If a student chooses to take the SDIS High School Diploma, a combination of IB Certificate subjects are followed in Years 12 and 13. Internally assessed coursework, together with external moderation, is the basis for all grading. The requirements for graduation with the SDIS High School Diploma include a minimum total of 42 points accumulated in Years 12 and 13, a minimum of 80% attendance, satisfactory punctuality and behavior at School over four years according to School policy, satisfactory completion of PE and CAS, and satisfactory completion of Year 10 through Year 13. No provision for ESL services is made for students in Years 12 and 13. The DP Co-ordinator organizes with the IBO, accommodation during exams for special needs students, but the School does not have a coordinated special needs programme for Years 12 and 13. The host country and location of the School are used to enhance the curriculum in many of the subject areas through field trips, visits to local galleries, museums, exhibitions, theaters, concerts, and the study of local habitats and ecosystems.
SDIS does not have a clear policy regarding DP training. Some teachers have had specific training and retraining through attendance at DP conferences, but many teachers have not attended DP training. PERCEPTIONS For the purposes of the Self-Study and the Visiting Team’s report, the Senior School is divided into MYP and DP sections. However, conversations with staff show clearly that they themselves do not see such a clear demarcation between the two groups of students or among themselves. Indeed, nearly all teachers have classes within both the MYP and DP programmes. Classrooms in the Senior School are inviting and open. Students are actively engaged in their learning and appear very comfortable with one another and their teachers. Moreover, they were pleased to have visitors and did not appear shy or withdrawn when the visiting team attended classes. Teachers employ a diverse set of instructional techniques and are able to connect with their students. Non-DP courses such as PE and Life Skills seek to help students be more balanced and prepared for their futures. SDIS offers a large number of DP courses, and the School genuinely seeks to give the students a set of realistic choices. It appears, however, that some decisions as to which courses should be offered in the DP are driven by the capabilities and interests of the teachers and the timetable rather than what is most appropriate for students. Teachers appear to be comfortable with the DP guidelines and support materials and are able to use these in order to deliver effective courses of instruction. The results following DP exams are generally satisfactory to all parties, and the teachers have used the results to help guide the preparation of future diploma candidates. The unclear policy regarding DP level training, and professional development in general, confounds many teachers. Several communicate that they see the usefulness of continued training, but they do not feel encouraged by the administration to attend workshops. Others do not want to attend out of their perception that they may be asked to refund the cost to the School if they decide to leave SDIS. Some staff members have attended training; these teachers express their satisfaction with the conferences. This professional development practice has implications throughout the Diploma Programme. Many Senior School teachers state a sincere desire to use more IT in their course planning and teaching, but they feel that in addition to their lack of appropriate training, the capabilities of the current system cannot meet their needs. Internet connection is reportedly unreliable, and the general hassle of locating computers and support equipment such as projectors discourages many from planning lessons using IT. Some staff members believe they would benefit from additional training in ways to use IT in the classroom; other teachers indicate that the delivery of the DP is not hindered by the level of access to IT at SDIS. Further to the professional development issue, teachers are a bit daunted by the task of preparing all students for the IB Diploma exams, citing a widely ranging level of ability among the students. Proud of their efforts to help all students and generally pleased with SDIS’s open admission policy, teachers express concern that the DP is not appropriate for all students, particularly given the lack of ESL support. This lack of ESL support and training for the inclusion of ESL students in the mainstream classroom frustrates many teachers. They feel that a number of students would greatly benefit from ongoing assistance with their English language skills, and it is clear that the teachers would like to do what is best for students. The issue of cramped space is noted with concern. Most teachers teach in 2-5 different classrooms over the course of the six-day cycle; during non-teaching time, they can be found working in any available space. The lack of a “home base” for most teachers bothers them and appears to be a fundamental issue that may be taxing morale. Furthermore, teachers are concerned that a large number of students in the facilities could limit the safe and effective delivery of the curriculum. Although the DP is currently offering a safe and effective programme, staff members are very aware of the limitations of their facilities, particularly in science and technology courses. Despite all of this, it is important to emphasize that teachers, in general, are quite understanding and tolerant of the situation. They recognize that this is a complex issue with no easy solution, and they seek to provide an engaging and appropriate education for their students. Teachers are generally supportive of the decision to move to a five-day cycle beginning with the 2004/2005 school year. They recognize that this schedule change will impact their courses, but they do not appear to have any serious concerns.
COMMENDATIONS The Visiting Team commends: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. The students for their commitment to and enthusiasm for their academic endeavours. The teachers, staff and students for maintaining a warm and inviting atmosphere throughout the Senior School. The teachers for demanding and encouraging academic rigour. The School for its commitment to a diverse IB Diploma Programme. The Administration and staff for examining current organization and practice and their willingness to consider major changes.
RECOMMENDATIONS The Visiting Team recommends that: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. The Administration disseminate a clear policy regarding IB DP professional development. The Senior School consider ways to support DP ESL students and struggling students in the mainstream classes. The Administration and IT teachers develop a plan for wider IT availability and IT training for staff in the Senior School. The Administration and teachers seek to identify dedicated classrooms and workspace for each department and individual teacher. The Administration, in consultation with teachers, set appropriate class sizes based on the facilities, particularly in science and technology courses. The Senior School review the course offerings and consider ways to meet the needs of all students.
SECTION G1 – LANGUAGE A DESCRIPTION The Language A Department offers the following courses to Years 12 and 13 students: IB Diploma Programme English A1, Portuguese A1 and A2, Swedish A1, as well as German A1, if there is a demand. The few students enrolled in self-taught languages are monitored by the Head of Department who discusses the programme with the students and their private instructors. All students are guided by the Language Department teachers in the choice of their course at either Higher or Standard Level. The primary form of assessment is linked to the Diploma Programme requirements. Each teacher is responsible for two classes in the Diploma Programme. The Language Department does not have any dedicated classrooms. Generally, each teacher’s Diploma Programme classes are held in the same classroom; most teach MYP classes in different rooms. During non-teaching time, teachers share common workspace throughout the School. Classrooms are generally equipped with a computer and overhead projector. The department has one TV/VCR and one CD player to share. Two of the six Language A teachers have attended Diploma Programme training in their respective subjects. Teachers receive all necessary information about programmes and assessment, and have access to appropriate IB Diploma documents such as the Subject Guide, Past Papers, and Subject Reports and the Online Curriculum Center. Within the IB guidelines, teachers may design their own programmes. PERCEPTIONS Teachers are knowledgeable and passionate about their subjects. They know their texts and like their students. Students are positive and engaged during class time and appear comfortable with their teachers. Despite a chronic shortage of space and IT equipment, teachers are doing a good job of delivering the Diploma Programme classes and maintaining positive attitudes; teachers have access to the texts they need. The Language A Teacher Handbook created by the Head of Department appears to be a useful and organized “how to” for teachers, including such items as the homework policy, photocopying procedures, and departmental philosophy. Mutual respect and cooperation is clearly evident among department members. Within the inevitable strictures, the department is responding to the needs of the students, trying to balance which classes are being offered at A1, A2 and B levels. Currently, a proposal to replace English B with English A2 is being discussed, as is the idea of limiting which students can take Portuguese B instead of Portuguese A1 or A2. Department members have nearly completed their portion of the Rubicon Atlas curriculum mapping system and several are finding it quite useful. Although some members have attended Diploma Programme training workshops, others perceive this as something that would be of considerable benefit to their programme. IT equipment is at a premium within the department and members would like to see an increase in both hardware and training. Similarly, the limited classroom and private work space is a source of frustration. COMMENDATIONS The Visiting Team commends: 1. 2. 3. 4. The department members for their positive and co-operative attitudes. The department members for their commitment to appropriately serving all students, regardless of ability. The department members for designing their courses in a way to maximize their strengths within the Diploma Programme guidelines. The department members for beginning to use the Rubicon Atlas curriculum mapping system.
RECOMMENDATIONS The Visiting Team recommends that: 1. The Administration seek ways to increase the IT availability for use by the department.
2. 3. 4.
The Administration seek ways to insure that teachers have private workspace and teach in as few classrooms as possible. The Administration employ and clearly communicate a policy for Diploma Programme initial and continuing training which meets the Diploma Programme guidelines. The department and administration continue to explore class offerings and requirements for A1, A2 and B language courses.
SECTION G2 – LANGUAGE B DESCRIPTION The Language B programme at SDIS consists of Portuguese (Higher and Standard), English (Higher), French (Higher and Standard) and Spanish (ab initio). There will be staffing changes for 2004/2005 with the result that Spanish will no longer be offered, with German ab initio offered in its place. Class size is generally small, with a maximum of ten students in any one section. Assessment procedures are as laid down by the International Baccalaureate Organization. As the classes are small in size, they are often not taught in language-designated rooms, making use of a variety of rooms throughout the School. The programmes offered all conform to the patterns of study required for the IB diploma programmes. PERCEPTIONS The School has a reasonable range of Language B offerings, at Higher Level, Standard Level and ab initio, but there have been regular changes from year to year of the subjects and levels offered. The change in the ab initio offering from Spanish to German is causing concern among some teachers, as it has been brought about partially by staffing needs, rather than by looking at the language needs of the students. An obvious choice would be to offer Portuguese as an ab initio subject, but that is currently not available from the IBO. Generally, students perform very well in their IB Diploma programmes, and have benefited from the close personal attention of the teaching staff with their dedicated approach and their native or near-native command of the relevant language. Language teachers feel that an English A2 option would be a valuable addition to the overall programme. The teaching of the various Language B programmes benefits from the small class size, but this in turn means that classes are scheduled into a wide variety of teaching rooms scattered throughout the School. There is no space dedicated for the recording of orals or the use of computers for the Language B teachers. This has caused specific difficulties for the teachers as they have to conduct the required oral exercises for the IB Diploma. In addition, Language B classes could benefit from the ability to access websites in the target language as part of the instructional programme. Although there have been some improvements recently, the collection of reading material and software for use by Language B students is still far below what should be expected in an international school. COMMENDATIONS The Visiting Team commends: 1. 2. 3. The Language Department for developing programmes which provide students with a good preparation for IB assessment procedures. The commitment of the language teachers to their subject, and their willingness to use technology in their instructional techniques. The School for employing teachers with native or near native levels of proficiency in the target language.
RECOMMENDATION The Visiting Team recommends that: 1. 2. The Administration of the School, in conjunction with the language teachers, develop a long range plan which would guarantee the continuity of appropriate ab initio language offerings. The Administration recognize the importance of offering a wide range of languages in an international school setting, and support the continued offering of a wide range of language programmes.
SECTION G3 - MATHEMATICS
DESCRIPTION Mathematics is compulsory for all students at SDIS and the IB Diploma curriculum is the only one offered in the last two years of school. Three courses are offered: Math Higher, Math Methods, or Math Studies. The process for assigning students to the different courses tries to conciliate their vocational aspirations and their ability. This takes place at the end of Year 11 through consultation with the teacher, the IB Co-ordinator and the career counselor and through the analysis of the student’s performance in Year 11. There are no formal requirements and students are allowed to pursue their choice independently of the advice or the encouragement they receive. Since the curriculum content is defined by the IBO, teachers choose amongst the options offered in each course. They participate in curriculum reviews by answering the questionnaires provided by the IBO. The coordination of the delivery of the curriculum is left to the responsibility of the respective teachers with the support of the curriculum leader as well all teachers in the department. The teaching methodologies vary according to individual teachers but at this level these frequently involve the use of the investigative approach encouraged by the IBO in all three levels offered. The resources used consist mainly of paper, pen, graphical calculator, computer programmes and on-line activities. The assessment is mainly based on tests and portfolio/project assignments; students monitor their performance in the portfolio assignments and are allowed extra assignments to improve their marks. They all receive a copy of the assessment criteria to help them achieve their potential. Reports are sent home three times a year and parents can see the teachers by appointment or attend the two parents’ evenings where the progress of individual students is discussed. The use of the host country location and of the diversity within the School community benefits some Math Studies students who choose to investigate local issues within the community, inside as well as outside school. PERCEPTIONS Teachers in the Mathematics Department work together well as a team and support one another. They offer their time outside of class freely to give students extra lessons and to help them succeed in the programme which some find demanding. However, mathematics teaching staff sometimes feel unable to provide for the needs of students with learning difficulties which prevent them from following the syllabus in the IB Diploma programme. The same situation happens regarding the level of English required by the programme. Several teachers in the Maths Department have never attended an IBDIP workshop and feel that it would be very beneficial to their work to do so. COMMENDATIONS The visiting team recommends: 1. The wealth of experience in the teaching staff of the Mathematics Department and the dedication of the teachers in providing all three of the IBDYP programmes.
RECOMMENDATIONS The visiting team recommends that: 1. 2. The Administration of the School, together with mathematics teachers, investigate ways of providing ESL support when necessary to the students in the Diploma Programme. The Administration of the School, together with mathematics teachers, investigate ways of ensuring that all students benefit from their exposure to the IB programme, regardless of their ability. The Administration of the School, together with mathematics teachers, investigate ways of providing professional development opportunities, such as IB Diploma workshops and training opportunities of teaching ESL and special needs students in the mainstream setting.
SECTION G4 - SCIENCE DESCRIPTION The science programme at SDIS consists of Biology (Higher and Standard), Chemistry (Higher) and Physics (Higher and Standard). Although Chemistry is offered at Standard level there have been insufficient numbers in the last two years to make the class viable. The curriculum content is defined by the IBO and schemes of work are drawn up by the subject specialists within the department. The programmes all conform to the patterns of study required by the IB diploma programmes. Class sizes are generally small. There are 6 teaching staff supported by a full-time laboratory technician. Not all Diploma teachers have attended relevant IB Diploma workshops. There are 4 purpose-built laboratories. The host country location is widely used in Ecology field studies. Each year students have had the opportunity to carry out summer work experiences in State Science Laboratories. There is no ESL provision for Science Diploma students. PERCEPTIONS The Science Department teachers have a consistent approach and work to promote high standards of teaching and learning and are dedicated to the advancement of science knowledge, understanding and awareness in their students. The overall atmosphere in teaching and learning is one of inclusion, enquiry and engagement in the pedagogic process by both teacher and student. Considerable practical work occurs in classes. Teachers are well qualified to teach their respective subjects. The science technician is also well qualified and organized and it is obvious that the teaching staff felt well supported. However, not all science staff have had relevant IB Diploma training. There is no ESL support in the Diploma programme although some staff feel this essential for some of their students. Science Staff voiced considerable concern that they are not consulted as part of the guidance procedure for the admission of students to the Diploma science courses and some students therefore make inappropriate choices. There are limitations to student choices by having some science subjects blocked against other science courses making it difficult to choose some combinations with more than one science. The equipment in the department is adequate for the Diploma Programme and the laboratory space is adequate for the current numbers of Diploma Programme students. Some classes are close to sizes where practical work could be hindered by a lack of equipment or health and safety considerations. The lack of storage space is a concern. There is not sufficient space for storage of chemicals, equipment and textbooks. The preparation area for the laboratory technician is far too small. Some chemicals are stored in a fume cupboard in a laboratory where students could gain access. In the technician’s area there are hazardous chemicals that should be securely locked up but are not. There is considerable emphasis on health and safety. Eyebaths and showers are conspicuous in the laboratories along with gas and electricity shut off valves. Despite the lack of space, considerable effort is made by the science staff to maintain tidy laboratories and to use existing space as efficiently as possible. Laboratories are used by Senior School staff for non-science lessons. All staff in the Secondary School have been given basic training in safety procedures when using the labs but there are concerns from science staff that there is no reinforcement of this training at frequent and regular intervals. The timetabling of laboratories for non-science lessons means that equipment cannot necessarily be left out by the teachers or technician and staff expressed concerns that they could not always work on developing practical work during their noncontact time. Although there are computers in each laboratory they are considered unsuitable for effective use in science lessons. There is insufficient data logging equipment and staff training to use them.
The Rubicon Atlas Curriculum Mapping System is perceived as a useful system to enhance the curriculum. There is considerable disenchantment with the management of the system. Staff felt they have to do considerably more work than they should to input data into the system. There is some disappointment that there is no person designated with responsibilities as science liaison between Junior and Secondary School. COMMENDATIONS The Visiting Team commends: 1. The Science Department staff for having a consistent approach to high standards of teaching and learning and their dedication to the advancement of science knowledge, understanding and awareness in their students. The Science Department for maintaining tidy and well maintained laboratories despite the limitations of storage space. The School for employing well qualified teaching and support staff
RECOMMENDATIONS The Visiting Team recommends that: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. The Administration and the Science Department immediately ensure that all chemicals and equipment is stored safely and appropriately. The IB Diploma Co-ordinator ensure that students are guided to appropriate courses by consultation with science staff. The IB Diploma Co-ordinator ensure that science staff attend IB Diploma introductory workshops and review workshops for the sciences. The School Administration in consultation with science staff set policy of appropriate science class size for each laboratory for Diploma Students. The Science Department liaise with ESL teachers to explore ways to improve ESL support for Diploma science students. The senior Management and the Science Department explore how liaison could be improved between Science teachers throughout the Secondary School and Junior School. The School improve access to computers and specialised software and hardware for science teaching and learning.
SECTION G5 and G6:
DESCRIPTION The Humanities Department at Years 12 and 13 consists of Geography, History, Economics, and Business and Management classes being taught within the IB Diploma Programme. All classes are taught at both the Higher and Standard Levels. Economics is currently only taught in Year 12 with plans to continue in Year 13 for 2004/2005. Each subject is taught by a different teacher; none have attended IB Diploma Programme training conferences. Teachers share classroom space; during non-teaching time, teachers can complete their work in one of several work rooms. Classes typically range between 8-12 students. The classrooms allocated for Humanities each have standard equipment, including: one computer, an overhead projector, and a TV/ VCR unit. Additionally, the department has a number of video tapes and other specialized equipment, particularly for the Geography course. The Geography and Business and Management courses have basic textbooks; the History and Economics classes use a variety of reference materials instead of a basic text. The broad aims and objectives of the department are: • • • To assist students to understand the complexities of the workings of the world they live in. To assist students to develop the skills necessary to live in a complex and rapidly changing world. To explore, test, and evaluate differences in opinions, attitudes, and values in the light of evidence and research.
PERCEPTIONS It is clear that the Humanities teachers enjoy their work with students and seek to make learning a positive experience. Classroom atmosphere is pleasant, educationally appropriate and supportive despite the constraints placed upon the teachers due to allocation of space. Teachers have a relatively good attitude about sharing classroom space and not having a dedicated work space for each teacher. Similarly, teachers are clearly co-operative about sharing computer usage and the necessary interruptions when one teacher collects materials from a classroom being used by another teacher. Despite the tolerant attitude, they are frustrated with the use of space and perceive this issue to be a low priority of the senior management team. Teachers are generally satisfied with their teaching load and preparation time, noting that the diploma level classes are an especially nice size. The School‘s open admission policy coupled with the practice of all students preparing for the IB Diploma has resulted in some consternation; teachers feel pressured by parents and administration to help students achieve at a level that is not realistic for all. This is particularly difficult considering that teachers have not had specific IB Diploma Programme training, do not always consider themselves to be experts in their subjects, and do not have the support of an ESL/ EFL teacher. Moreover, the lack of IT equipment restricts the classroom practice of these teachers. They are eager to make use of projectors, internet usage and various software programmes and report that although each classroom has a computer, it may not work and it is not fast enough to meet contemporary needs. The department enthuses about its recently updated portion on the Rubicon Atlas curriculum mapping system which is available for use by the entire Senior School; they feel this work facilitates cross referencing with other courses and identification of the scope and sequence of each course.
COMMENDATIONS The Visiting Team commends: 1. 2. 3. 4. The School for offering a wide variety of courses to the students; The department members for designing their courses in a way to maximize their strengths within the Diploma Programme guidelines; The members of the department for their commitment to maintain a cooperative and friendly working atmosphere; The members of the department for their use of the Rubicon Atlas curriculum mapping system.
RECOMMENDATIONS The Visiting Team recommends that: 1. 2. 3. 4. The Administration employ and clearly communicate a policy for Diploma Programme initial and continuing training which meets the Diploma Programme guidelines. The School consider ways to support ESL students and struggling students. The Administration seek ways to increase the IT availability for use by the department. The Administration seek ways to ensure that teachers have private workspace and teach in as few classrooms as possible.
SECTION G7, G8 and G9 – THE ARTS DESCRIPTION The Arts components of the IBDP encompass a broad array of artistic disciplines. Painting, sculpting, ceramics, graphic design, music theory, music performance, and drama present just a partial list of the topics of instruction. Visual arts are housed in a suite of rooms in the Junior School building. Music is housed in somewhat smaller quarters nearby, and drama is in a still smaller facility equidistant from the other arts centres. Both the visual and performing arts instructors seek opportunities to take their students out into the surrounding community. Such excursions include visits to the working studios of local artists, music performances for community audiences, and internships. All the arts entail an element of either performance or portfolio presentation. PERCEPTIONS The visual and fine arts are important elements of the IBDP at St. Dominic’s. They are valued by teachers and students alike and, for the most part, are given appropriate time and resources to successfully implement their curricula. The exceptions are the drama room and the music practice room. The drama room in particular is quite small and severely constrains the scope of activities that can take place there. The staff indicates that their proximity to one another facilitates “on the fly” consultation and better coordination among the three elements of the arts programme. All those interviewed express great enthusiasm for their work and students. One said, “I feel so lucky to be able to do what I love to do.” Observed interaction between teachers and students revealed the genuine enthusiasm of both parties. In each area – fine arts, music, and drama – there exist curricula that provide a plentitude of opportunities for the novice and experienced artist alike, and there are logical progressions for the student who wishes to attain expertise in a specific area. The nature of the arts facilitates individualized instruction, and the staff is committed to helping all students develop enthusiasm for the arts and confidence in their abilities to express themselves artistically. COMMENDATIONS The Visiting Team commends: 1. 2. 3. The teaching staff in the visual and performing arts for their enthusiastic engagement with their students and comprehensive curricular planning. The Administration for making the arts such a valued component of the Senior School curriculum through enrolment in the IBDP. The members of the Drama Department for sustaining a vital programme despite limited facilities.
RECOMMENDATIONS The Visiting Team recommends that: 1. The School investigate ways to provide the drama programme with a larger instructional space.
SECTION G10 - PHYSICAL EDUCATION DESCRIPTION The Physical Education curriculum is co-ordinated by the head of department and includes the study of various forms of physical activity, from team games, to individual activities and life sports. It is not an IB diploma subject, but is included in the St Dominic’s School Diploma. The subject is given one double lesson per six day cycle. Teaching methodologies include direct instruction, peer teaching and co-operative learning. Students are given greater roles to play in the decision making processes, and often lead an activity or take on a role that requires initiative and leadership. Activities include game play, skill practice, student led activities (eg. dance practice), composition, fitness training and the use of video recordings of various activities. Formal reporting is carried out two times a term, and includes interim reporting and a School report. Formative and summative assessment practices are carried out regularly, and are based on teacher observations and feedback. Teachers record their assessments using grading schemes that are based on the students’ performance, social skills and personal engagement. The curriculum is reviewed regularly at department meetings, where curricular issues arising are discussed. The choice of activities each year is based on the group of students and their past experiences and strengths in terms of the MYP. The emphasis in curriculum review is to consider the nature and choice of activity so that all of the students in that year group are allowed to pursue an activity that interests them. To graduate with the St Dominic’s diploma, students are to participate in eighty percent of the lessons over the two years of study. Opportunities are also given to the students to achieve a further point towards the School’s own diploma, by meeting the criteria for the Excellence in Physical Education award. PERCEPTIONS Teachers in the Physical Education Department are passionate about their subject. Students are positive and engaged during class time. They enjoy the variety of activities offered to them. However, there is no written curriculum in Physical Education Department for Diploma students. There exists a set of descriptors derived from the MYP but no written document exists stating the aims of the Diploma programme nor a description of more specific tasks to be carried out in lessons. Student assessment is based on teacher observation and on levels of participation/attendance. There is not a range of assessment methods utilized. At present not much hiring or usage of local facilities outside the School takes place. This is due partly to the rotating weekly timetable of PE lessons which makes booking of private facilities outside the School at the same time every week problematic. COMMENDATIONS The Visiting Team commends: 1. 2. The PE dept. for offering a range of activities which are student-centred and are responsive to the needs of the diploma students. The PE Department for their enthusiasm in serving students of varied ability and level of commitment.
RECOMMENDATIONS The Visiting Team recommends that: 1. 2. 3. The PE Department introduce a written curriculum. The PE Department investigate ways of ensuring that assessment of learning is made criterionreferenced, accurate and transparent. The Administration of the School, together with the PE Department, investigate ways of adapting the timetable of PE lessons with a view to utilizing the local facilities to augment the range of sporting activities available.
SECTION G13A - DESIGN TECHNOLOGY DESCRIPTION The Design Technology programme at SDIS has a curriculum content as defined by the IBO. All Units of Work involve the Design Cycle and problem solving. Design Technology is available to students at both Standard and Higher level. This is the first year to offer this subject at both Higher and Standard level. Reporting is in-line with IBO requirements and School assessment requirements and the curriculum has been entered into the Rubicon Atlas Curriculum Mapping System. The Design Technology teacher is new to the IB Diploma programme but has received relevant IB Diploma training. There has been some liaison with another IB Diploma Design Technology teacher in a nearby school to help moderate marking at the Diploma level. Facilities include a room with machinery and benches with vices. A Portable Cabin situated outside the administrative entrance to the Senior School is used in the MYP Design Technology programme but not used at Diploma level. The main room with machinery is small. Class sizes are generally small. Funding for a CAD/CAM machine has been provided by the PTA. There is no provision for ESL in the course. PERCEPTIONS Design Technology is taught by an experienced teacher who shows a great deal of concern in creating the most appropriate programme for the students by actively seeking ways to create positive learning experiences for students and improve facilities. The room provided inside the Senior School is small and cramped. There is little space for displaying work, and no computers with specialist software nor easy access to computers elsewhere which would be of considerable benefit to this course. The Design Technology teacher is working closely with the IT teacher to examine ways to improve access to computers for students next year. There is little space for more equipment in the room and some equipment is restricted in its use as there is no dust extraction facility in the room. Although Diploma classes are small the room provided clearly limits the class size of students if the curriculum is to be delivered effectively and health and safety issues are addressed. There are many safety concerns including poor dust extraction, poor room layout and access to equipment and little storage space. The facilities are inadequate for producing work of quality. The teacher believes it very desirable to have improved liaison with the ESL Department because of the amount of subject specific technical vocabulary that is needed. The teacher actively investigates improving links with the local community and recently brought in a female industrial designer who displayed examples of her work and talked about the difficulties of a female working in a male dominated profession. COMMENDATIONS The Visiting Team commends: 1. 2. 3. The School for employing an experienced and caring teacher of Design Technology. The DYP Co-ordinator for providing relevant IB training for the teacher in the department. The Design Technology teacher for working closely with the IT teacher in developing the Technology Department.
RECOMMENDATIONS The Visiting Team recommends that: 1. 2. The Senior Management liaise with the Design Technology teacher to provide dust extraction facilities so that appropriate equipment and materials can be used in lessons. The School administration in consultation with the Design Technology teacher set policy of appropriate class size for the Design Technology room for Design Technology Diploma Students. The Design Technology teacher liaise with ESL teachers to explore ways to improve ESL support for Diploma Design Technology students. The School improve access to computers and specialised software and hardware for Design Technology teaching and learning
THEORY OF KNOWLEDGE
DESCRIPTION The curriculum content is as laid out in the Theory of Knowledge subject guide provided by the IBO. The course is run with two, forty-minute lessons per teaching cycle. This is supplemented with dedicated time during the activity days, which occur once per half term. In total, the course ensures the 100 hours minimum recommended by the IBO. Classroom activities rely heavily on group discussion, but also incorporate worksheet exercises, note taking, role-play and individual and group presentations. Not all students must take the TOK class and it is not a requirement for graduation. The location of SDIS has not been used to enhance the curriculum to date but the diversity of the School community ensures wide-ranging discussions during classes. PERCEPTIONS The approach to teaching of TOK course has shifted this year from several teachers teaching separate parts of the course to one teacher designated to teaching the whole course. This change is perceived very positively by the TOK teaching team as well as the students enrolled in the course. The whole programme seems to be well organized and sufficiently resourced. However TOK teachers feel that students would benefit from an increase in the number of hours allocated to the course. The members of the TOK Department have committed themselves to meet once per teaching cycle for forty minutes. They feel that these meetings facilitate collaboration within the department and help maintain consistency across all sections of the course. All teachers teaching TOK have participated in the IBO TOK training course. There is no ESL support in the Diploma programme although TOK teachers feel that this would benefit some students. COMMENDATIONS The Visiting Team commends: 1. 2. The teachers of TOK for their enthusiasm and dedication to the subject and their willing ness to meet regularly and attend in-service training when available. The Administration of the School for investing in resources needed to run the TOK programme successfully.
RECOMMENDATIONS The Visiting Team recommends that: 1. 2. The Administration look for ways to increase the time allocation for TOK to beyond the minimum required by the IBO. The Administration investigate ways of providing ESL support when necessary to the students in the Diploma Programme.
SECTION H: SPECIAL NEEDS EDUCATION 1. There shall be effective procedures for identifying and addressing the special needs of students with learning disabilities. 2. There shall be effective procedures for identifying and addressing the special needs of students of exceptionally high ability and/or exceptional talent. 3. The school shall have an adequate number of trained special needs personnel. 4. If children with learning disabilities or who have remedial needs are admitted, the school shall provide specific curriculum and programmes to meet identified needs. COMMENTS Standard 2 – see Recommendation H2 Standard 3 – see Recommendation H3 Standard 4 – see Commendation H1 RATING M D D M*
SECTION H - SPECIAL NEEDS EDUCATION DESCRIPTION The main philosophy of the special needs programme throughout SDIS is one of inclusive education. Intervention is a mixture of in class support and withdrawal support. At the Junior School level there is a Special Needs Co-co-ordinator, a Special Needs teacher who does special needs as part of her teaching assignments well as ESL. Here is a Special Needs Teaching Assistant for Years 5 and 6. At the Senior School level, there is a full time special needs teacher plus the Head of Student Support who provides math support for Years 9, 10, and 11. An Educational Psychologist has been employed full time to provide services to the whole School. There is a procedure in place in the Junior School whereby teachers first let parents know of their concerns and then refer students to the department using a referral form. The form is then passed to the Special Needs Co-ordinator who then informs the special needs personnel. The personnel then work with the homeroom teacher to make an Individual Education Plan. In the Senior School special needs is not seen as a department but as a support service. There is a student Support Register kept in the administration offices that lists all the students in the SEN programme. Senior School staff who wish to refer a child who is not already on the register use a Student Information Form. The Special Needs teacher assesses the student and provides an evaluation. The facilities available to the special needs personnel in the Senior School are a small office/classroom that can accommodate up to four students. There is a computer in this office with software to support the programme. Budget requests go through the administration of Senior School under General Expenses. The Head of Student Support has the responsibility for ordering resources. In Junior School there is a yearly budget for ordering resources. The department office serves as a resource center as well as a base for the department, plus as the classroom when needed. The Educational Psychologist has information regarding resources in the community that parents may need. IEP’s are kept in a centralized location and are also on the SIMS database. These are updated by the Special Needs personnel in conjunction with the homeroom teacher. PERCEPTIONS The School staff is very supportive of the School’s open access policy which promotes open enrollment. Special needs support is available to all students in the School. The Special Needs teachers have made a commitment to inclusive education within the School in that children can receive services within the regular classroom or may be seen individually. An effective plan for the writing of IEP’s is in place and utilized by the teachers and special needs staff. The staff does not always have the time to be able to meet together and collaborate on these plans as a team, though that is the ideal. This was expressed by a number of staff as being the major source of frustration with the programme. Much work has been done on the centralization of special needs documentation and the use for computers to store this information. The IEP plan is available over the network which allows for easier access. The Senior School also registers those students who may have health or emotional concerns which might place them atrisk for learning. Although much has been done to improve the identification and tracking of students with academic needs there seems to be little progress in the area of identification of students who may be highly able. There is currently no professional development available for staff or time given for materials development for differentiation. In the Senior School there is only one teacher trained in Special Needs for the department, and this doe not seem to constitute an adequate number of trained personnel to meet the needs of the School. In the Junior School there are two Special Nneeds teachers though neither works full-time as a Special Needs teacher. This has been identified as a problem by the teachers and the special needs staff. At present the Junior School and Senior School operate on separate budgets when ordering materials to support the special needs programme. This does not seem to pose a problem for them.
COMMENDATIONS The Visiting Team commends: 1. 2. 3. The teaching staff for their commitment to inclusive education, and the willingness to collaborate towards this end. The teachers for their development and implementation of an effective IEP for each child in the programme. The Senior School for use of a register to identify students who are at risk for emotional or health reasons.
RECOMMENDATIONS The Visiting Team recommends that: 1. 2. 3. The School Administration provide time for teachers and special needs personnel to collaborate more closely. The School Administration investigate whether the needs of highly able students are being met. The School Administration endeavour to staff the special needs programme with an adequate amount of trained teachers.
SECTION I: GUIDANCE SERVICES 1. Guidance Services, including academic, personal, and career counseling, shall be provided by qualified staff. 2. Academic and personal records of students shall be properly maintained and protected against fire, theft, and unauthorized use. 3. An appropriate testing programme shall be administered at various grades to evaluate student aptitude and achievement. The school will provide opportunities for students to take those tests which are necessary for admission to institutions of higher education and shall assist parents and students in processing whatever application materials are required. 4. Parents shall be kept informed of the academic and social progress of their son or daughter. COMMENTS Standard 4 – see Recommendation I3 RATING M M M
SECTION I - GUIDANCE SERVICES DESCRIPTION Initial pastoral care at SDIS is assured by individual Class Teachers in the Junior School and four Tutors per year-group in the Senior School. Academic advice is provided by the three IB Programme Co-ordinators and personal counselling is carried out by the two Deans of Students (JS and SS). The Head of Student Support offers additional counselling as required to any student in SS and the Educational Psychologist offers more specific support to students in both, Junior and Senior School, as well as liaisons with the Special Needs Department. Referral to these counsellors can be made by staff, parents or by direct contact from the students themselves. The Careers Counsellor offers support to all Diploma students in respect of their future choices, normally seeing each student in Year 12 and 13 by appointment once every term. All persons involved in the guidance area are qualified by knowledge, experience and/or training. Specific assistance in dealing with matters such as substance abuse is catered for by reference to outside agencies. Students identified as having difficulties and needing intervention from guidance and counselling staff are initially identified in Junior School by the classroom teacher referring the matter through the Junior School Dean of Students. In Senior School initial identification normally occurs through use of the “Student Information Form”. Upon receipt of this form, the Dean of Students, Head of Student Support and any other interested party will consider the appropriate next steps. The Senior School intends to implement a more rigorous monitoring of School reports at the end of each school year in order to identify students that might need support in future. Monitoring of students who are in the system is dependent on frequent contact between all those involved in supporting the individual student and could include regular reports from teachers, including in class daily or weekly reports, together with meetings between staff, student and parent as deemed necessary. The Head of Student Support, the Careers Counsellor and Deans of Students all have their own offices in which confidential meetings can take place. The Head of Student Support and Careers Counsellor have books, magazines and other resources to support their work with students and the Careers Counselor regularly attends ECIS conferences. The Head of Student Support has built up good relations with outside agencies, i.e., private psychologists, and the School draws on this help when needed. Guidance personnel may go on suitable Professional Development courses when available. Transition into SDIS is initiated by the parents making a declaration of interest and following it up with information regarding a child’s former educational experience, which is confirmed through direct contact with the previous school. Students leaving SDIS have their records passed through to the new school with transcript grades from the last year demonstrating the level of academic achievement reached within the relevant programme. New student orientation starts with a day in June when Junior School students and confirmed new entrants to Year 7, with their parents, are given an opportunity to meet and work with Senior School staff. In September, there is the Junior School orientation based on a similar model, and an event for new Senior School students who were not involved in the June day. Counselling for the transition to higher education is provided by the Careers Counsellor. Records of current students are stored in lockable filing cabinets in the offices of the Deans and the SS IB Coordinator. Past students records, for the last ten years, are kept in electronic format in the School’s database. Hard copies, for the past 30 years, are stored in locked fireproofed cabinets with CCTV cameras for security. The Junior School reporting process has recently been reviewed and the new system has been running since September 2002. Senior School is currently undertaking a comprehensive review of the way that reports are prepared and issued and is also reviewing the procedures and timing of parental consultation evenings.
PERCEPTIONS It is a pleasure to reiterate the findings of the preliminary report that the students refer very positively to the support structure provided by all those involved in guidance services at SDIS. The pastoral care and counseling for higher education are perceived as effective by staff and students. The School has successfully addressed the recommendation of the preliminary report to improve the storage and maintenance of ex-students’ records. The Guidance Department has undergone restructuring of roles of its members in the last year, and is still continuing. A proposal to designate more responsibility for monitoring students’ progress, pastoral care, and for communicating with parents to Tutors has recently been put forward. A defined set of goals, and a longterm, written plan for the attainment of these goals, however, does seems to be lacking at present time. There does not seem to be a well defined system in place to deal with a crisis situation nor is there a team of people designated with the role of crisis intervention. The format of the students’ progress report to the parents, in both Junior and Senior Schools, has undergone a number of changes in the last year and an explanation booklet has been created as an aid to parents regarding MYP progress reports. However the format and structure of progress reports of the Junior School and even within the Senior School are still in the process of evolution. COMMENDATIONS The visiting team commends: 1. 2. 3. The extensive support structure of guidance services at the School. The effectiveness of the guidance programme. The way academic and personal records of students are properly stored, maintained, and are secure.
RECOMMENDATIONS The visiting team recommends that: 1. 2. 3. The Guidance Department establishes a process for long-term planning and attainment of goals. The Guidance Department establishes a crisis intervention procedure, and a team to carry it out. The School review the reporting procedure, and how student progress is reported to parents.
HEALTH SERVICES AND SAFETY RATING M
1. The school shall make provision for adequate health care, including emergency health care and health care at school functions which take place away from the school premises. 2. The school shall have a student health policy which includes medical examinations for all entering students, immunization against common diseases and the maintenance of comprehensive records. 3. The school shall meet health and safety requirements of the local government authority and of the Accrediting Associations. 4. The school shall have satisfactory procedures for evacuating the school buildings and for summoning assistance in case of fire or other emergencies. 5. The school premises shall be maintained in a safe and healthy condition. An adequate number of fire extinguishers and other safety devices shall be available, including a satisfactory fire alarm system. COMMENTS: Standard 5 – see Recommendations J2, J3, J4, J5, J6
M M D
SECTION J - HEALTH SERVICES AND SAFETY DESCRIPTION The School employs one full time nurse who attends all major School functions. A school doctor visits the School one day a week and examines all new students. Children in Years 3, 7 and 11 receive physical examinations. The School follows the European Union Rules for Occupational Safety and Health. An Occupational Health doctor visits the School once a year and sets goals for the following year. This doctor is on call for the School’s doctor. Several staff members have been trained in First Aid. The School supports health and safety in-service courses. The nurse’s office is stationed near the Early Childhood classrooms. The nurse provides treatment for minor injuries, administration of medication, immunization and Health education. There are pro forma memos used by the nurse to inform parents and guardians of contagious diseases. Health records are required upon a student’s admission to school. These records are regularly updated. Appropriate information is forwarded to classroom teachers. All students’ visits to the nurse are recorded. Records are kept in a filing cabinet in the nurse’s office. There is a database for handling medical records which is to be installed. Only the nurse and school doctor have access to the medical records. Emergency numbers for parents and guardians are readily available. First aid kits are available throughout the School. The nurse maintains these and provides kits for excursions. Fire extinguishers and other safety equipment (fire hoses, blankets, showers and eyewash stations) are available according to Portuguese law. The School has safety and evacuation procedures for fires and earthquakes. The evacuation plan has been colourfully published and is displayed in every classroom and throughout the building. It is a general layout, not room specific. Directional signage indicating routes of escape is available on the walls of the building. Local authorities conduct regular drills but the School carries out independent ones as well. The grounds are fumigated during the mid-terms. There is an ultrasound system run at night and weekends to repel rodents. The School has a security guard who supervises all aspects relating to safety. Entrance gates are opened and closed according to a set schedule. Visitors must make appointments and be escorted upon arrival. There is a sign in/out sheet and forms exist to regulate entrance and exit of people. Security cameras are placed on the grounds. Reception houses the monitor which runs displays from these cameras. The School contracts Securitas, a private security company. Embassy officials give advice to the School on security measures. In the mornings and afternoons, children are dropped off and picked up from school by school buses and private transportation in the parking area in front of the main gate. Painted lines and cones mark off walkways. This area is supervised by three assistants, the security guard and the Principal. Gas is used in the four laboratories and the preparation room. Two propane bottles are kept locked in the gashouse at the back of the laboratories. There is a tap to cut the gas supply in the gashouse and a compartment by the gashouse equipped with a cut-off valve. There is a fire extinguisher on the wall of the gashouse. All laboratories are equipped with automatic cut-off valves. The gas supply system complies with local regulations and is tested every two years in compliance with Portuguese law. The main power supply system is located in a house next to the emergency gate for the fire brigade. There is a written rota in the case of absence of those responsible for shutting off the main power supply. The receptionist is responsible for contacting emergency services. The Junior School Handbook and the Senior School General Information Guide both contain sections related to Health and Safety.
PERCEPTIONS The School has a well staffed Health service. The school doctor is not on staff by law, but rather as a service to the school community. The School considers safety as one of its priorities. Surveys show that the School is considered safe by parents and students. Training sessions indicate the School’s interests in ensuring members of staff are trained in First Aid and the use of safety equipment. The drop-off and pick-up of students in the morning and afternoon is efficiently run in a small area which could potentially be hazardous. The assistants, in brightly colored vests, are well aware of the routine as are parents and students. Students are escorted safely off the buses at a designated area in the morning and loaded on the buses by the assistants in the afternoon. Car traffic flow is kept in a circular path, cut off by the assistants when students are crossing. Although the premises are generally safe and clean, a number of areas for concern arose. In the science laboratories and offices, many chemicals are in unlocked cabinets, a situation which could lead to a tragic accident. Darkroom ventilation passes into the hallway. Dust extraction is of particular concern in the Design Technology room. In the Junior School low glass doors and cracked panes are unsafe. The different levels and uneven surfaces of the playgrounds are potentially dangerous. Outside walkways are comprised of small uneven tiles which make walking difficult. Internal doorsills have abrupt and hard edges which are easily tripped over. There is no current Board policy regarding maintenance. Space is at a premium, and much of the crowding evidenced in areas of the School is not only uncomfortable but hazardous. The nurse’s facility is small, which makes privacy and confidentiality difficult. There is a lack of storage space which results in a cluttered appearance. Hallways are narrow and crowded as students pass from class to class. The use of the corridors for storage is dangerous in the event of an evacuation of the School. The Art rooms and Design Technology room use their space creatively but are crowded. Because of the nature of the equipment used in these areas, they are danger spots. There is not enough space for all students in the dressing rooms for gym. Students use the bathrooms as an alternative to the changing rooms. Hygiene is of concern. The Fire drill carried out for purposes of this visit was run with amazing efficiency for a school with at capacity enrolment in crowded facilities. Evacuation lasted just under 4 minutes. The personnel of the School knew exactly what to do, and moved quickly to take on their posts and responsibilities. Although most fire doors open outward, some still open inward. The siren was not heard in the separate gymnasium building. Students in this building were evacuated with checks by two different members of staff. Students walked quickly but quietly and lined up appropriately, waiting in some instances for their teachers. Stragglers were urged on by staff posted in strategic positions. The power cut was almost immediate with no battery backup to continue the siren. A few areas of the evacuation plan are bottlenecks, even though the flow through traffic of people was considerably fluid. It was commendable seeing the ease of evacuation for the handicapped student. All visitors were accounted for before the drill was called off. The evacuation plan is small and imprecise. Alarm buttons are not located on it. It’s colourful printing detracts from the important information contained. Directional signage on walls and doors indicating routes of escape are also rather small. Locations of first aid kits in designated rooms, alarm buttons, and a variety of fire safety equipment are not all clearly labelled. . Fire extinguishers for specific purposes exist and are checked according to contract with a private company. They are placed at different heights throughout the School. In some the corridors, the fire extinguishers make passing difficult. The lack of smoke detectors is a concern and the issue of fire hydrants is under discussion. There is a phased plan for the installation of smoke detectors. The School has put in great effort to ensure the security of the ground. The availability of the embassies as security advisors is an important aide to the School in making decisions on security matters. The willingness of the Administration to seek advice from outside agencies demonstrates their interest in maintaining a secure site.
The School has identified the need to upgrade the electrical system. The heating is inadequate and excessive cold is generally considered unhealthy. The School has adopted a phased plan to upgrade both the electrical and heating systems. The receptionist is responsible for making calls to emergency services on the School’s main line which could be of concern if cut off in an emergency situation. Although the Junior School Handbook and Senior School General Information Guide contain information related to Health and Safety, only new teaching staff are briefed on safety rules. COMMENDATIONS The Visiting Team commends: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. The School’s staffing in the area of Health service The School’s dedication to training in the area of Health Services and Safety The School for the efficient drop off and pick up of students. The School staff and students for the efficiency in which the drill was carried out considering their at-capacity enrolment and crowded facilities. The measures taken by the School to ensure the security on the grounds and for creating a feeling of safety among parents and students.
RECOMMENDATIONS The Visiting Team recommends that: 1. The School undertake a long range planning effort with the goal of reassessing the facilities for safe storage of equipment in areas other than the hallways and giving priority to relocating the nurse’s office to a larger facility. The Board develop a set of guidelines regarding the maintenance of the School’s plant and facilities to address those safety items specifically noted in this report. The Science Department immediately review the storage of chemicals and take steps to ensure that students cannot gain unauthorized access to them. The Administration revisit signage on the evacuation plan to reduce colour and to specify the fire routes for individual rooms as well as alternative routes for them. The School investigate ways of making the alarm system heard in all areas of the School grounds and ensuring a back up battery system to run the alarm in case of electrical outage. The School follow through with the phased plans for upgrading the electrical and heating systems as well as installing more smoke alarms. The communication of safety rules to all members of staff is clear and regular.
2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7.
SECTION K: STUDENT SERVICES 1. The school shall provide or arrange for such services as are required in support of programme offerings, and shall ensure that these services meet acceptable standards of health, safety and comfort. • transportation • food • residence • security • cleaning • other ………………………………… • other ………………………………….. 2. Personnel employed in student services shall be adequate in number and in basic qualifications. 3. Personnel employed in student services shall be provided with sufficient training in the specific conduct of their duties. 4. Rules and policies governing access to and use of student services shall be in written form and shall be provided to students, parents, and student services personnel. 5. Facilities and equipment which are used to provide student services shall be adequate in quantity and quality and shall be well maintained. COMMENTS Standard 4 – see Recommendations K1 and K2 M M D M M NA M M RATING M
SECTION K - STUDENT SERVICES DESCRIPTION An outside contractor, Gufito, provides Tuck-shop and Cafeteria food for School students. The Tuck-shop has two small tables where students can sit and eat food. There are a few tables outside which can also be used if the weather is fine. Food is prepared in the Tuck-shop kitchen and brought to the Refectory in the Junior School in hot trolleys and served to each child. The Refectory accommodates approximately 300 students from the Junior School, with approximately 150 students per sitting. The Refectory is supervised by Assistants. Kindergarten and Nursery students eat their lunches in a separate area. There are no set meals for the Senior School but they may purchase a set meal from the Tuck-shop. There are also benches and tables around the School where Senior Students can sit and eat in good weather. The menus have been prepared by Junior School and Senior School student councils and the PTA. Two menus are available. One menu is suitable for vegetarians but is only available by prior request. Children who bring lunch to School can have their food warmed up for them in microwave ovens situated in a kitchen in the refectory area. The Tuck-shop kitchen is inspected regularly by the governmental institution ‘Instituto Ricardo Jorge’ and samples from food and utensils are removed for examination. A report from the ‘Instituto Ricardo Jorge’ is sent to the Principal. Refuse removal is regular. The School uses an outside contractor, Abreu, to bus students to and from School on a door-to-door service. Thirteen basic bus routes, which cover the Greater Area of Lisbon, are adjusted each year to tailor services to the location of students when possible. Each bus has an Assistant who is in charge of the Junior School children from the playground to the drop-off point and vice-versa. Senior School children make their own way to the bus. Students are only dropped off if a family member or identified person is there to collect students irrespective of their age. However, parents can provide written permission so that students can leave the bus on their own. This permission has to be renewed each academic year. Students who are not met when they should be are bussed back to School where parents are informed and asked to pick up their child. The school owns two mini-buses that are used for routes that cannot fit in with the main ones. These buses have no Assistants. Children are taken to the mini-bus by the mini-bus driver with the help of the car park attendant. The buses are modern, clean and well maintained and bus drivers are appropriately qualified. This service is not included in the fees and is paid for by parents. Some groups of parents have also made their own contracts with bus companies to transport their children. The school has created a procedure to stagger the movement of students leaving the School to and from buses to ease the flow. During the main arrival and leaving times there are clearly identified and School employed assistants directing and controlling the flow of vehicles and people in the car park area. The School has arranged insurance for students from the moment they leave home to come to School until their return to home after School to a maximum value of just under € 5000. The School does not provide residential facilities. The main security personnel are a Security Officer and a Porter. Other maintenance staff have responsibilities for security which change if the Security Officer is absent. The security staff are conspicuously present but unobtrusive in the daily functioning of teaching and learning. The Security Officer has had regular and varied security training from recognised security authorities over the last two years.
The Porter is the first person to arrive at the School each day and on arrival checks the perimeters of the School for any signs that may affect the security of the School. During the day the gates are locked and only one gate is operated by the Porter from inside the premises. Visitors are identified by staff prior to their expected arrival at the School. On arrival visitors must produce ID and the Porter informs Reception of the arrival of visitors. Unauthorised visitors are challenged by the porter and reception is alerted. There are seven closed circuit TV cameras positioned in the Junior School as this is the access building to the rest of the School. The monitors for the TV cameras are in reception. Visitors are expected to sign-in at reception before starting their business in the School. There is frequent consultation with the British and US Embassies on security matters. The local police make frequent external patrols of the School perimeter and these have become intensified since the recent Spanish train explosion. The Fire Brigade is also regularly consulted. Security procedures and operation are informed by these four organizations on a regular basis. The School has 15 cleaning staff in charge of cleaning and playground supervision. Three cleaning staff have additional responsibilities allocated: cleaning supervision, playground supervision and hygiene/tea-coffee. The open-air areas including playgrounds, gardens, passages and the sports courts are the responsibility of the gardener. PERCEPTIONS A Services Manager oversees the Student Services, is clearly informed about the current state of any service and is in a position to respond to problems quickly. The mechanisms in place for providing food services are adequate for serving the large number of students. Great care and attention has been paid to hygiene and cleanliness in preparation and dining areas. To abide by Portuguese law medical checks are undertaken on staff employed by the School who handle and prepare food and similarly by those employed by Gufito. The School has been proactive in involving students, staff and the community in the menus but there is no mechanism in place for obtaining feedback about meals and developing future menus. The loading and unloading system works well for such a large number of students in such a small loading and unloading space. There is clearly a high duty of care and good supervision of students in this area. A member of the Senior Management is clearly visible during these times. Clear procedures are in place to maximize the care and safety of students using School transport facilities. The security personnel are well trained, smartly attired and attentive. They have a clear understanding of their duties and have a highly visible profile in the School while appearing calm and confident. This helps promote an atmosphere of assurance in the School. The training of Security Staff is regular and covers all aspects of School security. The administration indicated that this was considered important. There has recently been increased liaison with the local police and a generally heightened awareness of the security of premises and personnel after the recent train bombing in Spain. There are policy and procedures for security and these are clear and widely disseminated in the School community. The floors and working surfaces are generally clean and the gardens are well groomed. There is clear pride in maintaining the building not only by cleaners but also by the whole School constituency. Some policies are in place for School Services but not for all of them. COMMENDATIONS The Visiting Team commends: 1. 2. The appointment of a Services Manager to oversee Student Services. The high awareness of security by the Senior Management, teaching staff, support staff and the quality of their care.
3. 4. 5. 6.
The Senior Management and support staff for having systems and structures in place to help ensure a high level of student services. The School for employing well trained, vigilant, responsible and caring staff working in Student Services and the support staff for doing a good job in delivering student services. The Security Staff for creating a secure atmosphere within the School. The high profile of the Principal in the duty of care of students.
RECOMMENDATIONS The Visiting Team recommends that: 1. 2. 3. Senior Management ensure policies and procedures are in place and current for all student services. Senior Management clearly communicate policy and procedure for student services to staff, students and parents. The Administration create mechanisms to obtain feedback on Student Services from the students with a view to ensuring Student Services continue to meet the needs of the students.
SECTION L: STUDENT LIFE 1. Relationships between staff and students shall be characterized by mutual respect, fairness, and understanding. 2. Policies and regulations concerning standards of student behaviour shall be written and available to all students and parents. These statements shall describe in general terms the consequences of non-compliance and indicate an appeals procedure for students and parents. 3. The school's methods of supervision and its way of handling problems with individual students shall be understood. Implementation shall be in such a way as to promote in students the development of sound human relationships, ethical and human values, and life attitudes. 4. In its extra-curricular and in its academic programme, the school shall take advantage of opportunities afforded by its location as well as by the diversity of social, regional, or national backgrounds of its staff and students in order to promote intercultural exchange and friendship and the development of a broad human outlook. 5. The overall programme, curricular and extra-curricular, shall contain those ingredients which are needed in the interests of the student body. This statement shall be understood to include provision: In all schools for: a) Counselling and a healthy relationship with adults in loco parentis b) Acquaintance with and appreciation of the arts and culture. c) Practice in the exercise of social responsibility and the encouragement of a sense of social concern. d) The development of special interests of a creative or constructive kind. In boarding schools for: e) Counseling and a healthy relationship with adults in loco parentis f) Suitable amounts of private and religious practice, as appropriate g) Recreation, clubs and sports opportunities h) 'A home away from home'. COMMENTS: Standard 2 – see Recommendation L3 Standard 5d – see Commendation L1 M M M RATING M M*
E NA NA NA NA
SECTION L - STUDENT LIFE DESCRIPTION St. Dominic’s International School has regularly time-tabled activities organized for both the Senior and Junior Schools. The Junior School Curriculum Enhancement Programme (CEP) is offered each day from 15:0015:50; group sizes range from four to an entire class. Activities are determined by the teachers based on their perception of the overall success and enjoyment of the activities offered during each term. Although the CEP is not formally assessed, older students are asked to reflect on the activities and indicate which they enjoyed the most, thereby guiding the teachers’ selection process. Additionally, the Junior School Arts co-ordinator organizes, with support from all teachers and assistants, school concerts, talent quests, productions and out-of-school performances. All classroom teachers organize United Nations Day within their class. The Junior School Student Council meets regularly with an advisor in order to plan social and philanthropic functions as well as express student concern; a constitution is in place. Once per six-day cycle a sharing assembly is organized by one of the year levels in order to share their learning, focusing on the PYP profile. All staff assist with the organization and supervision of Activity Days, held six times each year. The Senior School also has six Activity Days yearly, organized by the Dean of Students and the Heads of Department. Once per cycle, the Senior School has an afternoon dedicated to activities for students in Years 7-11 involving 13 School staff plus 2 teachers available for extra support. During these C-Days, group sizes range from 12-24 and each activity is organized and supervised by one staff member. Sporting activities are organized by the PE Department with some supervisor/ instructors from out of School. Additional Student Life programmes in the Senior School are as follows. Drama productions, concerts and art exhibitions are organized by the Arts Department. The Model United Nations programme involves ca. 30 students and is directed by two staff members. Approximately 40 students and two staff are involved in the Duke of Edinburgh Award programme. The PE Department co-ordinates a variety of sporting activities, including sports teams. One teacher and a student committee are responsible for the yearbook. The Student Council meets weekly with a teaching staff advisor and organizes social functions in addition to facilitating discussion with the Administration and implementing action regarding student concerns; a constitution is in place. As with the Junior School, the Senior School does not employ a formal assessment of student life, although a Student Life survey was administered to the students. The School does not have any written expectations about staff-student relationships, although the student behaviour policy is included in every student’s diary and a description of appropriate staff conduct is in the Policy Manual. The School’s discipline policy is in written form, describing in ascending stages the consequences for specific types and levels of behaviour. An anti-bullying policy includes a definition and procedures for the students and School when bullying takes place. A new-student orientation takes place at the beginning of the school year. All students sign a contract regarding respect for self, others, and environment. PERCEPTIONS Students are clearly very happy at St. Dominic’s. They are friendly with staff, each other, and visitors. As reported by the students in a survey given to approximately 300 students: The students generally feel safe at School, both physically and mentally/ emotionally; they indicate that they know an adult they can talk to if they have a problem. The overwhelming majority report that they know and understand the rules for behaviour, and they believe that consequences are fair. Students further indicate that extra-curricular activities meet their needs. More than half of those responding do not “think there is enough to do in break times”. Conversations with various students confirm the reliability of these survey results. The Student Councils appear to understand the process by which they can express concern and effect change. They articulate confidence that their concerns will be considered and, if appropriate and wellplanned, a solution executed. Students do not feel a great deal of division between the different age groups and do not report a problem with cliques. Students do, however, identify communication as their major concern at the School, implying that they see difficulties between teachers, Administration and their parents. Significantly, these same students report that they feel very secure in their own communication with the above named parties.
Although students express confidence in their understanding of the discipline procedures at this School and recognize it to be fair, some staff members indicate discomfort with the absence of a written appeals policy. When entering the School at the beginning of the year, students receive a degree of orientation; however SDIS does not have a continuing programme such as mentoring by other students or a pastoral care programme from staff. Students who enrol in St. Dominic’s at other times do not have an orientation programme. Students participate widely in activities according to their interests and express satisfaction with the degree and scope of activities presented in CEP and C-Days as well as other extra-curricular events. Staff, students, and parents appear secure with the informal assessment of Student Life. The teaching staff and staff at St. Dominic’s are clearly student-centred and are committed to maintaining a widely ranging school experience that is positive for all students. They quite obviously have the interests of the students as their primary concern and, for the most part, put aside other school-related concerns in favour of creating a positive environment for students. The Visiting Team noted the comments from some students and staff that some students exhibit an element of disrespect toward locally hired support staff. This seems at odds with the otherwise friendly, well-mannered, and openly warm students. COMMENDATIONS The Visiting Team commends: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. The staff for planning and implementing a wide scope of activities for students of all ages and interests. The Administration for making clear to students the process by which to express concern and effect change. The staff for focusing on students and their needs. The students and staff for the positive climate throughout the School. The students for their articulate and friendly demeanour toward one another, the teaching staff, and the visiting team.
RECOMMENDATIONS The Visiting Team recommends that: 1. The staff and student councils review the programme for new students in order to insure that incoming students receive an appropriate orientation regardless of the date of entry into the School. The co-ordinators of CEP and C-Day activities work with the student councils to consider development of a formal or informal assessment of these programmes. The Administration develop and publish in the student diary a written appeals procedure for students.
SECTION M: LIBRARY/MEDIA CENTER 1. There shall be a library and/or media center of adequate size and resources to meet the educational needs of the students. 2. Materials shall be maintained in a manner which makes them accessible to students and staff. The library collection shall be catalogued. 3. The library collection shall be adequate to provide for non-school connected reading for relaxation. 4. There shall be adequate orientation and instruction of students in the use of media equipment and of the library's reference materials. 5. The library/media center staff, both professional and nonprofessional, shall be adequate to provide effective service to the students and faculty. 6. There shall be a library selection policy and one for challenged materials. 7. There shall be in-service opportunities available to new staff members focusing on the extent of library holding and media equipment. COMMENTS: Standard 1 – see Recommendations L1, L3, L4 Standard 3 – see Recommendation L3 RATING D M
SECTION M - LIBRARY/MEDIA CENTRE DESCRIPTION The Library/Media Centre has the Junior and Senior School sections housed in approximately 154 m 2. The Junior School section has tables and chairs for classes of 26 students as well as a carpeted corner for storytelling sessions. The Senior School section has tables and chairs for 16 students. There are 8 fixed computers for student use with Internet and Word processing, 6 laptops for borrowing by IB students, 2 library catalogue terminals and 3 computers for Administration/circulation. Within the collection there are videos, audiotapes, digital and video cameras, LCDs, fiction, non-fiction, reference and foreign language sections. There are 4 full time staff, including a Head Librarian/Teacher, Assistant Teacher Library/IT, Library Computer Operator/Documentalist, and Library Clerk. PERCEPTIONS The physical size of the Library/Media Centre does not appear sufficient to effectively meet the needs of classes timetabled for library use. This school year there was a second teacher/librarian employed to work with the Junior School students due to the overcrowded classes at certain grade levels, and the inability to fit everyone into the Centre at the same time. The decision was therefore made to divide the classes for IT and library lessons. The collection appears to require updating and expansion to meet the needs of the various grade levels and programmes. A number of areas have been identified by the librarian and staff which require improvement. The Library/Media Centre has an annual budget as of this school year in order to prioritize needs in the library. There is a procedure in place for educators in the School to request resources that are needed by students and staff. There is a plan to include leisure magazines for students in the Centre. The Library/Media Centre was very cold during the Team visit. Although there are heaters provided, they do not appear to be adequate for the need. This appears to be common during the winter and early spring months. The library records system includes material present in the library and is advanced in the process of integrating materials based around the School in specialist areas and textbooks issued to students. COMMENDATIONS The Visiting Team commends: 1. 2. 3. The School staff for their flexibility and ingenuity in meeting the needs of students in limited space. The Administration for employing a second full-time teacher to work with students in the Junior School. The library staff for cataloguing of School library and media resources throughout the School, making them more easily locatable by staff and students.
RECOMMENDATIONS The Visiting Team recommends that: 1. 2. The Board and Senior Management create a plan to improve the space for library facilities which meets the needs for access and facilities of both Junior and Senior Schools. The Administration provide adequate heating for the needs of the Library/Media Centre.
The Administration provide sufficient funds for the purchase of resources in the Centre, based on the needs of students and staff. The Administration sustain a level of staffing in the library/media centre sufficient to meet the needs of the student and teaching staff.
SECTION N: SCHOOL FACILITIES 1. The school grounds, buildings, technical installations, basic furnishings, and supporting equipment shall be adequate for effective support of the total school programme. 2. The facilities shall be maintained and operated in a manner assuring the health, safety, and comfort of students and staff. Evidence shall be submitted that facilities meet local public health and safety requirements. 3. Boarding schools shall provide their students and resident faculty with living arrangements, recreational facilities, and general surroundings which are sufficiently comfortable and attractive to provide a 'home away from home'. 4. In addition to the school's own facilities, the resources of the community in which the school is located shall be used to enhance the educational programme. COMMENTS: Standard 1 – see Recommendation N1 RATING M* M
SECTION N - SCHOOL FACILITIES DESCRIPTION St. Dominic’s International School is in the municipality of Cascais near the city of Lisbon. The school stands on approximately 20,000 square metres of land owned by the Irish Dominican Sisters, Region of Portugal. The surrounding community is largely residential, dominated by large apartment complexes. The campus lies near the Atlantic coast, and property values in the neighbourhood are high. The campus has two classroom buildings that house the Junior and Senior Schools. There is also a gymnasium adjacent to the Junior School Building, and a temporary classroom has been placed near the Senior School Building to accommodate overflow from the Design Technology centre. Outdoors the campus encompasses a hockey/soccer pitch (covered with artificial turf), a tennis court, basketball court, multipurpose court, and playgrounds. There are two grass lawns and several plantings of flowers. Both Junior and Senior School buildings are single-story edifices of brick and concrete. There is galvanized and painted steel cladding around the top of the buildings. Classrooms and offices have suspended ceilings of compressed paper composite and windows and doors of aluminium and glass. Both academic buildings and the gymnasium are accessible by the handicapped, although some rooms have thresholds that might interfere with entry via wheelchair. Although the students in the Senior School take the majority of their classes in their own building, they enter the Junior building frequently to use the library, cafeteria, and music rooms contained therein. There is also a snack bar, called the Tuck Shop, located in the Junior building but reserved for use by Senior School students. The entire perimeter of the campus is protected by a wire fence. The school possesses a certificate from the federal department of education authorizing the operation of a coeducational day school, Nursery-Year 13 with a maximum enrolment of 702. St. Dominic’s does not have a fire safety certificate because Portugal has only recently begun issuing such documents and is backlogged. PERCEPTIONS Both the Junior and Senior School buildings were designed for a much smaller enrolment than St. Dominic’s now enjoys. The buildings and facilities were designed for a student body of approximately 350, but there are now almost 700 students. This has resulted in overcrowding in many classrooms. Offices are small and tucked into every available nook and cranny rather than placed in locations most convenient or efficient for their occupants. The administration and teaching staff have done a commendable job of adapting creatively to the demographic pressures, and few schools can boast such a thorough utilization of every available space. Nevertheless one gets the sense that there are simply more people in the two academic buildings than they were designed to accommodate. This impression is exacerbated by the respective designs of the two buildings. The Junior School is warren-like in its layout of classrooms and other facilities, and the Senior School boasts a central corridor that is too narrow to facilitate the movement of so many students as they change classes. Fortunately the building is small, so the students don’t have far to go. The administration indicated that it is not possible to expand the school’s facilities because all grounds on the campus are currently under essential use. Furthermore, the current academic buildings were constructed in such a manner that they cannot be added to vertically. Nevertheless there has been no formal engineering inquiry into the possibility of adding a story to an existing building, nor has the school explored the feasibility of vacating a building for a year (using rented buildings off-campus) in order to construct a multistory building on its campus. There is no current Board policy regarding the maintenance and enhancement of the campus, nor is there a long range plan that anticipates future facilities needs. The routine maintenance of the school buildings appears to be inconsistent. In general, the Senior School seemed in good repair, but there were several areas in the Junior School where walls were visibly dirty and stained. The grounds surrounding the buildings are attractively planted and maintained. Several teaching staff members and parents voiced their concern about the lack of heat in the academic buildings, and the Visiting Team was able to verify that classroom temperatures can range from bracing to gelid.
There is a walkway comprised of small tiles, a style popular in the region that is nonetheless very uneven, making it difficult to walk without tripping. There are also several internal doorsills that are abrupt and hardedged, making them very susceptible to being tripped over. In the office of the sciences laboratory technician and in at least one of the laboratories, many chemicals are kept in unlocked cabinets, and the rooms are not locked during the day. The Design Technology room appears small for the number of students and activities intended to take place there, and the power equipment is in dangerous proximity to the general work stations. COMMENDATIONS The Visiting Team commends: 1. 2. 3. The School for making optimal use of available space and for being flexible and creative in addressing the needs of its student population, given the limitations of its plant. The School for maintaining the grounds in such attractive fashion. The School for installing artificial turf on its hockey/soccer pitch, thus optimizing opportunities for play.
RECOMMENDATIONS The Visiting Team recommends that: 1. 2. 3. The School undertake a long range planning effort to determine how to expand the plant and facilities to better meet the needs of its projected enrolment. The Board develop a policy statement and set of guidelines regarding the maintenance and improvement of the School’s plant and facilities. The School conduct a study to determine optimal space requirements per student.
4. The storage of chemicals for the sciences be reviewed immediately and that steps be taken to ensure that students cannot gain unauthorized access to them. 5. The school take all necessary steps to provide an adequate heating system throughout the school.
SECTION O: FINANCES AND FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT 1. The financial resources and management of the school shall be capable of sustaining a sound educational programme consistent with its stated philosophy and objectives, and of providing for the long-term stability of the school. 2. The financial affairs of the school shall be competently managed and published budgets shall be made available to duly authorized persons. 3. There shall be an annual external audit performed by an independent auditing firm. 4. The school's insurance programme shall be comprehensive, and shall be reviewed periodically in respect of risks, liabilities, and obligations. 5. There shall be evidence of long-range financial planning and development of resources such as reasonably to ensure the continuation and stability of the school. 6. Parents or others enrolling students shall be informed in advance of the precise nature and scope of financial obligations and be given an estimate of what the total expense will be, including all extra charges for student(s) attending. COMMENTS: Standard 5 – see Recommendations O1 and O3 RATING M
M M M D M
SECTION O - FINANCES & FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT DESCRIPTION St Dominic’s International School operates as one of four ‘centres’ of the ‘Fundação Obra Social das Religiosas Dominicanas Irlandesas’ and can, if the need arises, call on the resources of the latter to ensure financial stability. This participation in the Fundacao means that the School is exempt from many local taxes, and that Social Security payments are at a reduced level. The School’s Accounts Department comprises five people: the full-time Head of Accounts/Bursar, the full-time Human Resources Manager, the part-time Internal Auditor (who works for an independent outside agency), the part-time School Accountant and the part-time Accounts Assistant. The Head of Accounts/Bursar supervises all personnel in the department, oversees the School’s bank accounts and is responsible for all monies received and all payments made by the Accounts Department. The Human Resources Officer is responsible for all financial matters relating to Staff, including registration with tax, pension and Social Security authorities, the processing of salaries, and the overseeing of electronic transfers to staff bank accounts. The Internal Auditor is responsible for the budget generation process, in consultation with the Principal, and for the monitoring of budget and cash flow. The Accountant is responsible for IVA (VAT) payment and recovery, as well as the preparation in accordance with the POC (Portuguese accounting system) of School accounts in August, and ‘Fundação’ accounts in December. The Accounts Assistant is responsible for processing suppliers’ invoices, making insurance payments, and preparing teachers’ Income Tax Returns. The budget development process is laid out in the School’s policy manual. In December each year the VicePrincipals submit projected needs for capital expenditure, running costs and new staff for the following academic year. The Principal and Management Team prioritise needs and inform the Financial Controller, who draws up proposals for salary increments, the fees schedule and the preliminary budget in consultation with the Auditors and the Conselho Fiscal of FOSRDI. The Board adopts one of the proposed schedules in January. Revisions to the budget are presented in following months with the final budget approved and adopted in June or July. Amendments to the approved budget can be made at any time by the Management Team. Budget reconciliation between the Financial Controller and the Management Team takes place once a month during the school financial year. A brochure indicating the forthcoming year’s tuition fee rates and other financial obligations is distributed to current and prospective parents in February, along with a request for the Registration Fee, payable in March. Fees are payable three times per year in August, December and March, following receipt of invoices. Invoice settlement terms are 30 days. There is an annual audit of the accounts conducted according by a local firm of accountants in accordance with accepted Portuguese accounting and legal practices. The School maintains insurance policies in the categories of Buildings, Contents, IT Equipment, Student Personal Accident, Staff Industrial Accident, Vehicle insurance (one School vehicle) with Passenger Personal Accident, and Multicare Group Health insurance. . PERCEPTIONS The School’s finances are overseen by the School Board, which has, within the past two years, established a Finance Committee for this purpose. The Principal directs the financial management of the School. The School generally operates close to a break-even on an annual basis, and the Trustees have, in cases of budget shortfall, made funds available to balance the books. The School has a substantial overdraft facility with a local bank, which was established by the Principal. For the current year, a small surplus is projected, and the financial Management Team have drawn up a plan to reduce the overdraft considerably over the next three years. This has been made possible by changing the fee structure for incoming students (with effect from the 2003/2004 school year) whereby the initial application fee is no longer creditable against future years’ tuition. This plan, however, does not include a full three-year budget projection. Similarly, there is no long term plan for the development of capital funds which will be necessary for ongoing maintenance and refurbishing of the aging buildings. The School’s financial Management Team is adequate in number, and appears to be very professional in its approach to monitoring of the financial affairs of the School. The Internal Auditor and the Head of Accounts must both sign off on any outgoing payments. All cheques are signed by both the Principal and a member of
the Trustees. The Head of Accounts is personally responsible for verifying all cash income payments and bank deposits; there is no insurance or “bonding” available for this activity in Portugal. Although the business office appears to be generally highly professional in its approach, there have been some mistakes in communications with parents which have given rise to some parental concerns within the past year. The School does not have any programme for external fundraising, or plans to establish an endowment which, in the long run, could help ensure the long-term existence of the School at such time as the current Trustees are no longer able to support the School. The recent addition of a Human Resources Officer has had a great impact upon the ability of the School to maintain proper Human Resource records, and to ensure that all Portuguese labour regulations are met in full. Although the budgeting procedure remained largely “top-down”, a wider range of budget centres has been established this year, which allows for individual budgets for various departments of the School. The School has a complete set of insurance policies which goes beyond those required in Portugal. COMMENDATIONS The Visiting Team commends: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. The Board and the Administration for instituting internal controls for monitoring income and expense. The School for taking measures to generate additional income to reduce the current reliance on a bank overdraft facility. The School for the appointment of a Human Resources Officer to ensure that all financial commitments to staff are met and in keeping with Portuguese employment practices. The School for having a comprehensive set of insurance policies which are regularly reviewed and updated. The School Administration for developing a budget procedure which allows for individual budgets for various departments of the School.
RECOMMENDATIONS The Visiing Team recommends that: 1. 2. 3. The Board establish a long-range financial plan to ensure the continued viability of the School. The Board consider the establishment of a fund raising programme (Development Office) to finance capital developments and build up an endowment for the School. The Principal and Business Office develop a medium-term (3-5 year) operating budget for the School which incorporates and extends the current plan to reduce the reliance on bank overdrafts. The Board’s Finance Committee and the Principal work together to ensure that all communications to parents from the Business Office are accurate and presented without ambiguity.
SECTION P: ASSESSMENT OF STUDENT LEARNING AND PERFORMANCE RATING 1. The school shall identify specific criteria for assessing student learning and performance. 2. The school shall utilize appropriate and varied methods to assess student learning and performance. 3. There shall be a system in place whereby assessment results are interpreted and reported to the school community in an understandable manner. 4. Assessment results shall be used regularly in evaluating the effectiveness of the school’s curriculum and instructional practices. 5. Assessment results shall be used regularly to develop strategies for improving student learning. 6. There shall be school personnel who are responsible for ensuring that the assessment process is implemented and that assessment results are reported and used in the evaluation of curriculum and instruction. COMMENTS: Standard 1 – see Recommendations P2 and P3 Standard 3 – see Recommendation P3 Standard 5 – see Recommendation P1 M* M M*
M M* M
SECTION P: ASSESSMENT OF STUDENT LEARNING AND PERFORMANCE DESCRIPTION The range of methods and sources of data used to assess student performance academically is governed by the International Baccalaureate Organization guides for PYP, MYP and DP. There is a discussion paper (7.90R) entitled ‘Academic Achievement’ for SDIS which outlines the principles of assessment applied throughout the School. This paper is dated ‘Before 1991’. There is currently an Assessment Committee writing an Assessment Policy at the Junior School in all curriculum areas. This document is in draft form for the subject areas of Mathematics and Language, and includes Assessment for Portfolios, Assessment for Student Records, and Assessment of our Teaching. This is proposed to be the same format to be followed in each subject area in the Policy. Assessment results are used to enhance individual learning and delivery of the curriculum through processes of reflection of students, teachers and administrators. Student records are maintained and a sample of what is collected and sent on to the next teacher is in the ‘Draft Assessment Policy’. The Junior School students and teachers assess, in addition to other methods, with the use of a student portfolio, which includes samples of work chosen by students and staff. Each year there is a portfolio conference evening for parents (in March) to review the portfolios with their children. Written reports are sent to parents twice a year (December and June), and parent conferences are scheduled twice a year (December and optional in June) to communicate results of assessment. Assessment results are reported and interpreted to teaching staff, students, parents and others in the Senior School as communicated in the ‘Assessment and Reporting’ document. MYP and DP moderation and assessment reports are an external instrument in this process. There is one scheduled parent conference evening per year at each year level. Reports are sent out twice a year, and there are two interim reports. Heads of Department are leaders in the process of using assessment data to develop Professional Development programmes for staff. PERCEPTIONS With the new Head of Senior School’s arrival in the autumn of 2003, there has been a concerted effort to improve the use and communication of assessment in the Senior School. There has been a handbook created for the Senior School entitled ‘Assessment and Reporting in the Middle School Years: 7-11’, which has been well received by parents, staff and students. It lists the criteria and descriptors for each subject. The final MYP criteria have been modified for appropriate use in Years 7 to 9. The new MYP report cards clearly show attainment relative to assessment criteria, as well as the IB 1-7 scale. In the Senior School there is dissatisfaction among teachers and parents in regard to the number of Parent Teacher conferences, their length, and the availability of staff. The Junior School staff have created Essential Agreements in the areas of Reports, Student Records for Language A (Portuguese and English), Portfolios, Student-led Conferences, Student Profile and Attitudes, and Second Language Learning (Language B). There is currently a committee in the Junior School with the mandate of reviewing and updating assessment and reporting practices in the Junior School. Although there is pressure from some parents and staff to move towards a graded reporting card, the staff are maintaining their belief that it is contra to IBPYP philosophy of best practices in assessment and reporting. Although there is evidence that each individual School is working on assessment, there is no evidence of the development of a school-wide approach. There is evidence of the use of a wide variety of assessment strategies throughout the School. It is unclear to what extent the results of assessment are being used to develop strategies to improve student learning There has been some criticism of the ‘cut and paste’ format of report cards. In the Junior School, there is appreciation for the Head of School comment on the front page of each child’s report. Professional Development for staff specifically in the area of differentiation of student work based on results of assessment, is identified as a need in both Schools. There does not appear to be a whole-school approach in the area of professional development with respect to assessment at this time.
COMMENDATIONS The Visiting Team commends: 1. 2. 3. 4. The Junior School for their formation of an Assessment Committee. The MYP staff for publication of their handbook which clarifies the criteria and descriptors used in assessment. The staff for the use of a variety of best practices in assessment throughout the School. The MYP staff for developing report cards which show attainment relative to assessment criteria, as well as the IB 1-7 scale.
RECOMMENDATIONS The Visiting Team recommends that: 1. 2. 3. 4. The Administration create a long term professional development plan for staff in the areas of assessment and differentiation of learning. The Administration consider ways to develop school-wide principles of assessment. The Administration and staff work towards publishing Policies and Practices of Assessment in all divisions and departments of the School. The Administration review the scheduling of Parent Teacher conferences in the Senior School to improve formal parent teacher communication.
During the final Team meeting, each section of the report was reconsidered and those commendations and recommendations which were believed to be of particular importance were identified. They are listed in the following pages. LIST OF MAJOR COMMENDATIONS (Quoted verbatim from the Sections concerned) The Visiting Team commends: A. PHILOSOPHY AND OBJECTIVES 4. The School for its commitment to the programmes of the International Baccalaureate Organization, and the ongoing efforts to ensure that information about these programmes is properly disseminated throughout the entire community. ORGANIZATION AND ADMINISTRATION 2. The Board, Administration, and teaching staff for their strong efforts to serve the students of St. Dominic’s. ELEMENTARY CURRICULUM PROGRAMME 2. The Junior School staff for the stimulating, caring and creative learning environment provided for children in this age group. 4. F* Junior School students for the positive and friendly relationships among themselves and with the teaching staff.
MIDDLE YEARS PROGRAMME 1. The teachers, staff, and students for maintaining a warm and inviting atmosphere throughout the Senior School. 3. MYP leadership and teachers for improving communication with students and parents by developing an Assessment and Reporting handbook for Years 7 – 11 and report cards which show attainment relative to assessment criteria, as well as the IB 1-7 scale. The MYP leadership and teachers for the renewed focus on inter-disciplinary planning and the productive use of activity days for inter-disciplinary projects.
SECONDARY PROGRAMME 2. The teachers, staff, and students for maintaining a warm and inviting atmosphere throughout the Senior School. 4. The School for its commitment to a diverse IB Diploma Programme.
SPECIAL NEEDS EDUCATION 1. The teaching staff for their commitment to inclusive education, and the willingness to collaborate towards this end. GUIDANCE SERVICES 1. The extensive support structure of guidance services at the School. HEALTH SERVICES AND SAFETY 5. The measures taken by the School to ensure the security on the grounds and for creating a feeling of safety among parents and students. STUDENT SERVICES 2. The high awareness of security by the Senior Management, teaching staff, support staff and the quality of their care.
STUDENT LIFE 4. The students and staff for the positive climate throughout the School. LIBRARY / MEDIA CENTRE 1. The School staff for their flexibility and ingenuity in meeting the needs of students in limited space. FINANCES AND FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT 2. The School for taking measures to generate additional income to reduce the current reliance on a bank overdraft facility.
LIST OF MAJOR RECOMMENDATIONS (Quoted verbatim from the Sections concerned) The Visiting Team recommends that: A. PHILOSOPHY AND OBJECTIVES 1. The Trustees, School Board, and Senior Management adopt a procedure for regular review of the Mission Statement and Aims and Objectives, and find ways to ensure that the wider School community (teaching staff, parents, and older students) is actively involved in the review process. ORGANIZATION AND ADMINISTRATION 1. The Trustees, Board, and Administration initiate, as a matter of urgency, a comprehensive investigation into how to enhance communication among all School constituencies. 2. 3. 8. The Trustees address how to ensure the long term viability of the Foundation and, therefore, the School. The School clarify the respective responsibilities and authority of the Trustees and the Board and the relationship between the two bodies. The Trustees, Board, and Administration seek to include all School constituencies in the development of a comprehensive Strategic Plan that will illuminate the School’s future requirements in finances and endowment, improvements to the campus, and optimal enrollment and staffing. The School streamline the policies and procedures handbook so that it is clear, concise, and accessible. All parties work together to develop constructive and open dialogue to address current and future concerns, and forge more positive relationships among all stakeholders in the School.
9. 10. C
SCHOOL STAFF 1. All parties work together to develop constructive and open dialogue to address current and future concerns, and forge more positive relationships among all stakeholders in the School. 2. The School streamline the policies and procedures handbook so that it is clear, concise, and accessible.
ELEMENTARY CURRICULUM PROGRAMME 1. The Administration adheres to the current agreement of maximum class size (see also Section D, Recommendation 1). 4. The School develop a school-wide Language Policy (see also Section F* Recommendation 4).
MIDDLE YEARS PROGRAMME 5. The MYP leadership standardise curriculum mapping for all grade levels to: Integrate the Areas of Interaction in a meaningful way. Plan more effectively across disciplines. Facilitate vertical articulation of the curriculum. 16. The MYP leadership develop an MYP strategic plan that incorporates and prioritises responses to the Visiting Team’s recommendations.
SECONDARY PROGRAMME 2. The Senior School consider ways to support DP ESL students and struggling students in the mainstream classes.
H I J
SPECIAL NEEDS EDUCATION 2. The School Administration investigate whether the needs of highly able students are being met. GUIDANCE SERVICES 3. The School review the reporting procedure, and how student progress is reported to parents. HEALTH SERVICES AND SAFETY 2. The Board develop a set of guidelines regarding the maintenance of the School’s plant and facilities to address those safety items specifically noted in this report. SCHOOL FACILITIES 1. The School undertake a long range planning effort to determine how to expand the plant and facilities to better meet the needs of its projected enrolment. 5. The school take all necessary steps to provide an adequate heating system throughout the school.
ASSESSMENT OF STUDENT LEARNING AND PERFORMANCE 3. The Administration and staff work towards publishing Policies and Practices of Assessment in all divisions and departments of the School.
CONCLUDING STATEMENT We would like to conclude by thanking everyone involved in this process for their professionalism and dedication to the ideals of school improvement. This includes everyone at St. Dominic’s International School who worked on the Self Study and who helped the Visiting Team settle in to their task. The team members worked long and hard to get to know the school and deserve to be recognized for the highly professional way in which they came together to produce this report. It is our earnest hope that the St. Dominic’s community use this report to develop the school further over the next ten years. We are convinced that the essentials are in place for such development, and we wish the school community well in its ongoing endeavours.
Alex Horsley Chairman
Rist Bonnefond Co-chairman
Mr. Alex HORSLEY New Concepts in International Education Atlanta, GA, USA Mr. Rist BONNEFOND Kents Hill School Maine, USA Mr. Mark BRIERLEY Danube International School Austria Mrs. Julie GRIEP American International School of Muscat Mrs. Brenda CHRISTOPHERSON International School of the Basel Region Switzerland Ms. Sonja HANSON The International School of Stavanger Norway Mr. Valery MARKHASIN Collège Beau Soleil Switzerland Mr. Eif PHILLIPS Munich International School Germany Mrs. June MURISON International School of Bergen Norway Mrs. Jill SPERANDIO International School of Eindhoven The Netherlands Mrs. Veronica STEFFEN International College Spain Alcobendas, Spain Ms. Imogen LATHBURY American International School of Vienna Austria
Team Chairman (CIS)
Team Co-Chairman (NEASC)
Team Member Team Member
Team Member, IBMYP Chairman