Parents Building Community at LCS

On Wednesday, Feb 20, over 30 Grade 6 parents (approximately half of our Grade 6 population) attended an evening parent gathering hosted in a private home.  The purpose of the evening was to get together to talk about social media and the challenges of parents and educators.  Facebook usage dominated the conversation as did the topic of challenges associated with extensive online interest, involvement, and obsession!!  Kids are plugged in.  It’s a challenge for parents to make decisions around family rules and expectations.  Every parent handles things differently.  Over the years I have found it incredibly valuable to communicate with as many parents as I can to help shape my decisions as a parent and as a school leader.  Schools have a responsibility to support, educate, and provide information to both students and parents around this important topic.  This evening meeting was a great example of parents collectively tackling the challenges of parenting.

I was very impressed with the turnout of parents.  The community is naturally very

Grade 6 Parents Gather for a Lively Discussion and a Meal on Feb 20 2013

interested in this topic. I would urge parents to rally around one another, exchange ideas, tips, and suggestions.  It is not easy to parent in the digital age.  We all share the same concerns, hopes, and fears as parents.  Moreover, we are all  in uncharted territory when it comes to technology and share similar questions.

Below is a link to the presentation.  Feel free to view it.  In addition, I’ve added  a link to an excellent Ted Talk that is worth listening to. It’s about our  “plugged in” world we have become!

This is the presentation to Grade 6 parents.  This is the powerpoint presentation.

This is the same presentation to Grade 6 parents as a movie. It’s a larger file for downloading (28 mb) but plays fine.

With Kids Away, Do Teachers Play?

Last Monday, students didn’t come to school, but teachers did!  What were we doing at school on Monday?  What happens on those “Professional Development” days?  What happens at those weekly meetings that teachers have every Wednesday afternoon?

The answer is alot of learning, planning, reflecting, dialogue and professional growth.    Check out the link below (in blue) to a short collection of images:

SS Faculty: An Inquiring Bunch!


We are a learning organization.  On days like Monday or on weekly Wednesday afternoons, faculty spend time preparing classes, lessons, unit plans, assessments, and engaging activities.

LCS faculty are professionals, interested in their own personal learning and professional growth and, most importantly, improving the experience for students. This is the mission we, as faculty, are on.  We strive to ensure that students have  high quality learning experiences at LCS.  I salute the LCS faculty for their commitment and effort.  Faculty are working hard on behalf of students and families.




LCS Alumni – Role Models for Current Students!

In a recent professional development morning with faculty, we watched a presentation given by Mr Lance King (  Mr King talked at length about developing students as self-regulated learners.  His focus upon students as self-directed lifelong learners touched on many areas.  One in particular struck a chord.  In order for students to become confident in their abilities moving forward, it’s helpful to have strong role models that they can relate to.  It’s great to hold up people like Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Ghandi, Martin Luther King, and Mother Theresa as role models but these exceptional people are, just that, exceptional. They are not particularly accessible to our students.  Mr King talked about the valuable role alumni could have as role models for current students.  Identifying alumni as role models and celebrating the successes of alumni could be valuable in helping current students understand options, develop confidence, and instill a sense of self-efficacy moving forward.

I was recently in London recruiting new teachers.  While in London I had the

an impressive collection of LCS alumni in London, Jan 2013

pleasure of attending the first international LCS alumni reunion, organized by Khushboo Moolchandani (class of 2005) and Stan Osei-Bonsu (Class of 2005)   Here is a list of some of the impressive young alumni who attended.

  • Fritz Riha  – class of 2005, spent a couple of years at Lincoln, currently works at Barclays as a Digital Designer in their Customer Experience team)Guendalina Gianfranchi- class of 2005, left LCS in grade 6, currently studying in the UK for her masters.
  • Nathalie Wilson-  class of 2005, left LCS in grade 6 as well, studied and works in the UK as an Online Marketer
  • Gun Ming Chung- class of 2007, he is a lawyer Continue reading

Creativity, Action, and Service….Why CAS?

When I was a high school kid…..(hang in there, I won’t bore you with my HS history!)  But, when I was a high school student I was pretty much focused upon sports and (in my last 18 months some drama).  As well I was pretty responsible

Is your passion sports?

with the academic game.  I thought I was well balanced because I did a couple of sports and I did a couple of plays in high school.  Later in life, as a 21 year old, I learned to play the guitar, something I always wanted to do.  As a 40 year old I started singing in an acapella vocal group.  In my 40’s I finally  began satisfying a long-standing interest in service projects.   I didn’t have the opportunity as a teenager, during formative years, to fully explore and develop my interests in music and service.  It wasn’t part of my school experience.  I don’t know how a CAS requrirement would have impacted me.  I’m not sure.  I know it would have forced me to consider ideas and activities that I never came close to exploring as a high school student.  As a parent, I appreciated the CAS requirement for my kids given that it required various experiences.  For some students CAS experiences have great potential to truly shape values, ideas, and lives.CAS is part of being an IB student.  It is a requirement and a pillar of the program.   Why is it required?  What is the goal of the CAS requirement?  Why do educators believe CAS is vital in the educational experience of students?

Is your passion organizing service activities?

Being an educated and knowledgeable person is much more than earning grades and “doing school”.  The CAS requirement removes you from the structured expectations of the regular school day.  It places students in the world of different experiences in which students must plan, act upon, observe, and reflect on their involvement in those experiences.

CAS is often associated with service projects.  Service is an essential component, as is Action and Creativity.  You must explore opportunities and learn from experiences with sports, creative endeavors, or service activities.  Finding your interests and passions in life is part of growing and maturing.

Students are often:

  • Too caught up in accomplishments – becoming a human “doing” as opposed to a human “being”.
  • Too caught up in academic demands and the grind of regular school work.
  • Too caught up in social networks and issues and the challenges of being a teenager.
CAS activities allow you to step away from the normal academic challenges and

Is your passion art or drama?

learn through other experiences.

A foundation of the IB program is nurturing the growth of the Learner Profile in students. To support this nurturing, CAS provides opportunities.  Undertaking challenges, planning activities, exercising perseverance and commitment, reflecting upon actions, understanding strengths, are all related to the Learner Profile traits of inquirers, risk takers, communicators, caring, balanced and principled individuals.  Sincere involvement in CAS develops and strengthens the IB Learner Profile trait in each individual.

CAS is a pllar of the IB experience. It is a requirement.  But, more than a requirement, it supports the important development of a well-rounded individual.  Completing the requirement of CAS,which involves serious participation and sincere reflection, will have significant benefits to individuals as they forge their pathways in life.




Two Movies Dealing with Adolescent Topics

I asked a student recently to share some ideas with me about topics that might be of interest for students that I could either address or share on this blog.  The student sent me a couple of links to movie trailers focused upon adolescent audiences.

As it turns out, on my recent trip to London I watched the first movie, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, on the plane.  I thought it was really well done.  It is definitely targeted at high school audiences and deals with the social challenges and decisions facing teenagers.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower – The award winning book is available in the library!
ABC TV Movie “Cyberbully” – I haven’t viewed this movie but I am glad to see that this important topic is getting mainstream TV network attention in the US.

Cheating……Why do Students Cheat?

I’ve been thinking about this lately.  Cheating has been in the news.  Recently the most famous cheat of all was finally exposed and admitted his cheating.  Lance Armstrong – 7 time winner of the most prestigious bike race in the world , Le Tour de France – admitted cheating every year.  He did illegal things to gain an advantage and broke the rules.  His career is a disaster.  He was motivated by his need to win at all costs and while knowing he could cheat and still win. But he is exposed and his career is a disaster.

Why do people cheat when they know it is wrong?  This is a really difficult question to answer.  There are no easy answers.  People make choices and find ways to justify their actions even when they know they are doing things that are wrong.

Cheating in schools is a significant problem.  Why do students cheat in school?  It could be that:

  • They just don’t know the work/material and copying or plagiarizing is the easiest way out
  • They haven’t spent time on the work and are unprepared
  • They give their work to someone else to be a good friend
  • They want to gain an advantage over others
  • They don’t think their behavior is a big deal and feel it is okay to cheat, after all there are many examples of successful cheaters in the world. Continue reading