5 March 2015

From the Director's Desk

The past few weeks have been dominated by important events across the school. School-wide events play a special role in the mind of a young student, making up their memories of their school life, often more powerfully than what they learn in their classroom. At Pathways we see them as important teaching moments and with students, focus on attitudes and behaviours that are desirable.

The interhouse rivalry, individual athletes and multiple competitive events characterized Sports Day. The  different guests of honour provided great role models of the sports world. It was an honour to welcome Mr Munaf Patel and Mr Ajay Ratra, legends from the world of cricket. But also important for students to engage with Mr Nishant Arora who has devoted his life to sports promotion and administration and Mr Francisco Garcia Rabasco  an international sports coach. The world of sport is an expanding professional opportunity for students to be aware of.
In contrast to Sports Day was the lively and good humoured Sports Fiesta for students upto Form 2. Participating in physical skill events without any more pressure than having their parents or other adults watching, the morning was a good example of how at a certain age, the absence of competition is important.
There have been significant leadership opportunities and development. Leaders of the Interact club were sworn in at a solemn ceremony in the presence of their parents and members of
Rotary International. Senior student council members spent Saturday in a workshop on leadership, developing a deeper understanding of what it means to be a leader at Pathways.
Finally, there is high excitement among students about the upcoming annual adventure camps. Students from Form 2 – 11 go out to locations near and far, learning from their environment, sharing teambuilding activities and enjoying education which is only possible in outdoor classrooms.

Teachers and the middle school were on tenterhooks preparing for the review by our IB consultant as our next stage towards MYP authorization. She had detailed conversations with different groups of students, went into classrooms, and  had teacher discussions. She was very happy at the standards and quality of education. She even wrote about us on her educational blog which has a wide readership among international educators across the world, dedicating it as:  This post is dedicated to colleagues at Pathways and other schools where teachers are being the change.  It is a high compliment.

Working with the IB
I am delighted to share that two of our Primary school teachers will be featured in the IB Blog stall at the international IB conference in Macau attended by delegates from many countries in south-east Asia. Sana Noor and Vandana Parashar will feature as exemplary IB contributors to the PYP blog raising the profile of Pathways School Noida in the international school community.

Our academic fair is on Friday 13th March from 11 am – 1 pm. Across the school the special challenge for students was to conceive of a design for cities of the future – thinking of energy, construction system etc.  Alongside these challenges, we have an Art exhibition with students exhibiting their beautiful work.

Lost Property
In both the Primary and Secondary school, our lost property stock expands with lost blazers, hoodies etc. The problem is being created because these items are not labelled. I urge you to please ensure that all items are labelled with the student’s name.

Finally a very happy and safe Holi to all our families. I am sharing the effort made by our Caterers to create the spirit of Holi for the school.

Dr Shalini Advani
School Director

From the Senior School Principal Mr. Alexander Abraham

The third month of this year has dawned upon us and six busy weeks of this semester have already whizzed past with academics and the flurry of activities and sports that make each day filled with new things to look forward to. It was none other than Albert Einstein who once said that “All that is valuable in human society depends upon the opportunity for development accorded the individual.” We as nurturers at Pathways are therefore excited with the plethora of opportunities that are available for every student to develop their gifts and abilities in the various platforms provided at school.

Our Forms 10 and 12 are at the cusp of their Mock exams and the students have geared for these preparatory exams which allows them to experience exam conditions and to know their strengths and weaknesses. We are confident that our students with their hard work and under the mentoring of our teachers will use these exams to work towards the final exams both IGCSE and IB Diploma which begin in early May.

We have had a very successful Student Led Conference (SLC) for Form 9 which was in the first week of February. This was the first time we were doing it for Senior School. There were four subject areas that students could choose from and share with their parents their own learnings, areas where they needed to improve and the goals and action plans they have set for themselves where they need to work at. What was really heartening was to see that students responded very well to the structure of the SLC and the process was of huge learning for them. We were also glad to be able to see that parents saw the utility of the process and that above all it is a process of reflection for the student to work on areas of strength and others were more focus is needed.

The Digital Citizenship week while being a vertical school event was also very heartening for us to see the involvement not just of the staff but more so of the Secondary Council Technology Coordinators, the other Council members and by the student community on a large scale whether it was through Assembly presentations,
Group discussions on being a responsible citizen, through movie making or the very valuable Tech tip of the day. This Week gave us great pride and joy to see our students take leadership. Creative ideas were planned and executed and the activities while they informed also served to creatively enable our community to be more responsible citizens.

The school firmly believes that our students need to be given opportunities for leadership and the student council is a platform where this is done abundantly. To enable the new council which took charge in the last week of January to be able to plan for the New Year, there was a leadership workshop held on Saturday, 14th February and facilitated by Mrs. Smita Bhattacharya
and Mrs. Sonali Joshi, our staff advisors to the Council. This workshop was meant to enable our student leaders to get a feel of what leadership necessitates and what some of the areas are of influence that a student council member has and what kind of school culture makes for a better school community. It was remarkable to see the very perceptive and thoughtful suggestions and ideas that came in from the student council members who were all enthusiastic about being the leaders for change for the student community.

Another major area where our students have been true leaders has been the Interact Club where through various social projects and fund
raisers, students have been over the years working together with the community at large for the underprivileged and those afflicted by natural calamities and thus having a sense that education is not just about scores but a commitment for society, something that mere knowledge can and will never successfully do. The new Interact committee was badged on 25th February and we are confident that the new committee will have many more plans and ways by which our school can be more socially aware and contributing.

March is an exciting month with “Jharokha” and the Adventure Camps slotted where our students of F9- F11 head out for the hills to experience education in a totally “cool” environment where through the “roughing” it out, our students learn to appreciate the blessings of life and the joys of camaraderie and learning in a non-formal environment. We are grateful for the partnership that we have with our parent community which helps in nurturing our children- our greatest treasure.

As we look at the months ahead we would like to take this forward and enable more avenues where our young minds will be able to discover the potential and uniqueness each one has and be thus better people for tomorrow.

Back to School by Nandini Gaur, Mitakshi Mathur Gr 6 and Shikha Chaterjee Gr 7

On February 14, 2015,
an event took place in our school. Instead of us students attending classes, our parents came back to their childhood and attended classes like proper school students. This event was held to help the parents of form 6-7 understand how the MYP curriculum is taught, how the students learn through different concepts, how assessment is conducted and also what units we students will be covering  ahead. 
The parents reported to school at 8:30 a.m. The bell rang, and they assembled in the MPH (Multi-Purpose Hall). There they were explained how we go about our units in MYP through presentations by a few of our students. 6A had taken the example of Science and 6B had taken the example of Math.
After the presentations, the parents began their first lesson. Nandini Gaur, Grade 6A had this interesting episode to share: ‘The volunteers told the parents about the late slip process. It was really funny when we saw our parents asking the volunteers if they had to get a late slip or not.’
Another student, Shikha Chaterjee, of Grade 7 B was a volunteer at a Design & Technology lesson. In her own words: ‘In DT we demonstrated how to make a butt joint from the measuring and marking stage to the drilling and finishing.
The parents were quick learners and acquired new skills. Those parents who had done design technology earlier still said that it was still quite a new experience as the tools had developed considerably. We managed to teach all the parents the process of making the butt joint and at the same time we as students got better and more experienced at making the joint! It was fun and enjoyed working and helping them.’
There was great excitement amongst us, seeing the parents in the class rooms and studying. In every class all the parents had to do some activity. During break all the parents wrote a feedback on the day that had passed so far. One parent stated “It was a good experience attending the classes and the way the teachers taught us what do. Overall it was an excellent experience up till now”.
After the break was over the parents went back to their remaining classes and then headed to the cafeteria after all the lessons were over. A volunteer stated” It was a fantastic day and great fun guiding the parents where to go.”
So enthusiastic was one parent about the whole process that she lamented when it was  over, regretting that they would now have to ‘go back home!” Another parent was full of praise about the Music lesson she had attended, writing that ‘learning about Notes in Music was so much fun!’, while yet another parent couldn’t believe he had not looked at his phone for 4 hours, so engrossing were the lessons ! 

Pathways School Noida marks the period of 9TH Feb to 13th Feb as our DIGITAL CITIZENSHIP WEEK by Ms. Geetanjali Dewan Head ICT

During this week, there has been a planned focus to sensitize our community that includes students, teachers, parents and even the administration on issues regarding the Internet, Security, Digital Health and Digital footprints.

This year, we outlined the following threads:
Thread 1: Digital Access – Implications of having digital access to the world
Thread 2: Digital Commerce - The ability for users to recognize that much of the economy is regulated online.
Thread 3: Digital Communication - This thread concerns the standard of etiquette associated with understanding the variety of online communication mediums such as email, instant messaging, Facebook messenger, the variety of apps, and so forth.
Thread 4: Digital Literacy - This deals with the understanding of how to use various digital devices. For example, how to properly search for something on a search engine versus a database.
Thread 5: Digital Etiquette -Certain mediums demand more appropriate behavior and language than others.
Thread 6: Digital Law - This concerns the enforcement of laws against illegal downloads, plagiarizing, hacking, creating viruses, sending spams, identity theft, cyberbullying, and so forth.
Thread 7: Digital Rights and Responsibilities - This is the set of rights digital citizens have such as privacy, speech, and so forth.-
Thread 8: Digital Health - Digital citizens must be aware of the physical stress placed on their bodies by internet usage. They must be aware to not become overly dependent on the internet causing eye strain, headaches, stress problems, and so on.
Thread 9: Digital Security: Safety measures to be practiced using difficult passwords, pass phrases virus protection, backing up data, and so forth.

The highlights of this week among others were a regular daily dose to the community with Tech Tips covering the threads above, assemblies that showcased and stressed on these threads in the form of role plays, talks, displays,dialogues and also video clips.
We hosted a panel discussion with participation from members of the student body, parent body as well as staff. This was an excellent vehicle to gather very useful insights from all these different sections.
All four houses in the Senior school buzzed into action towards the end of the week as they participated in an Inter House Board Making competition
where they planned and executed their house boards bringing out the theme of Digital citizenship and what it means to them.
Students from middle and secondary school also competed in creating intense movies and uploading them on youtube where they earned viewership in addition to the judgement being done in house.

Commendable efforts from all participants producing very classy end products.

We signed off the week with a wide appreciation for the beginning of higher awareness and sensitivity to our digital profiles.
Further, curriculum in lessons will include learnings and activities that reinforce the focus of this week.
The bottom line is “Anything can happen….in just one click!!”

Pathfinders Workshop for Grade 8 - Ms. Deblina Chakraborty

With a view to get our Grade 8 students to begin thinking about their strengths and competencies and connect it to their interests in life, a workshop was organized for them on Monday, 23rd February at Pathways School Noida. A combination of introspection, assessment and exposure helped them to explore the numerous possibilities that the world has to offer and also prepare their minds to create possibilities in the world around them.

The workshop found the students participating in discussion, a Signature Strengths Assessment and some scaffolding activities which helped them to get a glimpse of the larger scope that of the subjects offered for the IGCSE in Grade 9 and which will help them in making informed choices when they choose the subjects that they want to study during IGCSE. 

Students will receive Personalized Student Reports, which will help with their subject choices in Grade 9. The reports drawn up after detailed analysis will include -
•            A summary of the student’s thoughts and decisions
•            Recommendations on subject choice
•            Career options that the student is considering
•            Signature Strengths – which is the psychometric assessment     

Students’ Council workshop Shaheer Nasim Haider Magazine Editor

February 14. Valentine’s Day AND a Saturday. While everyone else was enjoying a fun day off, Pathways School Noida’s brand new Students’ Council spent half the day in school attending a workshop on leadership conducted by our advisors Ms Smita and Ms Sonali.
The workshop focused on various aspects of leadership from the skill set required in a leader to importance of communication and challenges of communication and collaboration while in a position of leadership. This was done through a series of hands-on activities that required us to reflect on them post the activity was done. We set our personal goals based on the learnings from these sessions.
Post lunch, we had a discussion with Dr. Advani who began by asking us for our thoughts on how the school spirit could be strengthened within the school community. As a council we brainstormed ideas and discussed issues along with a tentative plan of action for the same.
From a personal point of view, I would say February 14 was very well spent. It brought into focus our roles and responsibilities as representatives of the school community and empowered us with methods to do the same. It also helped us bond better with each other in the council. I look forward eagerly to the next workshop.

American Education Spring Fair held at Pathways School Noida on Tues, 24 Feb 2015

Participating Universities

Adelphi University- Garden City, NY             
                                                          Ms. Ashleigh M. Hruz
California State University-San Marcos        
                                                         Mr. Pundi Sriram
College for Creative Studies - Detroit, M        
                                                         Mr. Francisco Lopez
Colorado State University Pueblo - Pueblo, CO   
                                                         Ms. Anais Escobar
California State University-East Bay - Hayward, CA 
                                                         Dr. Ray Wallace
Drury University- Springfield, MO                   
                                                        Ms. Beth Nichols
East Texas Baptist University Marshall, TX     
                                                        Mr. Alan Huesing
Full Sail University-Winter Park, F          
                                                        Ms. Melanie Munoz-Delgado
Northern Michigan University - Marquette, M    
                                                       Mr. Jose’ L. Garcia
Oklahoma City University - Oklahoma City, OK
                                                       Dr. Mahmood Shandiz
Pace University -New York, NY                 
                                                       Mr. Louis Loja Cardona
The College of Saint Rose - Albany, NY 
                                                       Ms. Dinali Abeysekera
University of Central Florida - Orlando, FL 
                                                          Mr. Christopher M. Dahlstrand
University of Central Missouri - Warrensburg, MO                  
                                                      Mr. Charles Petentler
University of Houston-Clear Lake Houston, TX                       
                                                       Mr. Sameer Pande
University of Potomac - Washington, DC    Mr. Danijel Lozic

“A walk to remember…”, Vandana Parashar, Form Tutor Gr 5

 “River Yamuna will never be the same… we have caused enough damage to it”, voiced a 10 year-old on the Yamuna Walk, this Wednesday.
This year’s Grade 5 students are inquiring into “problems arising due to irresponsible sharing of spaces” as a part of their PYP Exhibition. To become more aware of the issues – local with global impact and  go deeper into the problems, we went for a ‘Yamuna Walk’ organized by an NGO called Swechha. It was a long bus ride till Wazirabad, (on the junction of Haryana and Delhi) where we halted at a village settled on the banks of river Yamuna. The water was clear; the river was flowing beautifully without much disturbance and one could spot some swans and egrets perching in the water. Students didn’t believe that just before entering the city, the river is so clean and serene.
Our next stoppage was at Najafgarh Barrage where a drain with jet black dirty water was merging into the river.  There was white froth floating on the river indicating a dead river where there’s no oxygen left in the river. Students saw how human activities destroyed the source of water and a habitat to many living forms. Our final stoppage was at a Ghaat near Okhla which was extremely filthy and highly polluted. One could see algae and other weeds covering the river. Students were shocked to find out that people still take bath in that water and use it for various religious purposes. It was not just the river but the entire flood-plain which was full of muck and garbage- all created by irresponsible human activities.
The trip turned out to be an eye-opener for many of us who never realized the impact of human acts on water bodies and in turn other living beings. Students began wondering how can we be so irresponsible; who’s going to clean the river now; and who is going to teach the people about the importance of keeping it clean? The answer lies with us- the change has to begin from us!

Grade 5 trip to APPL Factory, Arushi Lakhanpal and Ahana Joshi Grade 5

Form 5 is inquiring into the TD theme ‘Sharing the Planet’ for their PYP exhibition. On 19th  February, eight of us  visited  Agra Products Pvt. Ltd. factory to extend our understanding of the  industrial waste and effective waste management.
The whole environment of the building was well maintained. We later sat at the office and discussed briefly about some facts about the factory before we went on the tour of the factory. During the tour of the factory we observed the process of manufacturing and the production of jewellery and the different kinds of wastes produced. We also observed the whole process of recycling. They produced a lot of waste and could cause a lot of pollution. To reduce pollution, the factory first cleaned the water which was polluted by using active carbon. The soap and clean water both got separated. This water was again re-used to wash and clean floors. We found out that  to reducing waste, the factory uses the incinerator to burn the waste and this is then sent to a Landfill in Kanpur. But the air produced is polluted, so they have “scrubbers” which purify the air and hence their factory is a ‘zero emission factory’.

 We observed that they had separate dustbins for different kinds of waste; something we had in our school too! Most of us had cameras to take pictures of important machines while the rest of us noted down the names and functions of the machines. Ms.Kriti also shared some observations she had made while we were walking. The workers were wearing gloves and goggles to protect their hands and eyes from hazardous chemicals and sparks which may be harmful. This experience helped us to inquire further into waste management and understand the requirement for waste management.

Form 3 Field trip to Asola Wild Life Sanctuary, Aruna Jha, Form Tutor Gr 3

On 18th February Form -3,  
with members of ‘Swechha foundation’ were out to explore Asola Wildlife sanctuary. The purpose was to inquire further about concepts of habitat, ecosystem, adaptation, survival and interdependence. The young walkers of Form -3 were comfortably attired with fully covered track pants and hoodies. All were curious, excited and some even worried of what dangerous animals they might encounter.

The forest trail was really an enjoyable experience. As groups started trotting they discovered new things about variety of species and their interdependence. During the walk students   spotted species of birds and plants. Termite mounds and ant hills were observed with great interest. Blue bulls of all sizes were spotted. Importance of native species like Amaltash, and morning glory was attentively heard by all. Keekar a tree often seen in and around Delhi was actually an imported species and why it thrived in the region was discussed.

Our tour leader also shared adaptive features of cactus plants, and variety of snakes and nocturnal animals in the forest. Students were constantly encouraged to identify relationships between various species found in the area. Viewing carcass of a dead wolf at close quarters was exciting and lead to examining the role of decomposers and scavengers in the ecosystem. The forest walk helped bring out negative and
positive relationships existing in the ecosystem.  The thought of discovering and exploring through the forest trail motivated students to listen to the guide and observe the forest with curious minds.

Many students expressed the desire to continue the walk and come back again to spend more time. Even though they did not encounter wild animals that they thought of, students surely found the forest walk an exciting experience.

Kindergarten trip to Young Chefs Academy, Ms. Aneesha, Early Years Coordinator

Cooking connects the whole world and is something which appeals to even the youngest sect of our society. It is not just fun but brings along with it a whole bunch of learning and hands on experience.  Our Kindergarteners visited the Young Chefs Academy on 24th February, 2015. The Young Chefs as the name itself suggests, takes into consideration the age of our little learners. Right from the work stations to the instructions, everything was comprehensible and play-like for our learners.

They had been involved in the school in the process of flour changing into pancakes and milk and bananas changing into banana shake. It was time to take this understanding a little further and also to reinforce the concept of material transforming into something completely different. They changed flour into pasta strips, changed milk and sugar into ice creams. They were expecting huge freezers to freeze the ice-cream, but were quite surprised to see the effect with the addition of liquid Nitrogen. Though they were in awe with the final products, the whole process of transformation brought clarity to the understanding of changes materials might go into.
They were also exposed to some new terms like Liquid Nitrogen, Acid and Dry yeast, even though they were a little hard for them to understand.

They devoured the fruits of their hard work and could safely say that change is fun and change is delicious….