24 October 2015

From the Director's Desk

The past couple of weeks have seen a rich array of guest speakers coming in to talk to students. We have been fortunate to have writers and illustrators engaging with students in primary, middle and senior, sharing their expertise, telling stories and expanding horizons.  By drawing in experts we aim to give our students a level and variety of learning which is not possible with their regular teachers.

    Guest speakers combined with Literary Week and the Readathon which draws children into reading for raising funds as well as for pleasure.

 The list of expert visitors is an exciting resource for learning at every level. Early Learners had story telling from Ritu Agarwal and Valentina Trivedi. Primary

students interacted with Sharanya Deepak, author of The Vampire Boy and Satya Narayan Govind, the illustrator and cartoonist who got Grade 5 to create a story through illustration. Middle school students interacted with Lalit Kumar Sharma the illustrator from Campfire graphics and the writer/journalist Vikas Singh who read excerpts from his mythological novel Bhima. Meghna Singh the author of the popular detective series The Casefiles of PI Pojo made Grade 7 into real-life detectives by setting up a crime scene.

Senior school students were fortunate to engage with thinkers and writers on the contemporary world. In a scintillating talk Nalin Mehta journalist and political scientist, made them think about how the news is “constructed”, often promoting a particular point of view and driven by commercial requirements. Ajay Chaturvedi a renowned Young Global Leader spoke on entrepreneurship and the skills required to be a successful entrepreneur today. 

Tapan Goel HR Head from Barclays Shared Services discussed banking as a career option and the mindset and approach required. 

 I would like to thank those parents who have suggested guest speakers, some of who were part of the list here.  This is a process which will continue at different times throughout the year so please continue to make suggestions if you know of anyone suitable for a particular age group and we will draw upon them whenever possible.

Sports: Interschool Competitions

There have been a multitude of inter-school sports events hosted by the school, which our students have participated in. In this week there was an inter-school basketball with 10 schools and tennis competition with 8 schools. Overall there were nearly 300 participants. Our basketball team reached the Finals where they were defeated. Shivesh Luthra was awarded Most Promising Player. In the Tennis, Ameya Naik of Form 4 stood in 2nd position.  

Masters Junior Golf Tournament

Students from Form 3 – 6 also participated in the Masters Junior Golf Tournament in Jaipur. Our team stood Second. Ten students from Form 4-6 participated. Anandita Ralli of Form 5 stood First and Sareena Khanna of Form 4 stood Second. Three students won prizes for Nearest to the Pin: Diva Gandhi, Yashasvi Singh & Ekaansh Arora.

Baseball at American Embassy
This week our baseball teams will be going to the tournament at the American Embassy.  This is a special event, played before the US Ambassador and the UN Ambassador. As a special feature, our percussion orchestra has also been invited to perform.

Parent Teams in Expat Cup and Corporate Tournament    

Finally we were delighted to involve some of our golfing parents in an event. Two parents  Mr. Dev Amritesh and Mr. Umesh Dubey played in the Expat Cup at the JP Greens as part of a combined team with the other Pathways schools and a further Mr. Umesh Dubey, Mr. Rajiv Gandhi and Mr. Harry Monné will play in the Corporate Tournament this Sunday. It is a delight when the Pathways team extends to parents as well.

Founders Day
Although Founders Day rehearsals have begun in earnest, academic work has continued. Students in secondary school have been juggling rehearsals with summative tests and teachers in primary have continued to track and record assessments. This has been done by slightly shortening lessons, cancelling clubs and making other adjustments. The learning via performance  - whether it is exposing students to different types of Broadway or West End musicals, singing, dancing and acting – is a most valuable experience. Moreover it teaches children to balance multiple demands.  Some homework and academic learning will continue to be demanded when the school moves to outdoor rehearsals next month.
Dr. Shalini Advani

School Director

From the Primary School Principal, Mrs. Usha Lamba

The school has been abuzz with the ‘Literary fortnight’ that has

been conceived for students to explore, enjoy and experience the World of books. One of the best ways for children to read is engaging with books and the book business. We  hope this fortnight kindles their romance with books through the year and through life.

Teachers created wonderful moments in class With ‘sip and read’, ‘musical books’, character dress up day, ’bedtime stories in pajamas’ and ‘hats off to reading.’ We had authors and illustrators invited into school to interact with students for them to get a deeper understanding of book making. Sharanya Deepak, spoke about her book,The Vampire Boy that encouraged them to follow their dreams and overcome their fears. Many students of Form 2 and 3 are already wishing to author books one day.
Form 5 had a session with Mr. Satya Narayan Govind who engaged the students to create a story through illustration. He introduced “Scroodling” a technique that mixes doodling and scribbling. The students’ creativity is at display in the school atrium.

Form 1 enjoyed Julia Donaldson’s stories told by Ritu Aggarwal , a fantastic professional story teller.
Perhaps the most unforgettable visit was by a Story teller, Ms. Valentina Trivedi. All students of Grade 1 were spell-bound as she dramatically narrated a story of a little dragon called Alfie, who liked ice-cream.                                                                                   
To spread the love of books students began to think of donating their favourite books for ‘Daan Utsaav ‘a very noble deed that has been spearheaded by our very own student council.
The book fair is a tremendous success as we see teachers and students engaged in selecting and getting familiar with the latest publications. This is also very popular with the Primary parents.
 You will notice a tremendous display of books read and reviewed by our Primary students pinned on the fencing of the Basket Ball court. The houses are represented by pictures of sports equipment. By end of December the house that reads most gets to celebrate their success!
Apart from having the larger World into the school for student learning during the literary week, we also had an ecstatic Form 1 exploring E2A- an electric car, brought in by a parent who is a dealer of cars. It helped our students of Form 1 who were inquiring on advance transportation systems to take their understanding and inquiry further. There were many questions, wonderings and new learning which emerged through their interaction with the engineer. 

Guest Speakers in School, Mr. Ajay Chaturvedi & Mr. Tapan Goel

On 15th October 2015, Grades 9 &10 had the honor of engaging with the founder and chairman of HarVa (Indian BPO) and social entrepreneur, Mr. Ajay Chaturvedi. Many of us claim to have decided our future careers, even our retirement plans. Yet, others are still bombarded with new ideas every single day that lead them to a state of confusion. After all, each and every human being needs to keep an open mind and whether one has chosen his or her career path or not, a brand new gateway leading to a brand new calling shouldn’t be something to hide from.
Mr. Chaturvedi did just that, starting his interactive session with a simple question, “Who do you want to become”? As straightforward as that sounds, even I, somebody who has a clear cut idea of future aspirations, was taken aback. Do I want to be rich, successful, famous? No, I want to be happy. Mr Chaturvedi encouraged us to pursue a career that we are passionate about, not one that is attached with any personal emotions because true passion is what is ultimately going to result in happiness and contentment.
What I admire most about him is his ability to connect with the audience, even young teenagers like ourselves. He didn’t go on and on speaking about his achievements but rather his inspiration to start entrepreneurship. I have a strong passion towards women empowerment and I could see clearly in his eyes that he did too. HarVa is an organization set up in rural India which employs only women. He told us that while setting up the organization, he faced several challenges that came from all directions. But his passion and love for innovation pushed him to move past these obstacles and we all can laud him for where he has reached now.
An avid reader and believer in philosophy himself, Mr. Chaturvedi introduced us to the main symbol of wisdom; the swastika. Some might link the swastika with the Nazis, others with Hinduism. However he presented us the true meaning, wisdom. His book is about just this: how the swastika represents wisdom in all shapes and forms. Personally, I feel blessed to be able to interact with a man with such immense drive and talent. Even though this session didn’t exactly motivate me to change my career choice completely, it did open up my horizons.
Katyani Mehra, Grade 10B

As we, the IB DP students, prepare for college admissions and explore our future career ambit, it is easy to find ourselves in a quandary about career choices. On October 15th, the Economics
and the Business Management students of forms 11 and 12 were opened to the future opportunities involved in retail and investment banking through a guest session with Mr. Tapan Goel, the Head of HR at Barclays Shared Services Pvt. Ltd., Noida. In this session, Mr. Goel talked about the history of banking, distinguished between the types of banking and introduced the field as a career option on a whole. With a focus on the banking sector, he also shared his life experiences and emphasized on the need of having holistic growth and the right attitude towards life. He later answered the various questions we had related to his stream and profession. Overall the session was quite useful in opening the possibility of a career path.
Divya Tyagi Gr 11

“STEER CLEAR ”at The TECH Summit 2015 by Aryan Srivastava, Kshitij Upamanyu, Dhruv Singh, Mehr Chawla - Grade IX

Learn Today's Educational Technology Summit, 2015, “I am the Change” envisaged to be an event which is student-led.  This was the second such Summit they had organised ; the students  needed to create ,run and peer assess the Student Leadership Case Study ('Tech for Change' Project) with the self-
drawn  rubric for the Project. Every school had to form a team of students, who would identify a real-life problem and provide a solution for it, using sustainable and cost-effective technology. The solution would need to be rolled out; and the result of the study recorded by September 2015. On completion, the teams had to send their respective projects to Learn Today for documentation. At the Summit, every project would undergo peer evaluation.
The theme evolved from the belief that when students take the lead in their learning, they are more likely to concentrate on ideas around a given concept that interest them. This allowed us to engage with any topic from a perspective that differs substantially from the focus of a typical curriculum. Up to 20 schools formed a Core team from select schools to spearhead the planning process. It was the requirement of the core members to engage with students from other schools to brainstorm the programme, agenda, workshop themes, the 'Tech for Change’ Project and the rubrics for peer assessment. To help facilitate the process, many meetings were conducted at Vasant Valley School.
Our school was a member of the core group, along with 19 other schools of the NCR, for the All India technology Summit. We brainstormed and came up with a common everyday issue, which affects all our lives – “Road accidents caused by distracted drivers”, distraction being the use of mobile phones while driving. So, the technological solution provided our team was Steer Clear. There were 47 schools with displays and case studies out of the 80 that were participating.  Although we did not win the competition, but we are very proud of the fact that we completed it and have been able to test it on many phones. It would be a good idea if we could have the Delhi police use this for their “Save Delhi From Road Accidents” campaign.

Steer Clear : According to statistics, ⅗ of road accidents happen due to the carelessness of the driver. And ⅓ of those happen due to using phone while driving. This application will prevent that by not allowing incoming calls and silencing your phone when the vehicle is in motion. When a call is made, a message will be sent to the caller notifying him/her that the recipient is busy driving. Moreover, it will come with a special feature (in case of emergencies) which will allow a few chosen contacts to be put through after 2 attempts have been made.

 So now our app, STEER CLEAR IS READY AND WAITING FOR AN OFFICIAL LAUNCH. We are so excited with this product.

CAS trip for Grade 11 students on 16th of October’15 to JJ Colony in Bawana in association with Habitat for Humanity India.

A CAS trip was organized for the Grade 11 students on 16th of October’15 to JJ Colony in Bawana in association with Habitat for Humanity India. The students painted a few of the houses in the slums of Bawana and also interacted with the community members. 

Students were able to interact with the locals and fathom how they live in unfavourable and difficult conditions. After observing the surroundings many students reflected on how fortunate they were to get the chance to offer their services to them:

I remember feeling a little nervous and a lot excited when I arrived in BAWANA. I wasn't quite sure what to expect. But as we met the habitat staff, things seemed to just fall into place.  The entire trip was exceptionally planned. I was at first a bit nervous about my health as the area wasn’t clean and the smell was excruciating.
Students were divided into five groups, each with a particular task given to them. For all groups, the main focus was to paint. We together as a group were trying our best to contribute our efforts to the local community.
 Everyone was given instruction on how to deal with equipment and beware of the surroundings. Every group had a leader to lead the team with a teacher. I was the leader of group 2 and I had the responsibility to maintain the discipline and coordination in the group.
Group 2, had the task to paint a room in the community hall of J.J colony. My whole team was worried about their health as we were working in a surrounding which wasn’t properly maintained and very unhygienic. We were quite happy as we got mosquitos repellent, mask and gloves.
Habitat staff then gave us sand paper and taught us how to use it. It looked quite easy but it wasn’t. Rubbing that sand paper against the wall to take out the previous paint was a tough job. The room in which we were working became full of dust. One of my friend was having asthma so it was my job to take him to a safe location where the dust couldn’t reach him. After sometime everyone finished the first task that was to take out old paint. Each of us were tired and our hands were paining.
As the second task began, the other groups also joined us. Every student was doing his/her task to the fullest. We completed our task on time.
In my opinion a field trip like these is very essential.  It provided an excellent opportunity to know what is going on in our society. Moreover, I found out that even though we have different cultures and we come from different backgrounds, we can still communicate and work together to achieve our common goal. The efforts that I put in helped me to get more lessons than the contribution that I was putting in was less and that I should help the other communities with my resources and efforts. I believe that helping the ones in need is a global requirement and always begins with a small initiation like this one
Himank Goel
Grade 11

Last Friday, the 16th of October 2015, the students of Grade 11 embarked on a CAS trip to the North-West district of Delhi, to a census town called Bawana. This town has been assisted by an organization called Habitat for Humanity for over 7 years now and in the duration of this time, they have built over 500 houses for the inhabitants. Before we left from our school we had been briefed on what the expected outcome was.
We were to be divided into 5 groups and each group would be given a specific task to complete. Our job revolved around the replenishing of the walls in their community, by applying coatings of paint. 3 of the groups were allocated houses and two groups were assigned to the community hall. The idea of renovating houses for a day and being rewarded with dominos pizzas thrilled most of us. However, after the completion of our tasks we were left with much more,  to be delighted about. We were able to interact with the locals and fathom how they live in unfavorable and difficult conditions. After observing the surroundings we felt fortunate to get the chance to offer our services to assist them. It was a tremendous experience and I am certain that the whole grade wouldn’t pass up another opportunity that would allow us to contribute to the wellbeing of the society. We might have not built an entire household for the people of Bawana but even the slightest involvement gave us immense satisfaction.
 Jahanavi Datta
Form 11

Parenting Workshop in the Primary, Ms. Kriti Nigam, Form Tutor Gr 5

Building on the partnership with the parents to provide a holistic developmental environment for the children, Pathways school Noida, in collaboration with Parvarish Institute of Parenting hosted a workshop on 10th October 2015 focusing on the changing role of parents.

The parents shared their concerns and behavioral challenges they faced while dealing with their child. They ranged from resisting to try something new to social interaction, sibling rivalry and many more. Everyone identified with the issues raised by them at some level or the other. As parents, we all shared the vision and the need for a child to grow up to be confident, adaptable, having intrinsic values and possessing sound decision making skills. But, as all were looking for easy solutions, it was a surprise to realize during the discussion that Parents and teachers are the role models that the children try to emulate and that they are ones who can bring a difference to the children's lives. Through some reflective exercises and  exchange of views, the audience was made to reflect on the opportunity and the modelling they can provide as parents. The importance of
communication to understand the child and a non-judgmental environment for the child to thrive in couldn’t  have been stressed more effectively. Towards the end of this reflective session the take away was a list of all the good practices we would like to continue in our family, things we are going to stop to provide an apt model of behavior for the child and the things we would like to begin to strengthen the bond we have with our children. Overall , it was an enriching experience for everyone where we all realized that a small change in our outlook  could make a world of a difference for our child.