6 February 2017

From the Director's Desk

Despite all the upheavals in the world outside our walls this has been a good start to the year. In the three weeks since school started our students have done us proud.
A group of middle and senior school students competed against 22 other schools for the World Scholars Cup and all our teams qualified for the next round which will take place in either South Africa or Greece. Many students also won individual medals
 Junior and Middle school Golf students entered for the Junior Golf tournament in Noida and won 4 gold and 5 silver medals
 A group of 35 students representing the tennis, swim and basketball teams have gone to the Association of International Schools (TAISI) interschool tournament competing against over a thousand students. 34 students along with 4 teachers participated in TAISI Inter IB Schools National level sports competition held at Bangalore The Inventure Academy . Overall 1175 participants participated in the event from various IB Schools. Students represented the school in sports like Athletics, Swimming, Basketball, Soccer, Table Tennis, Badminton and Tennis. Our students secured 2 Gold, 3 Silver and 5 Bronze in Athletics and Swimming.

Musicians distinguished themselves in an inter-school non competitive event at The British School.

Recognising Academic Achievement

Students who excelled in the first semester were invited to a special event Dessert With the Directors where in a formal setting they conversed with the school executive management– the Jain family and Dr Datar. Over dessert they were able to discuss their views and put questions to the Directors of the school.

Careers Day

Thank you to the parents who came into school to share their experience and lives in different careers with students from Grade 9 up. We were happy to welcome Mr Tuli who spoke on banking and business risk, Mr Tomar on animation and gaming, Mr Swami on journalism and Dr  Sinha on medicine. They provided an invaluable insight to students.

Staff Development
   Since December 60 teachers have achieved Microsoft certification as Microsoft Educators. 6 teachers have been appointed examiners by the IB for the MYP and 4 for the Diploma programme.  

     I am delighted to share that Dr.  Kaul, the IGCSE Coordinator and HoD – Social Science has been appointed as a global Team Leader for Geography  and joins the elite team of Dr. Garrett Nagle and Lucy Greenslade, the other two global leaders. We are proud at how many of our Faculty are now recognised by the IB.

Four teachers are attending the South Asia IB Schools Association (SAIBSA) conference in Mumbai. Three of them, Ms Pilar Cinca, Ms Pallavi Dwivedi and Ms Anshu Sharma,  will be leading workshops at this session.  
The Administration leadership team from all 3 Pathways school met together for a two-day workshop on good practice.
Looking ahead, we will be having a number of important training sessions for groups of staff this month.

1. Crisis Management Response: on Disaster Response, Terror Threat, Fire Fighting & Crisis Response.

2. Theatre In Education:  A workshop on Theatre in education for 30 teachers across primary & secondary. The facilitators Geoff and Anne Readman are visiting from the UK and will be running workshop sessions with Grade 4, Grade 7 &Grade 11 and a training for teachers across the school. Dr Readman is a Specialist Teaching Consultant in Drama Education. He has previously worked as an actor-teacher, primary and secondary teacher, drama advisor and university lecturer for teacher training. He has published articles and a BBC book on primary drama. Anne Readman is an experienced primary drama practitioner who has developed drama initiatives in both in the UK and Hong Kong.

3. Academic Leadership Retreat: a weekend retreat and training for all coordinators and Heads of department

Student Community Service
 In January the new Interact student leadership was welcomed at a special ceremony, marking our ongoing commitment to intervening to improve the world. They organized a contingent for the Cansupport walk seeing widespread participation from parents and students.
Grade 9 & 10 students ran a health checkup with doctors for the children of Sai Bal Sansar school, They also arranged a sports event for them.

MYP students had a Readathon to both encourage reading and to raise funds through sponsorship of the pages they read. You can get a sense of this event by clicking on this link 

Coding Week
In the upcoming week we introduce Coding Week to all students from Grade 2 up. The challenge has been thrown open to parents too, to come and learn coding. No previous experience is necessary.

Medical dept. update
We are pleased that a fully equipped school ambulance is in place on the school premises. The Interact club will also be running a blood donation camp during the PTM on 18th March and parents are urged to come forward for this important cause. More details will be forthcoming.

Dr. Shalini Advani
School Director

From the Primary School Deputy Principal, Mrs. Aruna Jha

“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much”  ― Helen Keller

Primary school begins the new semester with fervor of happiness and positivity to make it another fruitful term. Reflecting on the semester gone by I would like to thank our parent community for an enthralling Christmas carnival. The carnival bore the festive spirit and has been a true example of harmony and bonding. The innovative game stalls, food counters and the exciting activities portrayed a true sense of collaboration visible to one and all. This has been possible because   every member of the school community has been selflessly extending themselves for the benefit of students who are the heart of Pathways fraternity.

After the winter break everyone had done their prior planning and were once again enthused to learn, contribute and share. The children quickly settled into the new term and there is a happy buzz through the school which is good to see.

To consolidate student learning, parents have always been very supportive. Sparing precious time parents have been reinforcing our reading programmer from KG to grade 3. This has been welcomed wholeheartedly by the students and are eager to read with them.

Collaboration helps transform the process of learning.  An orientation for parents of Grade 5 to understand the objective of PYP exhibition has been appreciated. Eagerly   parents have been volunteering to collaborate with groups of students inquiring on Human made systems. The process for
many is emerging to be very nostalgic. An attitude of learning from students and parents supporting and guiding them in their inquiry is in true sense humility personified. Parents and students   once a week are reflecting on the progress of the inquiry with respective groups and suggesting changes and seeking opinion both ways to make it an experience worth remembering.

Grade 4 inquiry on Migration has provided students an opportunity to gather first - hand information from Brigadier Singh.   He kept his young audience gripped with personal anecdotes about his experiences of the largest mass migration between India and Pakistan. The interaction led students question further to understand the plight of refugees and reasons for migration. Interacting with the famous author Mr. Deepak Dalal led fourth graders make interesting connections between human migration and bird migration majorly for survival.

Besides a variety of learning engagements in school we continued celebrating important events around the world and this time it was India’s 68th Republic day. The day has been   celebrated across school in the primary and senior school assembly. Teachers decoding important constitutional terms through roleplays and grade 4 students identifying learner profiles with experiences of Gandhiji led all to recognize the value of celebrating Republic day.
In the lower primary all students and teachers are passionately working for the Rhyme time day. Editing the script, designing costumes, recording   music and working on stage performances has been   the focus in. They are working hard to prepare a show that matches up to everyone’s expectations.

Spirited as we are, grades across primary are also gearing for Readathon with a host of engagements planned to make reading enjoyable and enhance skills for reading effective. Teachers at Pathways need to continuously evolve and what better example of the many MIE certifications earned by our teachers. In the coming weeks   many opportunities are designed for the students to show case their understanding of various spectrums in multiple ways and we continue to motivate students to initiate action and grow.

The Interact Club Badging Ceremony by Bhavika Hotchandani, Interact Director

Steve Maraboli wrote in his book “life, the truth, and being free”:
“Give freely to the world the gifts of love and compassion. Do not concern yourself with how much you receive in return, just know in your heart it will be returned.”

The Interact Committee is the heart of the expression of service to community at Pathways School Noida, and it was an honour to welcome the new team of leaders on the glorious morning of the 18th of January to take this very spirit to greater heights.

The theme for the ceremony was “Serving Humanity” and the event began with the auspicious lighting of the lamp. This was followed by wise words from our school director, Dr. Advani, who welcomed the gathering and spoke about the Interact Initiative at Pathways and the spirit of community service. Next, it was truly heart-warming to see the students of Sai Bal Sansaar school perform the “Swagatam” dance, a showcase of their wonderful talent. Through the presentation of the CAS and Interact initiatives over the past year, we had the opportunity to reflect back on highlights, such as our collaboration with CanSupport and SPCA, the book drive and teaching Sai Bal Sansaar students, appreciating the values we were enriched with.

It was a pleasure to hear the students speak with confidence as they reflected on their learning experience and expressed their gratitude. To celebrate their achievement, many of these students were awarded proficiency and merit certificates for their commendable progress. Next, we invited Ms. Padmaja to provide her insight and accept a contribution which would facilitate the students in their endeavour to learn dance. Enriching the occasion were the musical performances – a solo song by a middle school student and an orchestra presentation by the talented students of Grade 10.

This melodious performance was followed by the reflection from two members of our support staff about their learning experience which truly represented the spirit of community at Pathways. Next, it was a proud moment as we welcomed our outgoing Interact President, Jahanavi Datta, to share her experience. After congratulating the outgoing community for their fabulous job, it was time for the much-awaited welcome of the new committee to take charge.

The badging was a moment of great faith and pride for the school, we look forward to the committee’s leadership. The Interact President, Muskaan Srivastava, introduced the plan for the year ahead and the theme: “Women Empowerment”. We had Mr. Sachin Vats, the district rotary head, to share his thoughts and words of inspiration. This was followed by the badging ceremony of the new publications team and the event concluded by the encouraging words from the Director of Pathways School, Mr. Praveen Jain.
Small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world. We at Pathways believe in this philosophy and we aim to make our contribution towards a better world and a brighter future. 

Republic Day at Pathways School Noida by Ms. Sunita Thakur, Academic Research Support

India became an independent republic on 26th January 1950, when the Indian Constituent Assembly adopted the Constitution. One of the most detailed and nuanced in the world, it was written under the stewardship of Baba Saheb Ambedkar, appointed Chairman of the Constitution Drafting Committee.

At Pathways, Noida our Republic Day Assembly celebrations were a little different this year as we tried not just to celebrate this all too significant moment in history but also take a look at how we have progressed in the fulfillment of those lofty goals.

The constitution is a guiding map for shedding the mentality of ‘them and us’ colonialism, and embracing inclusivity, celebrating the multicultural, multi-religious diversity of India in which no one is the outsider. Our charter of six fundamental rights is an example of this:

1.            Right to equality
2.            Right to freedom
3.            Right against exploitation
4.            Right to freedom of religion
5.            Cultural and Educational rights
6.            Right to constitutional remedies

Yet as just a few painful moments depicted on stage showed us the
truth is elsewhere and all too often. Be it in the suicide of Rohith Vemeula, the young and bright Dalit student who killed himself when he realized he would always be persecuted for his caste, never able to reach the educational potential that was his right because of prejudice in the higher education system.

In a pithy excerpt this inequality was depicted in the threat to Kashmiri Pandits forced to flee their homes in the Valley in the dead of night in the 1990s” due to Muslim extremists. More than 100,000 (and some estimates put the figure much higher) have never returned to their homes.

A young woman reminded us that In Nagaland, a predominantly Christian state, thousands have been killed, homes destroyed in the drive to depict them as ‘outsiders by Hindu extremists, despite historical evidence to the contrary.

In a dramatization of events in Dadri, UP, we were reminded of the family ruined, father murdered, brother beaten because a frenzied mob believed they had the right to lynch a family because of what they might be eating - beef.

As tears swelled and rolled down many a cheek in the audience, we were reminded of so many moments in our independence history not to be proud of, including of the daily inequality and indignity of poverty for so many.

These cameos in this assembly nudge us to understand the delicate nature of ‘rights’ - yours and mine - that trampling on someone else’s rights is a precursor to mine too being trampled upon. And yet if we respect difference as the constitution urges, refraining from all too easy labels of the ‘outsider’ , how truly free we could be both in mind and hearts?

The final fundamental right – to constitutional remedies – showed us the strength of our constitutional process by focusing on landmark public interest litigation (PILs) which have been used to protect the rights of the weak or dispossessed. India has been a world leader in this area.

The morning ended with the entire school community gathering on the field to unfurl the flag and sing the national anthem. 

The First CAS Initiative for 2017, the Medical Camp ! by Vanshika Goel ( Gr 9) and Ananya Jain ( Gr 10)

 “We are given so we may give” ~anonymous

Being some of the most financially and socially privileged members of our society gives us not only the ability but the responsibility to extend a helping hand to those less privileged but equally deserving. One step towards the same was taken by grade 9 and 10 as part of our CAS program on 21st January 2017 as we conducted a health camp and sports fiesta for a group of 80 children from Sai Bal Sanskar.

Young learners, aged 7-12, attended the medical camp,in which aspects of their health, such as eye power, heart rate, weight, etc. were recorded and checked, by professional doctors, with the assistance of the students of our school (in terms of recording the information being given by the doctor, assigning numbers to the students, etc.).

The second event, was a sports fiesta, in which the students competed for prizes, in events such as novelty races, sack races, and more. The role of the students, here, was to cheer the runners on, organise their prizes, and monitor the start and finish lines of the race. The last event, was a match of box cricket, organised for each age group, where the students were able to run freely on the basketball court, and unite for a game of their most-loved sport. Here, the students were umpires, players, coaches, and more.

And when they had finished their events, students gave them McDonalds burgers and coke, to finish their day on a full note. As students, it was hard not to miss the gleaming smiles on their faces, as they won prizes, the grins on their faces as they ate, met new people, and had an amazing day overall.

For the students of grade 9, this was our first experience as working members of the CAS initiative in partnership with Sai Bal Sansar. Initially, some felt that coming to school on Saturday, would be extremely boring, and unfair, but as the day’s events rolled out, many of us realised what an enjoyable experience it was. Everyone had a role to play, in ensuring the success of the day, and the experience as a whole. For many of us, the students of Sai Bal Sansar felt like long lost friends, and our day with them, became a wonderful experience for both sets of students, because after a point, we didn’t remain just students, we became friends. 

Celebrating Community Action by Ms.Sunita Thakur, Academic Research Support

Every year Pathways elects a new Community Action Service team (CAS).
It’s as important an event as, say nominating the student council, because this team will lead the many ways in which Pathways serve.  This team, called the Interact club, last year supported Response Net Service, a Delhi food bank collecting food and pushing the drive towards ‘no more waste’. The Interact club also worked with the SPCA animal shelter, painted and taught English and computers to the Sai Bal Sansar school in Noida and got involved in raising awareness on cancer with CANSUPPORT. Alongside hands-on help, each organization was also given funding for their work.

Inside our very own school the Interact club committed many hours to teaching the didis and bhaiyas English and computer technology. The results - new found language skills and even some power- point presentations, of some of the didis and bhaiyas and children of Sai Bal Sansar were on proud display at the badging ceremony.

As those elected on the day well know, serving is an enriching experience because it widens one’s horizons, making one aware of the variety in the world we are surrounded by but rarely see. Yet when we come into close contact with a person different from us and we are really looking and listening, labels dissolve and people emerge with their personal stories of hardships and triumphs. We learn, for example, how those suffering from cancer have to face their mortality or the student aware of his lesser circumstance nevertheless is determined to be the ‘best’. 

Watching, taking part in their lives, helping to make it just a little bit better, we discover respect -for others’ tenacity and for ourselves, willing to be open to learning. We also realize what no book can teach us, that the greatest equalizer is obstacles, and overcoming them, the very celebration of life.

In Conversation with Brigadier Jagdish Singh by Mrs. Kaajal Pahwa Form Co Tutor 4

Tuning in further, to the Fourth Unit of Inquiry - our new unit on ‘Migration’ under the theme – ‘Where we are in place and time’, we had ‘In Conversation’ a guest speaker, Brigadier Jagdish Singh come in on 18th Jan 2017 to share a part his journey of his life with Form 4, at Pathways School Noida.

On a cold, yet crisp winter morning of January 2017, Brigadier Jagdish Singh came in to talk to a very excited Form 4, who were looking forward to listen, to his story on his journey of Migration. It was a different research – A one on one research with Brigadier Singh, where their listening skills were enhanced indeed as there was pin drop silence once his story began…

Keeping in view the Central idea of this Unit  - 'People migrate for different'. Reasons with wide ranging effects, it was an apt ‘In Conversation’ with him.

He began talking about what kind of Migration he had to undertake – which was a Political Migration in 1947. He spoke about how based on just a decision by the then British Government a new nation Pakistan was created from India, based on religion.

He then went on to how the migration happened at that time - on foot, train and bullock carts. How they basically had to leave their land, belongings etc. and escape. A sense of history was created and the students reflected on times now and then.

Going further he spoke about how a relative of his, had to hide on a tree for about 8 to 10 days to flee the looting and killing at his village, which that relative could see as he could see his village from the top of the tree. He spoke about the travails, struggles and danger while the migration took place, basically to save their own lives.

Towards the end he spoke about how an Army truck gave them a safe haven to successfully unite with their other family members in India finally. How the Indian Government also helped them to relocate.

During the question answer session after the conversation and a PPT which was shown by him, the students asked pertinent question, like what does a refugee mean, and understood that all migrants are not refugees, accept the ones that are forced to flee their nations and take refuge in another country – so the Civil war in Syria was also touched upon and the current refugee crisis facing Europe.

The students particularly reflected on the sight and plight of the young babies, children, sick and old people who had to flee and migrate, with moments of palpable silence from them.

In conclusion, as Brigadier pointed out that it was a senseless, largest mass migration, the effects of which till today India and Pakistan face. Also bringing to focus that it was an unorganized, motivated decision by the then colonial British government that led to confusion, chaos and hatred, and that how so many lives were lost during this time.

After a warm and emotional conversation, Form 4 bid goodbye to Brigadier Singh, taking a peek into history and came to a consensus, that indeed Brigadier Singh was truly a Risk Taker at the age of 7.

The Author, Mr. Deepak Dalal's Visit to Grade 4 by Mrs. Sonia Singh FT Gr 4

Exploring the big ideas and making connections to different concepts around them became a reality for Form 4 today with their interaction with the author Mr. Deepak Dalal.

Mr. Dalal is a chemical engineer who gave up this profession to write stories for children. He writes on the theme of conservation which the students related to their PYP theme Sharing the Planet. A short video was shared discussing the migratory birds and their reasons and hardships. This helped students make connections between the reasons for bird migration and human migration both majorly migrating because of survival.
He introduced his Feather Tales- Talon the Falcon and A flamingo in the garden.  Sharing the story got the students curious to know more and were quickly seen enthusiastic to get a personal copy to read. His stories also apprised students of various birds like the falcon, flamingo, bulbuls, Magpie Robin and sunbird.

The stories developed an attribute of appreciation for the beauty of birds and acknowledge the unlikely friendships of birds and animals showing extraordinary courage and empathy towards caged birds.

Visit by Gr 4 to Tibetan Refugee Camp on 30th Jan 2017 by Ft's Grade 4, Ms. Sonia Singh & Ms. Lily Osmond

Form 4 students visited the Tibetan refugee camp to interact and inquire into their central idea
“People migrate for different reasons with wide ranging effects”. They interacted with the Primary school head, Mr. Migmar. He spoke about the invasion of Tibet by China and the role played by India in offering shelter to Dalai Lama and the problems they faced while setting up the Tibetan colony. He also shared his little story about how he had migrated from Tibet to India via Nepal.
He apprised the students about the history of Tibet and China disturbance starting in 1959 when China took control of Tibet. students interacted with Mr. Migmar which helped them to get a better understanding of the challenges   faced by the migrants in the education system. They understood that the curriculum they followed is influenced by their country of origin to maintain their Tibetan culture. He shared the plight of the citizens as they had no freedom to their Tibetan culture, language or religion and were forced to follow the Chinese culture.

The students were amazed to learn that Mr. Migmar had migrated at a young age of 6 years leaving behind his parents and brother and migrating with a group of 23 people. Since the migration was illegal they faced a lot of hardships and had to walk in the night only. They went through the forests, streams and climbed mountains to finally take refuge in the safe India.
He also was very appreciative of the Indian Government and its support in setting up camps and monasteries for the Tibetans. They now have government aid and have set up schools here and in Dharamshala, a major Tibetan educational center, Himachal Pradesh. The school caters to the primary education and the students continue their further education at Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh.

The students took a tour of the school and showed keenness to help the students in their own small way. They suggested that since they did not have a library and they would like to start a drive to collect books in our school and help them set up small class libraries. They inquired from Mr Migmar about the choice of books and were informed that students start learning English from Grade 3. Our students are now determined to start a drive to collect books and help them set up a small library.

Mr. Magmar also showed a desire to have an exchange program wherein he would like some of their students to visit our school in return.

Overall, the experience was very fruitful and the students returned have gathered information about the reason forcing Tibetans to migrate and its effect on individuals and their culture.