29 January 2018

From the School Director's Desk

A very happy new year and a particularly warm welcome to the families who have just joined the school.

Award for Early Years Programme
To begin with, a celebration.  I am delighted to share that the Pathways Noida Early Years programme received the Education World  award as the top school in Noida in a number of categories. For Early Years (upto Nursery) we were awarded first position for Competence of Teachers, Infrastructure Provision, Innovative Teaching and Teacher Welfare and Development.

Building changes and developments

As characterises our ongoing programme, a number of additions are under way in the school buildings. Work on the elevator in the primary block Cassia is almost completed and the lift will be operational in the next few days. A new gate has been created to enable easier access to Cassia.

 This will also ease the congestion at Gate 2. The new entry will be operational shortly. Also being developed on the walkway is an outdoor play area for Early Learner students. A new badminton court is being laid out in the Rosewood atrium to support after-school badminton.

   An interesting development to the primary library took place as a result of my interaction with Grade 4 students. I was asking them about improvements they would like to see in school and they brought up the difficulty they have in accessing the primary library during lunch break since they are not allowed into the building at lunch time. They suggested an external access from the corridor.This suggestion has been implemented allowing both students and parents easy access. As we know it is most important to encourage their interest in reading.

NEASC Accreditation

This approach to learning will also support a new international accreditation which the school is preparing  for. In addition to the CIS membership we have just received, we have enrolled for accreditation by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). The accreditation will help us look more closely at our classroom practice and will also strengthen university applications of graduating students if they come from a NEASC accredited school.

Student Voice and Professional Development

A major shift in education is the emphasis on student voice and choice in learning. This does not mean letting student do what they like. It means giving them a wider range of choices in how they learn and how they are assessed. We have moved away from the model of education where children quietly followed instructions given out by teachers to one where they feel empowered, that their thoughts matter. This agency gives confidence and deeper learning, preparing them better for a world where creativity, entrepreneurship and confidence are vital skills. In order to support this approach we had a special workshop for teachers conducted by an Australian trainer, Darlene Fisher. 

New Head of Music

We are delighted to welcome our new Head of Music Mr Otieno to the school. He comes from Kenya and is a specialist in woodwind: saxophone, flute, clarinet and recorder. These are instruments which will strengthen our music programme. 

Pathways Student Published by Pearson

I am very proud to share that Aanya Sharma a student of Grade 7 was a winner in the Pearson Mypedia Reader creative writing contest. Of the 1500 stories received, only 42 were selected and have been published in a three volume set. Pearsons wrote to say “We want to congratulate your school for this achievement. Moreover we want to congratulate you for shaping and nurturing such talent in your school” You can read more elsewhere in this newsletter. 

Student selected for Baseball Nationals

It's my pleasure to inform you that our Baseball Academy Grand Slam Baseball’s highest achieving athlete, Paarth Kohli participated in the UP State Level tournament
Paarth has been selected for the Senior Nationals, bringing him one step closer to represent India. It is especially creditable that Paarth is only 15 years old and should have played in the junior or sub-junior category. Playing in Senior Nationals means that he is competing against athletes who are 5-10 years older than him. Paarth was also given an offer to attend MLBs development centre in Germany during the All India Talent Hunt held in Delhi a month ago.

As his coaches say, Virat might not be the only Kohli shining in Indian sports. Paarth’s consistently improving performance might make him the face Indian Baseball has been looking for.

Morning Drop Off Traffic

As many of you whose children come in private cars are aware, it is becoming an increasing challenge to drive along the road to the drop off point. This is because a number of cars do not follow the directions of our security staff. Some cars stop in the middle of the road causing jams for others, or even park their cars along the central divider. Others drive very fast even though it is clear that children are crossing the road. When we do this, we teach children that other people do not matter, or that rules do not matter. Getting late for school is not a reason. I would like to ask parents to cooperate and to ask your drivers to follow directions of the security staff. The solution to this problem of traffic jams lies in our own hands and collaboratively we can solve this. We will also be talking to the children about this.

Preparing for Milan

A reminder to those parents who are interested in taking part in the special programme for Milan to get in touch with Mr Manish Gupta as soon as possible. Details have already been shared in a mail.

We are looking forward to a productive and vibrant semester ahead.

Dr Shalini Advani
School Director

28 January 2018

Skype interaction with Walid Yaasin - a Neuropsychiatrist who studies at The University of Tokyo by Dalya Verma Grade 8A

On Wednesday, 24th Jan our class (8A) had a Skype interaction with Walid Yaasin- a neuropsychiatrist who studies at The University of Tokyo. He is a research assistant as well. He had a lot of information to enlighten us with. He first talked about the nervous system telling us how the nervous system manifests into behavior and how we can actually control our behavior. He showed us videos how a head injury can manifest into larger traumatic diseases.

 He explained to us the two types of head injury:-
1. When blood starts coming out of your brain which is called Focal Head injury.
2. When you hit your head on a cabinet but there was no bleeding that injury is called Diffuse Axonal injury. 

He explained that there is a liquid inside the brain. When you hit your head, your brain goes forward and backward with the liquid. After which, the grey and white matter start to slide against each other and as a result break. The cell body dies soon after. The neurotransmitters are released when the cell body dies.

He soon drifted into the topic of how diffuse axonal head injury leads to narcolepsy with cataplexy. Narcolepsy is when you suddenly fall asleep. Cataplexy is when you're paralyzed. He shared a video with us where a man is diagnosed with the disease- narcolepsy with cataplexy. He shared that the man diagnosed with that disease would go to sleep and paralyze when positive emotions flowed through his body.  He showed us an MRI scan of the human brain and showed the area where positive emotions and released. When positive emotions are released the hypothalamus activates the brain stem which results in a negative reaction by the brain stem causing paralysis. The hypothalamus is the part of the brain right below thalamus. The hypothalamus regulates sleep,  hunger, thirst and mood swings in the body.
He talked to us telling us about spinal cord injuries. The spinal cord has vertebrates that connect and form the spinal cord. Getting hurt in a vertebrate means that the area where the vertebrate is attached will also suffer from the injury.

In the end, he did an activity with us where we kept our hand vertically upright pointing a finger. We then closed our eyes and attempted to get our finger to the tip of our nose. If we were able to do it that means that our brain is in good shape. These activities were done with adolescents to check their cerebrum. The activities are called Neuro-development tools.

He answered the class's questions and helped us understand our brain and the nervous system much better. After the conference its evident that we gained knowledge beyond classroom learning .It also gave us a whole other insight into the brain and the nervous system. It made us understand the importance of the brain and how traumatic a small injury can be. I acquired so much knowledge in just an hour of a skype conversation. This definitely made me realize how beautiful and yet complicated the mind is. I am grateful that this in a way made me feel how fortunate I am to have all my body organs in good health and shape. We enjoyed our time learning with Mr. Walid and hope to learn more!

On being published by Pearson by Aanya Sharma 7A

At the beginning of March this year, when we were still in sixth grade, my teacher sent us an email. I didn’t think much of it at the time. It was a link to Pearson’s (the publishing company) website, informing us about and advertising one of their competitions. Pearson wanted us to submit a short story, and if selected, it would be published in a new book: MyPedia Reader. It was to be written “For children, by children.”

A day or two after Miss sent us the email, she asked me, personally, to enter a story. I seriously doubted that anything I submitted would even be acknowledged, so just re-edited and submitted a story I had written in fifth grade. It was about an African-American girl who made candy and earned billions of dollars at the age of nine. The main intention of the story was to show people that no one but themselves can set their own limits.

So, I submitted the story and, naturally, forgot about the competition. One day, in the middle of summer break, I received an email saying the results for the competition were out. I clicked the link, poorly masking my hope with boredom. I scrolled through the webpage and read my name. I still didn’t believe my story was getting published, not until I got a congratulations mail from Pearson.

After that, there was a lot of waiting. For legal work to be completed, for event venues to be finalized, there seemed to be an endless list. Finally, the event organization group informed us that there would be a Storytelling workshop on the 27 of November 2017, and a book launch the next day.

At the workshop, we learnt how to tell a story not only through words, but through pictures and paintings. We learnt some of an ancient Indian art forms, then applied our knowledge to illustrate (as an activity) our stories with that particular art form. The book launch was hours on end of talking, answering audience questions, answering media questions during a panel discussion, and so much more. We each (the other winners present, too) received a certificate, a check (money ), and a free copy of the book.

To reflect, I am grateful beyond words for this experience, and thank everyone who made it possible.