Two and a half weeks in on the fall term, we are off to an exciting start with the academic year of 2020-21. The initial Mentor/Class and Year Team days were focusing on carefully getting back together after the “staycation” summer holiday. Students and staff enjoyed the first days back in school together doing different activities and setting a clear tone and common direction to live up to our expectations on each other regarding our ethos; our safe and calm learning environment, high academic aspirations and the command of the English language.
We are also well on our way to fostering a fundamental and very important relationship with our students' guardians. After hosting three well attended digital guardian evenings we feel we are going in the right direction when it comes to guardian involvement and our joint mission to support our students together. During the curriculum and SchoolSoft evening our IT-pedagogist and one of our lead teachers (förstelärare).
It is important that we all work together in how to appreciate, understand and embrace the learning process. In order to learn, we must all adopt a growth mindset and welcome the work it entails. Understanding the expectations is a prerequisite for it. Thanks for attending!
We believe that the key to understanding the purpose of school for our students is knowledge and an appreciation for the Swedish curriculum. To really support our students this year, with the new changes in mind, we will be hosting monthly guardian evenings with various topics based on your wishes from the quality survey this spring. These evenings will be held digitally until further notice, and focus on how guardians can get the most out of SchoolSoft to support their children the best way. During September it will be about how to find and understand the teachers' plannings, homework and other news updates, as well as booking development talks. In October, we will focus on how to find and understand knowledge matrices, assessments, grading and any subject and grade warnings.
Simultaneously, during the academic year, our lead teacher with the Swedish curriculum project will continue to support our students to better understand it. Our lead teacher will work with our Academic Council to find ways to increase the sense of security among the students regarding the central content and their right to education, as well as the knowledge requirements and what is expected to achieve a certain level of knowledge in the different subjects, and thus the different grades for years 6-9.
In addition to the above curriculum project, we have three additional lead teacher projects this academic year with the aim of strengthening the understanding of, and visibility of learning. Our home economic teacher will, together with the students, arrange an international food week, v. 39, in connection with the European Language Day 26/9, as well as school PRAO for students in yr 7 starting v. 45. One of our crafts teachers focuses on raising students' pride and awareness of learning by visualizing and highlighting learning in different ways, and our Head of visual aesthetics has a more theoretical project that is about raising the quality of our so-called common thread in the various subjects from years 4-9, and across subjects. In addition to this, we will also work more visibly and systematically with study skills this academic year. Our special educator has put together a program of eight study skills per year that will be practiced and consolidated through the various subjects for about a month. Each study skill is practiced and consolidated through the various subjects for about a month. This program is intended to be repeated and intensified each new year, as a common thread to build on previous years' moments.
In addition to the work we do in school every day, to live up to our ethos of commanding the English language, maintaining high academic expectations in a calm and safe work environment, we believe in both monthly contact between guardians and us, and in regular homework. Both of these increase our collaboration with guardians and provide better insight into all their childrens’ learning and development in school. Homework also provides an opportunity for repetition that strengthens the learning. When we show curiosity and ask questions about what they have done and learned during their school day we practice the art of reflecting on learning together. Each time we are challenged to explain something, we begin to think and activate our brains to remember and consolidate, which in turn increases the chance that the new knowledge moves to the long-term memory. Here is more information about this.
In addition to each subjects’ tutorials on Tuesday (sv / sva, eng, ma, so, no) and Thursday afternoons (ty / spa / fr, mu, hkk, id, bi, slöjd), we continue to invest heavily in that our students achieve a high level of reading ability with reading tutorial in the library with a certified teacher four afternoons a week, Monday - Thursday.
We are also looking forward to coordinating other fun and important activities for our students and will work closely with our parent and teacher association (PTA). “PTA IES Falun is a parents association whose purpose is to safeguard and develop students interests and needs in the school environment and to form a link between parents, school staff, school management and student councils. The purpose of the association is to follow the development within the school area and, if necessary, act, follow and influence the work at the IES Falun ”.
Together with Region Dalarna (link here), we need to work together to successfully reduce the spread of Covid-19 and follow our national guidelines to stay at home with slightest symptoms as well as booking time for testing (link on how to book here) and follow the health care’s recommendations. As of 31/8, Folkhälsomyndigheten (the Swedish Public Health Agency) recommends that school children should be tested for Covid-19 to the same extent as adults. Testing is not required for students, coworkers or other persons coming to school - symptoms and test results for Covid-19 must be handled according to the guidelines from Folkhälsomyndigheten below.
In school, everyone should feel safe and must be respectful and responsible. During Covid-19, this also means keeping a social distance from classmates and staff and ensuring proper and consistent hand washing throughout the day.
Together, we are working towards our vision that all students at IES Falun are equipped with knowledge and values so that they feel secure and proud to make well-thought-out and wise choices in our democratic and equal society. We engage and challenge ourselves and each other to ensure our high academic expectations in a bilingual and safe learning environment.
We are looking forward to the Academic School Year 2020/2021. Let’s make it a really good one!