One thing I truly appreciate about the Secondary Years School at GEMS (Singapore) is the diversity of our students. We have students from over 60 nationalities who come from various cultural, linguistic and educational backgrounds. Likewise, our teachers represent 20 different nationalities. This kind of diversity requires a variety of approaches to teaching and learning, common yet flexible frameworks underpinning these approaches, as well as educational models and graduation pathways.
3 Distinct Pathways
Over the past four years, the school leadership team has been looking for ways to increase access to education and graduation pathways. We have been offering the IB Middle Years Programme (MYP) and the IB Diploma Programme (DP) since 2016 and received our authorization for the IB Career-related Programme (CP) in August 2018.
Initially, we rolled out the programme in partnership with the Savannah College of Art & Design (SCAD) with a major focus on creative careers. In 2019, we’ve launched a new programme in partnership with Embry Riddle Aeronautical University focused on accelerating progress towards a career in aeronautics, aeronautical engineering and business administration.
Today, we are planning to expand our CP offerings. We are looking at the fields of Hospitality and Sports Management and planning to bring new offerings in the future.
High School Diploma
The fourth pathway is the High School Diploma, based on a credit-based model, which lets our students take DP subjects without the restriction of the full IB Diploma (for example, having to take three higher level and three standard level subjects). This option is enabled by our school’s accreditation by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). With thousands of international schools around the world, accreditation from a recognized organization is important as it validates the integrity of the school’s program and transcripts and facilitates the transfer of credits to other English-speaking schools which is a critical step for college/university acceptance worldwide.
Furthermore, GEMS (Singapore) is also currently undergoing a school-wide accreditation process with the Council of International Schools (CIS). One of the characteristics of this process is that it is highly reflective and collaborative, and involves representatives of all stakeholder groups – teaching staff, non-teaching staff, students, parents, and alumni. Recently, we invited each of these groups to complete a survey, prepared by CIS, aimed to collect the feedback on how the school is performing against each of the nine accreditation standards. The link is here and I would like to thank those parents who have already completed the survey.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream
This week marked our 3rd year of offering a Secondary Years theatre production. The tradition started with the Wizard of Oz in 2017 followed by the Addams Family in 2019. This year, more than a 1000 people came to watch a Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream, presented in a minimalistic yet visually stunning setting.
Each year the production has been evolving and growing bigger. We have talented actors, singers and dancers, but more importantly, we have created new roles and opportunities for students to help with lights, sound and makeup. Our Design students have been working hard to create the props and set.
Producing such a big show creates rich opportunities for students to learn new skills connected with real-life and apply them outside of the traditional classroom.
I would like to extend my congratulations to the entire cast and crew of this year’s play. A special thank you to the production team: Sara Thompson, Renuka Kasinathan, Claire Rimmer, Patrick Lawther-Heard, Patrick Holt, Martin Goh, Christopher Hoddinott, Angela Gravina, Nicole Mervin, and Rae Lei. An extra special thank you to Mandi Manson for being the driving force and the director of this spectacular performance.