OKA Newsletter: April 2018

A note from Kirsten Legg

Head of the OKA

2018 holds endless opportunities for each one of us as parents, pupils and old girls.  Every day is a gift.  As a parent of a matric pupil at Kingsmead I’m so grateful that Kingsmead is still able to combine the best of the old – the traditions and values – with the best of the new in terms of the education that the present Kingsmead pupils are offered. Critical thinking, coding and research are part of the girls’ daily programme.  Developing confidence and independent girls who can solve the challenges of the 21st century is constantly attained.  A heart of service giving without expecting a reward is emphasised and practically experienced by each and every girl. To be courageous in times of difficulty is instilled in all Kingsmead pupils from a very young age and “the individual matters first and foremost” is key to every aspect of the decisions that are made surrounding every pupil at Kingsmead.

I am so proud of my green blood.  Lisa Kaplan and Kim Lowman and the dedicated staff continue to help motivate girls to reach their academic, sporting and cultural potential according to their strengths and abilities.

Thank you for all you do behind the scenes. Nothing goes unnoticed.

On the 23rd of February a successful Gin tasting event took place in the magnificent Junior school gardens.  Eight Gins were up for tasting as well as Springfields wines and Craft beers.  All money raised from this event went to the OKA bursary fund.  It was lovely to connect with many old girls and present parents in the school.

On the 31st of July we will be hosting our annual bridge drive.  Please save the date or spread the word, loads of prizes are up for grabs and it is always a very happy event.

On the 15th of September our Annual Old Girls luncheon will take place in the Kingsmead gardens.  Please notify all your class mates. It is Kingsmead’s 85th birthday this year, let’s aim to have a table for every year imaginable!!  Connecting with old school friends is an exceptionally special privilege.  Make Facebook pages, whatsapp groups anything to try and reach everyone.

“Those who have gone before you have left a legacy.”  Miss D V Thompson.

May we remember to come back to Kingsmead to that legacy that we were privileged enough to deserve.

So may 2018 bring you many happy times, good health and special relationships.

Yours sincerely

Kirsten Legg

Chairlady OKA

Thank you Lord for giving me

The brand new year ahead.

Help me live the way I should

As each new day I tread.

Give me gentle wisdom

That I might help a friend.

Give me strength and courage

So a shoulder I might lend.

The year ahead is empty,

Help me fill it with good things

Each new day filled with joy

And happiness it brings.

Amen.

A note from Kim Lowman

Headmistress:  Kingsmead Junior School

Reflections

“Guard that good thing which is committed to thee” (II Timothy 1:14). These words have resonated clearly each day from the year behind and are further amplified as we look to the future.

Coming in as a new Head in May 2017 was an opportunity to reflect on past and current practice and set up some new initiatives for sustainability and progress. As we approach May 2018, I am delighted with the path we have travelled. I feel secure and satisfied that all our decisions embrace the wisdom and vision founded by Miss DV Thompson, as well as casting light and direction on the future responsibilities as a South African school for girls.

As we look to our future, we attempt to build on previous traditions as well our current realities. During the month of May 2017, our parent body, teaching staff and Senior Primary girls participated in a ‘stop, start, continue’ survey. Themes which were highlighted from all the stakeholders weaved a strong thread of consistency throughout. Together with this input and ongoing insight and expertise, from the educators within the school, we move forward.

It is imperative that, we as a school entity, are always open to learning, progressing and meeting the needs of the individual girls in our care.

It is very clear that Kingsmead Junior School is perceived by all stakeholders as a happy, nurturing, innovative and holistic environment. It is essential for all, that this is maintained and also forms the foundation for all future decision-making as we determine a strategy for the road which lies ahead.

Strategy is ongoing and is not easily confined to a date of completion. We realise that through the dynamic nature of education and the students in our care, that we too all need to embrace change as we adapt and contribute with courage and optimism. Strategy is meaningless without action. Our intent is therefore to refer to our strategic conversations regularly as we take steps to continuously meet the needs of the girls in our care.

After much consideration, it is very evident that the central themes and focus is regularly drawn from DV Thomson’s reference to the ‘The individual matters first and foremost’. This powerful statement refers to the need to consider each student in our care as an individual. It is important that curriculum objectives are differentiated and cater for the many diverse developmental needs of the girls from Grade 000 to 7. It also highlights the need for each girl to find her unique gift within the school and get the opportunity to explore her talents within a holistic educational environment.

It is important, however, particularly within our current social and political context that this statement, referring to the importance of the individual, is regarded as a starting point for our strategic conversation. The step which will take us further, however, is to consider the individual as a contributor and vital role player within a diverse societal context. Although the individual needs of every child is considered as essential – her happiness and development is largely affected by her connectedness within a social context. As parents and educationalists, we assist our girls in making individual progress by supporting their independent connections and contributions. Our society needs culturally intelligent human beings who seek to serve the greater good of community needs. We intend to continue encouraging our girls to engage in courageous conversations which promote human understanding and dignity.

In only one year, I have had the privilege of witnessing the positive interaction of girls, teachers and parents; all with the intent of taking the next step forward. We are immersed in the celebration of our girls and the progress they have made in so many different areas.

Reasons to celebrate

Our sport has shown considerable improvement- with our Athletics and Swimming teams progressing to top 4 and 5 placings at Prestige events. We have girls representing Provincial teams from all disciplines.

Arts and culture is valued and seen as imperative to the holistic development of our girls, as we see the value of the girls expressing their creative talents as well as their passion to perform. We currently have 268 girls who play a musical instrument in the Junior School. Our Grade 7 production remains an opportunity for each Grade 7 Leader to shine.

We have proceeded with our advanced accreditation in Thinking Schools with the University of Exeter. A Kingsmead Old Girl, Professor Lena Green, spent a day at our school and in collaboration with the University of Exeter, assisted in the evaluation of our school as the first South African school to apply for this advanced accreditation.

We look forward to investing time and finances to ensuring that our classroom spaces transform into innovative hubs of learning. The school masterplan hopes to incorporate these needs both short and long term. We endeavour to include our community and all stakeholders in the process of locating the resources and funding for the refurbishment of the current classroom spaces.

We are eternally grateful to our parent body and girls for the ongoing contributions to our various community partners and outreach initiatives. Not only do we encourage our girls to donate, we aim for our girls to build relationships, understand community dynamics and become activators within their societies.

Leadership Curriculum

We have introduced a leadership curriculum in Grade 7, spearheaded by Mrs Tania O’Maker. The girls are receiving weekly leadership training in their life skills lessons, and we have sought out opportunities to give the girls the experiences to practice their leadership. Our girls have been involved in the hosting of guests on Open Day, to revising new leadership committees and opportunities, and to running assemblies.

Our Grade 7s came back from camp with a wonderful mission statement: PURPOSE. This anagram represents the following words: Passion, Unity, Responsibility, Possibility, Opportunity, Service and Encouragement. This really is a wonderful reflection of the vision of our girls, and the values of our school and we look forward to them sharing this at their induction assembly.

Discipline

The decision to review our policy on discipline has been well grounded in feedback from our community, as well as sound and current educational practice, focusing specifically on the needs of girls, how to motivate girls and researched disciplinary practices.

As Kingsmead girls and teachers, we are responsible for our individual lifelong learning, ensuring intellectual freedom and creativity; while remaining intent on a loyal commitment as members of our school community and beyond.

Our commitment to the development of intrinsic behaviour, choices and attitudes was celebrated during an assembly. Taking our deep traditional perspective of maintaining the values and ethos of our school into account, our girls took part in an assembly where this commitment was symbolized in an expression of personal intent to uphold our motto, ‘Franc Ha Leal’. During this assembly, we celebrated the significance of learning to be responsible for our thoughtful and caring behaviour through considered and respectful choices.

Our SP girls have been encouraged to reflect on their individual behaviour (previously symbolized by the Conduct Medal – an extrinsic display of their actions) and dedicate these badges as a symbol of their courage and intrinsic pursuit of expected mindful behaviour. We introduced a rite of passage, where the girls are able to sign their Conduct Medals and insert them into the newly beaded Inyoni – Kingsmead’s Thinking Bird, as we wanted her to take these into her heart and soul.

The united gathering of Conduct Medals and the symbol held within the bird assists our girls in realizing the impact of their behavioural choices, as well as encouraging them to seek personal progress as they live the Kingsmead values of Purpose; Responsibility; Happiness; Possibility; and Service. The motivation to commit to these behavioural expectations and values of our school is thus seen as an increasingly intrinsic process.

In Gratitude to the Kingsmead Family

In 1948, 70 years ago, Miss DV Thompson spoke of Goodwill: “Goodwill, referring to those willing to do everything in one’s power to bring good to other people, not only to those we love most and know best”. We have a responsibility to those we meet every day, and an increasingly important responsibility to reach out to those we don’t.

I am eternally grateful for the way our girls lift each other up when they are down; for the teachers who support each other and the girls in their care; the service staff for the love and sincere commitment in making our school ‘shine’; to the parents for their generosity, time and support in our future vision; and to you our old girls for your contribution, the legacy you leave behind and the foundation to assist in creating for the next generation.

Highlights

Our mission stands firm to “inspire a truly happy school, through partnering with all our stakeholders”

We have compiled a visual representation of the joy and happiness experienced within all the dynamic and diverse aspects of our Junior School, represented in this video clip. https://youtu.be/oJI32TdMvQU

Thank you, and take care

Kim Lowman

(Head: Junior School)

A note from Jenny Venter

Head of Service

The Service department wants to establish a collection of previously loved evening wear that can be borrowed by girls for their matric dance and Kingfisher award evenings. From time to time the need arises where  girls are unable to pay for their own dresses and we would love to assist them by making them feel special during these two very happy milestones.

We are also looking for the donation of hiking bags, trekking poles and other expedition gear to support girls enrolled for The President’s Award when embarking on an adventurous Journey.

An inventory will be kept and a small donation will be asked for, for the use of dresses and/or gear. The Service department will maintain and manage the cleaning  of the dresses and/or gear.

Please leave all dresses and expedition gear in the Marketing Department, in the Senior School. Please email Jenny Venter jventer@kingsmead.co.za for any further inquiries.

Thanking you in advance.

Jenny Venter

Head of Service

The 2018 Leaders

Amukelani Mnisi (Deputy Head Girl), Husnaa Bux (Head Girl) and Cayley Lovatt (Deputy Head Girl)

Tlhompho Khoncha (Baker House), Gabriella Kerby (Kruger House), and Nina Veldtman (Timlin House)

Chantel Maina (Service), Alexandra Lee (Sport) and Luyanda Sokhulu (Arts)

Congratulations to the Scholarship Winners for 2018!

Academic Scholarship 2017
Closed: Tamryn Osler

Exhibition: Robyn Sanderson

Sport Scholarship 2017
Discretionary: Ruby Vos, Caitlin Stott,

Music Scholarship 2017
Closed: Aadila Babamia
Open: Nazrana Jhavary

Discretionary: Jessica Robinson

Kingsmead Book Fair 2018 – 12 May

Kingsmead old girl – Cara Flew – is a finalist for Miss Universe Great Britain and she has joined A-Sisterhood in support of empowering and protecting the position of woman worldwide. Well done, Cara, we are so proud of you!

We are celebrating our achievement as the first Advanced Accredited Thinking School in South Africa!

In 2010, we embarked on a journey towards attaining our international Thinking School status with the University of Exeter in the UK. We received our accreditation as a Level 1 Accredited Thinking school in May 2014. We are now delighted to confirm that Advanced Thinking School Status has been awarded to Kingsmead Junior School by the University of Exeter’s Cognitive Education Development Unit.

 As an advanced accredited thinking school we join an international community of accredited schools of excellence. As such, our details have been added to the CEDU network of accredited schools for alerts about future developments and research in thinking skills and dialogue. Our details have also been added to the Exeter Professional Learning and Inquiry Network (ExPLAIN), and additionally we receive live streaming links for the Graduate School of Education Research seminars when available.

After her in-depth analysis of our digital iBook portfolio and visit to our school in February, Lena Green (Ph.D
Extraordinary Professor, Faculty of Education, University of the Western Cape  and Honorary Associate Research Fellow, University of Exeter) compiled the accreditation report submitted to Exeter University. We share some excerpts from the accreditation report:

The portfolio integrates the criteria for Advanced Accreditation with the requirements of the recently developed pro-forma, was submitted early in February. It takes the form of an iBook that includes both formal and specially created documents, photographs, PowerPoint presentations and videos of presentations, interviews and student initiatives. Additional information was provided in school yearbooks for 2014, 2015 and 2016 containing reflections by teachers and by students of all ages, including one by a grade 4 girl who wrote “It feels like I am now part of a thinking family”.

An extremely thorough page of the portfolio details how the school not only demonstrates that it is a thinking school to the broader community, parents, staff and students but also shares its expertise in a variety of ways. These include involvement in the Thinking Schools SA online digital platform for Student to Student learning, various pamphlets, presentations at conferences, hosting of regional cluster meetings, student-led Open Days, training in thinking tools at schools across the country, Information Evenings, orientation of new families, a range of professional development activities for staff and several initiatives to engage parents.

Head of Critical Thinking, Research & Enrichment at the Senior School for her impressions of the girls coming from the Junior School. Ms Bocher wrote “My impression of girls coming from the Junior School is that they are utterly fearless and doggedly determined in their pursuit of learning. These are self-assured, independent students who embrace challenge and problems with enthusiasm and call on an arsenal of thinking tools to assist them.”

The Inquiry Based Learning initiative, introduced as “a vehicle to practice skills and strategies”, was said to have resulted in “a marked difference in the way girls approach test questions”, presumably towards being less inclined to concentrate only on ‘right answers’. The inquiry based class which I observed included an online inquiry, shared with me by one of the girls, in which it was clear that the students were capable of thinking for themselves, thinking flexibly, and generating creative ideas.

In 2014 it was already observable that Habits of Mind and Thinking Maps were well established in the school. By 2018 attention to thinking and the tools to enhance learning is taken for granted by most teachers and students, which makes for a more relaxed atmosphere. As one staff member wrote, “The teaching of thinking is now an integral part of who, and what, we are as a school”.

At a school like Kingsmead with its high standards of teaching and reputation for excellent academic results, the professionalism, creativity, questioning and discourse of the majority of teachers is historically at a high level and the lessons I observed confirmed this. Changes that were referred to frequently in the portfolio were the rethinking of the teacher’s role from instructor to facilitator of learning and the vital importance of a Growth Mindset for the entire school community. It is recognized that being a Thinking School is not a state the school achieves but a dynamic identity that will continue to evolve. The accreditation process was aptly described as “a pause in the school’s journey” and the preparation for it as a growth experience for the staff involved.

Teachers’ professionalism is expected to include sensitivity to students’ social and emotional development as well as to their ability to think and learn. A recent initiative has been to extend pastoral care such that every student belongs in a small support group led by a LEAD teacher. Informal reports indicate that this has already shown itself to be a valuable initiative.

Areas identified as requiring continued focus:

Follow-up of girls after they leave the Junior School (would be valuable data); planning for appropriate and sustainable support for less-privileged schools in the community; ways of supplementing the existing rich qualitative data with some independent quantitative measures besides academic a

chievement; and ways of mediating certain lower-order thinking skills, a need identified by staff.

The school is developing as a thinking institution rather than just ‘a school that practices various approaches to teaching thinking’ and is aware of its own challenges. It is, therefore, well positioned to share its skills and insights with the wider community.

We will be sharing our excitement of this achievement with our girls at the final assembly of the term. You are most welcome to join us in our celebrations.

Ingrid Beekhuizen – Junior School Head of Academics

Sam Makwela

It is with great sadness that I write to inform you of the untimely passing of one of our Service Staff member – Sam Makwela. Sam started working at Kingsmead on 4 February 1983 and has thus served the school loyally for 33 years. He was our main maintenance man on the team and there was nothing that Sam could not fix.

His family are in our thoughts and prayers at this time.

Kingsmead College turns 85

To celebrate this very special event I would like to create a booklet of your memories of your schooling days at Kingsmead. Please email me on kirstenlegg2@gmail.com

Please include your thoughts on your uniform (especially the pants and hats), school rules, weekly reports, detention and returns, house marks, school tours, matric studies, school productions, headmistresses, teachers, friends, sporting highlights, the buildings, the grounds and all those hidden secrets that you can now disclose.

Please also email me with the names of girls (and their email addresses)  in your grade that have made a significant difference in their communities or in the world as a whole. As I would like to add their achievements to this booklet as well.

Thank you in advance. So looking forward to seeing you on the 15th September when we can celebrate 85 remarkable years.

2018-09-21T14:54:47+00:00April 4th, 2018|OKA|