Summer 2013

Dear all,

Boston seems like a wonderful memory now that we are dispersed around the world and focused on other matters. Yet, I think that when we look back on our time in Massachusetts we will recollect a city that opened itself to us; a community that stood proud and strong in adversity as well as showing countless instances of genuine, warm hospitality towards us. Regrettably, we may not have become as close as we may have wished with the students and teachers of our host city, a reality based upon physical distance rather than disposition, but we were certainly fortunate in most other regards; not least the lasting developments that took place in our maturing school.

Firstly, I would like to mention the considerable work undertaken in the Boston Semester to write a strategic plan that will help guide the school over the course of the next three years. Many teachers, administrators and friends of the school worked in their respective committees to analyse where we currently are and where we need to be. They then proposed how we can make the requisite transitions set within the context of the strategic planning report that was produced in December of 2012. The discussions were rich and meaningful, and I readily acknowledge the commitment of all participants towards the systematic development of our school. The strategic plans were presented to the Board of Directors during a meeting in New York on June 18th, and so now we need to produce our action plans for the work that will be rolled-out in the 2013-2014 school year. Clearly very exciting times for TGS.

On the academic front, I really must recognize the 11th Grade students who completed the first year of their International Baccalaureate Diploma course. I am sure that every one of our 11th Grade, actually that now ought to read 12th Grade, students will appreciate the change in rhythm and expectations that they have had to face, but they have persevered and are in good standing for their last year in school; a year that will demark personal success as perceived by the results of external examinations. They have a number of personal challenges awaiting them in 12th Grade, but they know that they are not alone and can count upon strong support as they head inexorably towards their culminating moments: Graduation in Japan in 2014.

Our 9th and 10th Grade students have also benefited from some important changes in how WeXplore trips have been planned, with essential planning devolved to the individual students. This has been well received as the students have had the opportunity to select what they want to research into as well as choosing the activities that are going to help to support that personal research. It is an important modification as this autonomy and greater personal engagement will underpin many of the curricular changes that are contemplated in the strategic plan.

Our classroom walls are extremely permeable, and there were many opportunities for our students to engage in learning with the wider world, both in real time as well as in cyberspace. Yet the one activity that generated the most amazingly positive responses came as something of a shock. I had proposed some wilderness activities in order to provide a completely different perspective to the appreciation of resilience and personal engagement. Little did we know that when we planned the four-day trip, aided by the excellent staff of the Chewonki Foundation, the New England weather would close in on us and produce heavy rains and quite high winds. It would have been acceptable to hear some complaints about the weather upon their return from the wilderness, but whether they were sea canoeing or hiking, everybody came back stating that this had been the best experience “ever.” All students spoke readily about how they had coped and what they had learnt. This is something that they will find easy to apply to any future activity because what they had to do was to look inside themselves and find the strength to carry on, cheerfully and with conviction. Excellent.

Bhutan, Washington, Salem, New York, Chewonki, Cape Cod, the film festival, presentation of personal projects, written examinations and much, much more were of note in the Boston semester. These experiences are important and well worth remembering. That is why we will be storing such axiomatic experiences in our digital portfolios over the course of the next few months. These experiences, as well as many others, are defining moments; defining who we are and what we represent individually as well as collectively.

I want to thank our teachers, administrative staff, Residential Life staff, and indeed all of the TGS community for supporting our students in the Boston semester, and we now look forward to reconvening in India. We will be working in The Indus School, which is a boarding school about one hour outside of the city of Hyderabad. There are bound to be many challenges that await us, but is that not the very bedrock upon which TGS was founded? Embracing change and possessing the resilience to endure? Chewonki proved that to be so and thus with a greater sense of equanimity I look forward to welcoming everybody to Hyderabad in August. Until then, relax, recharge and be ready to participate in full with every learning opportunity that presents itself while we are in India.

Hasta el proximo,

Alun Cooper
Head of School

Each term at TGS features captivating guest speakers, thoughtful student roundtables and cheery conversations with the locals as we immerse ourselves within our host city. Now, through The TGS Podcast, we want to share these engaging conversations with you. The TGS podcast is available on iTunes, Stitcher and via RSS, so subscribe today!

Overcoming nerves at the Gotham Comedy Club
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Head of School

There are moments as a teacher, or as a Head of School, where all you can do is to sit back and marvel at what your students are doing. It actually happens on far more occasions than we sometimes care to remember, but on every occasion there is that sensation of goose bumps and the inevitable tension in your chest. This afternoon, at the Gotham Comedy Club.. Read more..

Student Showcase: NYC photography
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Students participate in the Global Classrooms Model UN
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Math Teacher

During the dates of May 16-18, twelve of our students participated in the annual Global Classrooms Model United Nations conference. This conference, held in NYC, was unlike the previous ones that TGS has attended as it allowed our students the opportunity to visit the General Assembly Hall of the United Nations Headquarters for both the opening.. Read more..

Painting to the beat
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9th Grade Student

Our end of year Art exam included listening to eight songs and picking the one that we fancied the most. I chose the song Tunsian Fantasy by Dizzy Gillespie from the playlist due to its interesting beat. While listening to the song I pictured a sun setting over a city, so I began looking for.. Read more..

Learning leadership skills at Chewonki
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Onsite Logistics Director

At this time three weeks ago, we were packing up our backpacks or kayaks and beginning an adventure outside of the confounds of the Chewonki Foundation campus in Maine. Judging from the smiles and animated storytelling upon our reunion, I feel confident in saying that everyone learned a lot about themselves and each other during.. Read more..

Terroristic events from around the "world"
By Jawed S.
11th Grade Student

Whenever I get on the first place out of Kabul, the first thought in my mind is that at least until I come back to this place, I won’t be as close to violence anymore. Yesterday, I was proven wrong. When I heard from one of my classmates that there was an explosion at the end of the Boston Marathon, my heart dropped and my legs felt uneasy. In the minutes.. Read more..

From triumph to tragedy: The Boston Marathon
By Nick Martino
Global Studies Teacher

Marathon Monday, as it is known in Boston, is a holiday that brings all of Boston out to the streets and stadiums to celebrate. People are celebrating the warm weather that is starting to show, the Boston Red Sox who always schedule a home game and the thousands of runners who rise to the challenge of completing the Boston Marathon. The 9th.. Read more..