The students that volunteer their time and knowledge on Reach a Student are eligible to receive community service hours. We are looking to expand our roster of academic and athletic mentors, interviewers, and video editors to help inspire and answer school-related questions.
Reach a Student is a website established to give students direct communication access to student mentors in various grade levels. Students will be able to reach out to other students and ask any questions they have regarding student and campus life. The site will also stream videos of students sharing their experiences at Windermere Prep as well as activities around campus.
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Since Reach A Student is all about getting and sharing insight within school communities, I was hoping to meet the new owners of our school - Windermere Preparatory School when I was on vacation this summer in Hong Kong. I honestly did not know what to expect from my visit to the Nord Anglia Education Head Office. Ms. Sarah Doyle had arranged for me to meet and interview the CEO himself, Mr. Andrew Fitzmaurice.
The interview was scheduled for 11am on a Thursday and our hotel was located in the tallest building in Hong Kong on Kowloon and their office was on Hong Kong Island so our taxi went on a short ride through a tunnel that crossed the famous harbor in just a few minutes. The drive only took a quick 15 minutes to reach St. Georges Building where Nord Anglia Education had the entire 12th Floor.
After a quick wait in their reception area, Ms. Doyle came out to greet me and take me to Mr. Fitzmaurice's office. He has a beautiful office with a great view of the harbor and the Hong Kong Eye (which looks a lot like the Orlando Eye). Ms. Doyle and Mr. Fitzmaurice were very kind and Mr. Fitzmaurice shared some nice stories about himself, his family and Nord Anglia Education.
Ms. Doyle was really kind and presented me with some literature about some of their programs as well as a boxed gift, which was very generous of her. They explained some of the opportunities that Windermere Prep students could now benefit from – like Global Classroom and the Julliard partnership. It was an amazing experience and I can't thank Nord Anglia leadership enough for their generosity with their time and for welcoming a student from 1 of their 41-school family.
If you would like to see some of the photos of my visit to the Nord Anglia Headquarters in Hong Kong, please click the main image and scroll to see more.
While I was in Hong Kong this summer, I not only had the opportunity to meet some of the people in the Nord Anglia Education Leadership Team, but I also got to visit one of the Nord Anglia schools in Hong Kong - The Nord Anglia International School (NAIS) located in Lam Tin. Hong Kong is a former British colony and there is a lot of European influence in the city and at NAIS.
The principle of the school, Mr. Brian Cooklin generously gave me a tour of the new school, which just opened this past September (2014). Mr. Cooklin also allowed me to interview him for Reach A Student and share his insight. Besides the school tour and interviewing Mr. Cooklin, I was also able to interview a Year 5 teacher, Mr. Williams, and his student Ava.
This year was the school's first year operating as a new school, and I must say that it was amazing how developed they were for a school still just 9 months old. Prior to becoming the campus of the Nord Anglia International School, the property was previously used as a Catholic Boy's School and when that school moved out, Nord Anglia was awarded the space to use. I learned that there was a lot of construction that needed to be done and everyone worked very hard to get the school ready in just a few months for new students to begin classes last September.
The learning environment is really beautiful and the students and teachers I met were all very nice and welcoming. NAIS follows a British curriculum and that might be the biggest difference between the Nord Anglia International School and Windermere Prep. I spent a long time looking at a lot of their students work, much of it on display in the corridors and I can tell you that it is all of very high quality. Mr. Cooklin explained they use Nord Anglia Education's High Performance Learning techniques and I was very impressed by their approach.
Another difference that I really like was how they separate students in the school into 4 houses; Windsor (red), Sandringham (yellow), Caernarfon (green) and Balmoral (blue). These are the names of grand homes and castles in the United Kingdom. When students do something well, they are given a colored token that represents their house which they deposit in clear cylinder at the front of the school. The cylinder with the most chips at the end of the year wins, so there is a lot of team or house spirit. These houses also compete in school competitions against each other throughout the year. I thought this house system was really unique and fun.
All their classrooms were well designed and the school had excellent learning facilities. They had a gymnasium similar to ours at WPS, an Art room, Computer Lab, A full Science Lab, Library, Music Rooms and so much more. I saw students doing drama, playing in their playground where Mrs. Cooklin had painted a beautiful Panda and so many other things you might see at a school in America, only this wasn't America, it was all in Hong Kong – a city on the other side of the world from Windermere Prep. Needless to say, I was beyond impressed and it makes me happy to know that we are now a part of the Nord Anglia family of schools.
If you would like to see some of the photos of my tour of the Nord Anglia International School, please click the main image and scroll to see many more.
Besides Global Classroom, there is also a program that might interest aspiring WPS musicians and it is called Global Orchestra. This past March musicians from all the Nord Anglia schools were invited to audition for the opportunity to be selected to participate in the Global Orchestra summer school in New York from June 24th to July 1st. This year 34 singers and 46 instrumentalists were chosen from Nord Anglia schools around the world and spent their week attending music workshops and participated in practice sessions conducted by music experts. This is another wonderful opportunity for Windermere Prep students because we are part of this large family of schools.
Nord Anglia Education will be providing Windermere Prep student with access to their program known as The Global Classroom. This program offers students the opportunity to connect with other students from the other 40 Nord Anglia schools spread around the world.
Global Classroom will allow our students to experience diverse perspectives, new challenging concepts, topics and ways of learning. They accomplish this by using 3 methods:
An Online Learning Environment
Students can connect with students in other schools, debate with them and learn new concepts and ideas. As Mr. Fitzmaurice described, a student who was studying the effects of pollution on plants in China, could connect with a student at one of the Nord Anglia schools in China and get a perspective that you wouldn't find in a book.
Students are challenged in competitions to find new solutions to current problems that plague our planet.
These events bring Nord Anglia students from across the globe to work on community service projects, develop leadership skills towards instilling a sense of global citizenship.
I feel strong that bringing Global Classroom to WPS will allow us to learn and experience new topics and expand our global view. This year Global Classroom offered an opportunity to students to travel to Tanzania in Africa where they could volunteer to help the people there and have other unique experiences.
As a student, I am really excited to use The Global Classroom this upcoming year.
The Juilliard School which was founded in 1905, is a world leader in performing arts education and it is not surprising that students at our school are really interested in finding out more about the partnership between Nord Anglia Education and The Juilliard School.
I think we will see curriculum changes, which will begin with music but will extend into the other performing art categories. WPS musicians will soon be exposed to a "Juilliard-curated repertoire" of music that represents different genres, styles and cultures. Nord Anglia students are to gain understanding how music functions and how it fits into the human experience.
Windermere Prep teachers and students will benefit from being connected to Juilliard's network of teachers and performers. Also, Juilliard teaching artists will be sharing their insight with the Nord Anglia teaching community. The result of all this is so that students at Nord Anglia schools receive the highest level of performance art teaching available.
Performing arts is something that is really important to students at our school and that is why the partnership between Nord Anglia and The Juilliard School will be a huge benefit for our school. Clearly, this will help to enrich our performing arts curriculum as described above. Students will be able to connect with Julliard's countless performers and teachers. I think that this can only help inspire students to excel in this field.