Paul McKenzie web

Dear ISB Community

We have had a smooth start to the school year and there is a wonderful sense of excitement about the 2018-2019 school year amongst students, parents and staff. On Tuesday in a G1-G10 assembly, we showed students drone footage of the inside and outside of the new school. Students then got together in mixed age groups to discuss and share what they were excited about, what they would like to have at the school and to ask questions. We recorded these responses and noted that students were largely excited about being in a modern and spacious building and their questions and wishes revolved around aspects of the cafeteria, playgrounds and after-school activities.

The theme in and out of the classrooms this week has been one of community building. By investing time in the psychosocial development of our students, we lay the foundations for a successful school year and character development. Student agency is, of course, a significant piece of this puzzle and students have been contributing their voices and ideas to how the school operates. The student councils in Upper School and Lower School will act as conduits for these voices. Zac and Pete, the deputy directors, will be communicating more on these and related aspects of school life throughout the year.

With an eye on the move to Sandsli in February, please note that we have removed the two teacher in-service days that were scheduled for late January. The staff will instead use those days to set up classrooms and the school immediately before we are ready to start classes at the Sandsli campus. We will inform the community as soon as we have definite dates. We also understand there will be a need for a number of students to use transportation other than the Bybane when we open. We have a committee set up looking at ideas and suggestions and we will work with families to come up with a solution endorsed by the majority. Please understand in advance that such solutions are rarely universally agreeable.

I would like to thank the community for the friendly welcome. My wife and I have settled into Bergen very comfortably and have enjoyed just some of what the city has to offer. As some of you might already know, my previous two international school roles were as principal in Burkina Faso in West Africa and Japan. With thanks to the committed work of the ISB staff and administration, this has been the most student-centered start I’ve experienced yet to a school year. After speaking to many parents, I am not the only one mightily impressed.

Paul McKenzie