Happy Autumn Break!
We’ve come a long way since our first day of school at the end of August. We stopped social distancing and no longer wear a face mask when moving around the school. After the Autumn Break, we will also stop cohorting during primary drop off and pick up. Although it still feels a bit strange and somewhat vulnerable, returning to normal is of course wonderful!
Earlier this month the whole staff went away for an off-site study day, focusing on our core values in relation to the school’s mission statement. We also spent time in our focus groups working on data collection, staff well-being, differentiation, continuum, design, and language support. These focus groups, based on the NPO funding will continue to work together throughout the year. At the same time, we will further explore our core values, making connections to what this means for the way we teach, communicate, and relate to each other, culminating in a new school plan, vision and mission statement. During this academic year parents and students will also be involved in this process and we really look forward to having this conversation with you.
Appreciative Inquiry Visit
Last Friday we received a delegation of the various NUOVO schools for an appreciative inquiry visit. This committee met with staff, students, and leadership to learn about our school, our community, and the way we approach teaching and learning. The committee was particularly impressed by the energy of the staff and the plans they have for our school. They found our students very polite, well-spoken, analytical and reflective in their comments on day-to-day life at the ISUtrecht. Students, although critical (they know what they want and they know what they missed) were satisfied with the school’s flexibility during the Covid-months. The NUOVO committee noticed that our students love to be part of the ISUtrecht community where everybody belongs and fits in. We will share the report of our NUOVO colleagues as soon as we’ll receive it.
We are still working hard to find additional teaching space to allow us to welcome more families to our school. We currently have an enrolment of 882 students and reconfiguration of the meeting room and staff room as extra classrooms, although far from ideal, is working for now. We recently managed to hire two extra meeting spaces in the Pionier which relieves some of the pressure on the office and communal spaces in the various buildings. The language hub in the former parent room is up and running, providing students with space and support for their language learning.
Utrecht Science Park
We can fill up the open spaces in the existing classes, but we cannot add new classes to our current buildings. That is why our school board is still negotiating with the municipality to secure additional teaching space in the vicinity of our current campuses for 300 students, or a temporary building that would fit up to 1200 students. The financial agreement for the permanent campus at Utrecht Science Park is almost ready. Once this agreement is signed by the school board and the municipality, the next step in the process, securing planning permissions, can be taken. It looks like we could be moving into the new building at the Cambridgelaan during the 2024-2025 academic year. At soon as there is more news, we will further update you.
For now, we would like to wish everyone a lovely Autumn Break. Please note that Monday 25 October is a staff study day. We look forward to welcoming our students back on Tuesday 26 October.
Marieke Folkers, Head of School
On behalf of the Leadership Team