Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Winding Down. Moving On.

The hubbub is either ending (if you're involved in activities) or just picking up (if you have exams) but regardless everyone is feeling that summer breeze coming fast. The community is somewhere between the combined tiredness of a busy but rewarding year and the exhilaration of well-deserved time off. But for sustainable decisions it's just another day. 

As the end-of-year quickly approaches we have a number of things going on at ISKL. Some involve finishing up the data collection on environmental indicators (waste, energy, water, flight carbon emissions). Others have to do with making adjustments to our physical plant (e.g. energy saving motion sensors in common rooms and solar powered fans for the busing waiting area). Still others have to do with planning for next year. A few highlights for the upcoming year are:
  • Our service learning consultant, Cathy Berger Kaye, will be visiting ISKL on two occasions to train teachers and staff of all divisions as well as our HS service team leaders. 
  • The service learning model we have is also being adopted by the International Baccalaureate (IB) as the process for CAS projects so we're thrilled that we have a Prep Junior to IB service learning framework that is consistent throughout a child's school experience. 
  • Our MS is planning to make a small foray into the world of running Global Issues conferences with a small one-day conference planned for the second trimester. 
  • Our HS will be introducing Global Issues, Local Solutions, a new elective course that focuses on global issues through the use of service learning as a learning strategy. We are pretty excited about it!
  • Our MS is creating a new individualized program highlighting personal citizenship and community engagement currently being tagged as The Global Citizen Project. A self-initiated and voluntary project it will provide our students with an avenue to highlight their citizenship on their portfolios. Students will be supported by mentors (who can be teachers, parents and even HS students who will be trained in the service learning framework. 
  • Our faculty and staff will have increased opportunities to participate in professional development offerings in sustainability education and/or service learning. 
Our Sustainability & Service Learning Coordinator might not be visiting too many classrooms these days (as classes prepare for year end) but there is lots going on still!  Lots to be proud of and lots to move on with. Life goes on, especially when the joy of summer approaches fast!  :-)

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Nepal Earthquake Relief: Direct Efforts by ISKL

It's not often you have the chance, as a community, to "cut out the middle man" and do some direct good in a disaster affected area. This past week was a special kind of week for our school, with four faculty/staff members heading to Kathmandu, under the coordination of Kevin Brawn (HS Activities & Athletics Director). 

Kevin, with the support of Drew Davis, Monica Clear and Bendan Kiernan headed off to Kathmandu to take part in relief efforts, specifically targeting Ocean Nepal (website here) and surrounding communities.  Part of their work was to support the evacuation of the students at the orphanage, with a larger emphasis on providing food and shelter to those affected. 

Certainly ISKL's efforts are limited compared to those by international aid organizations but it was hard not to notice the day-to-day news coming from Kevin (handing out food and tents) and the international press (covering the bureaucratic problems with allowing aid to come in, leaving plane-loads of goods on the tarmac for days).

Much of the group's effectiveness was based on their own know-how of the area (we have several connections in Nepal and also run a good number of HS GAP programs there), but also on the money raised in the four days prior to the team's departure. We are told that Melawati (through coordinated efforts by the Red Hats) raised RM 43,000!  The Ampang crowd was just as impressive and, in total, over USD 20,000 (from all sources) was taken to Nepal for the direct purchase of rice and shelter before in-kind donations were made to those affected by the tragedy. 

Thank you to all of you for making a positive difference to those affected by the earthquake and, of course, a special and heart-felt thank you to those who gave their time, energy, efforts to exhibit caring and compassion to those in need, and for being wonderful role models for our children at ISKL.