A Mermaid in TSRS

If you heard that a child of just 5 years 9 months, studying in Upvan Class was diving in to the pool to race against children of Class IV, you might think that was a bit unfair. That is unless you happen to be little Vedika Amin of Upvan -F at Aravali.

Vedika has been competing in DLF Golf Club competitions for the last 2 years. In the most recent competition on 8th August she bagged 8 awards, not just in the Under-6 age category, but also in Under-10’s.

Her performances won her the chance to swim in the District Swimming Competition that took place over the weekend. She swam in the Under-9 years category, despite her tender years. In freestyle she was pipped out of third place by just a couple of seconds, but won the bronze medal in breast stroke.

This is a superb achievement for one so young and I am sure indicates that lots of success lies ahead. So, well done Vedika and keep The Shri flag flying.

Applauding Gurgaon Police

Where I come from, almost every town or city centre has at least one one-way system – because they work! Journey distances may get a bit longer, but the volume of traffic that the system can realistically carry is vastly increased, meaning that time taken is reduced significantly (along with frustration and accidents!)

Gurgaon saw its first significant move in this direction around Cyber Greens and there’s no question that it’s made a big difference in that area. So, I am so pleased to see a brand new one-way system coming in to effect – one that we in The Shri Ram School have been advocating for over 2 years.

Credit must go to Police Commissioner, SS Deshwal, DCP Maheshwar Dayal (Gurgaon East) and DCP Bharti Arora (Traffic) for moving ahead with this. Responsibility for now making it work now passes to the citizens of Gurgaon and especially members of the TSRS community.

As you will see from the newspaper cutting below, the impact is substantial:

The Shri Ram School has always wanted to be a good neighbour. We never took any pleasure in the difficulties created for residents of Regency Park II or Hamilton Court at the times when children are arriving at the school or leaving in the afternoons. I believe this one way system really represents a win-win for everyone. With the traffic flowing smoothly even at the biggest times I’m hopeful it will be a biog plus for quality of life of residents. I also believe it will be a lot safer and smoother for the parents and children of our school. If or when they need to cross the road, they will only need to contend with traffic from one direction. Hopefully they will all get dropped on the school side of the road now.

A little self-discipline to make the new system work will be in everyone’s interests.

Raksha Bhandan @ TSPPS

Here are some really nice photos showing how the children at the new campus celebrated Raksha Bhandan:

IamGurgaon – ‘1 Million Trees’ Gets International Recognition

Whilst those of us who live in Gurgaon can quibble with the suggestion that we are a “Delhi Suburb” (what a cheek – how about Delhi, the suburb of Gurgaon?) it was great to see this New York Times article referring to the inspiring initiative of IamGurgaon to target the planting of 1 million saplings to positively influence the ecology and future life in the ‘Millenium City’

New York Times Article

The Shri Ram School has already started playing its part as lots of our students got involved in planting at the Biodiversity Park. Even more exciting are the plans for a major plantation at our new campus, The Shri Ram Police Public School at Bhondsi. Planning is in the final stages for a big, fun get-together at the campus to plant trees and have some fun whilst thinking about how we care for our environment.

More details to follow ………….

Education World Conference

Last weekend saw one of the biggest education conferences of the year take place at the Westin Hotel, Gurgaon. All credit to Dilip Thakore, editor of Education World magazine who had brought together a really interesting line up of speakers for the day. The morning saw a data backed keynote from Geeta Kingdon followed by a very lively debate on the Right to Education Act.

After lunch, not only was I privileged to share the stage with Ashish Rajpal (iDiscoveri Education), Amy Seefelt (Woodstock School) and Sarvesh Naidu (Pathways Schools), but for the first time i had the privilege and pleasure to work alongside my predecessor, Abha Adams.

The final session was a thought-provoking session exploring the scope for the private sector to support change and improvement in the government schools system, chaired by Madhav Chavan of Pratham and including a TSRS parent, Jerry Almeida.

Here’s the write-up from Times of India on Sunday:

Success in Badminton

Since the rise of Saina Naiwal, Haryana can lay claim to be the heart of badminton in the country.

Mallika Anand, VIII F and Kaumudi Malviya, Class VII of Aravali, as a team, have won the Gurgaon District School Badminton Championship. They were representing TSRS in the tournament. Now they have been selected to represent the district in the School State Tournament. Looking at Mallika’s performance, in particular, the selectors have expressed hope that she can compete at the national tournament as well!

Congratulations to both Mallika and Kaumudi. We will follow your achievements with interest.

Here is Mallika and her coach, Mr Gaurav Kapoor:

Now I can update, as we have a fresh photo of Mallika and Kaumudi:

Also, there’s further good news as Mallika is plainly ‘on a roll:

An ‘OPEN DISTRICT BADMINTON TOURNAMENT’ was held from 11th to 14th August by the Haryana Badminton Association. Mallika has created a record of sorts by winning gold in all possible categories that she participated in. The categories were under 15, under 17, under 19 and 15 doubles. She was conferred a special award at the closing ceremony, that of being ‘Player of the tournament’.

Today, Mallika and family have left for Panchkula for the State Level School Championships. She goes with our best wishes and fingers crossed.

Evaluating Teacher Effectiveness

Over the last few months I’ve posted a few pieces related to the ways in which teacher performance is evaluated. There are many who say that they want to see a scenario in education that promotes excellence in standards and that this will never really happen without ways to differentiate according to the standards and quality of teaching, and to differentiate rewards and recognition for teachers. In the most extreme, can there ever be excellence in a system that fails to identify and address issues of chronic under-performance?

The earlier articles focused upon the debate in the US about the relative merits of evaluating teachers on performance of the learners (in standardized State level tests), value added and through classroom observations. Whilst we can all see the perils of focus on test results, there have long been criticisms from teachers that classroom observations were open to appraiser bias, favouritism and undue subjectivity.

So, I was very interested to come across this interview with Charlotte Danielson who is considered to be one of the leading experts in this area in the US. She provides a good starting point for understanding the framework that she recommends and talks of some of the positives and perils of utilizing observational techniques to gauge teacher effectiveness:

Edweek Blog – Interview with Charlotte Danielson

I found Danielson’s approach refreshing, sensitive to the anxieties that teachers can experience around such practices, but also bold and clear in taking as a ‘given’ that whatever happens in every teacher’s class all the time is the business of the school, the parents and the education system. We have an education system that is crying out for real, genuine accountability. The best teachers have nothing to fear from such accountability – in fact they stand a better chance of having their work recognized.

The only one hesitation I have is that such systems imply that all the learning in schools (and all the responsibility of teachers exists) only in the classrooms during defined lesson periods. In fact, I believe we need ways that evaluate far more holistically the impact that teachers are having on pupils. For this, we may need more ‘professional’ style appraisal and performance management systems like in companies that take a far more holistic approach towards an individual’s overall performance.

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