This school year has been anything but normal. Starting back in September we found ourselves entering the third school year in a row while living with the global corona pandemic. The challenge for all of us at the start of this academic year was to try to find some semblance of normalcy in the midst of so much uncertainty. However as we’ve seen over the last five months, this school year has been anything but normal. Once again we have been faced with continuous changes to rules, restrictions, and regimes. Just when we thought we could settle into a specific routine, circumstances changed again. This has required an incredible amount of patience, flexibility and determination from the entire school community. Much has been asked of teachers, tutors, members of the support staff as well as members of the management team. Much has also been asked of parents throughout these past months, something we recognizes and remain grateful for.
There have of course also been many bright spots over the past few months. We were able to make-up for our ‘lost’ travel week last year by allowing students to travel in the first week of term 2. Instead of being in classrooms in Oegstgeest that week, our exam students found themselves in Rome, Brussels, Dortmund and Groningen/ Schiermonnikoog. For both students and teachers it was an opportunity to ‘get away’ for a little while and the pictures, videos, and stories from the various trips was proof that it was well worth the effort! Additionally our 4th and 5th graders had the unique opportunity to go to Belgium and Germany for a day to practice their French and German with true native speakers. A wonderful way to engage with the language they’ve been studying for several years now in a truly authentic setting!
Something I am personally very proud of is the introduction this year of our first masterclass. For three weeks in November and early December, twenty-five students from both the international and Dutch departments were introduced to the incredible world of astronomy. The masterclass kicked-off with an illuminating and thought-provoking lecture from Matthew Kenworthy, professor of astronomy at Leiden University. The students listened attentively to his talk and their curiosity was clearly sparked as the Q&A which followed lasted for no less than 45 minutes! In the two weeks that followed, three teachers from school (Mr. De Grijp, Mr. Van de Lagemaat en Ms. Van Tent) dove deeper into the world of astronomy. The students were treated to presentations about how the ancient Greeks studied the heavens, the way solar systems come into existence, and the projects currently taking place at TU Delft in the field of aerospace engineering. All in all a truly successful and inspiring masterclass!
As we close out this calendar year, much uncertainty remains. On December 18th the government announced a new nation-wide lockdown, which among other things will force schools to close their doors until at least January 9th. What will happen after that is anybody’s guess. What is certain is that the coming period will once again test our resolve and demand much of us. I am personally confident that we are up for the challenge!
Happy holidays and all the best in 2022!