At IES Länna, people come first and that means so do their stories. Each week, we speak to someone on our podcast who shares their journey with us. Their journey might include anxiety, depression, insecurities, or trauma. Their stories definitely include grit and perserverance and struggle and self-acceptance. Take a listen to Keeping Up with Mrs. Kelly at https://keepingup.simplecast.com/ or wherever you listen to your podcasts.
Tagged with "From the Principal"...
On Saturday, December 12, IES Länna held its second-ever charity run, this time choosing to donate money to Astrid Lindgrens Barnsjukhus in Stockholm. In spite of the pandemic and the stress that always accompanies the end of a term, we had amazing participation and support from students, staff, parents and IES colleagues. Through our efforts that day, we were able to raise 18.000 kronor for the cause!
As always, I'm proud to lead such a grateful, selfless group of people. Together, we can spread kindness and "be the good" our society and world need.
At IES Länna, we believe strongly in the involvement of parents in our daily work. To better help our parents understand what our goals are, how we are working, and what they can do to support their child at home we host informational (and usually interactive) sessions each month. Unfortunately, due to the current restrictions surrounding COVID-19, we are unable to have interactive, in-person sessions. However, our first ever digital parent session has seen huge success and we are able to continue our collaboration between home and school.
During September, we have been working with the topic of empathy. Our presentation, linked here, has information and tools for parents (and educators) to help our children build empathy to use not only as children and teenagers, but to take into society as adults.
I was inspired by a podcast called "Happier" by Gretchen Rubin where a "20 for 2020" list was created: 20 things to accomplish in the year 2020. Yes, I know it's September, but I also know that this year has gotten a negative reputation. And what better way to turn that around than to make some positive changes in our final few months?
Here is my "20 for 2020" list. I left three goals blank and am getting great feedback from students, colleagues, parents and staff from other IES schools. Check out Gretchen's website here for ideas and resources!
On August 19, 2020 we welcomed 572 students to a wonderful school year! Many of those students are returning for their second or third year, but over a hundred are brand new to IES Länna. We are excited to expand our family while at the same time maintaining our values and close-knit community. Our motto for the 2020-21 school year is "See the Good, Be the Good" and we can't wait to work toward that goal with all of our students, staff and parents. Big (virtual, for now) hugs to all of you!
At IES Länna, we always strive for the best. And that includes finding the absolute best teachers in every subject.
We are currently looking for Swedish teachers in both mellanstadiet and högstadiet. These teachers must be enthusiastic, team-oriented and focused on building relationships with students.
We have been told that we are not a normal school. This is true. If you're looking for a different sort of workplace, come check us out. We'd love to show you around.
At IES Länna, we focus on what to do. Not on what not to do.
I guess this all stems from scientific research about how the brain retains information, but for me, it goes back to lågstadiet for me when I was seven or eight years old and in music class with Mr. McConnell. I still remember how he told us that he would always tell us what to do because our brains would create a picture of those words and we would remember that picture. "Hang your coat on the coat rack," for example. He explained to us that our brains had trouble with the words "not" or "don't" and couldn't create that picture as clearly if those words were used. "Don't leave your coat on the floor" fleft a picture in our brains of a coat (important word) on the floor (important word). The "don't" wasn't retained by our brain because it was hard to create a picture of that word.
I guess this is what I had in mind when I started IES Länna and focused on what to do rather than on what not to do. Yes, we have rules. Yes, there are things that we will not do at our school (use our phones, chew gum, act disrespectfully, etc.). But we focus on our values and living up to them rather than creating a list of all the things we don't do.
Now our values are clearly shown on a wall everyone passes every day. And we painted them together. Because our values are what will help us all know exactly what to do when faced with uncertainty or indepenedence.
At IES Länna, we have a strong focus on values. We're also very focused on leadership, especially this academic year where our mantra has been "Be a Leader." And in September 2019, we found a way to combine both.
Our Junior Leadership Program was launched in mid-September with our first Junior Leaders being from Year 5. One student was chosen from each class to be "Junior Leader" for a day. Throughout the morning, students completed tasks around the school, including cleaning, picking up trash on the schoolyard, assisting with administrative tasks, helping teachers and making the school environment in general a more positive and pleasant place to be. In the afternoon, Junior Leaders each took charge of a Year 4 classroom and acted as a "mentor," assisting the teacher (especially with Swedish language support) and helping students who needed an extra set of hands or a question answered. In order to Junior Leader, Year 5 students needed to exhibit our four core values: respect, safety, hard work and honesty.
The spring term has been Year 4's turn to "Be a Leader" as they have been guided into the program by last term's Junior Leaders in Year 5. We don't believe leadership should have an age requirement. Some of our most positive and influential leaders have come from our youngest year groups!
As we reflect on the Junior Leadership Program, we can clearly see our four core values in action:
Respect: Students must show each other respect as they work with teammates they don't necessarily know well. Since the students come from three different classes, they must get to know each other quickly in order to work as a team throughout the morning. Junior Leaders also learn to respect their environment even more as they improve the physcial space we occupy each day and notice how we can influence that as individuals, whether we are Junior Leaders that day or not.
Safety: Junior Leaders find unsafe and potentially dangerous things around the school and schoolyard and report directly to administration so no one is hurt.
Hard Work: Junior Leaders need to work hard and manage their time wisely as they are given tasks and a time frame in which to complete them.
Honesty: Since they are working around the school as a team and are not with their supervisor at all times, Junior Leaders must be honest about the work they are completing and what they are doing even if no one is specifically watching them at every moment.
We are so proud of our Junior Leaders and the difference they have made, not only in the day during which they are Junior Leaders but every day they embody these values in our school and community. You truly lead by example!
One of my favorite things about IES Länna is our students' engagement. I've never experienced anything like it. Each day, I observe examples of our students taking leadership roles in the school, usually from their own initiative. We've been back at school for less than a week, and here are just a few things I have seen and heard personally from our student body:
-"We think our schoolyard could be cleaner. Can we start a club to pick up trash?"
-"I know prom is a year and a half away, but we'd like to start planning. Here are some ideas I have."
-"I didn't make that mess, but I'll clean it up."
-"I saw you sitting by yourself, and you always tell us to notice others and make them feel welcome. Can I sit with you?"
-"I have some ideas about how we could find more seating for when we have breaks."
We work very hard on our academics during the lessons, but we work equally hard developing students who take initiative, find creative solutions to problems, and are constantly looking for ways to make our environment better.
IES Länna students, I am constantly in awe of your passon, your spirit and your tenacity. Together, we will do great things! Thanks for leading by example!
Not even the cold and rain could keep us from having a blast! On Saturday, November 9, the PTA at IES Länna hosted its first annual Autumn Fair. This event attracted 500 visitors and enlisted the help of over 100 parents, students and staff. Attractions at the Autumn Fair included a food truck, activities run by several local sports clubs, a visit from the local police, bake sales, a loppis, a book fair, and science demonstrations by IES Länna students and staff. It was incredible to see the talents of our students and the dedication of so many at IES Länna to our school and its culture.
A huge thank you goes out to the PTA parents, as well as all the others who helped make this event a huge success. We can't wait for our next big event!